just read: Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask by New Scientist
currently reading: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Sorry I didn’t update on January 17. Saturday’s progress was subpar. I was tired from getting way too little sleep, and I didn’t write much even though my butt was firmly planted in front of my laptop. Jan 17 progress:
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Today I wrote the final scene. It was a bit surreal since I’m done with the draft sooner than I expected. It also came out a bit short, but that’s okay since I usually go back and add layers, etc. so the final version ends up being much longer. I have nine more working days this month to go through the draft and make the changes I already know I must work on. Once that’s done, I can print out the entire manuscript for a pre-revision read-through.
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Today I broke an ATM. In Japan we use bank booklets to keep track of debit / credit on our accounts, and I decided to deposit some money into my account since my Japanese credit cards take money out of it regularly. Everything went fine, up to my inserting several bills into the machine. Then all of a sudden, it died and told me to use the intercom. It was sooo embarrassing because the second I pressed the intercom button, a bunch of people started rushing inside to use ATMs, and the intercom speaker said, “Dear honorable customer, are you there? Please pick up the receiver.”
And of course, in order to make the intercom age-friendly, the bank technicians made it super loud. I think everyone in the building heard it, not just me. I had no idea where this mysterious receiver was, so I fumbled around and pressed the intercom button again and said, “Hello?”
Well, I did that wrong because the woman kept saying, “Dear honorable customer, please pick up the receiver. Are you there?”
She repeated the same line for about five times before I saw the “receiver” and picked it up. Then she asked me the most difficult question of all: “What were you doing when you received the error message?”
It’s not that I didn’t understand her. I can actually understand a lot more than I can speak. The problem was I had no idea how to say, “I was trying to deposit some money into my regular bank account.”
After a long moment of consideration (mostly me going “How should I answer this nice lady?”), I just said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t speak Japanese very well.”
After a short pause, she assured me that everything was fine and that she’d send someone immediately to help me. So I waited. And waited. While I waited, the intercom played very loud music the entire time. More people came in to use the ATMs around me. I almost died from embarrassment and pretended that I was just doing a little karaoke.
Finally, two clean-cut Japanese bank workers in uniform came to me and asked me very simple questions, ones I can actually answer, such as “What is your name?” Once they decided that everything was in order (ATM fraud is a huge problem in Japan right now), they told me to wait so they could figure out what was going on.
A little bit later, they came out and told me that my bankbook had a small receipt inside. And it jammed the machine. All I could think at this point was “OMG! I broke their ATM!” But they told me it was no problem, and that I must be “honorably tired from having to wait to use the ATM” and told me to use another machine to make the deposit. They gave me the receipt, my bankbook and the money and hovered around me to make sure I did everything right. I’m sure they thought I was a stupid American who didn’t know how to use ATMs correctly. As I was leaving, they bowed and told me that they appreciated my business. While they were telling me this, another person put an “Out of Order” sign on the ATM I had been using before. Oi…