17 April, 2009

Thrift Shop at CAJ

Today was Thrift Shop at the Christian Academy in Japan. Doesn't mean a thing? Didn't to us when we first came here nearly four years ago. But everyone talked about it. Our first one was a real discovery tour. I'd anticipated it would be like the school fetes that we had as a child. But no, this was far more serious.

The Main event fills the entire gym. Over 2 1/2 days they turn the school gym into a massive garage sale. Then they sell for two days. Goods scrounged from most corners of every PTA member's house piled on tables, squeezed onto shelves and overflowing to every spare bit of a large cavernous place that was unbelievably once called a gym. 

Aside from that most of the rest of the day is a little understated. The soon-to-be seniors are working to sell goodies to fund their senior ministry trip, aromatic cinnamon rolls in the cafeteria, a blood drive and, if the weather permits, a short outdoor concert from the concert band. These are the usual fare.

Oh, and the popular Korean BBQ, with lines almost clear across the campus. But it all fades into the background when you consider most people are there to buy more stuff, very cheap stuff.

You can get amazing bargains at Thrift Shop. Clothes are an especially good bargain for a family with boys who are not only growing fast, but working hard to wear their clothes out faster that I can mend. The video/DVD and book corners are a great source of entertainment. And of course our boys' favourite department - the toys. This is where they head. We allow them to choose one toy to buy (about 100-200 yen, or AU$1.40- $2.80). It is like a open policy Christmas to them. Hard to choose - but look at all the exciting possibilities.

Today our 3 yo chose a Buzz Lightyear gun. Actually it looks more like a handle with an oversized soft ice cream attached to the end. But it makes an appropriate (but not too loud) sound and if you turn the lights out it makes an impressive light display under the 'ice-cream' end. He's had a lot of fun with it today. Many people would no longer be here if it were real, probably me too.

 Actually I don't usually buy guns. Not that that stops them playing with guns. Just a couple of days ago they made impressive rifles out of Duplo. Then after my 6 yo got tired of that, he remodelled his into a semi automatic! I applaud their creativity, even if I don't like the game. Understand boys? Not this mum!

The other thing about Thrift Shop that I didn't understand when we first came was that it is a social event. Even if you are not planning to buy much, you come to catch up with people. The campus doesn't have the space to accomodate whole-school events, so Thrift Shop is almost the only time everyone gets together.

Today I chatted with a number of my friends as we passed by in the controlled frenzy of Friday Thrift Shop. (I'll tell you about Saturday Thrift Shop another day, same place, same goods, but totally different atmosphere.)


Hippomanic Jen said...

So much stuff for such a little space.

Wendy said...

Believe me, the gym seems cavernous compared to our houses!