holes and cracks

I found tall wooden shelves discarded at a garbage dump of my apartment. It was as good as new and I carried it into my place. The shelves seemed to be a product of someone’s moving-out. I cleaned it and made it my new shoe shelves.

I felt so good seeing my shoes arranged beautifully on the shelves. The pitiful thing is, though, that almost all the shoes cost less than $20, mainly $10, and about half of them are worn out and have holes and cracks…

there’s no telling when it’s done

By the contract, I have to give a month’s notice to move out the apartment I currently live in. If I move out in the middle of April as I planned, I need to send written notice by mid-March. But I’m not sure if my packing is finished in a month. Actually, there’s no telling when it’s done. I’m busy enough with my daily life and adding packing to it as an extra routine has been almost impossible for me. In fact, my packing has been going at a surprisingly slow pace. My own schedule has gradually backed me into a corner and sometimes I have an urge to cancel a move itself altogether. As I began to sag, I decided to postpone a move for another month until mid-May, to make packing easier with plenty of time. It’s the third postponement from my original plan of a mid-January move. It means to pay more money for the rent, but it can’t be helped…

I feel as if I threw away my past.

As I’ve been packing my stuff to move out this apartment, various things of sentimental value to me have come out from the back of the shelves. I’ve lived here for nine years and forgotten about most of them since I stored them away. Some are no longer useful, but when I clear them out, I feel as if I threw away my past. That makes me melancholy. Occasionally, I find some money. It’s like I get a bonus for packing, but it’s simply what I stashed by myself in the first place and not what I newly gained. Mostly, what I find are numerous room slippers and old broken appliances. I don’t understand why I kept so many slippers without using. Packing and moving requires a great deal of labor and time. Worst of all, the broken appliances appear one after another and discarding them is costly. I have to pay for each one of them just to dump…

ideal place for me to live in doesn’t exist

Eight years ago today, I moved into this apartment. There are things that I like about it such as the utilities-included rent, the unique design, and the view. It has the flip side though. Every time the wind blows, TV is down. The roof is so thin that raindrops sound like the percussion. The walls are also thin and even subtle sounds I make trigger the neighbor’s banging. Those things keep me looking for a better place constantly. Each and every place has a flaw. Too dense, too rural. At least one side of the place borders the nextdoor neighbor. It seems that an ideal place for me to live in doesn’t exist. Well, to begin with, is there such thing as an ideal place to live in on this planet…?

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…?

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…

beyond my comprehension

About my apartment hunting, I’ve written up to the point that the owner of the room wanted to consider his or her price, which was offered as 20 percent off by himself or herself in the first place. Two more weeks have passed and the owner offered 10 percent off. Since I was going to pay the full price to begin with, 10 percent off was still a good deal to me. I answered to take it. Then, the situation took an unbelievable twist, again. The real estate agent asked me to pick my convenient days for a contract among several days in the end of October. That means it would take two months to close the deal since I decided on the room. At first, I thought it would be done in a week because the process was simple – look at the room, make a decision, sign a contract and pay. How could it be possible to spend two months for this easy process? At this stage, it should be done only by signing a contract, and yet, they need three more weeks just to do that. Meanwhile, I noticed the owner had placed an ad for the very room I applied on a different real estate company’s website. The room remains available there. Now, a suspicion crept into my mind. Is the owner waiting for someone who wants the room at the full price and prolonging the deal on purpose? But that someone was me because it was the owner who offered the discount while I didn’t ask for anything. Whatever the plot is, it’s beyond my comprehension. I wonder when and how the whole thing is settled…

photograph showed things much better than they actually were

I transferred the bullet train to the local train to the area where all three apartments of my choice were located. There were no passengers but me on the train although it was a weekday morning. The station was an unmanned small shack. I walked along shabby houses, used-to-be shops and rice fields and found one of the apartments among them. My first impression was that a photograph showed things much better than they actually were. The building had looked a lot more gorgeous in the photos on a website. I walked on and soon found the other two apartments. One was under refurbishment and I couldn’t see it from the outside. The other stood nearby and I saw a half-naked old man sitting idly on a balcony, who was a kind of person I didn’t like to have as one of my neighbors. I took a rest on a bench, wondering if this trip had already become a fool’s errand…

secret of the fourth floor

Since I decided to move out, I’ve realized the power of the Internet again. Without going anywhere physically, I’ve been able to look for a place to live at home, gathering a lot of information on prices, floor plans and the neighborhood. People’s blogs are useful, too. For the past eight months, I’ve been looking around the Internet, collecting and comparing the details, and have narrowed down the choice to three apartments. They are all located in the same area, which is surrounded by mountains, cold and snowy in winter. The area has a small population with a constant decline. That has led to a remarkably low price for an apartment there. I chose the area because the prices were low enough to fit my tight budget. But its small population was the main appeal to me, who feel uncomfortable to be with people. All three places I’ve picked for my new home are more than 20 years old and one of them is on the fourth floor. So far, that one is my first choice. There seem no particular flaws in the room, but the building’s available rooms are mostly on the fourth floor. Is it just a coincidence, or is there anything wrong? Even the mighty Internet doesn’t tell about it. I wonder what’s the secret of the fourth floor…

iron plates for the roof

The rent of my apartment includes utilities, which means I can use them as much as I want. Since it’s murderously hot everyday, I’ve spent most of time inside my air-conditioned apartment, working for music and watching America’s TV shows. A few days ago, there was a note in my mailbox from the management company of this apartment. It said that even though it’s utility-included, my usage has been so excessive that they may charge me unless the usage drops to an ordinary amount. Well, I do have my say on this. First of all, I need air-conditioning more because my room is a duplex apartment and the roof is merely nailed iron plates that conduct heat extremely well. It’s their fault, not mine. Secondly, who decides the ordinary amount? Japanese people are obsessed to categorize everything and they don’t allow someone or something sticks out. I hate to be categorized and fight against it all the time here. They should accept there is someone who works at home during the night and sleeps in the daytime. Thirdly, the note asked me to care about the environment. They must think using the word ‘environment’ makes them a saint. It was them who had chosen iron plates for the roof! Before they start charging me, I really need to get out of this apartment…