Friday, January 07, 2011

Saved by the Wire

(A photographic reenactment)

I hope this isn't and indication of how my year is going to go.

A few days ago I was going for a walk with Cha. We decided to feed the wild ducks that have been frequenting our little street-side rivers. I brought a pocketful of bread. And I learned something too. Wild ducks don't eat bread. Who woulda thought? Mostly they see the beagle coming and fly away in a spray of water from their damp ducky feet. Quite cute actually.

Here's the little river. The ducks are in the rice field today.

Here we have some ducks beating a fast retreat from Cha, me and our bread of doom.

Duck? Did someone say, Duck?!

We found the first signs of spring. Some beautiful red plum blossoms.

We found this grave-like/shrine-like place.

We walked a bit farther and tried to feed this giant white bird we came across. An egret, I suppose it was. Same reaction. So I gave up on feeding the cold birds and gave the bread to the dog. Which after another five minutes walking caused him to do his business on the side of the road.

We were mostly home, though, when it happened. Right here to be exact.

And this is when things went South. You have to remember it's 7am and I'm in my pajamas (coat, hat, scarf). I've also left my cell phone at the house.

So I whipped the bag (for cleaning up businesses) from my coat only to learn (too late) that it was tangled up with my keys. The keys flew into the air and landed with a chink in a grated gutter. The grate is fastened to the cement around it so I there was no way I could lift it, much too narrow for my hands. Wonderful.

Here I give you the exact grated gutter. There is water running down there, but luckily the keys landed on a pile of muck. Still, I couldn't reach them.

I can't get in my house. I can't call my in-laws to come bring another house key. The only thing I can do is start knocking on doors. At the first door I hear someone moving around, but after a peek through the window (foreigner with dog, in pajamas=danger!) they retreated to the back of their house and didn't answer.

The second door was an old farmhouse. And oldish man answered and I realized all of the sudden while my Japanese is pretty good, I had no words to describe where the keys had fallen. I'm not sure "grated gutter" is good English. (I'm not sure "good English" is good English.). The farmer is a little wary, but decides to follow me so I can show him what happened (generous use of hands to mimic the slow motion arc of falling keys). He's like, no problem and disappears, only to reappear with a long wire he's bent into a hook. Smart, smart man.

A few minutes of me rooting enthusiastically and Cha sniffing just-as-enthusiastically and our hero retrieves the keys. I'm like all thank you, thank you! and he's all it's okay.

AND tomorrow I will buy him some cookies for his help. That family who didn't answer the door, no cookies for them.


JY said...

thank god for the old guys who just happen to be able to improvise those little fancy hooks that can pick things out of the grates! the Japanese McGyver?? yep he deserves the cookies!

Anonymous said...

Very funny story. I can see all of this happening. I hope you washed the keys, haha. Glad that we live in the woods and don't have to clean up after our animals. :)

Deidra said...

Yay for awesome Japanese man! I love it when strangers help you out like that. I remember that time my car was stuck and I had to get a random man to help me get it out...

Mary Witzl said...

You poor thing -- and hooray for your helpful man! I dropped a 500-yen coin through a gutter once, and that was bad enough. I live in fear of doing something like that with my keys.

We stayed at our friends' house in Kamakura one summer and their toilet overflowed. A plumber came to fix it and I learned the word for grating from him -- masu or mashi? I've totally forgotten it now! It turned out a previous house guest had flushed many dozens of umentionable items down the toilet and they'd all gotten caught in the gutter. Not a fun thing to watch him pulling those out.

Kappa no He said...

JY, I didn't even think of McGyver! What a great analogy. Very handy indeed!

Anon, I'm pretty used to the clean ups. Kind of an extension from the old diaper days of the child.

And you know what...I didn't wash the keys...

Deidra, yikes, I'm glad you got someone to help you. I'm always paranoid of crazy people. In this key case though I imagine HE was worried about ME being the crazy people.

Mary, isn't it funny the words you never think you'd need. I'm very impressed that you learned it from that guy. I tend to forget new words like right away. (Going to make more of an effort to study Japanese again this year.)

You could write a great horror story about that. Eyu!

nikimurata said...

gorgeous! ♥ if this story is anything to go by you're going to have a GREAT year! yay nice people!!

Kappa no He said...

Niki! So happy to see you here. You know, you're right. This is a good thing. I hope you have an amazing year as well. 今年も宜しくお願いします〜。

Hoodiehoodhood said...

Cute dogy ^^

Hilary said...

Poor you. I can just imagine the whole scene. I'm glad it worked out for you. Bread, by the way, is not good for the duckies. Gotta love that Cha face. :)

Gina said...

I could imagine it all too. Shame on those people for not answering the door. You're right, they don't deserve any of the yummy cookies. And yay for the man who came to help and for being able to get those keys out of the grate like that. He totally deserved those cookies. ; )

I think this is going to be a good year for you. If you need some help, it may take a while but you'll get it. That's definitely a great sign to a new year. : )

Pat said...

LOL - but it could've been worse - you could've been naked when you closed your hotel room door behind you - with your toddler in the room - like my friend did last year! Bet that first neighbor would've opened the door if you'd been naked!

This definitely qualifies you for traveling with Kathie and me...

Kappa no He said...

Hoodie, thank you~!

Hilary, the ducks are smarter than me. And you are too!

Gina, thank you. I look forward to living vicariously through your blog this year. ^^v

Pat, now THAT is a great story! That neighbor probably would have called the police. I'm ready to travel with you as long as someone else holds the keys. (^.~)

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, a friend of mine had to pull up a drain grate to retrieve a bag of...
Anyways, Happy New Year!


Kappa no He said...

"A friend", eh?

I wanna hear about this story later.

Mari said...

You're glad to have met a kind old man.
I think there are people who stand with you anywhere anytime.
I am very glad to have met you last year.
Thank you lessons☆
Chacha Maru is very cute、so lovely♪

Kappa no He said...

Mari! Thank YOU! J loves his 勝!I think you probably passed his house on the way to Geo today.

I think Cha Cha loves you. And your coat. ^ ~

Frank Baron said...

Life is just one, zany, madcap adventure after another, isn't it?

Which is pretty much why I stay in these days.... ;)

We always keep a house key hidden somewhere around the front yard. Which can present its own problem. Whenever I or one of the lads has to use it, we tend to put it back in a new place. And fail to tell the others where that new place is.

Lovely red flower and Cha looks healthy and happy. :)

Kappa no He said...

My level of madcap-ness might be considered quite low on the scale, I'm afraid. I'm very easily amused.

I like the around the yard idea. I should probably do that before this happens again.

Cha says hello. Today we were walking and spooked an egret. I'm not sure which one of us jumped farther.