Yard Sale


n Japan, there are scattered flea markets where individuals can sell their wares. But I have never seen anyone sell anything in front of their own home like they do in the US. Yard or garage sales seem to be a rarity in Japan, maybe because most people don’t have a yard or garage to speak of.

To be honest, we don’t have much of a front yard either. And we don’t have a garage at all. But that is the price of living in a townhouse community. But we do have a community yard sale where residents can bring their old stuff and try to sell it to an unsuspecting public. Well, this was the first time M wanted to participate. We’ve been living in our house for more than 6 years now and she had gathered unused things together–hand-held blender, a couple of purses, an earthen tea pot, a Japanese tea cup set, some plates. We were wondering if we should ask friends if they wanted anything, maybe take to the local thrift shop or maybe the Salvation Army. But when we got the notice for the community yard sale, she wondered if the stuff we had was good enough to sell, and I said, “There’s only one way to find out.”

She got so excited. Apparently, she had always wanted to have a yard sale and she spent every night for a week, getting things together, going on e-Bay (at my suggestion) to look at prices of similar things. She wiped, and polished and priced about thirty different items. I added a famous classical Chinese painting reproduced in 1959 by a reputable Chinese printer, which I priced at $55–it was just sitting in a cabinet collecting dust.

At 7 AM on Saturday, the day of the yard sale, it was drizzling. I called the coordinator and she told me that if it was still raining at 8AM, the sale would be cancelled until the following Saturday. I could have gone either way–I mean, it is me who ends up hauling the goods back and forth, going to the bank to make sure we have change, calling to the coordinator for more info, et cetera–but M looked so anxious that I couldn’t help but hope the rain would stop. And at 8 AM, it did stop.

So we packed up the car and took our wares to the outskirts of the community, across the street from the local high school. Many others had already started setting up “shop” so we ended up at the very end of the block. But that wasn’t too bad. We were under some trees and whenever it sprinkled off and on, others joined us under the long leafy branch we were under.

Now, I’m not sure how to measure success at these yard sales, as I had never done it before either, but we had a number of people drop by and we were able to sell a few items. Most of the stuff we put out was priced between $1 to $3 dollars, and we sold roughly half of the things we brought, including the Chinese painting for $47. M was dying to go to the other sellers and buy stuff–she is a sucker for these kind of things–but I reminded her that it would be rather pathetic to return with as much stuff as we had brought, and she sighed in agreement. When we got home and counted the money–a little less than $100 earned–she was even more excited and began telling me how smart she was for not buying anything from the other sellers. Yes, dear, it was very insightful of you. *sigh*

Anyway, we had a nice Saturday yard sale adventure. Just another bonding experience for the Riceball family.

I should add that one buyer asked if she could buy the light sweat shirt M was wearing–the original Onigiriman sweatshirt M is wearing above. I said it wasn’t for sale, but that she could buy one at the Onigiriman shop at CafePress.com, along with the Onigiriman baseball cap. Hahahahhahaha. I will go for the cheap plug anytime, anywhere… even here!

Thanks: Much appreciation for the words about the DVD burner. I will be getting one soon. I just bought an external hard disk as well–Seagate 250GB.