Nana reminded me recently that the consumption tax rate will increase in October from 8% to 10%. “Is there anything you’ve been waiting to buy? You should get it before then.” Well. Carpe, as they say, diem. We talked about the TV and the vacuum cleaner, and then I mentioned that I’ve been waiting to buy a camera. She has heard me mention this from time to time, and I’ve just been putting it off in recent months because I spent so much on a bike tour of England and Scotland.
That conversation was a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, the TV has been on the Fritz, coming and going. Mostly it works OK but occasionally it blanks out. When this happens I remind Nana of the tax increase. Today I seized the bull by the horns and said we’re going to Bic Camera. She agreed, but I overheard her talking on the phone with her mother about it and she has seen right through me.
Anyway, we got to Bic in the late afternoon, after stopping to get shinkansen tickets for next month’s Tour de Tohoko. I was following Nana and didn’t realize we went right by the TVs on our way to the cameras. Bic Camera has scaled back the camera department recently (go figure), and so after a couple of minutes looking around in vain for what I wanted, she asked a worker and he guided us right to the spot.
I already knew what I wanted but I wasn’t seeing it on the display. With a little looking around I found a price tag listing the camera and lens combo, but again, there were none on display. Nana noticed the tag and expressed some astonishment at the price.
A saleswoman came along, a Fujifilm employee, and she pointed out the special offers and rebates available. I could get 10% points (usually 1%), or if I wanted the five-year extended warranty, then I would only receive 5% on points. An easy choice, since there’s no money out of my pocket. There’s also a cash rebate through the end of the month on the camera and lens combo amounting to almost $200. Then she guided me through all the discounts I could get on the add-ons since I was buying everything at once: the memory card and neutral filter, mostly. She came with us to the checkout and when I presented a credit card, she talked the cashier into letting me keep most of the points. (There’s apparently a hit to your points if you pay by credit card. Not a bad way for a retailer to deal with the fact they have to pay a percentage on credit card sales.)
So with the camera in the bag, I guided Nana back to the TV floor. She looked around for a couple of minutes. A 60-inch 4K Japanese brand TV can be had for considerably less than what I had just dropped on the camera. Nonetheless, after a quick look around during which she spent more time looking at wall mounts than at televisions, Nana declared that our current TV was still working. Well, OK. I know by now how to recognize when I’m removing sand from a beach with tweezers. We left the store and went to dinner.
It took a minute to pair the camera with the app on my phone. It took considerably longer to attach the strap to the triangular loops on the camera body, and I ended up using a screwdriver to complete the job. But with that done, I was ready to hit the mean streets of Shinjuku in search of first light — the first images with my new camera.
Sometimes a shot walks right by before you recognize it for what it is. The camera turned on in a second and I was able to capture a fleeting image on the fly.
My goal for the evening was Tocho — the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. It’s been illuminated the past few weeks in honor of next year’s Olympic Games, but I haven’t been able to get a good picture of it. I shot off several and my new toy was up to the task.