Yesterday we visited the new house for a look around with the agent. My first look inside our new home. Actually I was pleasantly surprised as it isn’t quite as pokey as I imagined from the pictures. That’s not to say it’s spacious – far from it. But by Tokyo standards, it’s not bad.
This time we approached the house from Nishi-Okigubo station which lies about 10 minutes walk north. Around the station is a fascinating maze of rickety yakitori shops and oyaji (“old man”) bars that haven’t changed since the 50’s by the looks. I’m sure they’ve never even seen a gaijin in these places. Maybe I’ll be the first.
The house itself is in fairly good order, but it does need a lot of cleaning and a bit of repair work to some of the walls, particularly in Little M’s room. The problem is that the building methods and materials are completely different to what I’m used to, so I will have to proceed with caution. All the exterior walls are basically wood panels attached to a steel frame. The idea is that the house flexes in an earthquake. Inside, it’s mainly stud partitions. Fixing anything to the inside walls is going to prove tricky.
But on the plus side, we’ve discovered the local B&Q. Well, it’s not called B&Q of course, but its the same idea. Only better! It’s got absolutely everything we need, including some great pre-made wooden components that you can use to create tables and stuff. Brilliant. And there is some absolutely beautiful timber available of all descriptions – Japanese oak, teak and other other hardwoods. The old man would have been in his element. I’m going to have a go at making my own desk for the office.
We’ve decided to use the Japanese room on the ground floor as my working space. In this way, it can also double-up as the guest bedroom if someone comes to visit. I’m keen that the furniture I put in this room is in keeping with the Japanese style, so I’m going to make a low desk and use a Japanese-style floor chair. When guests come (or when I’m in the dog house) I can just tuck it away and get the futon out of the cupboard. I think it’ll be very cosy.
Our bedroom next door is going to be a bit more of a challenge: For some reason, there’s a kitchen sink and cooker in there! It’s going to have to go to make room for fitted wardrobes, but it’s gas so it needs a specialist. There’s no way I can afford that just yet, so we’ll have to live with it.
So the next few days are going to be hellish: Cleaning and decorating in these temperatures with no air-conditioning is going to be hard work. Even the Japs are wilting in the heat. Time to summon up my best Bulldog spirit, get the builder-bum shorts on and show them how it’s done.