As loyal martayaki readers recall, a few days ago our neighbor accidentally backed into our car Benji while turning around. Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor came over to apologize twice–once bearing I’m Sorry pastries–and both times I deployed the handy Japanese phrase daijobu, or No Worries.
After the second visit from the neighbor I reached out to an American friend who has lived here forever and speaks Japanese about maybe translating and explaining that we really, truly don’t need any repairs to our poor, beleaguered car. She consulted with her fellow-American-in-Japan husband, and they told us to expect a third apology before the neighbors finally stops apologizing. She added that we’re experiencing more of real Japan than most people do!
Sure enough, Mrs. Neighbor came by this morning with a written note in English (with impecable handwriting, of course) apologizing once more. She also apologized for not speaking good enough English to deliver said apology herself. So I think we’re good. Finally.
As for the scratch itself, I decided to buy some good ole’ American car care products to buff it out a little. Mark pointed out the folly in this exercise, considering that we’ve never washed the car since owning it. Obviously I ignored him.
After purchasing Scratch Doctor at the Navy Exchange AutoPort, I did a quick assessment lap around the car. Scratch from neighbors, check. Then I wondered about the other scratched bumper from the time a few months ago that my backup BEEPBEEPBEEP sensor failed to sound and I very slowly scraped against a white pole that hid in the backup BEEPBEEPBEEP sensor’s blind spot. So I looked for a second scratched bumper…and couldn’t find it. Then I did a second lap around the car. Still only one scratched bumper.
Then the light very….slowly….came…on.
The neighbors backed into an already scratched bumper, and their car is white–the same color as the scratch that was already there.
Now if this happened in DC, I would likely go back to the neighbor and explain, “You know, I happened to already have a scratch there, so really–don’t worry about it.” Since the Don’t Worry About It/Daijobu part of the situation here is the same–and most importantly, I’m not asking them to pay for any repairs–I decided not to muddy the waters trying to explain that the scratch was essentially a pre-existing condition.
A few quick swipes of the Scratch Doctor improved the bumper’s appearance….some. See for yourself! But alas, no Rust Doctor exists yet to solve Benji’s biggest problem.