Thursday, April 26, 2012

Japanese Apartment: Part 4

I figured it was time I wrapped this series up. So without further ado, here is the rest of my tiny Japanese apartment.

Looking through my front door. I've had to devote much of the entryway to trash separation. It rules your life in Japan. This is also the area where you leave your shoes before coming inside. That's my mailbox on the left. 

In the doorway. Bathroom straight ahead. Main room around the corner to the right.

My little kitchen area to the right of the fridge and microwave. 

View from the main room 

And from the bathroom. I was fortunate to find a unit of this style with cupboard space above, in addition to below. 

My microwave buttons. I know that red means go and silver means stop. Beyond that, I'm clueless. I know it has the ability to work like a convection oven, but I'll need some help before attempting that.

My bathroom. These are installed as a complete unit: toilet, sink, bath. It's small but functional. I've definitely seen worse as far as bathrooms go.

Shower. High on my list of amenities I wanted in my apartment was the ability to stand while I shower. This is not a given in Japan. Not by a long shot. I'm very happy with my shower. As an added bonus, my heating unit has a standby feature, which means I don't have to heat up the water each time I want to use it. It's always ready to go.

A bath option that I have no interest in.

So that's the end of the tour. This is what 30,000 Yen a month gets you in the Hachioji area.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tokyo Temple

I attended the English speaking ward in Hiroo on Sunday. The chapel is right next door to the Tokyo temple. I snapped a few photos before going in.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pathway Home

There are several paths that intersect around my apartment. I'm on them almost everyday. I refer to the upper path and lower path a lot in my journal.

This is the "upper path", which I take to my grocery store, Gourmet City. It also leads to the train station. The stairs to the right lead to the "lower path" and my apartment.

Looking down the stairs to the lower path, and up from there, you can see my beige door. (top middle)

Staircase flowers

Looking right on the lower path. I go this way to reach the river trail on my runs.

My building. I'm on the second floor in the back. Cyber stalkers, come say hi!

That's my door straight ahead. My filthy smoking neighbor is to the right.

I'm obsessed with this bucket garden on the upper path.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Imperial Mausoleum

After walking through Ryo-Nan Park, I went through the nearby Imperial Mausoleum, which houses the remains of the Taishō and Shōwa emperors.

Pretty gravel roads wind their way to the grave sites

More blossoms

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Bloom

According to an old Japanese gentleman I spoke to last night, there's about a two week window for prime blossom viewing. When they explode onto the scene, full of life and color, before falling and returning to the dust. He said the Japanese draw comparisons between the blossoms and our own lives. The brief lifespan of the floral spectacle is part of the appeal. These past two weeks are like an unspoken holiday, where it would be almost criminal not to take in their splendor at least once.

I've enjoyed them myself nearly everyday, as the Takao area is ground zero for blossom stalkers. The other day I ventured over to Ryo-Nan Park, along the river trail, where it's a virtual orgy of petal and stamen related activity. Here, let me draw you a map.

If you click on the above image, you can see a plethora of locations I have mentioned in my journal, starting with the location of my apartment at the crossroads of two paths. South of me is the train station and Gourmet City, where I do my grocery shopping. Northwest is the beguiling Tama Forest, with its fortress like walls preventing me from accessing its manicured trails. I've failed on two attempts, but I will get inside you.

Directly north is the Musashi Cemetery, where they've laid up some dead emperors. I went there after Ryo-Nan, but those pictures will be in the next post. To the northeast is the start of the rive trail and Ryo-Nan Park. That's where I took the photos contained in this post.

Blooming trees along the river path

Looking back over the bridge from the entrance to the park

I should mention that people dress up for the blossom watching occasion. Not me. Classy Japanese people.

The major thoroughfare through the park. Photos can't do it justice.

Nobody sits or lays directly on the ground. A snooze in the park requires a tarp and removal of the shoes.

A friendly game of stick ball

Japanese Picnic. Old people know how to dress here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Japanese Apartment: Part 3

Hard to believe I'm stretching such a small apartment into this many posts. I bet I get 2 more out of it. A huge benefit to this place is the balcony. It's tiny, and there's barely enough room to step outside, but what matters is I don't have to reach outside a window to hang laundry. I can actually open a sliding door and hang the clothes directly from the washing machine, which is also on the balcony. (saving valuable space inside) The balcony also gets direct sunlight, allowing for faster drying times. When you don't have a clothes dryer, like in the States, this is a big deal.

View from my balcony--nothing special. In case of a fire, I can jump over to the neighbor's terrace. It's two feet away. 

My balcony, in all its glory. Washer to the left, A/C unit to the left.

My washing machine. It vibrates the entire balcony during the spin cycle.

The main road through the Takao area. Most of the street noise is blocked by the other homes.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Japanese Apartment: Part 2

Moving counter-clockwise from my desk, my bed sits in the NW corner of the room. I didn't have a real use for that white table, so for now it's my nightstand.

The sliding door entry to my room in the SW corner. The little kitchen is on the other side.

West side: Up

West side: Down

View from the kitchen

So that's the 6 tatami mat room. This is thrilling stuff. Next up: The Balcony!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Japanese Apartment: Part 1

The first in a series showcasing my new place, a standard 6 tatami mat Japanese apartment. I live by the Takao station in Hachioji, part of the greater Tokyo area. If you click on this map, my building is dead center, with Japanese characters written on it. I'm on the second floor of this 4 unit building. You can see the 2 intersecting paths directly south of me that lead to the train station. Being this close is a big plus for any daily commuting to jobs.

I am fortunate to have 2 windows in the main room, allowing for maximum sunlight. I shot these at night though, so my drapes are closed. I've set up a work area in this corner. The desk, chair, computer speakers, drapes, file divider, desk lamp, and almost everything else in my apartment came from a Sayonara Sale of a departing Argentine Anime student. For 20,000 Yen, he let me take whatever I wanted. The drapes on the right hide a sliding door that leads to my balcony. 

Panning clockwise to the backdoor drapes, a/c & heating unit, and then my closet.

The other side of my closet and my plastic dresser.

Bookcase in the top right of my closet.

Wire rack in the bottom right of the closet. I brought 2 pairs of running & trail shoes with me.

The remote to my air conditioning unit. You can see why it took me a day to figure out how to get the heat on.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

O.M.G. Burgers

Derek took Zach and I to O.M.G. Burgers, an American burger joint that he frequents.

They have a "challenge" meal that includes a 6 pound burger and 2.5 pounds of fries.

Nobody has beaten it yet, but we consumed it recreationally tonight. The three of us couldn't even finish it.

It's as big as I am.

Washed it down with a very green melon soda.

Definitely worth a return trip, or 20.