And what a week it’s been!
I arrived jet-lagged to pouring rain, lugging a bike box and 94lb suitcase which cost me $84 and $252 respectively to check on the plane. Luckily the shipyard was able to stick to its promise of finding us at the airport and providing a ride to our accommodations since they weren’t able to give me an address of my apartment beforehand. After a long bus ride we arrive to some random bus stop at Yokohama station where half of us get off the bus. It’s cold and, as I mentioned, raining. We’re standing around while the people “in charge” untangle themselves and find taxis for everyone and their luggage. Of course I’m the last one since my “host” is the only one of the group who speaks Japanese. We walk around the plaza, literally, three times dragging my stuff in the pouring rain looking for a taxi before we end up right where we started (where everyone else had already gotten taxis). We pile my stuff in the back seat because it won’t fit in the trunk and then somehow squeeze ourselves in too for the 5 min ride to my building.
I’m staying in the Yokohama “Urban Tower” which is in the new part of the city. I say “new” because they literally just created 21 acers of land by filling in part of the harbor. It’s called Minato Mirai 21 and I live in one of its dozens of luxury high rises. I have a studio apartment with a full kitchen, a balcony, and a nice view of the Yokohama Bay Bridge (if I crane my neck just right). The studio actually has 4 rooms. The main room:
The bath room (which is actually two rooms because the Japanese-style bath has a door on it) and the toilet room!
Complete with bidet and heated seat of course!
The apartment has a couple of curious features. At first I thought I’d been slighted by the management when, after a 14-hour travel day, I crawl into bed only to discover they’ve given me a box spring and no mattress!! Or at least that’s what I thought. It turns out this is just a standard Japanese bed. Well… I guess it’s good for posture, right?
The other interesting feature is the in-unit washer and dryer. The washer isn’t too difficult to get the hang of, especially with the instructions/translations I was provided for each of my appliances (stove, microwave, rice cooker, A/C, and washing machine all have their own sheet).
However, the dryer is unlike anything I’d ever heard of before: After your clothes are finished spinning in the washer you hang them up in the bathroom, close the door and press the “dry” button on the wall!
I still haven’t figured out how to get the wrinkles out, but I suppose it has something to do with the iron and ironing board in my closet. Suggestions?
The first week was pretty hectic actually. Between getting settled in the apartment and figuring out the commute I didn’t have time for much else really. My train ride is about 30 mins and it takes about 15 minutes to walk to the station from my apartment. Then, on the other side, it’s a serious hike between the train station and my office on the boat. I’m working swingshift so I don’t get home until about 11:30, which doesn’t leave much opportunity for exploring the city. I ended up renting a bike in Yokosuka and have been wrestling with where to park it.
It turns out next to the train station with a bunch of other bikes isn’t right for some reason ;-) My next project is to find a cheap folding bike I can take on the train with me.
Of course I made time for a little bit of fun on Sunday night. I was out biking around Yokohama and decided to drop in on the Fab Four after I stumbled upon their neck of the woods. They were properly surprised and agreed to meet Igor and me for dinner later that night.
Igor, Toshi, Andy, and me! Eriko didn’t come out for some reason.
They took us to an international buffet place in the main train station. There were all kinds of Asian foods, Italian foods, etc, most of which wasn’t too far off from what you might find at a buffet table at a wedding. Nothing too special really, but it was good to hang out with everyone.
I got yelled at for trying to eat curry with chopsticks. Apparently spaghetti is OK though.
Eisuke reaffirms his love for Jennifer Aniston.
I hope to meet up with them again soon. I wanted to have a little party at my place, but I ended up going snowboarding last weekend instead. Some other time.
Next post: Snowboard trip!