It’s been away since I talked about my recent trip to Japan, and I wanted to go back and talk about an interesting experience I had near the end of the trip. Because my daughter is in school in the US from September to June, we can only visit Japan in July/August. This time of year, the airfare is very expensive, the weather is hot and muggy, and there are sometimes typhoons.
Seattle and the Pacific Northwest do not have typhoons, hurricanes, or any serious storms. The weather is pretty grey and mild all year. The first time I saw a serious rainstorm was in Hanoi, Vietnam when I saw the summer monsoon rains, which were very intense. But, even still, I have never seen a typhoon before.
As mentioned earlier, my daughter and wife went to see the latest Doraemon movie at a big movie theater near Kawasaki Station in Kawasaki City. I had to stay home and watch Little Guy so I didn’t get to see the movie. To make up for it, my wife’s sister helped me reserve tickets at the same theater for the new Space Brothers movie 宇宙兄弟＃０ (Space Brothers, episode #0). This movie is a prequel to the main story and delves more into the lives of Hibito and Mutta before episode #1.
Coincidentally, the day we reserved was right in the middle of a typhoon! Typhoon Halong came to Japan in early August, where it was called Typhoon #11 (taifū jūichi gō, 台風１１号), and the eastern edge brushed over the city of Kawasaki. We didn’t get the typhoon full-force, but even the edge of it was surprisingly strong. Before we left for the movie, we stopped at a neighbor’s house to drop off some food, and after just walking one block, we were soaked! Our neighbor kindly gave us a ride to the station, and I was able to get to the movie OK.
Because this was the edge of the typhoon, it wasn’t very windy, just really rainy.
It was my first time going to a Japanese movie theater, especially by myself. My wife had to watch Little Guy that day, and my daughter went out with my sister-in-law. I was pretty nervous at first, and I did a terrible job ordering popcorn. For some reason, I totally misunderstood what the person at the counter said. Then again, I’ve never ordered popcorn in Japanese before.1 😉
Anyhow, they gave me the popcorn and Coke in a large, triangular tray. I was kind of confused, but I took the tray into the theatre and sat down. Unlike American movies, Japanese theaters had fewer previews that you have to sit through, which was nice. Also, the tray was supposed to fit into a notch in my seat, so it would become a little table for me to keep my food. I thought this was very clever, because in American theaters I have to put my food on the floor or my lap.
The movie itself was great. Very touching (yes, I got choked up a bit) and definitely worth watching if you like the Space Brothers series. The theater had a gift shop too, featuring souvenirs of the movies currently showing, so I was able to get a few items like a souvenir glass, a toy for Princess, and a Pug doll for my wife (she loves pugs). Also, because I went there on opening day, I also got a free copy of the script too in nice book-form.
By the time the movie was done, the typhoon had died down. I met my wife at Lazona shopping mall near Kawasaki Station and we went home. The theater was a great experience. My Japanese is not very good, but I was surprised to see that I understood about two-thirds of the movie. Since I already knew the story pretty well, that probably helped. 😉 But it was fun to be in a theater, watching in a foreign language. It felt like years of study had paid off.
Even with the crazy typhoon, it was a great day.
1 I do order other things in Japan regularly, but I guess my popcorn-ordering-skills need more practice. ;P