Posts Tagged 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While the store worked on the bill of sale, I ran down the street to the same bank machine where late last year I had withdrawn over $2000 to pay for a plane ticket.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 🙂
Today was scheduled to be a day off so we could get a break from the non-stop sightseeing and activity. However, a break from sightseeing didn’t mean that we were going to sit around; we decided to explore Numazu a bit.
I picked up my parents at their hotel, and we walked to the Nakamise shopping area, which is where my school is located. Nakamise is an area covering 4 x 2 city blocks, with a ceiling over the main center street. It’s like an indoor mall without actually being fully indoor. The area features a variety of restaurants and stores. My parents enjoyed looking around and picking up a few souvenirs for friends and family back home.
One of the stores in Nakamise is a jewelry shop. I had proposed to The Penpal in February suddenly, without getting a ring in advance. We had agreed that we would take some time and get a ring together, but so far we hadn’t done any shopping. My mom got excited about the idea of helping her son look for engagement rings. My dad was less excited, so he decided to get a coffee and explore the nearby bookstore.
The jewelry store looked just like any jewelry store in Canada – lots of glass display cases with nicely dressed smiling staff ready to show off the expensive, shiny contents. We were approached right away by one of the staff (thanks Japanese customer service), and I managed to explain that I was looking for an engagement ring, despite not really knowing either of those words. The clerk asked a few questions and showed us some of the rings that were in my price range.
Browsing the rings was an enlightening experience; I learned that I knew almost nothing about rings or jewelry and didn’t have the vocabulary needed to ask good questions. I did get an idea of the huge variety of rings available, but knew that any serious shopping would have to involve The Penpal.
My mom and I thanked the clerk for her help, and she gave us a full 90 degree bow when we left. Customers are already treated respectfully in Japanese stores, but I had never been on the receiving end of a 90 degree bow before. I’m guessing its more common in high end retail.
My mom couldn’t stop talking about how happy she was that we got to look at rings together. I’ve had a lot of fun adventures involving my dad on this trip, but this was something special that my mom and I could share.