In December 2016, having JUST moved to Seattle, I decided to do all my Christmas shopping at Kinokuniya Book Store.
Conveniently located AND full of fun knickknacks? Call me a Christmas GENIUS.
In truth, this plan excused endless browsing of items I couldn’t afford, such as stuffed sharks, long socks, and English-translated manga.
One day, I spotted a display above the needlessly-expensive graphic novels.
Though the boxes were in Japanese, I recognized the adorable chibi faces of Sailor Moon and the Outer Senshi.
Images on the box showed the Sailor Senshi sitting precariously on the edge of a wineglass.
Impractical drink markers? I drank, and so did my friends!
Surely once I started throwing Successful Adult Dinner Parties, I’d need a full set!
My plan to buy all six drink markers encountered a few obstacles:
- Each drink marker sold for $8 and I was on a tight budget.
- All the boxes were blind; I wouldn’t know which character I’d purchased until I brought it home.
- I was supposed to be looking at calendars for my grandfather.
Despite all this, I grabbed a box.
Buying one couldn’t hurt.
After paying, I carted the box home, waiting until my boots hit the hardwood floor before opening my prize.
Oh. Sailor Neptune.
I liked Neptune.
She looked so lonely, though, without Uranus by her side.
What kind of monster would leave Neptune alone?
I needed another box.
I held out until my next pay day. This time, I opened the box in the store right after paying.
NO…this wasn’t happening…
How I hated Rini, with her STUPID outfit and her STUPID pose and her STUPID pink hair.
I considered tossing Rini in the trash.
“Are you KIDDING?” my rational brain screamed, “You’d throw out $8!?”
“What should I do?” I asked my brain.
I bought another box.
HaHA! Pluto! I loved Pluto!
Not as cute as Saturn, but a fine purchase.
Still…I really wanted a Sailor Moon.
No, three was enough. I couldn’t afford any more.
I held out for a few weeks, telling myself every time I passed the display, “Not today.”
One day, I passed the display’s usual spot only to find it gone.
My heart froze.
I wound my way to the back of the store and found a few dented boxes jammed between brand-new Dragon Ball Z key chains.
The price of the boxes had been raised to $10.
$10!?!?! With Christmas so soon and my hours cut at work, I was barely breaking even.
What kind of idiot would spend $10 on a DRINK MARKER?
I bought two more boxes.
“This is the last time,” I told myself on the walk home. “No more after this.”
This appeased me. Five was a perfectly fine number of drink markers. I hadn’t doubled up yet; if I was lucky, I’d have ALMOST a full set!
At home, I tentatively peeled open the first box.
I GOT SAILOR MOON!!!!
Forget the others – THIS was what I’d wanted!
Smiling, I picked up the last box and peeled off the first layer of tape.
I paused to giggle over my lucky purchase.
Sailor Moon! I still couldn’t believe it!
I lifted the lid of the box and paused again.
I had almost a full set! The risk had been worth it!
Reaching into the box, I felt for the package inside and pulled it out without looking.
I decided I’d be satisfied with Saturn. She and Rini were best friends, after all.
At this point, getting a double wouldn’t be so bad.
Two Neptunes could be cute. Or two Plutos.
Hell, I’d take two Sailor Moons.
Package nestled in my fist, I uncurled my fingers.