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    How to celebrate Valentine’s Day the Sean Way™

    If you tend to approach the tasks of daily life with a normal degree of competence, the steps below may not make any sense unless you get a trusted friend to whack you in the head real good with a 2X4. If they still don’t make sense, you may need another whack. If you try a third whack and end up brain dead, be sure to contact me, because we will then clearly be able to communicate as equals.

    1. Decide under the influence of no-mercy Japanese commercialism that, even though you don’t give a fig about Valentine’s Day, it would be nice to surprise your Darling Longsuffering Boyfriend with a treat.

    2. Order early enough not to rouse suspicions of possibly nosy concierge at DLB’s apartment building that package is connected with Valentine’s Day.
    3. Go to Dean and Deluca website and locate suitable cookies.
    4. Carefully type in your address for billing.
    5. Carefully type in DLB’s address for shipping.
    6. Submit information.
    7. Get error message telling you that you ignored (clearly visible) instructions to make all characters in addresses full-width and not half-width characters.
    8. Correct numbers.
    9. Resubmit information, having failed to notice that radio button for recipient and shipping address is still set to default of “Same as billing.”
    10. Receive notice that order has been shipped.
    11. Reward self for thinking ahead, for once, with slice of lemon poppyseed cake.
    12. Receive notice from delivery service that package is waiting in parcel locker of your own apartment complex.
    13. Retrieve package to find cookies intended for DLB.
    14. Idly wish there were a way to punish oneself for stupidity by uneating cake.
    15. Put cookies on counter and figure you can express mail them to DLB yourself next day.
    16. Look thoughtfully at cookies each time you pass counter on way to bathroom or kitchen.
    17. No, make that covetously. Look covetously at cookies each time you pass counter.
    18. Figure the hell with it and open cookies. Eat four with Murder, She Wrote.
    19. Vaguely think about repackaging rest of cookies in order to disguise half-goneness before sending to DLB. Rationalize that he wouldn’t have liked all the girly-girl packaging stuff anyway and might not have been able to finish cookies by expiration date.
    20. Figure the double-hell with it and eat rest of cookies with blogreading, resolving to order another package next day.
    21. Congratulate self for having chosen cookies that turned out to be seriously yummy.
    22. Order another package of cookies next day, this time taking precaution of reading all directions as you go.
    23. Well, except for the part about making all characters full width before submitting information.
    24. Punch self in chest as punishment for not being able to remember, after nine years in Japan, that you need to read whether full-width or half-width characters are called for on an on-line form.
    25. Strip off T-shirt and look in panic at chest to make sure self-punishment has not produced unattractive bruise.
    26. Submit information by jamming finger into Enter key, which has served you faithfully while you told it to do dumb things.
    27. Apologize to Enter key.
    28. Be grateful you have blog that’s read faithfully by DLB so that you can tell him you’ve done something idiotic again without actually having to, you know, tell him.
    29. Look forlornly at tea and wish you’d saved one or two cookies.

    5 Responses to “How to celebrate Valentine’s Day the Sean Way™”

    1. Zak says:

      Glad to know I’m not alone.

      And don’t you always wonder when inputting your name in the field marked “kanji” that it will reject it for not being kanji? I hate that…

    2. caltechgirl says:


      I did something like that at Christmas, ordered something from a company that I hadn’t used in years and forgot to check the shipping addresss…. if I hadn’t noticed it on the confirmation, the box would have gone to a place I haven’t lived in 4 years!

      Glad the cookies were yummy! That would just have been painful if they weren’t….

    3. tanoki says:

      This is seriously funny, Sean. I had to warm into it–and was thrown a bit with the “lemon poppyseed cake” comment–but was right back on track after that. I especially like the part where you pummel yourself for forgetting to read whether full-width or half-width characters were required. If I had 50 yen for every time I…

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      The FULL-WIDTH vs. HALF-WIDTH thing really, really gets nerve-abrading. I can see why they need one-byte figures for your card and phone numbers and then only two-byte characters in the text boxes for other stuff–or at least, I’ve always assumed it’s because only they can be read by the credit-card processors–but two-byte numbers are ugly, so without thinking about it, I always just hit the space bar and halve them.

      Oh. It occurs to me that people who don’t type on Japanese keyboards will wonder just what’s being smoked around here. Because of the square shape and density of strokes, each Japanese kanji/syllablary character is two bytes. On most systems, you type in the pronunciation as if it were an English approximation, but because Japanese has two phonetic writing systems and a lot of kanji homophones, you then have to push the space bar to get a pull-down menu of transliterations into Japanese. When it’s numerals you type, they initially show up as two-byte (10000), and you can press the space bar to turn them into one-byte numerals (10,000) or various kanji equivalents (一万、壱萬、et c.). The ability to type things phonetically and just select the appropriate kanji from a pull-down menu is one of the factors that have led to a real decrease in the ability to produce even common kanji by younger Japanese people.

      BTW, Zak, I think a fair number of Japanese people have given names that are just kana. I know a ふじみ personally–that’s her registered name–and I don’t think she’s ever had trouble with supposed kanji-only boxes.

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