Wednesday, April 18, 2018

1,000,000 Yen in Kamakura

We had a terrifying trip to Kamakura with Talitha.  Ok, well everything was great and fun until the very end, then it got really stressful really fast.  It started out with the girls putting on their Kimono's.  Penelope was very excited about hers but decided not to wear it around town.
Scarlett was happy to wear her's around town.
We parked in a lot that was a little expensive but close and convenient.  I had only ever ridden the train there before so this was an experiment.  Then off we went to the main shrine.
Sakura tree's lined our path.

After that we walked down the busy shopping street with vendors.  We wanted to get hot chocolate at the place that will draw a picture on your drink again, but this time the girls wanted to get their own faces done.
Aside from the blonde instead of red hair I think he did a pretty good job.  What do you think?

Talitha got Hello Kitty with the cherry blossoms.
Tucker and Leon got a form of pikachu.
Next we shopped around a bit.  Talitha was looking at hats so I took a picture of each of the kids with a hat on.

In the background of Scarlett's picture you can see Talitha holding the hat she was going to buy.  After a minute of her checking out she called me over, I thought she maybe needed help figuring out the money.  So in Japan they use yen instead of dollars like we are used to, but an easy way to convert it is to think of yen like cents, or move the decimal over two places and that puts you pretty close to the dollar amount.  For example 100 yen is about 1 dollar.  Anyway Talitha was going to buy a hat she thought was about $18 but after they cut the tags off and everything she called me over because she realized that it was actually $180 and she didn't want it.  Luckily she hadn't swiped her credit card yet because many places in Japan won't do returns.  We tried to hand the hat back and nicely walk out of the store.  It was even more awkward because of the language barrier and they didn't really know why she changed her mind last minute.  It's a good thing she realized or she would have been in for a surprise when she go the credit card bill.
After we finished we went to the car to head home.  As all the kids were getting buckled I realized I couldn't find my parking lot ticket.  I searched everywhere but eventually resigned to the fact that it was lost somewhere on the streets.  So I flagged down a parking lot attendant walking around in a refelctive vest and tried to explain the situation.  I said, "Lost ticket."  He then made a thinking face and was like, "Lost ticket, lost ticket fee one million yen."  I'm like, "What???? One million yet?"  Knowing there must be some mistake.  But nope he kept saying it, "Lost ticket fee one million yen." He then even pulled out his tablet and wrote down the number 1,000,000 so there was no confusion.  I just couldn't comprehend what was going on, that is about $10,000.  The Japanese people can be very seiouse about their rules and I had never been in a lost ticket situation before.

Then after me asking him the same thing over and over trying to get a different response and him saying the same one million thing again and again he motioned me over to the sign with the prices on it.  He tried to explain to me the difference in prices for if I got validated or not, the whole time I'm thinking "who cares if I get $10 off of $10,000?" and "Bob is going to be really upset about this" and most importantly, "there has to be a way for me not to pay one million yen."  Driving though the barrier even crossed my mind but I knew that wasn't really an option anymore because the guy was watching me.  I then pointed to the full amount on the sign that was 2,500 yen and said while nodding, "I pay this."  But he was like, "That amount for 3 plus hours, you lost ticket, lost ticket fee one million yen."  It was so stressful.

Then he got on the phone and called someone.  I've had this happen to me before where a Japanese person will call a translator, or maybe it's just a friend, I have no idea, and talk to them in Japanese and then hand the phone to me and the person on the phone will explain something in English.  So they are chatting and he even laughs a little on the phone while my heart feels like it is going to pound out of my chest.  Then he hands me the phone and she doesn't say anything or explain anything.  I was like, "Hello?" and after a second she asked me what time I got to the parking lot.  After I told her she started off in Japanese so I handed the phone back.  They talked some more and he hung up.  The the attendant told and motioned for me to drive up to the gate.  He said he would type in how much I need to pay and the machine will show the amount.  I was so nervous for this.  I still had no idea how much it was going to be.

I went back to the car where Talitha and the kids have been sitting for probably about 10 minutes now and drive up to the gate.  Thankfully after he pushed some buttons the screen said 2,500.  I was so relieved.  I have no idea now what the one million yen was about or why I got to pay 2,500 but as long as we are in Japan I am not loosing my parking ticket ever again!

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