Big Girl Pants!
I haven’t written much about any big-girl-pants moments in Japan recently. Big-Girl-Pants moments are those moments that I get around to doing what would be simple task for any adult and most teens…if I were in an English-speaking country…but that I’ve avoided doing because I simply don’t want to deal with more Japanese language.
On Sunday I took my serger in for a tune up. For a while my serger has been tempermentally chewing a few fabrics. I replaced both the upper and lower knives . Replacing the knives required the Japanese skills of getting them ordered, as no one carries blades for a 13 year old Toyota SL500…which I bought on Yahoo Auction..which was itself a big-girl-pants moment. I’ve suspected for a while that the alignment of the blades isn’t perfect and that the whole thing could use new blade, professionally installed, and a basic oiling tune-up.
What has stopped me is that I haven’t known the Japanese word for the sort of tune-up I need for my serger.
I was going to wait for the upcoming costumer’s event this Friday, to ask Flower, but I figured I needed to learn to do this myself. I also had been waiting for a friend in the area with a car, but that’s a rarity.
And a total of 9 meters of chiffon was staring at me, begging to become a skirt and harem pants.
Last Sunday I spent time doing many Google searches in Japan until I figured out what I needed was 調整修理 for my ロックミシン. I then found one location near me, but with no web page, that would require a 20 minute walk. I found one location, with a web page, that was a train and a bus away from me (or, a train ride and a 32 minute walk). The site with the web page had an email form, so I sent them a question asking if they do basic tune-ups/repair on my model of serger.
They did! They asked follow-up questions I couldn’t begin to answer in Japanese (as I don’t know how to describe the chewing of fabric) and explained what I would need to remember to bring with me if I brought my serger in.
I looked around the house for a box to carry my serger (not light! No car!) or a bag…it fit in my gig-luggage! SCORE! I loaded the map into my iPhone, figured out the directions, and headed to the station before I could talk myself out of it.
I was prepared to pull my serger for a 32 minute walk once I left Kitakogane station, because I still harbor an irrational fear of busses. Buses here are run by a variety of different companies and each one seems to have a different way of paying (all at once, or get a ticket and pay a specific amount when you exit depending on how long you‘ve ridden once you exit, or a set amount once you exit) and it used to confuse me. Yet, when I exited the station and looked at the 8 different bus stops I realized…I know these kanji! And it’s all organized so I can use my “suica” card (a magnetic card I use to pay for trains) on everything! I know what bus to take! HAHAHAHA! I figured out buses in Istanbul! No bus is a mystery to me anymore!!! HAHAHAHA!
Living abroad in a country with a new language makes a variety of daily life situations seem magical when you reach a point where they are no longer a point of stress: banks, electronic transfers, hair stylists…
I got on my bus, rode, exited at the right station. I found the store…
Which, unlike the web page, seemed to be a closed room of random machine parts…not even a real store…definitely not open…but I knew it was supposed to be open.
I wasn’t giving up. I knocked and a small man came to the door.
I’d come during a massive renovation. Still, he realized I was probably the gaijin who(d mailed him. I unpacked the serger. Through some crazy Japanese talk my general diagnoses was verified. New blades would be ordered and installed, parts would be oiled…I’ll pick up next weekend.
Once the place is clean and organized again I may buy a used sewing machine, a good workhorse, to replace the one I am using, because mine doesn’t have a pedal controller.
I know I can arrange delivery.