Friday, July 09, 2004

The first night in Japan

Post Journey 8 July

I started looking around for Masao even though I didn�t know what he looked like. I hoped he would recognize me. After waiting for 10 mins, I decided to move around on the platform. I saw a man sitting through 2 trains so I walked towards him. I think he finally recognized me with the Coe shirt and foreign looking Indian appearance. Masao is a relatively short man who looks like he is in his sixties. I also realized that he might have arthritis like my grandmom because his hand�s deformities resemble that of my grandma. We took a taxi to my apartments and it was conveniently placed above a handimart. He bought sandwiches, yogurt, an apple filled something and OJ. He showed me some things in the apt like how to operate the AC and stuff. And then he left saying that he will be back tomorrow morning at 10 in front of the Handimart to take me to the university.

I went down and bought a soap to shower with next day. I also walked a bit further to buy a towel. I should have brought these with me. Too bad because a single soap was $1.5 and the towel was 10 bucks. I realized how expensive this place was pretty soon. After getting back from my brief shopping, I unpacked and made sure everything was ready for tomorrow morning. I also hoped to God I would be able to wake up before 10 without an alarm. I think my exhaustion was the only reason why I fell asleep that easily even though my bio clock read 9 am.

Before I start on the next day�s experiences, I wanna talk about the apartment. On the first floor, there is a glass door that opens up with a special card. This is to keep unwanted people out of the apartments. And the door of the apt opens with the actual key. When I first looked in the apartment, it looked like the size of an apt in a big city in Japan like Tokyo. It was narrow and deep. The walk to the bedroom was about 3-4 feet across. And then the bedroom was about 15x13 sq.ft. There were separate rooms for the pot and shower. And there was a small kitchen on the left of the walkway. In Japan, people don�t wear shoes in the main part of the house. So, I had to take my shoes off to walk towards the bedroom. There is a washing machine to but the instructions are in Japanese. I don�t know if I want to mess with that, but eventually who knows, I might play around with it to figure it out. The kitchen had a small stove. It was stocked with utensils and stuff. The pot was the most interesting part of the toilet. When flushed, a tap on the top on the tank opened and poured water into the tank through a hole on the top to fill it up. The water pouring in doesn�t overflow because the top is shaped like a bowl. The tap�s present so that we can wash our hands after we are done. Ingenious! The bedroom had a table, bed, shelves, a huge closet, a TV and VCR. Beyond the bedroom was a small balcony. After figuring out how to keep the air conditioning running, the room�s humidity level dropped by several magnitudes! Now, after I get drenched in the humidity, I can cool off here because it�s dry and cool in the bedroom. And I am thankful I got the laptop because apart from this and reading books there is nothing else I can do in the apartment. The programming on TV is in Japanese. I can watch the occasional sports I guess. The telephone doesn�t allow for incoming or outgoing calls. It�s a phone that people can use if they are waiting downstairs and they want you to come down and let them in. So, essentially nobody can call me when I am in my apt. So in conclusion, the apartment is small and cozy and the right size for one person. I asked Masao the next day about the cost of renting an apartment like the one I have. He said that it was about $600 for 2 weeks with deposit. Pretty expensive, I know I couldn�t afford that!

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