Sunday, August 26, 2007

Patrick's Apartment

My apartment is in Nasukawa-cho, about five minutes north of the downtown area. I am living directly below Catherine in the same apartment building. To Sara's apartment is about seven minutes by bicycle, and to Paul's it is about twenty minutes. The apartment is situated at the intersection of an expressway, a major road, and a train crossing, so it is a bit noisy but it is also very easy to find.

I am very fortunate that Charlie, the ALT who lived in the apartment before me, left it in excellent shape. In Japan, there is a practice known as "key money" whereupon one who wants to lease a new apartment presents the landlord with a gift-- not a deposit, but a gift-- of three to six months' rent. Thankfully, the Morioka Board of Education leases several apartments for us ALTs in perpetuity so that we are able to avoid this fee. As a result, however, we have no choice in where to live. Also, we are/were expected to purchase the belongings of our predecessor (furniture, pots and plates, hangars, etc.). So I am very glad that Charlie not only cleaned the place up well but kept all of his stuff in good shape.

The Board of Education also provided some basic furnishings, including a refrigerator, stovetop, washer (clothes need to be hung out to dry), television, and bicycle. After paying Charlie $300, I inherited a couch, a desk, several shelving units, a table that can heat itself, cooking and cleaning supplies, and fans. I also have an air conditioning unit, though I have used it only a few times. Plus, Charlie also left me all of his teaching supplies, which were fairly organized and will no doubt prove helpful in the months ahead.

As for the apartment in general, I really like the hardwood floors. It is a bit narrow but this is mostly alleviated by the high ceiling. The loft where I sleep is the most spacious I have seen, and I can sit up in it. Because of the little guard wall, I think it is also completely secure, and the ladder is extremely sturdy since it locks unto a metal bar that is bolted to the wall. There is plenty of space for all of my stuff now and I doubt I will be collecting many large items over the course of the next two years.

Ok, now for the pictures:

the view from the inside

the kitchen; the little counter is actually a cart that pulls out, very convenient

the bathroom; unfortunately, my toilet can only do strong flush and weak flush; more sophisticated toilets have control panels... it does have a sink on top, though, so you can wash your hands in the water after you flush as the water recharges for the next flush, which is efficient

the sink; it has a nice medicine cabinet and storage area

the shower/bath

the bath tub is a little small, but it's ok for a shower

the main room... it was my idea to bring the fridge out here next to the computer

the couch, computer, and refrigerator

my bed is above the closet

the futon... it's not as uncomfortable as it looks

all of the storage stuff I have squirreled away next to the bed

the king's view (from the bed)

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