20 March 2013

My Tokyo Apartment

In my last post I alluded to my new apartment.  It's time to announce to the world what I have set up for my dog and myself.

When I returned to Tokyo a month ago, this is what I came home to:

My southern windows.

View from my southern windows.

My western windows (I'm standing in front of my southern windows).
Now, you might remember my pledge to avoid spending money on my new apartment.  So far, I'm doing well!  My apartment came with a gas burner, a refrigerator, and a washing machine.  With David's help last Monday, I've managed to completely furnish my apartment through FreeCycle and a little foresight.

We planned for me to have my own home when we were still in Biloxi, so we sent my futon along with David's things ahead of time.  From FreeCycle, I received a bookcase, a coffee table, several decorating items, some kitchen items, and absolutely everything I needed for my new garden (and then some!).

My Kitchen.  You can see my water heater, my rice cooker, and my single burner.
Wine and FreeCycled Salt & Pepper Shakers 
Blurry view of my sink.
Cozy Bathroom.
Almost everything you see came from FreeCycle.
Standing in my kitchen, looking south into my living room.
The futon is perfect for this apartment.  It's a sofa by day and a bed by night. 
I'm still working out what I will put on the bookshelf.  Right now it's mail and gardening supplies.
Sitting on my sofa, looking west to my garden. I've planted corna and sunflowers in the planters you can see, so hopefully by summer there will be a green screen for more privacy.

Looking south, the building in the background is a preschool full of noisy, but apparently happy, children. 
Standing on my south balcony, which is a bit narrower than the west side.
Looking north on my west balcony.  You can see my washing machine and yogurt cups full of little seeds. 
Looking south, standing near my washing machine.  The small tree in the corner is my *olive tree*! 
I plan to put tomatoes in the two larger pots.  I'm not sure about the other ones. 
My tiny farm, future home of lettuce, radishes, herbs, and maybe cucumbers.
My street, looking south.
My street, looking north.


I might finally be a little homesick.  Specifically, I miss my puppy.  I find myself looking at this picture more and more frequently:

I'll be so excited once she gets her paperwork sorted out.  In theory, once she gets here I'll never have to leave her behind again.  And I truly don't want to.  It's amazing how much she enriches my life, and not having her around is really bumming me out.

Yes, I know she's "just" a dog.  The affection I feel towards her is probably very different than the feelings she has for me.  But just because I love her in a human way and she loves me in a dog way doesn't mean our relationship is any the less.  Really, I consider her my best friend and life companion.  She's reliable, friendly, loving, and everything you'd want in a best friend.  Sure, she's not great at conversation, but she holds up the listening end pretty well.  And she does manage to communicate, which I find very impressive.  Fellow dog owners undoubtedly understand my attachment to my pup.

She's set to arrive in Tokyo April 29.  I hope she likes it here.  I specifically chose this apartment for her.  We're close to a fairly large park, so we'll have opportunities to frolic and explore together.  I've arranged the apartment and the balcony for her as well.  Everyday I think about things we can do together.  Just one more month.  I have to be patient.

02 March 2013

Images from Japan

I'm back in Tokyo from Fukushima!  I still don't have stellar internet, but it's better than it was.  Here are the images I couldn't upload last month:

Waiting for the Bullet Train to go to Fukushima City

From the Bullet Train, north of Tokyo; You can start to see the mountains.

My temporary apartment while in Fukushima. I slept in the loft.

View from my Fukushima apartment.  It was right next to the railroad tracks (so a little noisy).

After my first "party" in Fukushima!

It snowed almost everyday.

Shabu shabu restaurant!  It turns out that my favorite food in Japan is shabu shabu.

Shabu shabu is hot soup, then you cook veggies and meat in it as you like. It's so good!

It was fun to add as much as possible to the pot.

The English menu called the dish on the left "fermented squid guts salad." I was surprised that it was very tasty!

At a hot spring with another English teacher and his family. (That's a baby on his chest! She's so cute!)

Someone built a snow dome.

This hot spring was for only your feet.  It was so nice to have piping hot water on my feet and calves while watching snow fall around me.

It's a very nice place, and it's free to the public!

Their other daughter *loves* hot springs.  She was so pumped! (And she quickly got her pants very wet!)

Snow Dome.

This child was GO! GO! GO!  She was so much fun to be around.

This is inside a very wealthy person's home from a long time ago (Eek!  I don't remember when!). It's now open to the public.  

My first yaki-mo! (Japanese baked sweet potato)

Yum!  And hot!

This is an adult person's car.

Stores have toy areas for children to play, an arcade for older children (and probably husbands), and a place for mothers to breastfeed.  The stores really try to cater to their customers.

These are all kitchen supplies.  For adults.

Because Japanese babies are cooler.

I seriously couldn't get enough of her.  She was so funny!

David's birthday king cakes!  I can't believe he found them!

Teaching our Japanese friends how to play king cup.

The keys to my *permanent* apartment!

Delicious soup at a sushi restaurant!  It was mostly egg, some broth, mushrooms, and a few veggies. YUM!

My sushi plates (they count the plates at the end to calculate the bill).

My co-workers being cute with some soy sauce.

Amelie... the Japanese version.

My goodbye party!  My boss and another teacher!

She always has funny faces for the camera.


Karaoke is so much better in Japan.  You get your own booth, so you listen to only your friends' bad singing!

Post-karaoke ramen.

View of Fukushima from the top of a nearby mountain.  My last look at the city before heading back to Tokyo!