April 30, 2006 – Ring shopping

Today both the Penpal and I had the day off, so we decided to go engagement ring shopping.

For those following the story, I proposed suddenly in February when the opportunity came up. Due to the sudden nature of the proposal, I didn’t have a ring. I had no experience buying any jewelry beyond bracelets and earrings before, so I was a bit concerned about picking out something myself. I was also worried about the language barrier on a major purchase. I talked about it with The Penpal and we decided to go shopping for the ring together. We discussed my budget in advance, and were prepared to buy if we found something good.

There are two jewelry stores in the Nakamise shopping area of Numazu. I went to one of them with my mom on her recent visit to Japan, so we decided to start with the other one. We were greeted by a smiling, friendly older man who led us to seats near a display case. As soon as we were seated, a young, well dressed woman brought us green tea. These are good examples of the little touches that Japanese stores use to make customers feel comfortable and important.

The smiling man asked some questions about what kind of ring we wanted (diamond engagement), what metal we wanted (thrash), and if we had any other requests on design or appearance (not particularly). Neither one of us are flashy people, we were looking for something simple that looked good on The Penpal’s slender piano player fingers.

We went through the process of looking at a few different rings and ended up narrowing the choices down to two: one with a slightly larger diamond, and one with a better quality diamond. We chose the slightly smaller one featuring a very high quality stone with a white gold band. It was beautiful!

At this point I had a small moment of panic because we hadn’t talked about price. After all of the discussion and choosing it would be really embarrassing if this ring was completely out of my price range. I got The Penpal to ask about the price. The friendly older man pulled out a list, looked down it, and then typed a number into a calculator for us to see. He then said “and a 10% discount” which brought the price just under the ceiling of my price range. I said we’d take it!

While the store worked on the bill of sale, I ran down the street to the same bank machine where late last year I had withdrawn over $2000 to pay for a plane ticket. I once again withdrew a huge wad of cash and returned to the store to finish the transaction.

Since I had proposed in February we had discussed our engagement with family and friends. Getting a ring somehow made everything seem more real. As we walked out of the store smiling and admiring the ring, I realized that this was the first major purchase of my life that I didn’t have a single regret about. Not a one.

2016 Update – Still no regrets 🙂

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