Monday, September 26, 2011

"Money talks, mine says Good-Bye"

The title of this blog post came from one of those novelty checkbooks. (Remember writing checks to pay for things? I do!)
Today, I spent more in 2 hours than I have ever spent in a month...$11,700.
No, really. I did.
The thing about renting a house in Japan, is there are all sorts of fees for all sorts of know how in the States, you can expect to pay first month's rent, perhaps last month's, and a security deposit? Well, those all exist here, too. In addition to first month's rent and an exorbitant security deposit (the equivalent of 2 month's rent), there is a restoration fee-to replace the tatami mats, shoji doors & fusuma doors when you move out. And also, the realtor's fee, which is 10% of a year's rent. It adds up; 120,000 yen/month for rent (about $1600 with the current exchange rate), plus all the other cost us $8,500.00 just to move in.
Of course, we also needed to buy a car. We are now the proud owners of a 1998 Nissan Cube. It cost us $2,800. Then there is insurance...luckily this is pretty cheap in Japan, so our one-year policy only cost $400.
Still, having just spent a LOT to secure a house & transportation, it kinda hurts. When I looked at my bank balance this afternoon, it was hard not to whimper a bit.
Move-in tomorrow; unfortunately the internet service will not be installed until November (the company is running new fiber lines to the Cho). So my posts, however infrequent, will become more so.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Done. Finally.

Maybe I shouldn't say "finally," since it only took me about 6 weeks to make, and during that six weeks I was packing up the house, moving across an ocean, starting a new job, looking for a house...
Anyway, it is complete.
Here's a picture of the blanket, spread out:
The cabling does not show up as well in this one, though.

I used Loops & Threads Impeccable in Pumpkin and Chocolate; I don't think I'll use it again. The price is right and it isn't bad yarn, but it is only available at Michael's craft stores (kinda tough to shop there when I'm overseas) and I still prefer Caron Simply Soft.
Anyway, this pattern is really easy once you get a couple rows done, but writing it out (and reading it) is probably going to be a nightmare.
I will still try, though.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Forgive the delay in posting...

We've been in Japan for 5 days now.
A lot of folks back home keep asking questions along the lines of "How do you like living in Japan?" and "Don't you love it?"
So I'm taking some time to answer these questions with my typical (albeit silent) response:
We are not "living" here. Not really. We are staying in a Navy Lodge hotel room. Imagine an efficiency apartment. Got that in your mind? Ok, good. Our room is smaller than that.
No, I don't love it. See the preceding paragraph.
We've been here 5 days. We don't even have driver's licenses yet, so don't expect to see a whole lot of new pictures, and we certainly won't have many stories for a while. We're not on vacation, people. We're still "arriving".

Ok, now that's out of my system.
There are a few things that have happened worth noting...for instance, taking my advancement exam approximately 24 hours after we landed.
And there's always the challenge of figuring out exactly what those kanji, hiragana & katakana symbols are trying to tell me.
Pictures help, of course. Still, some things are when you choose what appears to be grape pop from the vending machine. And it turns out to be some kind of carbonated grape jelly in a pop can.
No, really:
You can see the jelly-ness of it, creeping slowly out of the can. Kinda weird. And even creepier, when you don't expect it to have the consistency of jello.
Did I mention the spiders? They are huge (although I have been assured there are no poisonous species living on Kyushu.)
That thing? Is as big as my hand.

I might feel a little more chipper about this place in a month or so.