Friday, December 14, 2012

Foreign Friday

Yebisu beer sign
purchased in a Tokyo antique shop
Spring 1980
Wednesday, I featured some photos of my brother-in-law's beer sign collection, and today's Foreign Friday is about one sign (the vertical one on the left in the photo above).

In 1980 while teaching at Robert D. Edgren High School in Misawa, Japan, I was a representative on the Overseas Education Association (OEA) board. The board met in Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday several times a year, and after the meetings, the group would roam the city and pop into shops.

One of my missions while I was in Japan was to find a beer sign for my brother-in-law's collection. I looked everywhere and simply could not find anything that was for sale. Then one weekend in Tokyo, I spotted an antique shop and on a whim asked about a beer sign. The owner showed me the sign pictured above. I was hesitant to purchase the large sign - about four feet long and 12 inches wide - as it would be difficult to get back to Misawa on the plane.

Wanting to sell the sign, the shopkeeper assured me that he could mail it to Misawa. Ever the optimist, I agreed to purchase the sign.

I went happily on my way and anticipated receiving the package the following week.

Daily, I checked my postal box for the notice that a package was available at the front window, and daily I was disappointed. Obviously the sign was lost.

Two weeks later, I got a phone call at school from the base commissary - they had a delivery for me. Intrigued and puzzled, I drove to the commissary after work.

Misawa AFB commissary

The "delivery" was the beer sign which had been at the commissary for a week. I learned that the Japanese postman did not know where to deliver the package, so he took it to the commissary. Thankfully, the commissary personnel tracked me down through base headquarters and eventually to the school.

After nearly two years of searching, I finally had a Japanese beer sign for Harold and his collection.


  1. I like happy endings. It would have been very disappointing for the sign to be lost after searching for so long.

  2. Fun story! And I don't dare show my hubby your brother's man's so great! I'd never hear the end of it! lol

  3. Now THATS a Chirstmas story. a 2year search! You rock Nancy

  4. Oh Nancy - what a wonderful story! I'm glad you found the sign and it didn't get lost. g

  5. I'm so glad the sign found you. What a very thoughtful gift!!

  6. Ha,Ha! Good story! I'm happy that it arrived...finally!

  7. That sign is awesome! I love it! I'll bet that it is nearly impossible to find another like it!

  8. That was some good customer service from the base.


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