Well, today I said ‘Goodbye’ to my apartment where I have lived the past two years. If moving to Japan was tricky, leaving is not only difficult but also quite slow and frustrating. Still, even though the apartment wasn’t quite as comfortable as I might have liked, I’ll have fond memories. Not so much of sleeping on a futon or the earthquakes – actually the whole building shook when a train went past or there was a strong breeze! But it has been the first home for my wife and myself and will be special because of that fact before anything else.
Last night we had the Yamato shipping/transportation company take away no less than 12 boxes from the apartment! For around $55 too so I was impressed with that. I woke this morning with multiple things on my schedule.
1/ We rented the fridge, washing machine and a few other things. The company was coming to take those away. They told us nine, they arrived at twenty to, thankfully it was all ready to go.
2/ Sell the last of our stuff to the 2nd Hand stores. This didn’t go so well, I didn’t even get 3 bucks and 3/4 of the stuff was rejected outright!
3/ Get back to the house for the gas man. He came and turned the gas and water off, which is quite a procedure especially considering it’s just a small apartment.
4/ Meet the landlord who would look over the flat. He came a little late and I was just waiting for what seemed like forever in a practically empty flat. Actually he was only 10 minutes late, and five of those minutes were spent climbing the stairs. It is just one flight of steps but my landlord of the last two years is an elderly gentleman of (at a guess) 85 years, and it takes him longer than use youngsters!
Well, this took a good fifty or more minutes. He examined everything up close, especially the spot that was left on one of the tatami mats from an ill-advised use of incense in the bedroom. We knew it had to be replaced, small though it was, but he got down on his knees and stared at it for what seemed like ten minutes.
He turned every light one and off a number of times, checked the air conditioner worked and was annoyed that the water had been turned off as he wanted to try every single tap in the house too. Then we sat down on the tatami mats and he wrote on a piece of paper, circling things in Japanese pertaining to every aspect of the apartment. This took an age and then he phoned my company and spoke to them for 10 minutes, the upshot of which was, as before, he would need to get estimates before he could say how much we needed (if anything) to pay.
See, the renters are really responsible for everything here, including light bulbs that die. Fortunately in two years none did for use. One half centimetre spot on the tatami mats means the entire room with six mats will probably have to have them all replaced.
It’s like that. Plus, tenants need to pay for cleaning, although the apartment is now cleaner than when I arrived in my opinion. I wouldn’t mind so much but for 21,000 yen or $210 US, you’d expect them to be able to clean more than one apartment. There’s very little to do but regardless of how clean you leave it, you pay for everything to be cleaned. Apparently, I’ve been told, the cleaning is ‘special’ and includes the pipes. I guess I will never know. Here they take it out of your security deposit, unless the total is more which it may well be in our case. Here is the apartment after almost everything was taken out:
Finally, I today I recorded my fifth interview for the upcoming World Journeys podcast. I have now conducted five interviews with people who live in Japan, one a local and four English teachers like myself capturing their thoughts and opinions on this life that we lead here! I hope to record a couple more when I am in Yokohama.
Tonight I am at the Toyoko Inn in Ichinoseki, tomorrow night it is another overnight bus adventure. Stay tuned everyone, more coming soon to a blog near you!