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Two Foreigners and Three Water Guns

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‘Twas a Wednesday night in April and all through the house were creaks and shakes as we dreamed of eating pancakes. Slowly, we gained consciousness as we heard loud meowing coming from outside. Our house, in Japan, was about 5 metres from the train tracks and it would shake every time a train past. We slept through these regular shakings that felt like mild earthquakes with the help of our white noise app. We were surprised to find that although we slept soundly through trains, we couldn’t sleep through a cat meowing. I tried covering my head with a pillow to block out the sound, but it didn’t help. Thursday morning, we woke up tired to the cat meowing and it persisted in meowing the entire day- right under our windows.

That evening, we went out for supper and then, decided to buy a water gun to deal with our cat problem. We headed to a nearby store and found a wide selection of about five or six different water guns. Unfortunately, there were no prices on the water guns. My husband, Allan, being very logical, decided that we should take three of the guns up to the till and ask for a price check. Then, we could decide which one to buy. Here we were, two foreigners with three water guns on a dark cool Thursday evening. It’s obviously an odd purchase.

As we were walking conspicuously up to the till with three giant water guns, my husband saw some of his junior high students. He taught all the junior high students in our small Japanese town, so basically wherever we went, we were bound to run into at least one of them. We avoided eye contact and kept walking hoping not to hear, “Allan-sensei.” We arrived at the till and Allan asked, “Ikura desu ka?” which means, “How much is?” I don’t know what the lady thought he said, but she turned around to a fellow cashier and said something. This cashier got on her cell phone. Then, a man came running up to the till.  All the while they’re trying to communicate with us.  Once the man arrived, I told Allan quietly, “Maybe you should try ‘ikura desu ka’ again.” He did and sure enough the cashier understood and we didn’t need the assistance of the other cashier or the man. Maybe they summoned the man because he spoke English or something. In the meantime, my husband and I found the situation rather humorous and started to laugh, drawing further attention to ourselves. In the end, we found out the prices for all three and managed to successfully purchase not three, but one water gun.

When we arrived home, my husband loaded the gun (with water) and positioned it by the window. The next morning, the cat began its daily meowing. Allan carefully checked to make sure no one in the neighbourhood was watching. Then, he quickly opened the window and shot at the cat several times. He never actually hit the cat, but the whole experience must have frightened it enough to go meow elsewhere. We never heard from the cat again and returned to sleeping soundly while our house rocked us to sleep with the passing trains.

Note: No cats were injured in the making of this blog post.

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