I have been safely ensconced in the Palace for over a week now. Jim-Bob arrived bright and early with the van; we chucked the mattress and backpack in the back, and that was me moved! Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to capture a GPS map on my phone when I first looked at the apartment over a month ago, so knew it was going to be a tad confusing getting back there. Fortunately, Jim-Bob has a sense of direction and an understanding of how the bizarre address system works here, and he managed to get us there, which impressed me no end.
It was slapstick all around. Jim-Bob hit his head on the low kitchen ceiling and momentarily saw stars. Yours truly was walking backwards with the bed and tripped over the step that is just in from the front door. Fell flat on my arse with the bed on top of me. Oh, the hilarity. Jim-Bob went to the bathroom and emerged looking quite shaken. I was alarmed as I thought he had been taken ill. He managed to stutter, "It's like an earthquake in there when you flush." I tested it out and sure enough, that tiny bathroom rocked like mother nature on meth. The old plumbing is kinda familiar though - it reminds me of every dodgy apartment I have lived in around Collingwood, Richmond and St Kilda.
I hung around and waited for the gasman to arrive. He was scheduled to appear between 1.00 - 3.00pm. One of the great things about living here is that the Japanese have mastered time-management. The rail system moves 30 million people around Tokyo every day and trains run on time every few minutes. It's a true art. I guess what I am trying to say is that I was guaranteed that the gasman would arrive at some stage during the appointed hours - and he did. I was feeling particularly rebellious that day and was wearing my shoes inside. Oh yes people, I am out of control! The gasman glanced down at my feet and could barely conceal his horror to see the gaijin wearing shoes in the house. He didn't know where to look - his eyes kept darting away, only to sneak surreptitious glances back at my feet. I just kept grinning at him thinking, 'Get over it, sunshine, it ain't the end of the world.' But perhaps it was that incomprehensible to him, who knows? Through a series of charades, he demonstrated how to turn off the gas in the event of an earthquake. Pff, like that will be my priority when the whole building comes crashing down on me!
I had told quite a few people that I was going to move. All were very impressed that I was moving to Mejiro and cooed, "Oooh, it's such a nice area!" and "Great, it has a university there too, so it has a lovely feel to it." Yeah, whatever.
The other, and rather unexpected, common response upon hearing that I would be living on the ground floor was an alarmed, "Don't hang your knickers outside because they will probably be stolen." As far as crime goes in Tokyo, the theft of womens' knickers is up there towards the top of the list. There is just far too much there for me to extrapolate on, so I'm going to leave it... and just sit here laughing my head off.
Beware the shitagidorobo!