|On the suburban frontier west of Tokyo - Fall 2002|
It's another side of a country you see when you're shopping for all the little knick-knacks that fill up a place and make it comfortable. Where do you find a device to hang your bath-towel? (The seventh floor of the "L-MyLord" Shopping Mall in Shin-Yurigaoka). What about a pole to hang the laundry on? (The fourty-year-old hardware store in Kakio run by the nice old lady who agreed to take our pole that was too short and exchange it for a longer one).
Looking for flatware at the Tokyu Hands "Creative Life Store" in Machida (even further from Tokyo than we are), we found perhaps my favourite single item purchase, our self-titled "Mister Happy" knife.
Why not have some smiles in your silver? Next to the formal cutlery, there's a utensil with whimsey.
To Be Determined
Every room in our apartment has overhead flourescent light fixtures. Yimney! Who decided that was a good idea?
Outside of our apartment are extensive grasslands bordering a river, with copses of trees just beyond. It seems idyllic, especially if you're expecting something more cyber from the Tokyo-area. But the river-bed is completely lined in concrete, there's giant exposed outdoor powerlines overhead, and crews of men are steadily paving over the grasslands. In the last three weeks since we arrived, they've covered one stretch of ground in fresh asphalt. What for, I wonder? Maybe it's time for me to see about visiting a city council meeting.
We don't have an Internet connection here. I called Yahoo BB (a major service provider in Japan, offering DSL by the month for around 3000 yen, less than $30.) In my simple Japanese, I said, "I want broadband." They advised me that I must have a working landline to get DSL. So much for an exclusively-mobile phone lifestyle. Unfortunately, new land lines cost over 60,000 yen from NTT, the monopoly phone provider (that's around $500). So maybe we'll turn to the used market. Or continue to rely on my 33k wireless card for Internet connectivity.