shinto bride with fox maskI do not – and never have – considered myself very pretty or even beautiful. Altogether, from a European viewpoint, I would qualify as a rather average Jane. This is probably the reason why I am so surprised every time people recognise me. I am not talking about the cashiers at my supermarket, or the owner of my favourite bakery, after all, I go there often enough. I mean people I have barely spoken to ages ago.

For example, last week I had to make an appointment at my dentist, and I went there in person because I still do not trust my Japanese enough to make appointments on the phone. When I came in and said I needed an appointment, the receptionist got up, pulled out a file from a large drawer and asked: “Miss Iris, right?” I did not expect that at all and was greatly surprised, because I am terrified of dentists, and a dental cleaning once a year is all I can muster the courage for.

Another recent example was me buying a T-shirt on sale where the shop assistant also remembered my name. I had been there only at the sales a year ago where that same lady had to order a size that would fit me (otherwise she would have never known my name in the first place). Again, I was flabbergasted.

It is amazing that people remember names and faces after so long a time – and after only one or two meetings to boot! I’m the total opposite: unless I keep meeting you over and over again, I only remember either your face, or your name. This can make for rather awkward conversations, of the “I know that I know you, but I have no idea who you are” kind…

Anyway, I asked some friends about that and they agree that both women must have an extremely good memory. They did also say that me being a foreigner probably helped as well. If that’s not it, well, just as I said in the beginning, I do have a face for radio…

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