Rarely updated, rarely disappointing

Browsing Posts published in September, 2007



During my internet drought period, I was at the nearby Popeye internet cafe one night checking e-mail and Facebook, drinking Qoo, and eating free ice cream. At one point I decided to check out my own blog to see if there were any new comments, etc. I typed the URL in and was then greeted by this heart-stopping message: (click to see bigger version)

Oops. I remembered getting a message from GoDaddy saying my domain name was expiring and it had auto-renewed, but I forgot that I had to renew my web host. Luckily all I had to do was renew it online and my site was back up and running in a few hours. So for maybe 4 or 5 days, from around September 20-24, my site was down. Sorry to any of you who were desperate to see pictures of me and giant mascot characters and were unable to for those few days. It’s not like I was blogging or adding any new content during that time anyway.

Nick was at the internet cafe that night as well during his trip up to Kanto, so he can vouch for how freaked out I was at my site being down, as he sat there laughing as I rushed to renew my web host from an internet cafe at around midnight.


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I’m back online. My new apartment was supposed to be wired for the B-Flet’s fiber internet, but there were too many people using it, so NTT had to install a second fiber pipe into the building. That was finished actually about 2 weeks ago, but then it took another 2 weeks for them to send a guy to my apartment to do the “construction” and installation. It was pretty disappointing having to wait that extra time considering the “installation” involved the guy taking a VDSL modem out of its box, plugging in 3 cables, and giving me a receipt. Ah, Japan.

So a lot has happened over the past few weeks. There’s too much for me to write everything in this blog post, and also it’s about 3AM and I want to go to bed. Expect me to blog a lot over the next few days to cover it all. This really isn’t for you, but mainly for me. I’ll try to keep it mildly entertaining so feel free to read when you’re bored, at work, or bored at work. Quick summary though: I finished my job at AEON, am considering a trip to the US in mid October, love my sweet new apartment, had a mini-reunion here in Chiba, and am already getting kind of bored with being unemployed. It’s almost too easy having this much freedom. I’ll have to start seriously looking for a real job, real soon. In the meantime the part-time work will keep me somewhat busy and not completely income-less.

Note: Originally I was thinking of titling this post Slim Shady but then I came to my senses and remembered how much I hate Eminem.

Deja Boooo


I’m moving this Sunday into the new place. Unfortunately, after that I’ll be without an internet connection for a bit – maybe even for a month or so.

Right now I’m using NTT’s 光フレッツ (Hikari Flets) fiber optic service, which has been great. My new apartment building is actually hard-wired for fiber internet through B Flets. I thought that I would be able to just maybe change my account and plug in once I moved, but I was wrong. Turns out first NTT is going to have to come to my old apartment to uninstall my fiber modem next Thursday, then there’s some kind of “construction” they have to do at my new Chiba apartment. They told me the earliest they can come is in about a month. I don’t exactly know what kind of construction or installation is necessary since there is a fiber/ethernet jack in the new room already. The lady on the phone also used the word 説明 a few times, which means explanation, so I hope this isn’t some kind of formality where the guy has to explain to me how to plug my computer in correctly. I’m going to call them back again tomorrow and see what’s up and if there’s any way I can get this done quicker. I don’t understand how internet installation appointments here can take a month or so to set up. Remember my fiasco getting this fiber line in the first place last Fall?

I started my apartment search on August 20, found a place, and will be moving in on September 9. It took less than 3 weeks for this whole process to happen, yet somehow the national phone and telecommunications company can’t send a guy out for a month. Even stranger is that they can have a guy come to uninstall in less than a week, but the installation guy can’t be scheduled in that same amount of time. Some things don’t make sense to me in this country.

Thai Food and Movin’ on Up

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I’m sitting at home in the middle of what is the beginnings of a typhoon. We’ve already got pretty strong wind and horizontal rain so I think this might be less of a false alarm than what we had a few months ago. Either way, I got to go home from work an hour early so it’s all good. Supposedly the typhoon is going to directly hit us here in the Kanto area sometime early in the morning. I’m not holding my breath, although the way the storm is going it wouldn’t be totally surprising.

