This article was edited over a year after it was written because new information was learned from being at that company for a longer period of time.
Right now there is nothing for me to do. I have no internet and Sam is asleep… So this post has been written in advance.
I figured I’ve mentioned enough about our apartment that it might seem like a bit of a mystery why I make such a big deal about fixing it. It probably hasn’t sounded that bad, but it is honestly pretty used up.
When we first found out where we were living, I received an e-mail from the aforementioned James. I had asked some details about finding an apartment and he told me that there must have been a misunderstanding because we have an apartment and, better still, the last person who lived the donated most of his furniture to our relocation, which I later found were just an accumulation of things from all of the teachers who had lived there for the last few years. We were pretty pumped, as this meant we wouldn’t be sleeping in a bare apartment for the first few weeks and also would be saving money on all the essentials!
We arrived after the flight, and subsequent drive, and were quickly walked through it by James. We didn’t notice anything at the time, and it honestly took a week to find all the weirdness:
The second day, while exploring, we found a empty can of Sapporo in the closet, and a full can in the fridge. Well, they donated so many things; it’s ok! We’ll do something with them.
Our apartment has two tatami rooms (6 tatamis each, for anyone that cares), and I noticed that most of the paper screens had holes in them.
Oh wait, they also punctured a woven sliding door… Huh? Well… Whatever, I guess..?
Let’s check out the furniture they donated!
The couch! It’s ok! Except it’s not very comfortable and has some mysterious stains… When I was trying to clean it, I found that it smelled like a babies diaper (Sam disagreed)… I’m gonna have to buy a cover.
The kitchen table, desk, and desk chair! Super weird and uncomfortable! We can make it work! (We have with the table. The desk and chair are gonna go once we’ve finished up the rest. They’re literally giving Sam back pains.)
The $158 rice cooker! It has old, dried up rice in it?! That’s a bit gross. I mean, thanks for leaving it, but a quick rinse would have literally been 3 minutes…
The pans? All Teflon and the all peeling. Not a great sign.
But WAIT! There’s more! The plates the last teacher left had to have their bottom-side scrubbed (gross!); the tatamis in the study area have many scuff marks; there are pins stuck in all the walls (guess we don’t have to worry about damaging them?); there are huge bookshelves that are ugly, breaking, and don’t actually fit in the apartment (they block part of a door); there is a broken drill that’s box has a message which reads, “Happy Drilling! From Dad”; the clothes drying rack that is bent and falling apart outside; there is an assortment of dead potted plants; the random cords and crap in one of the closets, one of which is for a wii that is not here (nor is a tv for that matter); there are clumps of dust all over the place, especially in any crease in the wall; and, to top it all off, the weird shower flooring!
The shower flooring was a mat that had plastic grass and two bamboo mats resting on top, one of which was broken. From the second I saw this set-up, I loathed it. The grass was not fun to walk on and there was space underneath for things (like spiders) to hide. It took us a week and a half to learn that it needed to seriously go. The story that led to this discovery is Sam’s and I frankly haven’t heard the whole thing, nor do I want to… It involves a shower, a spider, and then lifting up the mats to find… things. Sam has spent the past few days working on this situation; he killed all the spiders and bugs living in that room, scrubbed the hell out of the floor (which was caked in dirt, hair, and mold), cut up and threw out the mats (which were also caked in dirt, hair, and mold), and then spent time unclogging the drains, which were overflowing with crap, including red hair and ton of beach sand. Sam is my hero. Today we are going to buy new flooring at the hardware store.
From what I have read, this is not the norm for finding an apartment. When people leave apartments in Japan, if the place isn’t spotless they have to pay a ¥30,000+ ($300+) cleaning fee to have a team come out and fix it all up. Because this place is under contract with my company, I can only assume that this was not the case. I’ve told James about the shower flooring, when explaining why I couldn’t come to an optional work event this weekend, and he seemed genuinely surprised and apologetic. I know he probably knew about some of the issues with this place, but maybe figured it didn’t amount to enough to bring out a cleaning crew? Little did I know that it was apparently his responsibility to clean the apartment. He did a terrible job.
So, little-by-little, we’re cleaning the mess and throwing out many of the donations. Soon we might have a jankity apartment that we’re happy with, but it might still be a few weeks before that is the case. Once we’ve made it our place, I’ll post some pictures on here.