I had never been in such heavy snow in my life.

After a quarter of my furniture arrived at my new apartment, I returned to my old place. It snowed very heavily on the day of my departure. When I was about to leave the apartment, it stopped snowing once, and I walked to the nearest train station instead of calling a cab. The moment I got to the station, it started snowing again, even more heavily. I was waiting for the local train at the platform, seeing an unreal view. Everything was entirely covered with snow and it seemed as if there was nothing but mountains. Only a vast white ground spread out between the mountains and me. I felt like I was in the movie ‘ Fargo’. The train didn’t come after the arrival time had passed. The station was unmanned as it was too remote, and no announcement was available. I thought it was delayed by heavy snow. Time went on. I began to feel uneasy because I had a bullet train to catch at the terminal station. There was a man who was also waiting for the train, and he used the station’s emergency phone to call the terminal. He kindly came back to me and let me know that the local train service was suspended due to snow. I called a cab with my cell phone, got to the terminal and barely caught the bullet train for which I had the reserved ticket. I had never been in such heavy snow in my life. Can I really move in and live in the place where it snows hard enough to stop the train…?

I got almost skewered.

As the process of moving, I went to my new place for the second time. The area was covered with deep snow this time and it looked like a different world. I got to my new apartment on foot from the train station, walking along the sidewalk sandwiched between the plowed snow walls. The snow walls were my shoulder high and I’d never seen this much snow in my life. As soon as I arrived, I got down to cleaning the room. I spent first two days cleaning the stained carpet. On the second day, I was to receive several boxes I’d sent from my old apartment. Looking at the heavy, ceaseless snow, I was afraid that my boxes wouldn’t reach here, but they came all right, to my relief. On the third day, I went shopping for food. To get to the supermarket, I needed to take a train, and I walked along the snow walls to the station again. I concentrated on my steps not to slip when an icicle dropped from a lamppost right before me. I got almost skewered. All the way to the supermarket, I was busy watching up and down, for my steps and icicles. That was awfully similar to an advanced stage of Mario Brothers. It was an ordeal just to get to a store. On top of that, my toes became icy as slush had seeped inside my supposed-to-be waterproof boots that I’d bought specially for this trip. You can’t make light of snowy country…

all my furniture is the lowest price one

My moving process began in earnest. I’ve already sent several boxes to my new place, and now I set about my furniture. I looked up on the Internet for the lowest possible price and decided to move furniture separately by a small cargo container, since I don’t have a car. Although it’s the cheapest way, the cost of the shipment is about the same as the total value of my furniture, because all my furniture is the lowest price one. I might as well replace them to new ones as spend money to move them, but people don’t do a garage sale in Japan. I can’t throw away what is still usable and I’m attached to them. For the first shipment, I emptied and cleaned the shelves and drawers. They were seven pieces and it took me more time and energy than I had thought to do the work. I was exhausted, but it’s just the beginning. Only about a quarter of the moving was done. More pieces of cheap furniture await me…

obstacles to live in the mountain

The apartment I currently live in is furnished, and the place I’m moving to isn’t. That means I need to get appliances. First, I bought a microwave oven. And now, I’ve been looking for a washer. To get a large appliance like it is quite tricky because it needs to be set up inside the room. Almost all retail stores have restrictions on delivery. They don’t deliver large appliances to isolated islands or mountainous regions in Japan, or if they do, they charge extra cost. My new place is located in the mountains and right among the restricted areas. There’s a way to shop at a local store to avoid those delivery restrictions, but the town I’m moving to is so small to have only one electrical appliance store. And since it’s not a chain store, I would pay the list price. I usually have a strict policy to get something, which is to get at the lowest price on the market. But I can’t apply my policy to getting large appliances this time. I have to give priority to a store that delivers to my place over a price. Combined with the extra charge, the price gets higher and higher. It’s not my style of shopping, but I have no choice. Following a bear’s attack, obstacles to live in the mountains have emerged one by one…

bears and monkeys that appear in town and attack people

Recently, there has been more and more news about bears and monkeys that appear in town and attack people all around Japan. It’s said that they come down from the mountains for food, as there has been less food up on the mountains due to the climate change and deforestation. The area I live in now is animal-free so far, because there aren’t mountains nor woods around, just too many crazy people. But at last, I heard the news that a bear appeared in the area I’m moving to. My new place is in the country with numerous woods and fields, surrounded by mountains. A bear was spotted in a field and a man got injured. Terrifyingly, the field was quite close to my new apartment and I think I walked beside it last time I went to my place and was on my way to shopping. That reminded me of a couple I saw on the street then. They were walking with tinkling bells. I knew that a bell worked to keep from a bear encounter and I thought they came back from hiking in the mountains. But now I know they were tinkling bells for the exact spot. By moving, I intended to be rid of people, but never thought I would live among bears instead…

my dream is to live on a mascot planet

I’m very fond of stuffed animals. They have been my best friends since early childhood. For me, seeing a mascot moving around means my friend stuffed animal tribe comes to life and that always gives me great pleasure. I record and burn on a DVD when I see a mascot on TV, and go to him or her to say hello when I see one at a theme park, a supermarket or a drug store, by plowing through other kids. In Japan, the number of mascots has been increasing lately, with all sorts of a kind. Most of them are mascots of unknown, minor characters, opposite to famous characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snoopy or Hello Kitty. Whether famous or not, more mascots are greatly welcomed to me, as my dream is to live on a mascot planet. But Japanese people especially seem to like minor characters among others. A lot of companies, municipalities, campaigns and movements have introduced their original mascots and it’s a trend. Unlike famous mascots from professional sports teams and theme parks, their characteristics are somehow loosely defined, their looks aren’t so refined, and they’re only known to a limited number of people. Even so, they’re booming enough to have established their own category as ‘unrefined characters’. And that seems the key to appeal to Japanese people most. This trend may reflect their subconscious about living in an undefined, unrefined country…

began to take money away from me

I can’t throw things away. Because I’m easily attached to my belongings and also I’m thrifty, I keep things for a possible future use, just in case. As a result, my tiny apartment has become even smaller with junk such as worn-out clothes, cracked shoes and sundries that I don’t know what they are for anymore. As I’ve started moving to my new place, I realized how time-consuming packing all the junk was. Packing one cardboard box a day is a maximum addition to my daily life. So, my moving process is horribly slow. With this speed, I can’t even imagine the day I finish packing everything into boxes will ever come. I feel like it lasts forever. But the longer it takes, the more money I end up spending, because I’ll have to keep paying the rent for my old apartment. My junk, which I’ve kept to save money in the first place, took advantage of my weakness and began to take money away from me…