Kono kasa wa kekkan ga arimasu

As the “he” part of the blog team, back in April, I decided to invest in a new kasa (umbrella) in anticipation of the upcoming rainy season. I made the trek to Tokyo Hands, a kind of Japanese Home Depot-on-steroids with a store in Shibuya. After searching the myriad of options, I selected a fine Tokyu Hands windproof umbrella, for the not insignificant cost of 4200 yen (about $38).IMG_2778[1]

I used said kasa a couple of times in some very mild rain and it seemed to perform admirably. But lo and behold, there turned out to be a broken rib, making my robust windproof kasa much less functional.

Returning defective merchandise is never fun, even when you know the language. When you have an infantile grasp of conversation, it’s even more intimidating. So with low expectations and high anxiety, today my wife and I made the trek to Tokyu Hands to see what could be done.

Our first step was the “information” counter. Eigo ga wakarimasu ka? Sukoshi – the person spoke about as much English as I do Japanese.  Not to fear, my wife was ready. “Kono kasa wa kekkan ga arimasu,” she confidently told the person – this umbrella is defective. Apparently that was enough, and we were directed to the umbrella department.

A short walk later, we again found the cheerful salespeople in the umbrella department. After the “kono kasa wa kekkan” phrase, I produced the broken bumbershoot and my sales receipt. The sales person looked at the broken rib, and said some apologetic sounding words. A few minutes later, he produced a new umbrella for me with a smile.

I’m not sure what the words are for “excellent customer service” in Japanese. But it was certainly demonstrated today at Tokyu Hands — a store I’m sure I’ll be returning to in the future.


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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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