Japanese daily life

Yesterday I left Shoko's house to move to the apartment Temple is providing for me near the campus. Much to my surprise, it wasn't the small one bedroom apartment I stayed in when I taught here 10 years ago, but a TWO bedroom apartment in the same building. It's odd, it seems like too much space! I have closed the door to the second bedroom and will leave it that way ... until a guest arrives ...

The best news is that the wonderful supermarket, named Peacock's, that I remembered in the plaza across the street, is still there. Think a "Whole Foods" or "Wegman's" with Japanese food and gadgets, an immense selection of meats and fish, prepared foods, flawless vegetables. Not only flawless, packaged in specially designed containers ... like the wedge of watermelon I bought ... in a wedge shaped plastic container. Good thing they recycle here because the amount of plastic I brought home in one small shopping trip was amazing.

Speaking of recycling ... they take it seriously here. You need a PhD to figure out how to do it. What kind of plastic is it? Is it reusable? Labels have to come off the drink bottles. The caps are recycled differently than the bottle and the label. The only thing that is obvious is real garbage ... food waste for example. Fortunately there is map of how to recycle posted on the refrigerator ... and it's in English. They know we foreigners need a lot of help in this area.

And speaking of the refrigerator ... it's a little different than what we are used to in the US. It's only about 18-20 wide and has three compartments. Top is refrigerator, middle is freezer, and I haven't yet figured out what the bottom drawer is for. And no, the ACME bag hanging on the side of it wasn't here. I threw it in my luggage just in case ... it's light and folds flat so it wasn't a problem. Already it has come in handy for trips to Peacock's and the Hyaku-En (100 Yen) store, the Japanese equivalent of a Dollar store.

And then there are the cooking tools. So glad Shoko came to help me settle in the morning and could help translate the directions. Turns out the microwave is more than a microwave ... it also bakes and broils depending on which buttons you push. No wonder the rice bowl I put it in last night didn't get hot. Who knows what setting I had it on. The three burner stove is very efficient and has the best built in grill. Hard to see in the picture but it's between the knobs. Has a ceramic element that heats up and does a great job grilling without smoking up the entire apartment.

There's a tiny washer and dryer too ... stacked. Another adventure in pushing buttons to see what happens. After the stuff in the drier ran for about 40 minutes and was still soaking wet, I tried another setting and that one worked. I'll have Shoko translate the controls on that for me next time she visits. Either that or just hang everything on the convenient rack over the bath tub and turn on the heat lamp.

The only thing that isn't tiny ... is the kitchen sink. It's about twice the size of my sink at home. It will keep me busy, keeping it clean. I am like Lady MacBeth with my sink ... "out, damned spot! Out, I say!"

All in all it's very livable. I've cooked myself a couple of meals. Done some laundry. Next thing to figure out is the electronically controlled bath tub.



#Food #DailyLife

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