Never thought I would be the person who jumps into the charcoal vs gas grill debate. Because somehow, don’t ask me how, I’ve managed to live through 65 years of my life without a gas grill. Charcoal always seemed simple and easy. Especially if you use a charcoal chimney to start the briquettes. Not to mention, charcoal grills don’t really have a lot of parts that need to be replaced.
Although we did replace a charcoal grill and bought a slightly larger model with the insurance money we received after a freak storm battered our former residence in Minneapolis. I was astonished that State Farm reimbursed us for the grill simply because hail dented the cover. Well, State Farm gave us a brand new roof, too. And new siding. Yet, all these years later, we still have the same charcoal grill at home in Land Park, Sacramento.
Yesterday started out like any other Saturday in Hawaii, fully not expecting an emergency alert for a ballistic missile threat. This Sacramento Realtor sat on our lanai in my nightgown. Working like usual. Busy answering early morning emails and typing a blog. Then, all of a sudden, shortly after 8 AM my cellphone produced an unfamiliar loud screech. Grabbing it, I spotted the following message:
BALLISTIC MISSLE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Holy shit. I am not awake. It was all in caps, which made it even scarier. I glanced toward the ocean, studied the fishing vessels and sailboats. Oh, man, I needed more coffee. However, no boats rushed to shore. The street down the hill had very little traffic. I heard no sounds of neighbors opening garage doors or gathering in the streets. My husband was sound asleep in the bedroom, but I saw no reason to wake him.
Before we bought a house in Hawaii, I carefully studied the downside to living in paradise. Although we typically enjoy azure skies, brilliant sunsets and warm breezes year-round, there are other weather related phenomena that can strike the islands. Aside from a tsunami, and being on the wrong side of town, there is also vog. Vog is air pollution coming from the Kilauea volcano. Kona winds blow the vog southwest, as opposed to Tradewinds which blow from the northeast.
So for about 12 to 23 days every year, we get vog at intermittent times on Hawaii Island. Health experts advise sensitive people to stay indoors. The small particles and gases in the vog can irritate your lungs and cause headaches.
If there ever was a person who could come up with exciting things to do in Honolulu over New Year’s, it is Hella Rothwell. She enticed me to fly to Honolulu from Kona over New Year’s, and it was the best New Year’s I have ever spent. Usually I go to bed early. Like 9 PM. Well, there was that one New Year’s with my husband when we first met, but I wouldn’t call that the best New Year’s. Because I had to walk blocks to the car-towing place at midnight in sub-zero temperatures while prancing through snow in high heels. Who knew you couldn’t park on the sidewalk on the West Bank in Minneapolis?
Jaw dropping is not the expression for Fukubukuro but it will suffice. I must have been living under a rock to have never encountered this marketing strategy before. In fact, if I hadn’t witnessed this phenomenon with my own eyes, I would not have believed it existed. I would think they were making it up. But it’s an honest-to-goodness retailing strategy that will blow you away.
Let me share the story. My friend and fellow Realtor Hella Rothwell and I met up in Honolulu this year to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I flew over from Big Island where I’ve been winter-vacationing from Sacramento, and Hella arrived in Oahu to visit her daughter for the month from California. I will share photos and the tale of our exciting New Year’s Eve in Honolulu in another blog. Today’s blog is about Fukubukuro, the ancient Japanese custom of ripping off the vulnerable luxury addicts.