Sunday, December 17, 2006

As Used By The British Royal Family


As Used By The British Royal Family

The photo shows our two-year-old daughter Cornucopia sitting in her elite British-made Silver Star pushchair which, according to the propaganda which came with it, is used by the British royal family.

Like most great British products, this one is made in China, and we bought it recently at Akachan Honpo, the baby emporium which now has a branch in Lazona, the amazingly wonderful shopping mall at Kawasaki Station.

We didn't buy this chair because of its royal connections. The saleswoman kept silent about those. We bought it because it was rated to carry the greatest weight, 18 kilograms, and Cornucopia is very definitely a growing child.

The necessity of this purchase was demonstrated yesterday, Saturday, when an old man came up to me in the supermarket and asked if the rubber tyre he was holding belonged to me. I thanked him, took the tyre and restored it to the wheel rim, from which it had fallen off. Our venerable second-hand pushchair was, plainly, on the edge of expiring.

Pricewise, all the chairs, whether imported or Japanese-made, were much of a muchness, and ours cost just a little under 16,000 yen.

Today, Sunday 17th December 2006, we took it out of the box and took Cornucopia in it to see the twins, Yui (a girl) and Kai (a boy) who live in Shimomaruko.

I am not good at names, but I remembered these two easily by making a mental note of the fact that Yui is the name of the traitorous Suk doctor who features in Frank Herbert's novel DUNE. As for Kai, in Maori that means "food," so that was odd and therefore easy to remember.

The photo (assuming that I've succeeded in uploading it) shows Cornucopia parked outside the McDonalds at Shimomaruko, holding the little freebie doll, Momoman (Peach Man) which she got as part of her pancake set.

At McDonald's (or, to give it its Japanese name, Makudonarudo) we got excellent service. We were intercepted by a guy in a tie, a guy a little older than the average hamburger chef, who showed us where to park the pushchair on the ground floor then personally took our food upstairs and showed us to a table where there was a highchair.

He then produced a tray which fitted the highchair.

Later, when my wife asked a waitress for extra hot water for her tea, this request was apparently found to be surprising. Nevertheless, the requested hot water was supplied, and two tea bags with it.

We had a good visit with Yui and Kai's parents, and discovered that they, too, had bought a Silver Star pushchair. Why? Because of the connection with the British royal family or the groovy union jack which was emblazoned on one of the metal parts of the chair? No, because the Silver Star has such big wheels, and you need big wheels to cope with stuff such as railway tracks.

(If you exit Shimomaruko Station and, coming from the direction of Tamagawa, hang a right, you immediately have to bump your pushchair across a set of railway tracks embedded in the road.)

I had an interesting discussion about the Lutheran faith with the father of the twins and heard about his wedding at which readings were made not just from the Bible but from an antiquated Japanese text which he called MANYOSHU (alternatively known, it seems, as THE MANYOSHU). Of which I knew nothing.

My spell checker is just as ignorant as I am and is firmly of the opinion that MANYOSHU should be MANGOS.

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