Well, you’ve already seen my magnificent toilet, but I might as well give you the 10 yen tour of my apartment.
Bathrooms in Japan sometimes come in two parts – a room for the toilet, and a room for the shower and bath. The floor of this room has a grain on it, so you can shower there, and then get in the tub to soak. Randomly, Japanese tubs rock, because, while shorter than their US counterparts, they’re much deeper, so you don’t have to struggle to try to submerse your whole body after the age of 10. Many are heated, too, so the water never gets cold (alas, mine is not).
The faucet, however, is quite interesting, and took a few days to get used to. On the left, you set the temperature, so you don’t have to struggle to get the water temperature just right each day. Simple enough. The right side, however, is tricky. Lift the lever up for the shower head, and push it down for the sink faucet (which can be swung over to instead fill the bathtub – yay efficiency). The kanji on the front means “stop”, and you need to move it to that position to turn off the water – too far, and water just starts spewing from someplace else…which can be quite shocking.
The kitchen…could be larger, but for my uses here (read: it has no oven, so baking’s out) it works. A plethora of plastic bags hang from to sort garbage and recycling. Food is in the cupboard below (large quantities of packaged curries and instant bowls of ramen, mostly) and condiments are in the tiny shelf above the sink, while my dishes (and plastic containers that I’ve washed out and declared dishes) are on top of the microwave. The pot stays on the electric stove because I’m constantly boiling water (for tea, or to heat curry packages).
[My very own washing machine, for the first time in my life! YAY!]
Next to the kitchen is the laundry room, with my tiny little 10-gallon washing machine. It’s nice to be able to do small loads. If only it could also dry them. Alas, I have to hang them out on the balcony. Things seem to dry really fast out there (I’ve gotten good about packing lightweight, fast-drying clothing) but things are always wrinkled or stiff, and I would still prefer a dryer.
[My not-so-impressive foyer]
To round off the front half of my apartment if my vital, if unimpressive, foyer. You need a place to take your shoes off and stash them. Mercifully, my apartment provides.
There’s a huge shoe closet right next to the door, which makes follow Japanese footwear rules much easier. This is, in fact, the best storage area in the entire apartment. I have no drawers, and almost no shelving otherwise (except the big one above the toilet) and I’m half-tempted to start storing things other than shoes here…
At the other end of the apartment is my living space, followed by my balcony (which overlooks the forested destroyed mountain-castle thing behind my house). My bed is the Japanese futon on the floor; a couple cardboard boxes have been re-purposed to create a small bookcase; my tiny little has a surface area of less than 4 square feet; and I’ve stashed the TV so I can use the tiny TV stand as a computer desk. The culminating achievement, however, was the sofa.
[Me on my sofa]
My neighbor realized that she could fold her bedding into a couch by day. As I mysteriously received two futon sets, I folded one up into a comfy couch for watching shows on the laptop, while the other one stays in bed form. Brilliant.