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Push, Pull, Press or just plain embrassing. Nov 07

I learnt a new thing today (well i’ve been learning heaps actually, just this one I remember to write about (twice as another thing I learnt was the Lotus Notes does not have a redo button and this is the second time I’ve had to write it.) Today we "did" the post office, I had a letter to send to Australia and needed to get a box to send stuff home to mum and dad. Now with a little careful planning I went at just after 10 hoping it would not be busy. Lessons on post offices in the UK have taught me how to avoid queues. This time I wanted to avoid acute embarrassment of asking for the wrong thing, and oh how it went wrong.

So the actual sending card, buying box went quite well, we determined that I wanted the card to go Airmail and that it was a greeting card (カード), the box was a little tricky, but some quick pointing to the sample in the corner sorted that out promptly. (Thats what there for right?). So feeling rather smug it was time to leave, this is when the caper started to fall apart. Fortunately/unfortunately the bank was empty of customers at the time, you will see why in a second.

Now when I entered the building I was sure that the doors opened automatically for me, it may someone walking ahead of me, but I don’t think recall that. Anyway come leaving time I walk up to the door fully expecting it to slide smoothly open with a sense of satisfaction for a job well done – (just been ready hitch hikers guy to the galaxy), so I was rather perplexed when the door remained firmly stationary, not even a little bleep. The first thing that went through my mind was that the post office had just closed and that the teller had not realised the last customer had failed to exit the building. This may seem strange, but in some of the countries I’ve visited the post office will close for any number of reasons at odd times of the day, from birds flying in the wrong direction to the post master wanting to take a wazz. Trust me it does happen. However on more detailed analysis it dawned on me that Japan is a sophisticated country and not prone to "whatever business hours".

My next thought (which I cannot explain its origin) was that the door was not tuned to Gaijin and would only open for japanese people, given the overwhelming lack of people in the post office this thought actually got some backing. Then I remembered motion detectors are not that selective (yet!). During this whole internal dialog of my mind running through possible causes for the door failure the bit of brain controlling physical movement has got me jumping up and down waving like a one man mexican wave trying to get the motion detector to spark into life. To my endless thanks there was also no one walking along the street at this moment!

Finally giving up I had to go back and politely ask the postal staff that I was having a few little problems with the door. At which point the lovely lady who had served me came out and pressed the handle/switch of the door which very politely said "Press to Exit" in Japanese! I strongly suspect that they are still laughing.

At least I still am..

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