Friday, January 14, 2011

jiichan baachan

I've been doing a lot of bitching lately about nosey aunties and uncles, so let me mention some of the non-aggravating encounters I've had lately.

It makes me unreasonably happy when people (usually oldsters) ask me directions. I feel so NORMAL. An old guy with a hearing aid today stopped me in the street and asked me where a certain dentist was, and I was able to help him find it. Yes, I do live in this neighborhood! Yes, I do know where things are!

Yesterday at the supermarket, an old lady (Let me clarify old: they have wrinkles, and sweater vests, and are probably 70 at least. What Gaijinwife would call vestlings.) in front of me in line let me, nay, insisted that I get in front of her in line, since I was buying only one thing and she had a cartful. I declined but she wouldn't hear of it and practically pushed me to go first, the old sweetie, smiling at me the whole time.

And one more this week, a takkyubin guy (not the same one as previously mentioned) came to the door to bring me an Amazon delivery (thanks mom! I won't open it 'til my birthday), and spent the entire time in conversation with my cat. Just chatting with and doting on Timothy. It was super adorable. He spent more time talking to the cat than me.  

Oh, hello, sir! How are you? You want to go outside? Well, maybe you shouldn't, because it's so cold, you know? What's that? You'll just stay here? You're a handsome one. {To me: Please stamp here. I say, Timothy! Come in now!} Oh, wow! He's so distinguished! (How do you translate えらいえらい when an old man is talking to a cat?) What a good boy.
This was so cute, and reminded me of my grandpa, who couldn't walk anywhere without grinning and nodding at people's dogs, stray cats, and small children.


  1. <3 I could imagine my old takkyubin guy doing this. Do you think we have the same one? Mine is small, super genki and very old.

  2. It's probably too far isn't it... Next time I'll put it all in one neat comment.

  3. I dunno, does Amazon have a dedicated delivery service? I never think to note which company it is until after they leave. I don't see a logo on the box.

    It's heartening to know there could be more than one of them :)

  4. This brings me smiles :)
    And your grandpa sounds like me too, lol. i always smile or greet peoples' animals as i pass by.

  5. I have a takkyubin girl. A small skinny girl. I see her on the street sometimes, pushing the dolly piled high with boxes.

    I love that old lady who pushed you in front of her. Being so kind and rough at the same time, haha.

  6. Thanks phx! I'm like that too.

    WH, I've never seen a takkyubin girl before! That's cool.

  7. Love to see nice positive stories like this. I had a super-nice takkyubin guy once, too. When I didn't have enough cash for a COD, he shrugged and said, "Not like you're gonna run away, is it? I'll come back this afternoon or tomorrow."
    Awesome to read something about the jiichan baachan that isn't a full-on complaint about them. Thanks!

  8. amazon down here uses sagawa or kuroneko and ditto - quite often deliveryman will have full conversation almost with cat or child and just tell me to 'stamp here' and 'thanks very much' kind of thing.

    Granny K had a particularly fetching vest on today - kind of purple, kind of padded, kind of buttoned, kind of zipped...over of course three pairs of thermal underwear, two long sleeved t-shirts, three sweaters and a woolen jersey.


  9. Hey WH, a takkyubin girl just came to the door! Just after I post that I'd never seen one, she makes me take it all back.

    Sandra, one cannot live on vitriol alone :)

  10. GW - that sounds particularly fetching. Don't blame her though, old folks tend to kick it in the winter so being nice and warm is probably a very good idea.

  11. Randomly found your blog whilst searching for katorisenko...

    But I loved this post! The jiichan/baachan were my favorite part of living in Japan. I think the best encounter I had was while waiting for a tour bus on my own in Kyoto and something kept hitting me in the back of the head. It was raining and it turned out to be a baachan trying her darndest to get her umbrella up over my head (and I'm 5'2", so you can imagine how tiny she was.) She then bullied me under the umbrella and bullied me onto the bus, and proceeded to bully me by sitting by me protectively and seeing me off at my stop. Best ever.

  12. Thanks Tori! Glad you found me - your blog is cool, I think we'd get along :)