Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Things I Fall For

The meaning of the term "shopping therapy" has changed for me: living in the States it was mostly just a way to spend time with friends and reward myself with something tangible for my real or perceived hard work. It was never empowering. Living in Japan, however, I have come to realize that shopping is one of the only arenas in my life where I don't have to rely upon anyone else. Not that it is my goal never to rely upon others, but being a foreigner in a place like Japan which is so vastly different culturally from my country means that my self-confidence can sometimes take a beating. There are infinite words to mispronounce or use incorrectly; there are cultural faux pas to avoid or to learn lessons about when they cannot be avoided (I have been given lessons on things like "how to peel an orange properly", "how to tie shoes", and even "how to hold your hands for a photo", amongst others); and there are people/situations you come across where just looking non-Japanese adds...stress. In short, the frequent state of being wrong, being perceived as "wrong" and/or not being perceived at all takes a toll on a person. Shopping is a nice antidote for this feeling. Maybe it's just less likely that store clerks will correct my glaring language mistakes or tell me the proper way to hold my bag when I have the money right in front of them, but I definitely get a sense of accomplishment when I leave a shop with a little bag and a feeling that I belong. The knowledge that anyone with money "belongs" in a shop never seems to dampen my spirits! Of course, sometimes this means I buy something that I later regret.

That was a very long introduction for telling you about the fun thing I just bought (and don't regret at all!). They are pictured and are called "eco nation" speakers, "for all pods". I use mine for my I-phone and Shuffle. If you haven't seen them before, they are sold in a flat box. You can get either brown or white and you use the six little pencils provided to draw your own design on them. I fell for them immediately. As you can see though, I haven't yet begun to decorate them...I am thinking of going the cover-with-pretty-paper route instead of the pencils (or go with the pencils first and THEN the pretty paper when it is clear to me that the pencil decoration looks too cheesy...), but either way, I'll update you with the finished product.

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