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Browsing Posts published on August 9, 2007

Summer-loving

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Ah, summer vacation. Japan has this national summer break kind of thing called Obon (お盆), where most people get a week off of work or school. There is all kinds of religious and other things related to this holiday that I don’t know much about, but you can read about it on Wiki. The important thing is that AEON gives us this week off, and with my normal Sundays and Mondays off, and 2 carefully used vacation days, I find myself in the middle of an 11-day vacation. Oooooh yeah.

千葉ポートタワー花火大会

Last Saturday after work, went with some other AEON people to the Chiba Port Tower fireworks show (see above), which was pretty awesome despite the ridiculous crowds and the heat outside. After the show ended, we hiked a good distance to some Italian restaurant to hang out. After that, went to the Ocean’s Eleven, or whatever it’s called, bar until last train. Sunday, I didn’t do much all day except watch TV, then headed to Tsudanuma to have a staff going-away party for one of our teachers who is retiring. That was fun and relaxing. Then headed with 2 of my co-workers to Chiba. Again, last train from Chiba.

Monday, more relaxing at home. Ate some yakiniku and okonomiyaki up in Chiba. Tuesday, more relaxing and then headed to Soga Ario. First, saw a movie by myself. Yes it is very loser-ish to see a movie by yourself, let alone the Kamen Rider Den-O movie, but it was fun and I enjoyed it. Shut up. Then ate tacos, did some shopping, and bought some cream puff things to take to everyone at school since it was the retiring teacher’s last day. Even though it was my day off, I’m not a complete jerk. Wednesday, I ran some errands around Goi, and tried this Sri-Lankan/Indian buffet near my apartment which I had never tried before, partially because the outside looks sketch and also partially because the place is called Samanara (サマナラ), which sounded a lot to me at first like salmonella. The people on the Goi mixi group said it was good, and indeed they were right. Spent most of the day at home doing job-hunting related stuff, and also watching News Radio on DVD. Went to the Chiba net cafe at night to print out some Korea-related stuff as well as some resumes, and then came home.

Tomorrow, well, really in a few hours, I need to wake up and head to Tokyo. Believe it or not, I’m going to 2 job interviews/info-session things. Nothing major yet, but it’s good to be starting this kind of thing. I’m not looking forward to waking up early to go into Tokyo though, especially wearing a suit in this heat. But at night I’m going out to dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, so that should be good.

Overall, yes, summer vacation has thus far involved a lot of sleeping and TV-watching. And that’s just perfect. I can’t imagine anything better than doing nothing during this break. If only you didn’t need money to live, I would probably sit at home all day the rest of my life. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so I need to get only 2 hours of sleep to go into town for the possibility of getting another job. Ah well.

Korea in about a day and a half! Annyong!

Last Friday I got off work fairly early, and with so much extra time on my hands I decided I’d go to Ito Yokado, pick up some groceries, and make dinner. Everything was going fine until I got home, and went to turn the washing machine on. Something was weird…no water was coming out! I go and check my bathroom sink. Nope. No water. Kitchen also gave a negative. Water was out. Did I mess up somehow? Not pay a bill? It was the 3rd, and indeed I had a bill that was due on the 1st. Being Japan though, I’ve been late on bills a LOT. Mainly because there isn’t any penalty for being late on your bills. Panicked, I walked to the 7-11 and paid my water bill. As I rode the elevator back up to my room, I hoped that the system was advanced enough that if my water was shut off for non-payment, it would immediately be re-activated upon payment. Still, no water.

What in the world was I going to do at 8AM the next morning when I have to shower and go to work? Next step was to call the water company and see what the deal was. Again, being Japan, there isn’t really any such thing as 24 hour customer service lines. Every line I called had a recording that said they were only open until like 6 or maybe even 8PM. Finally, I was able to find a local service station that actually had someone working. I found out that 4 other people in my building had reported the problem, and it wasn’t my bill or even the water company’s problem. The building’s water pump was broken, so the most I could do was call my landlord. I e-mailed my new co-worker who lives in the same building as me, on the off chance that his water used a different pump than mine. Perhaps I’d have to borrow a shower. Unfortunately, his water was off as well. I got my landlord’s number from my manager at AEON, and of course that place was closed too. I was totally boned.

I went to grab some dinner at Matsuya, since I couldn’t make dinner without water. Also I had to take a leak really bad and my toilet didn’t work either. Cell e-mailing with my manager, who was probably in more a panic than I was, I found out that there is a public bath (銭湯) a taxi ride away from my place. That wouldn’t really do anything for me the next morning, since I have to be at work by 9:45 and that place doesn’t even open until 9. Kind of cutting it close. I knew there was a 24-hour public bath at the next station, Yawatajuku, so I thought I might give that a try if I wake up early. Last resort could be an internet cafe like Popeye in Chiba where they have shower facilities.

Went to sleep around 2, woke up at 7. It was a very rough sleep since I kept waking up in the middle of the night to walk to the kitchen sink to check if the water happened to come back. No deal. When I finally got up to my alarm, still no water. Headed to the station with hopes of checking out the place in Yawatajuku, which was also like a sauna or something. 24-hours is written in neon on the building, yet when I got there, the guy said the baths were closed for cleaning or something, and wouldn’t be open until 9. Great. I was pissed. Headed up to Chiba to shower in the internet cafe, which was actually really nice and huge. But anyway, got back home and got dressed properly and headed to work just barely making it in time. With the walking and the heat outside it didn’t feel super pleasant, but at least I had showered. I think my co-worker had used bottled water to shampoo his hair.

At work they called the landlord and they said it would be done that day. Indeed, it was taken care of when I went home during my break to check. Thank goodness the water was back. Life is hard without running water.

Iron…Dish Towel?

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I saw this at the drug store today and seriously, this must be the best dish towel on the planet, endorsed by a smiling Iron Chef Sakai. You could polish pears, make some lobsters, take your chained glasses off, and then put them back on!

坂井鉄人ふきん
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