Entrance to our local train station, Sobudaishita
A tiny section of the bead department at Yuzawaya
Yesterday was a big day for me. I successfully used the train, by myself, to get from home to the town of Yamato, and then back home---without getting lost in the depths of Tokyo. And what was the reward in Yamato for my bravery? A FIVE-STORY craft store called Yuzawaya. They are a chain here, and apparently there are six or seven of them in the Tokyo area. The Yamato store is a few stops from the navy base and I figured I could navigate my way there.
I must have had my "I don't know what the heck I'm doing" look on my face as I was purchasing my ticket at our local train station, because an incredibly nice Japanese woman helped make sure I got on the right train. I wanted to talk to her so much, but since I haven't learned much Japanese, all I could do was keep saying "domo arigato gozaimasu" or "thank you." Plus, and this is going to sound really weird, my brain wants to start speaking Norwegian. I guess my brain figures that I'm in a foreign country, so therefore I must speak the only other foreign language I know fairly well. Weird.
I had to transfer trains in Ebina, and I had a moment of confusion but I took my time and made sure that I got on the right train. I feel like I'm learning how to read all over again. I'm starting to recognize the names of things in the Japanese characters. You have to think of them as little pictures, which they are. And since I'm more of a visual learner than anything else, I'm hoping that it will get easier the longer I'm here.
The craft store is located right outside the train station in Yamato, so I didn't have to walk very far. And here's where I get to scream---OH MY GOD!!!!!!! Yuzawaya is the most incredible, extensive, well-organized, well-stocked, has-everything-you-could-think-of, craft store I have been to in my life. It puts Michael's and Super JoAnn's to shame. Deep, deep shame. The "How am I going to move back to the States without this store?" thought has already crossed my mind. I guess there is an eight-story one in downtown Tokyo, but this one kept me busy for four hours! And I only scratched the surface. The fabric selection is to die for. They have aisles and aisles of yarn, all organized by dye lot so you never have to hunt for the right skeins. Stationery that is more beautiful than anything I've ever seen. Beads and beads and beads. And if you think of something you need, not only will they have it, but they'll have it in 20 different colors!
I got sucked into their embroidery section for a long time, and finally chose this cross-stitch pillow kit and a little Hello Kitty key chain kit. It was almost too much for my brain to take in, and I left without spending too much. This nice lady at the cashier counter pointed to this membership card they have for 500 yen, which is about $5. I decided to get it. I'm not positive, but I think you get a discount with it.
I've only been there once, but I know that this is the start of a beautiful friendship.