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.