Getting Settled in Japan: Random Errands

The text of this post was originally written in April, 2004 as part of an online diary I kept before I actually started my blog. I'd forgotten about it until I ran across it in February 2008. I inserted it into my blog then, assigning dates appropriate to the content instead of to the time I actually added it. Thus, these April 2004 posts show up as my “first posts” in my list of posts, even though I didn't actually start a blog until a year later with my first post about buying a car in Japan.

There's nothing here of interest to anyone but me; I insert it here so that it's together with my other posts (which are also of little interest to anyone but me :-)) Any comments I add while posting this to my blog in February 2008 appear like this.

This was originally written just after we moved from California to Japan, so our days were dominated by jet lag, and trying to set up our life and newly-acquired apartment. Anthony was 18 months old.

Anthony slept all the way until 5am, which is a big step toward him getting over his jet lag. Fumie's mom had slept overnight, though, so we were reticent to let him run around, but eventually we all got up. With all the deliveries and shopping we'd been doing, the place was a mess, so I tidied up and took the garbage out. That's a luxury that most Japanese don't have, as each part of town has its own garbage days. I don't know what specific arrangements the complex has made for garbage, but there's a spot we can bring it to 24/7, which is very nice.

I spent a few minutes looking at the manual for the washer/dryer, and Fumie did the same for the fridge manual. All the stuff we're getting are quite new to us, with features and options that were not available in America, nor in Japan when we last lived here, so there's a lot to learn. For example, once you load the clothes into the washer and start it, it putzes around for 20 seconds or so then tells you how much detergent too put in. That's sort of neat, I suppose, but we generally wash things with a minimum amount of detergent anyway. I threw in a bunch of my clothes and gave it a whirl. I need 0.8 scoops of detergent, and it said it'd be done with the washing and drying after two hours 58 minutes.

Fumie, who didn't bring many clothes from America, was feeling the lack of them, so wanted to go clothes shopping. Best to leave me out of that, so Mom, Anthony, and I headed off toward Kuzuha to pick up a table and some stuff, dropping her off at Takashimaya at Shijo/Kawaramachi. Anthony, who had been getting more and more fussy, mercifully slept pretty much the way.

We stopped at a home center (Japanese version of a Home Depot combined with a simple department store), and I had to work hard not to succumb to impulse buying. I got some stuff to add to the apartment's built-in shelving, a pretty nice tool kit (for the super bargain price of $20), and a few other little things. We'll definitely have to go back — it's an hour's drive from the apartment, but well worth it for all the little stuff we'll need to get the apartment into shape.

At Kuzuha, we picked up a kitchen table that Mom didn't need — we'll use it for a while until Fumie makes up her mind about our interior decoration. While sitting in the kitchen eating lunch before returning, Anthony was actually able to climb up to one of the dining-table chairs. He then sat down like a cute little adult. Mom and I clapped and praise him, especially for sitting down properly. After a bit, he stood up and tried to climb up onto the table, and I made an exaggerated sad face/sound. He sat back down, and I then went back to clapping and praising him. He stood up again and got the sad treatment, and then the game was on — he stood up and sat down a number of times, each time cherishing the expected response. It was cute.

Anthony and I drove back to the apartment, and while unloading the car, two more of the six boxes we'd sent via the postal system arrived. (Two had arrived the previous day, but we missed them, so they were dropped off earlier today, so now we had four of the six). The one we want the most, though, is one with a bunch of big fat plastic coat hangers, which we could really use to get ourselves organized.

I spent some time trying to make the best of the shelving stuff I'd bought at the home center, but nothing fit properly. I hacked things up a bit to get it to work, but I feel very limited not being able to make holes in the wall and do what I want. I could make the place much more useful/convenient, but no matter how nice it becomes, it has to be returned to the original state when we leave. Sigh.

In the evening, we went out to the best approximation of a mall that I've seen in Japan. A rather large four or five story building with a large atrium in the center and shops of various types (clothing, music, books, etc.) ringing the atrium on most levels. The bottom level has a huge grocery store. While Fumie got some clothes, Anthony and I played in the little “Kids Corner” they had set up. It didn't have much, but was a safe area to run around in. It was his first interaction with Japanese kids. He didn't interact much, but it was a start.

At a bookstore, I bought a couple of maps of Kyoto, and then we got some groceries to fill the fridge. Anthony got fussy along the way, so we left early, but it was a fun outing. He went to be pretty soon after we got home. Fumie and I had a bath, then ate dinner.

Continued here...

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