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I am a freelance writer for newspapers,magazines as well as a journalist for TV.
I am from Tokyo, Japan and have been living in Los Angeles since 1990.

#85- Small talk at everywhere!

Today, I had a couple of small talk with people at my apartment, post office and Trader Joe’s.

At my apartment office:

When I went to get my mails near apartment office, an apartment manager stopped me and said to me,

Manager: Hi Yoko! You paid your rent on online this month right?

Me: Yeah, did you have some trouble like last time?

Manager: No, No. I want to give you this!

She gave me a cell phone holder (with our apartment logo) which could organize my phone while battery charging.

Me: Wow, it’s nice!!! Thank you!!!

Manager: We are doing a promotion for online payment this month. How is your apartment? How are you?

Me: I am good. Thank you very much for asking. Oh…by the way…

I looked at the assistant manager’s face and said to him,

Me: I am so sorry the other day I yelled at you and thank you very much for your help!

Assistant manager: Oh…my pleasure.

Manager: Did you yell at him again Yoko?

Me: I am sorry…you know me, I am always sweet, but I sometimes have a short temper! ha ha ha!

Manager: YOKO!!!

Me: That day… I couldn’t help it. The girl, you know what I am talking about. She was so loud again on Skype at the pool near by my window (where I am working).

Manager: I know…but you can’t do it, Yoko.

I yelled at him (assistant manager), because he said to me on the phone the other day, “Yoko, I went to the pool, but she was not loud for me, so I didn’t say anything to her”. So I said to him “What are you talking about??? I am the customer!!! I said, the girl is annoying, so you should take my order and you have to tell her “keep your voice down”!!! I am not talking about how you feel or how she is loud for you! She is loud for me!!! Please tell her, she is loud for me!!! OK ???!!!! ” ha ha ha…I guess, I am loud too…!

Me: I know, I won’t do it. But you know, he (assistant manager) is a great listener and he is a great assistant manager! You are lucky to have him as an assistant manager.

Manager: Thank you Yoko!

Me: By the way, I am going away for my vacation, so I will email you regarding the dates and my emergency contact name and number. Have a great day, you guys!!!

Manager & assistant manager: You too!


At the mail box (I was still at my apartment office floor) :

The mailman was there to sort our mails…

Me: Hi ***!

Mailman: Hi Yoko! How are you?

Me: I am great! How about you?

Mailman: I am good.

Me: I won’t bother you, I am going to wait for you…

Mailman: Ok…don’t tell anyone…(then he picked up my mails out of his box and he gave them to me…Amazing! He remembers my apartment number out of 263 unites!)

Me: Oh…thank you so much!!! Oh…by the way, I am going away, so I am going to your post office to report my vacation date.

Mailman: Oh…I can take your vacation hold card to my office.

Me: Thank you! But I am going to bring my mails as well, so I am ok. Thank you for asking!

Mailman: When are you going to Japan? Next week?

Me: From *** until ***! Are you going somewhere on your vacation?

Mailman: No, I am not going anywhere.

Me: If I don’t see you before I leave, have a nice holiday!

Mailman: Thank you. You too!


At the post office:

Service person: Hi, you come back on time huh!

Me: Yeah…you told me I was too early, so today I brought this vacation hold card.

Service person: Good!

Last month, I was at the post office and brought my vacation hold card, but she (service person) told me that “you are too early to submit this card. We will lose this card or we might make mistake, so you better to come back next month”.

I told her at the time, “I am Japanese and I am very organizing person, so I always do things too early, you know” and then she told me “I can see that! But we are not, so you better to come back next month for that”.

Anyway, I sent out my invoice to Senken-newspaper and some packages(Senken-newspaper and thank you notes) to people who I wrote.

I guess I am “too much positive OCD”! ha ha ha…


At the Trader Joe’s:

One customer (woman): Wow what you gonna do with it?

She saw me when I was looking at huge chocolate bar!

Me: Of course, I gonna bite this!!! ha ha ha!

One customer: Aha ha ha…you are right! Sounds good!

At the register:

Me: Look! So much chocolate right? These are for my family and friends in Japan!

Staff: Wow that’s nice of you. Oh…these are good! (Chicken taquitos) Did you know we stop selling these for two years and then lately we started selling these.

Me: Oh…I didn’t know about it. I didn’t notice…this week I am so busy for my work, so I can’t cook much and I need these products.

Staff: Oh…these are my favorite!

Me: Me too. Have a nice day!

Staff: Thank you. Have a nice day.

Near by the manager’s desk:

I was checking my receipt to make sure, there is no mistake on my receipt. Then store manager asked me,

Store manager: What are you doing?

Me: I am checking my receipt.

Store manager: Good for you! We sometimes scan double for one product, so you better to check your receipt. You are smart.

Me: Thank you. Look! I got so many chocolates! I love Trader Joe’s season chocolate gift box and snacks!!! Oh…but the prices are getting high compare to last year.

Store manager: You are right. This was $***, but $*** this year.

Me: But, still good products and good prices at your store. I love Trader Joe’s.

Store manager: Thank you! Have a nice day!

Me: You too!


I think I have to stop writing my small talk…because I have a deadline and I am going to have a “big talk” with Suzie on the phone later.

Anyway, how is your small talk today???

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
Dec 4, 2009

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******** My Japanese blog :

From LA by 藤本庸子      




*** 米国でも多くの人が心を痛めており、皆様のご無事を願っています




*** 米国在住の私に出来ることを考えてみました


#272- Happy employees make happy customers

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