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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 already started "decorating" with the limited number of flat and light items I brought from home.

Then I have my kitchen area, which has a decent-sized fridge/freezer, a microwave, a small sink, and a stovetop with two burners on it. Nitori also gave me two pots, some utensils, and some plates to start me off so once I go get some kitchen basics (EVOO, salt, pepper, butter, pasta, bread, and sliced cheese) at minimum I won't starve. It's tomato season though and I found a yummy-looking tomato pasta recipe on the New York Times cooking site so maybe I'll try that and see how it goes.

Lastly I have a bathroom and washing machine (this is only the shower/tub, the toilet is in its own room through the brown door to the right of the sink). I couldn't get the washing machine to work at first, but after calling the Leopalace help line I eventually figured out I was supposed to turn a small, unlabeled, grey valve on the floor NEXT to the washing machine to allow it access to the water supply. Go figure.

I haven't done much these first two days. I went to open a bank account with my local post office and register my address officially with the nearest ward office. I also bought some useful things like dish soap, shampoo, detergent, toilet paper/ paper towels/ tissues, a thing to clip my clothes to while they dry outside, and some breakfast foods to tide me over for the first few days. My list of things to do is pretty hefty--figure out how to pay my utility bills, a phone plan, internet, the local system for dividing up your garbage and recycling (this is WAY more serious than it sounds, people) and prepping for my job orientation and training period, which start on the 30th.

I did take some time to walk around the neighborhood, however, which is charming and residential. There's a park nearby where people were jogging, playing with their kids, and walking their dogs. There's also a Literature Museum which I'll have to check out at some point. I found a variety of Italian restaurants, a cafe, a specialty coffee bean shop (!!), a bakery, a cake shop, and a Taiwanese restaurant--and that was only walking in one direction, so it seems this area has plenty to offer. Not many weird stares from people yet, but I'm the only foreigner I've seen thus far in this part of the city, not that this surprises me.

Look for more updates in the days to come as I (hopefully) settle in more, get over my jet-lag, meet up with some friends, and even attend a Yale BBQ!


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