On Tuesday, September 13, John and I went on an exploratory trip.  We decided to take the train from the Minoh Station to a nearby train stop.  We picked Ishibashi.  I looked up Ishibashi and it means literally, stone bridge.  Ishi is stone and bashi (or also hashi) means bridge.  The famous Japanese company Bridgestone Tires was in fact named after it’s founder, Shojiro Ishibashi. Interesting!

When we arrived at Ishibashi we wandered around and came upon another bike parking place.  This one had double decker parking for getting more bikes into a small area.  It’s so clever how they have figured out how to maximize the space constraints here.  I have also seen car parking with this type of double platform design.


We walked across another beautiful manhole cover here, which is featured as the top photo above.  I think that each of these manhole covers represents the city or the locale in which they can be found, and each detail is a symbol of that place.  When I have more time I’ll have to do some research on Japan’s fancy manhole covers.


Next we walked into a fun shopping arcade.  These shopping arcades are pretty typical in Japan and though they are all the same, they are all different up close.  The red, white and blue barber pole is an international sign for men’s haircut.  It’s everywhere here.  I am amazed at the number of hair salons, barbers and dental offices here.  They are on every street and everywhere I look.  John decided it was time for a haircut (finally!).  This place is called Papa’s (and Mama’s… in much smaller letters).  The sign outside says a haircut is 1600 yen.  It looks like a shampoo added on makes it 1900 yen.  John asked for the simple 1600 yen cut.


The stylist has a huge utility belt with all of his supplies.  I noticed that there is a hairdryer in a metal stand attached to the underside of the salon chair.  Another customer walked in (maybe gaijin, he was a young man that didn’t look very Japanese and he had several tattoos) and I watched him hand the receptionist his umbrella, which she put in the umbrella stand, then he sat down in the big chair and the stylist took his bag and put it in a cupboard for him and then handed him a large leather cup to put his eyeglasses in.  Such service!

Meanwhile John is getting his hair cut.  After he’s done they ask him if he wants a shave so he says yes.  To get ready for his shave a woman puts a moisturizer on his face and then 2 steaming hot towels on him and leaves him there for 3 minutes.  While she’s giving him a shave she asks him if he wants his eyebrows trimmed with scissors.  He thought she meant pluck his eyebrows with tweezers!  He said no.  Then, just as I was thinking that she should ask if he wants his nose hairs trimmed, she asked him that too!  He should have said yes to that.  But he said no.


When he was all done they brushed him off and sent him on his way.  The shaving and pampering were all included in the price of a cut.  No tipping on services in Japan.


After the cut we were flagged down by some friendly proprietors of a neighborhood Indian restaurant who pegged us for Indian food lovers.  They were right so we decided to lunch there.  Yum!  Delicious homemade naan and dal curry and saag curry.  A salad and mango lassi completed the lunch set.  Then it was time to get the kids at school.

John is getting a little obsessed with Amazon Prime.  He signed up for it here in Japan and while it’s been good to be able to order necessary items, John is enjoying (a little too much) the shopping from home that everyone else discovered a long time ago.  One drawback is that we have to be home for our packages because we aren’t quite sure of the process if the delivery comes and we aren’t home.  It doesn’t just get left on the doorstep.  One day John did have to figure out how to have it re-delivered via online request.

So anyway, John ordered two things on Amazon Prime on Tuesday morning.  He ordered a graphing calculator for Kaiyo that he really needs for school and a pack of Degree deodorant that is really needed here in this hot, humid weather!  When the deliveryman came on Wednesday evening to deliver a box (another box!  This is another downside to the Amazon shopping.  Everything arrives in large boxes, even if the products aren’t large), the package turned out to have a large amount of Schick razors in it.  We didn’t order Schick razors.  After a lot of headache John was finally able to get it straightened out.  Apparently Amazon sent the correct order for the calculator to the warehouse but the warehouse packed the wrong item in the box.  The invoice and sticker on the box even said it was a calculator.  Bummer.  Now we have to get this box of razors back to Amazon!