Home > Focus on Japan 2011, Hibarigaoka > (Mostly) Moved In

(Mostly) Moved In

April 17th, 2011

This kind of time is always pretty hectic. Previous to the 15th, Sachi and I were packing everything we owned into boxes, not a trivial task. Whenever I had to make a run to the new house, I would load up two backpacks and sometimes another carry bag with stuff to bring, and cart it over on my scooter, as a way to get things done just a bit more quickly. We had to stop electricity, water, gas, Internet, cable TV, and probably another service or two I am forgetting. Inform the post office and file all kinds of forms.

Two days before moving day, we had construction crews at the new place installing hanger poles in the closets, curtain rods on every window, and a shelf above the door in the bath anteroom (there is almost no storage there). In the meantime, the moving crew’s electrical team came to take down the air conditioners and remove the washlet on the toilet.

On moving day, there was the predictable task of disconnecting and pre-packing the final bits, the stuff we wanted to use until the last day, and then help the movers and clean up after. In the meantime, the cable guy came to take away the old tuner. As they finished loading up the truck for the first of two trips, Sachi stayed at the old place to organize and clean, while I went to the new place to receive them and tell them where to put everything.

However, between the two trips, the cable TV guys came too early and the movers were late; while we had the TV at the new place, the power cords were in a box waiting to be brought on the second trip. So the cable guys instead did everything short of connecting the tuner–they hung cable from the street, added a booster in the space above the bath where the cables split, and brought in all the stuff. Then they had to wait, as the movers were late coming–a team of four or five guys just sitting in their vans.

When the movers finally came, they claimed that the boxes were not too far back, and they would get to them as fast as they could. But as the cable team waited, the movers not only went at a normal pace, they cleared out every other item aside from the boxes–which were crammed into the very back of the truck–and when they got to the boxes, made no effort to uncover enough so I could find the box in question. So I had to keep the cable guys waiting more than an hour before they could come in and install the tuner box.

While all that was happening, the gas guy came to get that started, and the guy who installs the screen doors came two days early. So we had, at one point, four different teams coming in and out at the same time.

After that, we faced un-boxing everything. Still maybe a quarter or a fifth of the boxes are not unpacked, but we’ve done enough over the past two days to make it look like we’re not drowning in them.

Today, the guys came to install the air conditioners–not an easy task as the house has nothing but electrical sockets for the machines. So they had to install the frames, hang the units, set up the piping–but most of all, they had to drill through the walls. We opted for covers for the outside so the piping didn’t look horrendous and the elements don’t wear down the pipes too quickly; I have to say, it looks a lot nicer than it otherwise would have.

The hole-drilling, however, left a find residue of plaster dust, like chalk dust, everywhere in the rooms they did the drilling–nearly everywhere, that is. As they were doing this, we discovered that a dresser was misplaced on the first floor–it should have been on the second floor–and the dresser was damned heavy, had drawers you can’t remove, and had no handles or bevels for getting a purchase. Nevertheless, we managed to get it up the stairs one step at a time.

We still have to unpack a few dozen boxes. Internet, as I mentioned, comes mid-week. A whole set of furniture we ordered–a reclining chair, reclining sofa, bedroom dresser, and three kitchen pieces–won’t come until the 25th, at which time I will have to assemble most of it. And we’ll have to go to the local police station to have ID cards amended. And, of course, a whole bunch of smaller projects–for example, I want to try to install carpet on all the stairs to improve purchase on them, but it will involve a lot of sizing and precise cutting and laying. Lots of little stuff like that.

So it’s a bit too early to call it a complete home yet, but at least it’s taking shape. Maybe by the end of the month, it’ll be ready.

Even as such, having your own home feels good. Park in your own driveway, do whatever you want to the walls without involving a landlord, and generally you just have your own house.

Categories: Focus on Japan 2011, Hibarigaoka Tags: by
  1. Frankie
    April 18th, 2011 at 00:08 | #1

    Congratulations Luis and Sachi for your new home. You’re right it’s nice to have your own home. When you rent a home it’s like being in a limbo. Having your own home is like paradise. I bought my restructured farm house appartment 25 km from Milan and it really feels nice. Take care. Frankie

  2. Troy
    April 18th, 2011 at 03:23 | #2

    >and generally you just have your own house.

    also important is the bundle of land-use rights you get with title ownership.

    The house will decay over the decades, but land is eternal — well, mostly, I guess there were some people in Tohoku that just had their land literally washed away . . .

    Once you pay the loan off your housing expense will go down quite a lot since property taxes are so low in Japan.

    This is a good deal so land owners don’t give it away, when buying land you basically have to pay the net present value of the future rents of the land.

    Metro Tokyo is, what, 50km x 50km or so? Take half of that as unusable, that’s still 2.5 billion square meters of land. At an average of Y200,000/m2, that’s a notional collective land value of 500 trillion yen, about half the national debt. . .

    And that’s just central Kanto! Summing up the entirety of Japan’s land value would be a stupendous amount.

    You may have figured out that I have developed an unhealthy fascination with land and land values ; )

  3. Troy
    April 18th, 2011 at 04:16 | #3

    ^ LOL, I screwed up the math.

    Going with an average land value of Y200万 per 坪
    Land averages 60万, not 20万 per meter2. Off by a lot!

    Thus, metro kanto land value is at 1.5 Quadrillion Yen, 1.5X the national debt.

  4. Frankie
    April 18th, 2011 at 04:39 | #4

    Ciao Troy,
    Good analysis. Here in Italy the home or appartment itself has more value than the land itself. I think it is the opposite of Japan. Here the average home is really well built in comparison with US or Japanese homes.
    Take care,
    P.S: Troy do you live in Japan?

  5. Troy
    April 18th, 2011 at 08:41 | #5

    I lived in Japan in the 90s, and worked with Luis for a couple of years during that time.

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