Magic of Friday the 13th’s Full Moon hr624

The day was planned for my partner and me to go to the city that takes us a 90-minute train ride from home. It was Friday the 13th with a full moon. As a superstitious person, it gave me a slightly uneasy feeling. I tried to shake it off and went out anyway. And here are spooky things that happened on that day.
I had lunch at an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. The buffet included Asian foods as their limited-time specialty menu. Even for a Japanese, they were novel to me. I tried them for the first time and quite enjoyed them. The lunch time was coming to an end and the customers were leaving. The large restaurant with many tables had gotten near empty. Then out of nowhere, tow young men appeared with plates filled with food and sat at the table next to ours. It was weird.
A new customer is usually ushered to a table by a server at this restaurant. The server asks if there are any additional orders beside the buffet, such as free refill soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, and puts down a check and a wet towel – a pack of a wet tissue is provided at almost all the restaurants in Japan – on the table, then leaves. The wet tissue and the piece of paper for a check are the mark telling the table is taken by customers while they are off to get food at the buffet. The table next to us had no wet tissues or check. The two men didn’t show up with a server but had already gotten food. And they sat right next to us among all those empty tables in a huge restaurant. I suspected that they sneaked in and tried to eat without paying by using us as some sort of camouflage.
While my suspicious eyes observed them eating merrily, one of them suddenly started looking around, uttered “What? What?”, and left the table hurriedly. I thought there he ran away. But he returned right away and said to the other man, “My bag is gone.” They began to look for it around and under other tables. When I was convinced that they finally ran away, they returned with a server and told her that his bag was missing. The server replied, “This table wasn’t your table. Yours was over there.” She brought their wet towels and check along with his bag from the far table. They were surprised, and said to each other, “This table wasn’t ours? I thought we were ushered here!”
It was my turn to be surprised. Didn’t they notice the wet towels? Weirder yet, were my partner and I invisible? Weren’t we the distinguishable mark for the table in the empty restaurant? They must have been tricked by some magic of Friday the 13th’s full moon. That seemed the only explanation. By the way, my partner himself had walked toward the wrong tables several times there by the same magic, which he kept from me and reluctantly confessed me later.
After we left the restaurant, I shopped groceries at a supermarket. The supermarket had handed out QR code mobile coupons that I had acquired. There was a machine to convert the QR code into a paper coupon inside the store since the checkout counter takes only physical coupons. The machine had a screen that showed a step-by-step instruction. It looked so simple and easy that a customer only needed to scan the code on a smartphone. With the instruction telling ‘Scan Your Phone’ I scanned, but no coupon came out. No matter how closely I put my phone to the screen, no response. I tweaked the brightness, tried to place it horizontally or vertically, uttering unconsciously “What? What?”. About ten unsuccessful sweaty tries later, I noticed a red light was blinking under the machine. That was where the phone should be placed. Instead, I was holding the phone to the instruction screen.
Before going home, I dropped in a cafe at the train station. The cafe had the sink for customers to wash their hands next to the pick-up counter. I wiped my hands with paper towels and threw them away into the trash bin. Although I pushed the lid, it didn’t open. I thought something had jammed and I pushed several times more, of course uttering “What? What?” again. It wouldn’t open. I pushed really hard and almost sprained my fingers. And I saw a foot pedal beneath the bin. I sweated all over again with my cheeks brushing while the lid easily opened with the pedal.
I shouldn’t have underestimated Friday the 13th’s full moon. Its magic is dangerous…

The restaurant’s specialty was eels.

One summer in my childhood, my grandfather on my mother’s side invited my mother and me to lunch. The restaurant’s specialty was eels. An eel is an expensive treat in Japan. We arrived at an awfully old-fashioned Japanese restaurant where we took off our shoes and sat on the floor at the low table. Except for us, only one table was occupied by a woman with a small child, who was busily stuffing the leftovers into a tin box she had brought. Every time my grandfather needed a server to come to our table, he clapped his hands twice and called out, “Hey, sister!” It was an obsolete manner no longer practiced, which embarrassed my mother and me. When our house was rebuilt, I had my own room for the first time. That time, my grandfather took my mother and me to a furniture store to buy me a bed and a wardrobe. After we chose the items, a young salesperson calculated the total. My grandfather naturally asked for a discount but the salesperson’s offer didn’t satisfy him at all. He was an old patron of the store and had bought every piece of furniture there when my mother got married. He was used to special treatment and assumed he would get one there. But the salesperson declined the further discount, as he was new and didn’t know my grandfather. Even so, my grandfather persisted and decided the total amount of his own. He handed bills to the salesperson, and told him how much the change to be brought back should be. My grandfather’s way apparently perplexed the salesperson. Standing next to my grandfather, I was so embarrassed again. Eventually, a long tug-of-war was over and the salesperson brought back what my grandfather had told him. My bed and wardrobe were successfully discounted, but I learned my grandfather’s style was outdated in the modern world…

humans who have totally opposite values

Last Sunday, a gunning engine noise from the parking lot beneath my apartment woke my partner up early in the morning. It was loud enough to be mistaken for a construction noise, but the culprit was a middle-aged man who was gunning his standing minibike. He seemed to enjoy the noise immensely and kept on the disturbance for a good fifteen minutes. Then, there approached a car from which a man said something to him. Considering the time and the noisiness, my partner reckoned that should be a complaint. To his surprise though, it was a compliment on the minibike and the middle-aged man elatedly showed it off. Not everybody takes that loud noise as a disturbance. Such situations have constantly fallen on to me. When I’m tormented with shrieking kids at a restaurant, other customers often seem pleasant for it. I like to shop at a quiet, empty place while others purposely choose a crowded, thronged place. Is it some kind of a punishment to coexist with humans who have totally opposite values? Or, is it for learning anything from it? Although I hate noisy people and I always make noise as little as possible, I may offend someone with something other than noise. That would explain why people don’t like me so much…

rusty and shabby 6/24

A new restaurant opened one train station away from my new place according to the Internet. It seemed an American cuisine restaurant which specialty were a cheeseburger and a waffle, which is rare in this area. There are many other restaurants on the street where the new restaurant opened and I’d wanted to stroll along it sometime. Most restaurants there were introduced with the pictures on the Internet and looked neat enough. I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t disappoint me this time around, and went there for lunch. But, sadly, my jaw dropped yet again. It was as if the pictures I’d seen on the Internet had been taken 30 years before or something. All the restaurants were rusty and shabby. The street looked deserted with nobody strolling along. I spotted the new American restaurant among them and a man dressed in a white cook uniform was sitting in a chair in front of the place looking at his cell phone. The door was left open and I glanced at the inside. There was no customer in a cramped restaurant. The online photo of the place was far better than the actual one. Whoever took the online photos of the restaurants on this street must have a genius for making dreadful sights look beautiful. As I was starving, I entered the least unsightly restaurant where some customers had just come out. They served the meal twice as much as an ordinary restaurant and it was so delicious. Unexpectedly, It was a pleasant eating experience. I went home feeling like trying other restaurants on that street as well. As for the American restaurant, I’m still not sure if I have the courage to go in…