It’s been a pretty busy week. Last weekend especially I was running around a lot, mainly in preparation to move to a new apartment. I have a new place lined up in Chiba city, about 18 minutes by train north of where I’m at now. I’ll be closer to Tokyo as well. It’s a really nice, brand new apartment building that was just completed in April. Of course, it’s a Japanese apartment so it’s pretty tiny to American standards, but it’s a nice studio-type apartment that is at least a lot better than what I have now. The bathroom has a nice wide sink and a super toilet, and the shower is separate. What I have now is a “unit bath” where everything is in one tiny little room, so it will be nicer to have more space. The main room itself has hardwood flooring as opposed to carpet, a long balcony, and a much better closet than what I have now. I’m looking forward to moving in, although not looking forward to having to pack up all my stuff within the next few days.

While I was looking for an apartment, I started by using an Apaman Shop (アパマンショップ), which is like a major chain of realtors here in Japan. The guy there was nice and they have a handy search system where I could find apartments that fit my requirements. I actually checked out about 4 rooms with this place first, 2 of which were cheap but dirty and gross, and the other 2 which were nicer and of course more expensive. This last place actually came up on my second visit, and while it’s expensive, it’s brand new and has a decent location. Renting apartments in Japan is a pain because they have this BS system in place called “key money,” where you pretty much have to pay a month’s rent to the landlord as a gift for letting you live there. Then you have deposits, cleaning fees, and usually a month’s worth of realtor’s’ fees, meaning that it’s not out of question to have to pay 5 months of rent before you even move in. Most of this you won’t get back. This is even worse when, like me, you may very well only be living there for a few months. Luckily not only was this building I found brand new, but they had only 1 month’s deposit, no key money, and no cleaning fees. The place even included 1 month of free rent! There was, however, a 1-month’s realtor fee. Overall it was a good deal. However, I was trying to figure a way to make it even cheaper, so I just called the landlord’s company directly. I was able to get the same deal, but without any realtors fee, just by going direct to the source. As nice and helpful as they were, I have no allegiance to the Apaman Shop, especially when they want to charge me a full month’s rent just for them to fax my application form in for me. Yes, I’m very proud of this.

Last week finally did the lease and contract stuff, which required a lot of explanations in Japanese to me, as well as me writing my name in katakana and using my hanko stamp about a million times. Good thing I bought my handy-dandy automatic hanko stamper a few months ago.

I also decided to hire a moving company to haul all my belongings from Ichihara to Chiba. While I don’t really have that much stuff, especially furniture, I have enough that it wouldn’t be feasible to take it all on the train or anything, plus I don’t have any friends with moving vans or whatever to haul the big stuff like my bike. It’s just easier to pay some company to take all my stuff to the new place. I had a few online estimates, which weren’t so great because I didn’t know the correct names for all my furniture in Japanese. For example, I’ve got these 4-foot tall bookshelves. You would think that one of these would be called 本棚 (book shelf) when filling out the online estimate form. You would be wrong. It’s called a カラーボックス (color box). I have no idea at all where that comes from, but oh well. I had 2 companies just come to my apartment to give me an estimate. The first place gave me a 26,000 yen estimate, which was a bit pricey. The second place quoted me 37,000, which was even worse, but after some hardcore negotiations, I was able to haggle him down to 21,500. I think haggling is expected in this situation, but I was happy with the outcome nonetheless. I have to pack my small stuff by myself, but they provided all the boxes and tape and everything for me to do it. Then on Sunday they’ll come and pack up my closet and furniture, then move everything into a truck, take it to Chiba, and unload everything in my new apartment. I think it’s worth the money.

I’ll write more about the whole apartment renting/moving process later, but probably in a few weeks once things calm down. I’m moving this Sunday (provided the typhoon is gone, which it will be), then have to unpack and get settled in. I have a week of work, then on Saturday a school-wide Goodbye Party for me, and on Sunday a big barbecue party, then 2 days of work at my AEON school, training my replacement Andrew. Then I should have tons more free time.

Oh, if you think that everything in Japan has a cartoon mascot, you’re probably right. Check out my moving boxes, with the Sakai Moving mascot panda:

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