Yesterday we handed over the money and became the owners of our new flat. Well, new to us; it’s actually twice the age of the current one, and very close to it. So, why are we moving? The new flat has an extra room.
Our tatami-mat room. You might just be able to see the colour change where the furniture used to be.
We had to go to Yokohama to borrow a room in a bank (the bank that gave me the mortgage) where we could transfer enormous amounts of money to the relevant people, including the estate agents, insurance companies, the scrivener who was changing the deeds, and, of course, the previous owners of the flat, who got this month’s ground rent/service charge and the remainder of this year’s property tax as well as the remainder of the price of the flat itself. That was straightforward, although it did take an hour to get all the paperwork done. (So, now not only have I received a Japanese mortgage, I’ve spent it.)
On the way back, I submitted my tax return. It’s been a busy few months.
Anyway, shortly after we got home Yuriko’s friend from university came over. He’s an architect, and is in charge of the remodelling we’re going to have done.
[I’ve just lost more than half of the blog entry. The log-in cookie expired while I was writing, so the autosave stopped working, and when I tried to save the draft, I was sent to the log-in window and the text vanished. This is a bug in WordPress, which I will have to report when I have time.]
On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji from the Japanese-style room. Yesterday wasn't clear.
The new flat is in a danchi. These are large complexes of flats built in the 1970s, while Japan’s economy was booming and everyone was moving to the cities. Unlike the equivalent structures in the UK, they have not turned into sink estates. They are, however, generally very big for the price, because they are getting old, and Japanese people like new houses. Because they were built for people moving out of traditional Japanese homes, with lots of tatami matting, they all had tatami rooms. Our flat has one such room left, but it quite possibly hasn’t been redecorated since the danchi was built, so one part of the remodelling will be renovating that. We’re going to leave it Japanese-style, however, because I’ve wanted a tatami room since I got to Japan.
We’re also planning to put a partition in the living room, to create an area where Mayuki can make train layouts, or doll dioramas, or lego constructions, and leave them up for days at a time. The main other work is likely to be a counter area in the kitchen, for cooking and eating breakfast, lunch, and some dinners. More formal dinners will be eaten in the tatami room, we think.
The room nearest the entrance is going to be my office, and I’m going to teach in there. That should mean that my evening lessons won’t interrupt Yuriko and Mayuki’s normal activities, and thus should make their lives significantly easier, particularly as Mayuki gets bigger.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the place looks like after remodelling. I think it will look much more interesting than it does now.