Thursday, January 24, 2013

Moving Companies

I've found an apartment and moving in February!  My first experience of living by myself in Japan.  There are lots of things that I have to buy, especially electronics.  Why things cost so much?  I've saved up some money to study abroad.  I decided to postpone (or give up?) the plan, so the budget is used for starting my new living.  Hope I don't have to spend all of it.  :( 

I have some furniture to take with me, so I definitely have to ask for a moving company.  I found a website that I can ask ten moving companies at the same time for the estimate moving cost.  The fact is, though, I was sending out my information to 10 companies through that website, so the individual company contacted me separately.  It was almost scary to receive more than 10 email messages simultaneously AND phone calls right after I sent out my message.  I had no idea that fierce competitions are going on among the movers.  Today, I sent declining messages to some companies, and I will choose one of the rest to ask for moving.  

This weekend, I'll go to the electronics store to see what kind of deals they have.  The Internet company is waiting for me to sign, and also moving companies and electronics stores are offering the Internet services as well.  The moving day is exactly a month later.  I will deal with things one by one!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snow! Snow!

Ok, the weather forecast had said, "it might snow," but who would expect this much snow?? We had a huge snowfall here in Tokyo on Monday, the first snow this winter. It snowed a lot for a long time. I went out shopping, and I had decided to walk to the station. I regretted right after I started walking. It was very cold. I soon lost the sense of my fingertips. The snow was heavy and wet, and it stuck on my coat, gloves, and bag to make everything soaked. I was grumpy when I arrived at the station, though it was poor R who had to wait for me in the cold station for half an hour...
But once you become warm and (relatively) dry, snow is nice to look at. It makes outside look brighter. And the best thing is only a few people go shopping on the day like this. The shops are usually packed on the weekend, but they were deserted. The sales clerks were eager to talk to us since there were not many customers in the sales area. It was nice:)

I'm preparing for moving. I've found the room, and now I have to think about electronics and furniture to buy. Interior coordination is not my strength:( Ugh.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year of the snake!  
Today is the last day of my winter vacation.  How was your Holidays?  I had a great time with my family and friends.  In recent years, I had been away from home, working or travelling abroad, during the New Year season.  But this year, I decided to stay in Japan and spend this time of the year with my family and follow all the traditions that we have.  

On December 30th, we had our parents' 60th anniversary dinner at a nice restaurant.  My sister found that place and told me I would like it, and of course, my parents would have a good time.  She was right.  The restaurant was called Ukai-Tei, and the guests are guided into a private booth with a huge cast-iron hot plate, and a chef comes to each booth to cook for them in front of their eyes.  Sounds cool, right?  We were lucky to have a chef who is almost same age as my parents in our booth.  He was very skilled, cheerful, and entertaining.  The food was just amazing!  That dinner was for mom and dad, but I might have been the one who enjoyed the party the most ;)  Well, it was great to see my parents enjoying the gathering.  

On New Year's Eve, R and I went to the temple to see people hit the gong 108 times at midnight, we ended up lining up with other people to hit the huge bell. It is a tradition for Japanese people to ring this gong for 108 times on New Year's Eve to purify the past years sins.  (It is said that each person has 108 sins.  Yes, we are sinful people!!)  The gong at the temple looked like this.
You can see people lining up on the right.  Each one hit the gong once and pray for the good luck for the coming year.  I've heard the sound of the gong from the near-by temple in the past, but this was the first time for me to actually hit it by myself.  It was quick, but fun :)

The year-end and the New Year must have been the busiest cooking days for my mom.  She cooked a lot of food really nicely from osechi, Japanese traditional New Year's Day cuisine, to meat loaves.  We had my sister and her husband over, and we also invited R for the first time to a family gathering, and had a feast.  My sister played a nice role of being an entertainer, which I believe it was natural of her from being tipsy and happy.  Even my cranky dad looked happy to have all the family members (+1) at the same table.  Oh, and January 1st is my mom's birthday as well!  This year, six people sang happy birthday for her.

This year will be a challenging year for me.  I'm going to change my job and finally move out from my parents' place.  Yesterday, I went to the real estate agency with R to find an apartment.  I found one and have started the contracting process today.  I'm very nervous about this because I have never lived alone in Japan.  I'm sure I can take care of myself, but I have little idea about what I have to be careful to choose the place.  But at the same time, it is exciting to start something new and gain some independence.  If I really don't like the new apartment, it's not the end of the world.  I will move out :)

Today was the first day of my tutoring this year.  I have to quit this tutoring at the end of February due to my moving.  Luckily, the tutoring office has found another teacher who takes over my lessons.  My student is such a nice boy, so I hope he will get along well with the new teacher.  

Tomorrow, I'm going to be back to my regular shifts.  The New Year's resolution is, "Stay healthy and work hard!"