Island Life, Life on JET

My Quirky, Island Apartment

I had planned to write a nice long post about my teaching experiences, but I’m putting that on hold so I can talk about my quirky apartment situation in Japan.

My fourth-floor apartment has a lot of…charm. The utilities are quite old, so my washing machine, shower, and AC all require tricks for them to work properly.

Exhibit A: The AC (Or Aircon as everyone seems to call it here)

Trick: Go outside on the balcony, remove the plastic cover, and spin the fan. Run back inside and press the BLUE button on the remote to turn on the AC unit. Run back outside to tap the fan to ensure it is alive and spinning.

This trick doesn’t always work. Sometimes the fan doesn’t spin and I have to repeat the process, or it makes an obnoxious buzzing noise and I start the process all over again for my sanity.

Exhibit B: The Washer

Trick: Uncoil the hose and drop it in my shower so my washer can drain properly. Ensure that at least 50% of the hose is in my shower so it doesn’t leak on my floor.

This trick worked fine until this morning. I noticed a laceration in the hose after I picked it up, and then water oozed out all over my hardwood floor. The hose is already held together with lots of masking tape and sandwich ties…so I think I need to MacGyver it back together again.

My very own suck-o-matic

And every time I pick up the hose to drain out the excess water, it reminds me of the the Suck-o-Matic in the first episode of Rocko’s Modern Life and I just imagine the hose is vomiting all over my floor like the vacuum does to Rocko’s rug.

Exhibit C: The Shower

Trick: Turn on gas switch. Push down on the knob and flip the dial until the gas light turns blue. Hold down for at least 15 seconds. Turn the knob to the second setting and then turn on the shower. Pray the water is hot.

Now that I write it out, this sounds like a rousing game of Bop-It. Except lately I have been losing because the flame will die out after a few seconds and I’m left to take a cold shower. I hate cold showers.

Bop it, twist it, pull it…COLD. Bum bum bum bum bum.

I took for granted how effortless it was for me to go about my day back in the states. I never had to jump through such hoops to get hot water or wash my clothes.

Though my apartment is old, it still has a lot of charm to it. No sarcasm this time. I love my sliding doors, that fresh tatami mat smell, and the random odds and ends I find hidden away in places from the long line of ALTs who have lived here before me.

Sometimes I get frustrated at the end of the day when all I want to do is eat dinner but my electricity cuts out because it can’t seem to handle me using my microwave oven (like today), but this is home.

The Sliding Doors to my kitchen (Complete with a charming hole from I don’t know who, what, or how)
One of my tatami mats. The tiny ants in my apartment apparently love them too.

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