Wednesday, March 03, 2010


One thing really cool about Japanese is the amount of onomatopoeia that's found it's way into common language. I mean, in English, there is quite a lot of them too, from simple things like woof, to the bangs that have been popularized by the old Adam West Batman series, to even new netspeak like nom nom nom, but I think Japanese may have a lot more.

One of them is the above title, which is pronounced 'giri giri', if you can't read katakana. Not quite sure how it came about, but well, it basically means that you 'just made it'. What my BB officers used to refer to as 'making it by the skin of your teeth'. (Which of course, can raise up a whole discourse about how teeth do not really have skin etc.)

So for example, if I was running for a train, and I manage to make it just before the train door closes, that that'll be giri giri. Or if I needed to be in the 70th percentile to pass a test, and I was the 70th percent-ed person, that'll be giri giri.

If you imagine the guy as Indiana Jones, and remember that scene from the Temple of Doom, that's giri giri

Anyway, today, I was checking on how to go about booking a return flight to Singapore. See, last year in April, while preparing to come to Japan, I booked an open-ended ticket through a travel agency. The thing about open ended tickets though, is that they really aren't open-ended. You have to set a preliminary date of booking or something. Of course, I did not realize that, so I kept on trying to discover how to book a date through the website.

After a while, I gave up trying to use the website and called their customer service dept., since I really wasn't able to find out how to do things. So I gave them a call yesterday (2nd of March) and they told me that since a travel agent booked it, only they could do the changes necessary.

So I thought 'ah ok, that's not too bad, I still have the travel agent's email and stuff, can get back to her and ask her to help me book', so I sent an email, asking her if I could change the date.

This morning, I checked my mail, and this was in it:
"Hi Daniel,

You have a return flight booked for the 4th of March at 1130 AM. Would you like to change it?"
So I was all calm and stuff for about a 3 seconds: "Ah.. 4th of March... isn't that tomorrow?" before it hit me like: "AH!!!! 4th OF MARCH!!! ISN'T THAT TOMORROW?!!!"

While I was almost freaking out, I quickly sent a mail back to her requesting a change, but I was still kinda worried. What if she didn't get my mail? What if she was out of the office and only back later? What if she's on leave these few days? What if she can't change the timing? etc etc. So of course I had to turn to a source of stability, and so I said a short prayer.

And fortunately, the travel agent managed to change the booking for me to one that's a lot more suitable for my schedule. If I had waited just one more day, I would have missed my flight, and then I would have to buy another one-way ticket. Which is not cheap I can tell you.

And that, is giri giri.

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