Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2017

The Garbage Post

This is a garbage post.

No, literally: I'm going to be writing about garbage. Specifically, about the convoluted way Japan organizes its garbage disposal.

I'm sure there are more detailed accounts of this process out there. The Setagaya ward, where I live, has a ten page instruction manual for how to dispose of garbage! (If you're interested, you can read it HERE. ) Furthermore, methods for garbage disposal--and even what types of garbage bag are acceptable-- vary city by city if not neighborhood by neighborhood. And if you mess up in how you dispose of your garbage, at minimum the particular offending bag won't be collected: instead, a tag will be left on the bag saying something along the lines of "This is not the XYZ garbage collection day;" at worst no one's garbage will be collected and then everyone hates you.

This is the breakdown of garbage collection for my area. Fridays are recyclable garbage (except for PET bottles, i.e. plastic water bottles, …

There's No Raining on Our Parade

On Sunday I went to a CAMP Yale BBQ at the American Embassy Dormitories in the heart of Tokyo.

The complex is located in Akasaka, right in the middle of the city. There are three "towers" like the one above, each with a different color assigned to the balconies. Personally they remind me a lot of the Piet Mondrian paintings: the ones that are white canvasses with stark black lines and occasional blocks of primary colors.

Despite the rainy weather we held our BBQ outside (albeit with a gazebo and pop-up tent handy). There was a bouncy castle for the children present, while the adults did both an egg toss and a water balloon toss for Tokyo Embassy-themed prizes. Then there was classic American BBQ fare--hotdogs, burgers, grilled chicken, potato salad, corn salad, watermelon, brownies and beer. The Yale community here seems really friendly and I hope I'll get to know everyone more over the course of my time here.

Interestingly, right across from these dormitories is a shint…

Home Sweet Home

So I've made it to Japan and, more importantly, to my new apartment!

I was picked up at the airport by a Nitori representative and she help me with my luggage (which was a lifesaver since I had three bags) as she took me to get my apartment key and then to the apartment itself.

Here is my apartment building, run by Leopalace; I'm on the second floor.

Here's the view from my window at 4am, overlooking a small farm-garden thing.

The apartment, at 26.08 square meters (the .08 is important!), doesn't feel terribly small for one person. I actually have what I could call rooms--or at least designated areas for different things.

I have one main room, which has my bed and table in it. I'm sleeping on a futon (which Nitori kindly provided me) on a lofted frame, underneath which is a huge empty space for storage. I also have a closet that's bigger than what I ever got at Yale.

The other half of the room is my table, chairs, and TV/TV stand. As you can see I've alread…

Leaving (Again) On a Jet Plane

Hello everyone! It's Claire again, here to revive (for much longer than a summer this time) this Japan-focused blog. Since the last time I've written there have been several major updates to my life:

1. I finished my thesis! Those of you who have followed me for some time might recall that in the summer of 2017 I spent six weeks in Japan researching coffee--the end result was a 65-page monstrosity about history, modernity, gender, and generations.

2. I graduated from Yale! It hasn't quite sunk in that I'm actually done: that probably won't hit me until the end of the summer when I don't fly back to New Haven and move myself, yet again, into a dorm room.

3. Perhaps most importantly, I got a job at Nitori, a Japanese furniture, home-goods, and logistics company. For those of you interested in the company overall, I'm providing a link to their English-language website HERE.

So. I'm moving to Tokyo. Tomorrow, in fact--surprise! I've packed my life into…