Getting Settled in Japan: Bike Ride and Furniture Shopping

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 woke up at 6:15 or so, which would be considered amazing, except that he didn't go to sleep until 9:00 the previous evening. He's just not getting enough sleep, so I hope things settle down soon. (He did get a three-hour nap later in the day, today, but then didn't sleep until 9:30pm; we'll see how tomorrow morning goes).

Once Fumie got up, we thought we'd try our first group bike ride. We both got baby seats installed, so either of us could carry Anthony. Yesterday afternoon, we'd all gone to Toys R Us in Otsu, where Fumie picked up a super-light umbrella stroller. The goal is to be able to carry it plus Anthony on the bike, so that she can go out shopping with him by bike. We haven't had time to figure out how to attach to the bike, so we decided that I'd just carry it, or put it in my basket, or something.

We first went to 7-11 to get things for breakfast, and then headed off to the Nanzenji temple (where Anthony and I had gone on Tuesday). It was later in the day and there were more people around (including the most annoying class of human on earth, hordes of high-school boys walking to school). Still, it was nice, and we had an enjoyable breakfast in very nice surroundings. I'm sure we'll do this often.

We then set off for the southern end of the Tetsugakunomichi (“Philosopher's Road”), a trailish kind of walking/bike path that run north/south through much of eastern Kyoto. It's particularly well known to be beautiful during cherry blossom season, but that was best earlier in the month, or late March. Still, it's quite nice, especially the southern part closer to our place.

When we got back, I headed out by train to the electronics shop, and picked up another light, and a cordless phone. By the time I got back, Mom had stopped by, and soon after, Fumie went to get a hair cut. There's a place about 2 minutes from here that she wanted to try. (When I saw her later in the evening, I couldn't tell that anything had been done, but she said that she loved it, so that's good.)

It was getting to be after 4pm, but I wanted to move forward on things, so I went out to reconnaissance furniture stores. I had a lead on a good furniture store from my friend Shimada-san (who seems to be the source of all knowledge – he's the one who told us about the Toys R Us, as well). It turned out to be a very good lead in one sense – the furniture was of a very high quality, and I'm sure Fumie would like some of the styles they have. It was also extremely expensive, with the cheapest dinner tables starting at $1,000 (chairs, if you want them, add $250 each). Maybe it wouldn't have been a bad idea to ship furniture from Cupertino, after all! (We eventually got some stuff from this place, and a couple of years later, did ship some stuff from La-Z-Boy in Cupertino.)

I did want to check out getting a desk for my work area, and they had a number of very nice ones. Prices started at around $800, but went up in case you wanted a little book shelf (where a hutch might normally go), or a matching file cabinet that rolls under part of the desk.

I found a nice set that I was quite interested in, but at $1,400, I doubt I'll get it. It's large, so I should have lots of space to throw my junk, and it's an L shape, so I can have books or whatnot on one side.

I also need a chair, and most chairs that they had were pretty typical chairs that offer a couple of adjustments. But they had one that adjusted in a bazillion ways. I'm sure it'd be very comfortable, but at over $1,000 for the cheapest model, again, I doubt it. But since I spend so much time working at the computer, it may make good long-term sense to get a comfy chair.

In the evening, since Mom was here and could watch Anthony, Fumie and I went out on a “date” for the first time in ages. We went to the Sanjo/Kawaramachi area of Kyoto, known for it's lively night life. We found a nice bar/restaurant, and had a few drinks and nibbled on some food. It was a nice time.

Most of the day, the weather was as absolutely perfect as I could ever imagine it being, but in the late afternoon it started to get very windy and cooler, and by the evening, it was down right cold. The 10 minute bike ride back was chilly, but there was a hot bath waiting for us.

Continued here...

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