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2007 June 13 Wednesday.

Still hot and sunny. 

Getting into the uncomfortable zone for us polar bears.   

Today I have a rather bizarre tale to tell, which is entirely true.   

In the photo on the left, you can see a stack of white plastic chairs.   

When I first started my classroom 11 years ago, I went to NITORI and bought 24 of these very useful and comfortable chairs.   

Over the years, three of them have become broken and unusable for various reasons.   

Last Wednesday, we made arrangements and paid a small fee of about 700 yen to have the three broken chairs carried away as Large Sized Garbage 壮大ゴミ.   

When a person in Asahikawa wants to throw away a big piece of junk such as an old sofa or table or some such thing, they must first call the garbage collection agency and make a reservation to do so.   

When they do so, they must also buy a sticker that proves they have paid the hauling fee, and paste it onto the garbage to be carried away.   

In my neighborhood of Kagura, the Large Sized Garbage day is on Wednesdays.   

So, before last Wednesday, we made all of the necessary arrangements, pasted the sticker onto the chair on top of the small stack of three chairs, and carried them out to the garbage collection station on Tuesday night, to await pick up the next morning.   

Ikuko and I both have morning jobs outside of our classroom on Wednesdays, and when we got back home in the early afternoon on that day, we were surprised to see a notice pasted on our door that said; "We came to pick up the 3 plastic chairs, but we could not find them. 

They were not at the garbage collection station, and they were not outside of your classroom door."   

SAY WHAT???    

We both looked outside at the garbage collection station, and sure enough, all three chairs were gone.   

If the garbage collection people didn't pick them up, WHO DID?   

Moreover, who in the world would want three broken and unusable plastic chairs???   

If you think this story is strange now, read on. 

It gets even stranger.   

Today again, being Wednesday, Ikuko and I both went to our outside jobs in the morning. 

When I got up at about 6:00 this morning, I looked out of my classroom window towards the garbage collection station, and what did I see???   

THE SAME THREE PLASTIC CHAIRS had been returned to the exact same location at which we had put them, exactly one week ago!!!   

What in the heck is going on here?   

Did someone steal the chairs, only to discover later that they are in fact broken and unusable, and then bring them back to the exact same location from which they had been stolen???   

I can't think of any other explanation, unless a UFO pulled them up along a beam of light, examined them, and then lowered them back down to where they had been beamed up from. 

WEIRD!!!   

Anyway, we called the Large Sized Garbage Collection Agency again today, and told them this bizarre story.   

Finally, they came by again, and took the chairs away.   

WOW!   I couldn't have written a better fictional story even if I had used the full extent of my imagination. 

This is a TRUE STORY.

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