Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flea Market

Every weekend on one of the bases a flea market can be found; a glorified garage sale. Anyone that knows me is well aware that I am NOT a morning person and their is little reason for me to get out of bed of my own accord before 7 a.m.

Well, the flea markets here are entertaining enough that even I am willing to rise by 5 a.m.! I know I know, it is shocking but take a moment to check these pictures out and you will see why.

Ok, so this is how it works. You go to Outdoor Rec and get a "permit" for a parking spot. You then arrive well before the sun rises and get to your designated spot. Open up the trunk of your car and start pulling out the goods! Now, by goods I in no way mean "really good stuff." The locals here are very, VERY excited to buy anything American and even better if it has seen some use. Got a half bottle of Bath and Body Works lotion you don't want anymore? Sell it at the flea market! How about that really worn out t-shirt that has a few tired seams that your husband doesn't want to be seen in any longer; sell it at the flea market! How about nursing pump you no longer need? Sell it at the flea market...but be very prepared in how to "mime" the actions of how to use the pump to 25 Okinawan men that have never seen such a thing. Warning: your pride may tank.

Point, is don't throw stuff out, someone will buy it. Oh! But have your plastic grocery bags available because your buyer will be verrry disappointed if you don't have one for her/him.

Alright, back to the pictures. It is 6:30 a.m. now and we are all set up. There are rows and rows of cars in the parking lot just like this. Rebecca and I shared a spot and you can see her half way down on the right side (click on any picture to make it larger).

The buyers are not allowed into the flea market until 7a.m. sharp. They are anxious. The gate opener in the blue shirt should be afraid. For his life. Seriously.

Ha! See?! They are excited! The whistle was blown, the gates swung open, the blue shirted guy has been trampled and they are off! Look at all those happy faces! Lotion! Shirts! Breast pumps, here we come!

Well, the shopping has been frantic and I have more 100yen coins than what I know what to do with. So, if I just head out of that gate that the poor guy lost his life too, I will find this nice food vendor waiting for me! Now, I know what you are all saying. No way, would you eat at a vendor in the states that had a "shop" like this! What, you don't like the broken down furniture, falling over shelving and stockpile of water (I think) bottles? Well, in the States, I wouldn't have either..but here, well now-that is a sign of good food!

And look at it! Cooked fish (whole with his eyes still in), mixed up rice stuff, some kind of yellow thing-the goods! But wait...oh, I see something! Soba!! YAY! I love soba!

200Yen for a steaming bowl of soba you say (or, I think he said something like that)? You bet! Yummo! Soba, miso broth, fried egg strips and green onion. Ahh, comfort food in a styro-foam bowl.

See, doesn't that look great?


Micheal Green said...

Thats funny..

We sit back and say "haha those funny japanese who will buy all this junk", and then after its done they say "haha those funny Americans who will buy all this food.".

Circle of life.

Cathryn said...

So true! It is appalling what we as Americans eat in comparison to what the typical Okinawan would eat in a day.

MaryAnn said...

I laughed and laughed at this. You describe it all so well! I'm going to have to try out the flea markets one of these days.

Donna said...

Looks like us headed to a Dillards sale!

Anonymous said...

I just had to comment...I found your blog off the Okinawa Hai website... this post was SO funny! Having been to the Chibana flea market myself and having seen the madness, your descriptions are perfect! I just hope you made enough moola to make it all worth it :) What sold well this time? We PCS in about 3 months and are gathering our lot for the flea market. :)

Cathryn said...

Hmm, what sold best? It is so random! If you have half used bottles of BBW lotion, shampoos, any beauty products, they love it. Clothes always sell which amazes me because EVERYONE is selling lots of clothes; but they still sell. Especially if it is a name brand or affiliated with the military. Toys sell. I have sold every toy I have ever brought. Baby products (yes, the breast pump, a nursing bra, nursing shirt etc) really anything. Don't waste your time marking the items with a "sale" price. They will barter with you and totally ignore the price you have written down anyway. :)

Good luck, and thanks for checking out my blog. :)

Jennifer said...

Oh, Cathryn... I love it! This post made me crack up. Your pics are great - love the mad rush through the gate... poor blue-shirt guy.

Joelle said...

Cathryn -- this is so funny!! Could I please steal it for Okinawa Hai?? I write the TO DO post on Friday's and would love to add this, though it does work for TO SHOP as well. I would just love copies of the pix that you are comfortable with me using -- PLEASE THE ONE'S OF THE GATE AND EVERYONE RUNNING!! Let me know: