Tuesday, November 3, 2009

House Hunting in Yokosuka

!!!GREAT NEWS!!! There is a new dentist in Stuart and he's renting our house. As of Nov. 1, we have tenants. It'll be great if they stay for three years. Keep your fingers crossed. And...

we found a house here. We sign a contract through the base housing office on Nov. 9 and our furniture is delivered on Nov. 10. This is it...

We’ve adjusted to life on base. You can’t forget that it’s a Naval Base, there are uniforms all around and buildings have names like NavSup (Navy Supply) and Comfleat (!?!?).

In the theatres (admission is $3), before the previews, we stand for the National Anthem. But it is Japan and there are vending machines that take yen. I carry 2 wallets, yen and dollars.

Allan's glad to have a cellphone on his belt and keys in his pocket. We got the phones without paying anything, or giving them a credit card. I’ve been instructed to come in before the 15th of the month and pay the bill. Strange but true.

We also bought a Nissan Cube, a cute little box that’s roomier on the inside than it looks on the outside. Our tag number is Y 866. The Y indicates that we are Americans.
It's day 47 in the Navy Lodge, but Allan's holding up fairly well. He's in a room with a beautiful woman, two beds and ESPN. How bad could it be?

So we've been house hunting. We do not want to live on base. I can be surrounded by Americans in Florida. I’m in Japan and I want the full experience - maybe not full full. I do like my conveniences.

My requirements are simple, rooms that will fit my furniture, no tatami mats (we’ll cover that), an oven, closets and a parking space. Simple, right? Oh, nay, nay.
Let me describe a Japanese house:
The kitchen – two-burner stove, no oven, fish grill (teeny broiler used ONLY for fish), smallish but adequate refrigerator, no pantry, very little storage, even less counter space. Oddly the sink is big enough to bathe a terrier.
The tatami room - the photo below shows a 1 meter x 2 meter tatami mat, and the room is measured by the number of mats. They're made out of grass so your house smells like you just mowed the living room. And I imagine they damage easily, so you pay for new ones when you vacate the house. As I said, no tatami rooms.
Bathroom – This room has a tub and the portion of the room outside the tub is the shower. No soap in the tub, because the water recirculates through a heater to keep it hot. Western style houses might have a non-circulating tub, so I can take a bubble bath.
Toilet – This room has only a toilet, or a toilet/bidet. With the latter, you relieve yourself, then get a little spritz on your privates. That's what I call hygiene!
Home toilets are sometimes equipped with hand washing facilities, like the photo, but since the water runs into the tank, what about soap?

When you're walking through town, you may be offered a small pack of tissue with some advertisement attached. Take it. Most public toilets have a sink, but no toilet paper, soap or paper towels.

Storage - I don’t know where clothes are stored, but few older (15 years) houses have closets with racks. There is plenty of space to store your futon when you are not sleeping on it. There are few garages, so where do you store your tools, golf clubs, fishing tackle, scuba gear, and bicycle? We'll need to figure that out.

There’s a machine here that washes AND dries clothes. A young Japanese woman, whose husband is from Missa-sippi (I wrote that with a suthern accent), says they don’t really work well and I believe her. I’m going for the loaner from the Navy. Yes indeed, the Navy will give you a refrigerator, stove, microwave, washer and dryer if you live in Japanese housing. That's your tax dollars at work.

After about 15 houses, we found a new house with a roof deck that has a view of Tokyo Bay. We loved the place... except there were NO closets in any of the bedrooms and almost no cabinets in the kitchen. The owner intends to buy some storage from IKEA (yep, it's in Japan) and we had hoped to make it work, but we saw this other house (no view) with lots of closets, a good kitchen and parking (which isn't automatic). We hated giving up the deck, but we're going with this one.

The address is Shonan Takatori 3-3-1 Yokosuka. That will not help you find it. Like the U2 song, this is a place where the streets have no names. No kidding. Only the highways have numbers. To find a house, you will be given directions based on landscape and landmarks... (go through 4 tunnels and turn right at the public phone booth).

Don't worry, if you come to visit, we'll pick you up and bring you to the house.

QUICK LESSON – Kobe beef, you’ve heard about it, that deliciously marbled beef that you cut with a fork. But did you know... the cows are raised in a very clean barn, and they eat the highest grade of oats or grain. Then they get pampered with massages and classical soothing music, so that they are always calm and serene. Whooee!! Yeah, it’s all fun and games until someone gets slaughtered and eaten.

No comments:

Post a Comment