Hello everyone. The first installment in my living in Nagoya, Japan journal or blog or whatever it will be. It seems the first rule of a blog is to have a clever title. I’ll think about that later. I just want to write down some things for now. For those of you who were on distribution for my 2004 Japan series, I’ll disappoint you today by not writing about doing laundry. But, fortunately, laundry will fit in to the story eventually.
Most everyone who is reading this knows that I accepted a long term assignment in Japan working for my same parent company. I’m not going to get into the details of what I am doing other than I am working alongside a Japanese company on a major production project. If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, just email me. I don’t plan to talk that much about work but it will come out – probably mostly complaints.
So let’s start the complaining. I knew the pressure of the job was going to be intense, but I had no idea how intense it would be. I started Wednesday, April 2, and immediately dove in to 10 to 12 hour days. I worked Saturday and Sunday the first weekend I was here. I wanted to find an apartment immediately but my managers were telling me to deal with that later – there was too much work. I immediately got thrown in to making a major delivery of a product that I knew nothing about. Yikes! The work is really interesting, I am learning a ton as fast as I can, but the environment is shocking. There is a lot pressure from above, but there are some very decent people that I am working with.
As you can imagine, I don’t have too much of a report from life in Nagoya since I haven’t had much time. Besides work, I am obsessing about getting an apartment and furnishing it. On Tuesday (the 8th) I managed to break away to do an apartment search with a relocation service company. I think I found a place too. Of course, everything is a compromise. This place is rather small by US standards (a little less than 800 sq ft) and is a little bit of a cave, but is centrally located, has three bedrooms (one bedroom, one office, and a guest room!) and has a reasonable layout. I looked at places that were a lot bigger, but none of the layouts made any sense. Oh sure, the square footage was higher, but how do you realistically use a room that is shaped like a child’s crayon (thick and then comes to a point)? Or a trapezoid? Or a place with a support beam running right through the goofy living room? Here’s a layout of the place I think I am going to take:
And just to show you the kind of strange places I saw …
I chose a relocation option where I didn’t move any of my furniture or personal stuff and instead got a cash buyout to do as I deem necessary. As a result, I’ve been looking at a lot of cheapish furniture over the past few weekends as time has permitted. I am sure glad I didn’t elect to move any furniture here, because nothing would fit! However, that is one of the traps that people fall in to if they’ve never been to Japan. Since my assignment is only about 2 – 5 years (I know, pretty up in the air), I’ll settle for OK quality. The advantage of having a small place is that I don’t have a lot of room to fill it up with stuff!
Last weekend, Tomo had some time available so we figured it would be good if he could come to Nagoya on Friday night and we’d spend Friday night and Saturday together and do some furniture shopping together. He was going to Osaka as well, so it made sense. 8:00 pm didn’t seem like an unreasonable time to meet – if I caught the 7:47 train I would get back around 8:15 pm. Is 7:35 pm an unreasonable expectation to leave the office on a Friday night? Apparently so. I rolled in to Nagoya Station around 9:30 pm. Luckily, Tomo was very patient and understanding. That was very much appreciated.
Saturday I had to work, imagine that, but I bugged out early (3:00 pm?!?) to go furniture shopping with Tomo. We went to an OK place and then a super icky cheap place. I think I found a suitable dining room table and bed at “Furniture Dome.” I’ll go a little more upscale on the couch, though I’ll have to watch the dimensions.
When I was in Tokyo in the middle of March on vacation, we also went appliance shopping. Imagine walking in to Best Buy, but not understanding a single written word on all these fancy appliances. The “dancing drum” on washers. The “no soap” option. And most of the units in Japan are now combo washer / dryers. So it is space efficient but not so time efficient. It would take hours to do two loads. I promised I would talk about laundry, so there you go. My company will pay for my appliances, so I have to ask permission on these items. I’m glad I don’t have to buy them on my own, but once I buy them they are mine. So if they break it is my expense.
I think / hope Tomo will come down next weekend too, and that I’ll have a little free time to go and purchase the things I need for my apartment. Yeah! It is fun. What am I going to do with all this stuff when I leave? Oh …. that’s another issue. But I’ll think about that later.
I’m sure you are anxious to read about the appliance decisions I made. Well, stay tuned!