Sooo, my apartment. This has been a comedy of errors so far. Japan has blindingly fast internet, cell phones with the technology to build a new race of humans, and... showers with heating systems that require hand cranking. Or at least my apartment does, as its part of a group of buildings called kyo-something (I forget) jutaku, or teacher housing, seemingly inspired by the movie The Lives of Others. That is, vaguely East German and at least twenty years old (without having been updated once!)
So, for hot water, I have to put on the gas and then turn a hand crank. Then, since my shower head is not mounted to the wall, I sit down in my deep, narrow tub and try to evenly spray myself with it. The water temperature choices are Siberia and ninth circle of Hell.
The washing machine is on the balcony and doesnt so much agitate the clothes as grind them against the sides, wantonly shredding them to bits, in cold water. Also all the controls are in Japanese so I just guess. Theres no dryer so I hang the clothes from a line on the balcony. I put them out last night--wish me luck that theyll dry some time in the coming weeks, since the humidity makes life here sort of like walking through caramel. Sweaty caramel.
But seriously, pretty fun so far. I owe my firstborn to Grace and Karl, our neighbors and members of the considerable Pineapple Mafia (that is, people from Hawaii) that lives here. Without their cars, their Japanese skills, and their know how on setting up a Japanese apartment, Id be dead of starvation, dehydration, and not knowing how the hell to sort the garbage here.
Im also pretty delighted with the food so far, and got to try Fukuokas signature dish--ramen, which is made from pork bones, which leaves eaters with a distinctive smell that Ill call, uh... pork bones. Very OISHII though!
OK, Im at school right now so I feel a bit weird being ironic about Japan from a Japanese teachers lounge. SEE YOU!!!!