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On the suburban frontier west of Tokyo - Fall 2002
kitchen fixin'

index.html When we moved in and I discovered that this kitchen has no counter-space, and no drawers. Like I've heard about most rental apartments in Japan, it came with no refrigerator, no stove, no oven. Only a sink, a propane water heater and a few cabinets. You pick out your own appliances.

Perhaps this system helps fuel the development of consumer electronics in Japan. Certainly we had a good time looking at the many state-of-the-art options for our appliances (BlueTooth-enabled microwave, anyone?). And then we ended up buying just about all of them from a "Sayonara Sale" mentioned on the Tokyo Notice Board. Luca, an Italian PhD in Modern Japanese Literature was returning to teach at the University of Rome after six years in Japan. We took his refrigerator, washing machine, kitchen cabinet, carpet, dining table and two chairs, a small set of computer speakers, trashcan and a lamp - for about $300.

index.html We added to these with my favourite furniture purchase - a rolling shelf-counter-top contraption that provides much needed horizontal kitchen space. And finally we could stack and hold enough stuff to make it feel like a proper place to prepare food.

Jane's aunt sent us a common household stove - two burners, with a narrow slotted sliding grill beneath. There's a little icon next to the dial so you can be sure - this grill is for fish.

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The range is fed by propane (a bit like cooking out at the pond), and the burners are gas, which beats the pants off of electric for cooking. With a toaster and a rice-maker from Jane's mom, we have some regular at-home food routine going. Rich smells and ready snacks from the kitchen make this infinitely more comfortable than capsule hotel living. We've made grilled salmon, grilled whole sardines, chicken-miso-onion soup, hashbrowns and eggs, toast and yogurt; pretty basic stuff. But not food from a package either.


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