Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Konbini wa kureji desu.

I think it's funny that I just spent 7-man (around $750) at the konbini (convenience store, in this case 7/11). 

Wh- what? you may ask...

You see, in Japan, you can pay bills at the konbini.  Some of my bills come with a tear-off portion that has a bar code that is for the konbini to scan.  I paid my car insurance for the year and my Internet bill for two months, as well as for a salmon onigiri (a triangle of rice wrapped in nori (seaweed)) and a yogurt drink.  So, it's not that weird when I explain it, but it's still kinda funny that convenience stores are so integrated. 

Also, debit is almost non-existent and I'm not sure if lots of people have credit cards, but I don't.  So when you order stuff on Amazon-Japan, there are some interesting options.  One option is COD; cash on delivery.  This is great.  Another option is to pick up and pay for your item at the nearest konbini.  When you set this up on Amazon-Japan, it's kinda like setting up a payment option.  You click on a map and find the konbini you want to add to your account, then you are notified when your stuff is there and you go get it.  That konbini is then registered for you.  Cool, eh?

You might have noticed that I said I paid my net bill for two months.  I have recently re-assumed all control over my bills.  I'm not good with bills.  It's almost like when I get them, look at them, etcetera, I have a zen moment.  My mind goes blank and I pass over the bill and on to something else.  I don't know what it is.  I'm not broke.  I'm not opposed to paying bills.  It's just that money and I have a funny relationship.  When I look at money, I kind of just see special paper.  It doesn't click.  I often run out of money, so that I am stuck at a register only able to pay by digging every last coin out of my purse, or stuck out after the buses are done without enough money for a cab.  But, somehow it always works out.  So, I forgot to pay my Internet bill last month.  I went to pay it on the day after it was due, and when the convenience store clerk scanned it, it made a no-no buzzy sound.  I couldn't pay it because the bar code was expired.  They told me to go to the bank.  I went there.  They didn't know what to do, but they called the company for me out of the goodness of their hearts to help a poor foreigner in distress. 

People in Japan are very responsible.  The Japanese don't think too much about things like this, and bills don't just not get paid.  It seemed like the company didn't really have a procedure for late bills.  So, they just told me, in essence, that it was cool and that they would include both months on my next bill, which I paid today. 

And yesterday I paid my rent.  Aren't you so proud of me?  I'm proud of me.

I will be going to a festival in Beppu tomorrow to celebrate Christmas and see holiday fireworks.  On Sunday, Christmas, I'll go to Mike's house in Usuki to have a Christmas party with a bunch of my friends.  On December 28th-ish I will travel to Tokyo to see a friend.  I'll spend New Year's Eve in Tokyo and then travel back on the 1st-ish.  Then back to school on the 3rd, boo. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody.

From Japan,

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