I still struggle to buy things in a Japanese shop that I don't buy regularly and aren't obvious. For example, eye drops. They aren't something I buy often, but I needed to this week. My eyes tend towards dryness, I'm not sure that it is an allergy thing, but I've been struggling with gritty eyes recently (not helped by a teary prayer meeting for our field director and his family each morning).
|Isn't the bottle curious!|
Eventually after no success I thought to look up and found a sectional sign with the character for eye on it: 目 (should have thought of that before). Then I looked in more detail. As I suspected there were a lot of choices, but not a lot to help me choose between them. I ended up looking more closely at something that wasn't too expensive. I googled the brand-name and learnt a bit about the company's American products (which didn't correspond that well to what I could see in front of me). The English words on the product, testimonies, didn't seem too bad:
"Wow, what a feeling!" "Strong yet soft, the indescribable sensation is truly long lasting." "The sensation spreads through my brain – I feel wide awake. My eyes are purified and refreshed." It's "ROHTO Z!". Feel it!
So I bought it. When I tried it later at home I was completely unprepared for the product being more than just saline, it had stuff in it that made it impossible to open my eyes for what felt like about a minute. After a while, though, I can say that my eyes did feel somewhat refreshed. Not sure if my brain was awakened, though.
I got my husband, with his superior-to-me reading skills, to check over the instruction page and he wasn't able to add much to what I already knew (that there was more than just saline in this and that it was supposed to awaken your eyes).
A bit more searching since tells me that it has a tiny amount of weak antihistamine, vitamin B6, something that looks like an amino acid, tetrahydrozoline which relieves redness, and zinc sulfate.
Life in this country means you have to let a lot of things slide—not understanding everything going on around you is normal, but you learn to make do and not be so bothered by all the details.
*This word is in my Australian dictionary, but not in dictionary.com, so I suspect it isn't an American usage. I use it to mean to move about in a casual way.