Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

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The “In” Crowd: That which I find Insane and that which I find Inane

I will be in Japan for Christmas. As such I figured I should put some lights up. Japanese Christmas lights are very futuristic. They are LEDs, which is really awesome. Their price, on the other hand, is not so awesome. Also Japan is insane about Christmas lights. I can say that with authority because I have purchased two sets of lights. Why two? you may ask. Well I bought the first set and eagerly tore them open and what to my wandering eyes should appear? Or rather, not appear was the electoral outlet side. Yes my loyal readers, and only friends, I bought an “extension” strand by mistake. Instead of each strand having the male electrical outlet on one end and the female electrical outlet on the other, Japan sells strands that have a male electrical outlet on one end and then a proprietary female outlet on the other. Then they also sell extension strands which just have the proprietary outlets on either side. SO I COULDN’T PLUG THE STRAND IN! I had a strand of lights that couldn’t plug into anything. They were completely useless unless I wanted to hang myself in a festive manor. You know just when I think I almost have this place figured out I get hit with something like this. Something so alien, so bizarre, so frustrating that it boggles my mind to new levels of boggledom. I was so mad (because they were expensive) but I feel like I am not to blame for this mistake. How was I to know that I was buying something that couldn’t actually be plugged into a wall? Who in their wildest fancies could have predicted that there existed “extension” strands of Christmas lights? I will put up pictures of them later, because I sense, even now, even though you all know that I am a fountain of truth, I sense that some of you doubt me. The concept of an extension strand is that unbelievable. But you will believe, and you will laugh, and you will be angered. Just as I was all of those things, but as far as the “mistake” goes; I am blameless on this one.

So, armed with my new knowledge of this peculiar design flaw (which is boasted as a “feature”) I set out to buy more lights. Because they are LED lights, they are expensive.
I saw a strand of lights for $100. They were the must beautiful “as pure a white as white can be” I have ever seen, but $100 for Christmas lights? I checked, they plugged into the wall. I was tempted to buy them. That is how far gone I am. That is how absorbed into the chaos I have become. I stood there looking at the most beautifully white Christmas lights I have ever seen, knowing they cost $100 BUT also knowing they at least plugged into a wall socket, and I thought, “Maybe I should buy these?” I decided against it because first and formost $100(!) and, second, I figured there would be no way I could bring them home (a bundle of wire in my suitcase nothing suspicious about THAT). I went for the cheaper option. They are dirty white LEDs. Not the pure unspoiled snow at dawn of Christmas day white $100 lights, but the slightly spoiled snow about noon time on Boxing Day white $20 cousin. Still they look good on my window.

Japan does not use a grounding pin (third prong) which, to me, is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Particularly because so much of Japan’s electrical lines were put down after the war when three prong technology was pretty cannon. It isn’t like America where electricity was in use and then the safer three prong technology came along and it would have cost a lot to retrofit everything. I don’t know why the grounding pin is not used here. Because they don’t ground stuff, they have electrical fires (duh!) and so the Christmas light wires are massively thick and usually have to go through a mini fuse box. It is really annoying how thick the wires are, each LED strand is on its own wire and then about four wires are wrapped together. It is insanely large! I had to force my window shut around the wires.

I need to finish up my Christmas shopping. I have to buy for a few more people, so last Saturday I went to Yodabashi to get it done. I have been shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, but I have never NEVER seen this level of insanity. The place was packed, it was crazy. I have been in trains during peak hour and felt my bones cracking under the mass of humanity in the train, but that does not compare to a mere minute on the toy floor of Yodabashi. I ended up getting only one person the gift I wanted. Everyone else will just have to wait! When I left the store I spent a lot of time in my room, completely away from the evil of humanity. It was so gloriously wonderful to be alone basking in my own “personal space”.

At this rate I’m afraid my heart is easily going to be two sizes to small come Christmas. And would somebody shut all those Hoos down in Hoville up?

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