My thoughts

Christmas Shopping
December 17, 2007, 4:59 am
Filed under: Intermediate


The day after Thanksgiving is the official start date of the Christmas shopping season. However, even before then, Christmas items were in the stores. In one store, in the middle of October, the sales staff was already unpacking their Christmas merchandise and putting it on display. “Is that absolutely necessary?” I asked the staff, who were a bit surprised that I said that. I find it a little annoying that they put it out so early.

Many Americans these days feel as I do. As Christmas get more and more commercialized, the stores seem to put out their merchandise earlier and earlier. The longer the shopping season, the more money there is to be made. Usually Thanksgiving is the last week of November, but this year it was in the third week so the shopping season was extended by one week. So that is one extra week of seeing Christmas things in the stores and being exposed to Christmas ads on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet.

It can be overwhelming, especially for men. Most men dislike shopping, for some there are even physical side effects, such as a higher blood pressure, faster heartbeat, and sweating. One thing that really surprised me in Japan, is how men are willing to go shopping with their wives and girlfriends. It is difficult to get most American men to go shopping. They only go when they need something, they get in and they get out as soon as possible. Forcing men to go shopping with us women never ends well. I once had a big fight with a boyfriend before we even got into a store because he was frustrated I was making him go into a store that he didn’t want to be in. If an American guy will go shopping with his lady, that is a sure sign of love.

Every year I go to’s website and do a wishlist. It is great, you can send it to your family, or they can look it up on the site. When they order the items, they are removed from the list so that you don’t receive the same item twice. My father loves this because he doesn’t ever have to set foot in a store, he can have the items gift wrapped, and can have them shipped to me directly. I like it because then he doesn’t buy me the wrong thing. Amazon used to only have books and music, but recently they have added other areas to their site. You can even add an engagement ring to your wishlist!

This year, I saw an ad on TV about all the waste that is produced from Christmas, and it was suggesting that people give experiences, rather than material gifts. I think that this is a cool idea. In Seattle, there is a website that is sponsored by the City of Seattle and King County. It has companies listed on there that offer reduced gift certificates. This is great, you are not giving junk that the person may not want, and you are not wrapping a present with paper that will only be thrown away anyway. Gift cards are a good present for this reason too.

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December 6, 2007, 6:24 am
Filed under: Intermediate


Yasuro wrote a blog about bras, please check it out:

It is said that most American women are wearing the wrong size bra, because most have not had a professional bra fitting. With bras, the sizes have to do with the inches around the chest and the cup size. However, some women like to wear smaller cups so that their breasts look larger. Some women like to wear larger cups for comfort or so they can wear a larger bra. The most common cup size in the U.S. is 34-C, 34 inches around and cup C. The cup sizes start at A and then can go to the double sizes, such as EE. To be honest, I am not sure what the biggest size is, but most stores do not stock anything bigger than a “D”.

When girls start to “develop”, usually around 12 years old, they start wearing a “training bra,” and then graduate into an A cup later. This is sort of a right of passage, but is uncomfortable if the girl starts younger. She may be teased so she may try to hide it.

Now it has also become important to wear a sports bra when exercising. I once knew a women who injured her ligament in her breast from jogging without one. Ouch!

When I lived in Japan, bra shopping was not something I did. I ordered all mine from Victoria’s Secret and had them shipped to Japan, as it was difficult to find my size in the Japanese stores.

As Yasuro said, some women wear a prosthesis if they have had breast cancer. Also many bras now come with lots of padding so you can look bigger breasted than you actually are. At one time almost all bras were white or beige, and now they come in different colors, styles, patterns, fabrics, and some even come with matching underwear.

Some women in my generation refer to their breasts as their “girls.” It is important to take care of the girls!

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Originally uploaded by Christy.k