Over the past few days, we've been keeping busy around the apartment with finding places for all the stuff in our 13 boxes along with swim in the pool on the roof. Yesterday, we went to visit some friends that we know from Fukuoka. We've been keeping ourselves busy despite no camping trip, which is good. Besides that, I've been really sleepy over the past few days. I've been taking frequent naps during the day and falling asleep shortly after the kids go to bed in the evening. I don't know if it's being in the air conditioning most of the day that's causing it. Our apartment seems t have two choices: too hot or too cold.
I haven't said much about my apartment and there was a good reason for that. Initially, there was a little worry about people complaining that I got a better apartment. Now that it seems like that has blown over, I can talk about it. The main reason that our apartment is good is the location. We're away from the center of town, but still close by some main points of interest. Spinney's, a supermarket that has the separate pork and alcohol sections, is a fairly close walk. there are a lot more green areas around us and we're a 5-minute walk from the beach. (see the photo from our balcony) Even though I'm not much a a beach person, it's still nice to be a 5-minute walk away from one. At least the views are good and I can watch the sunset from all the windows in our apartment.
The apartment building is a little older and it shows. Inside there are minor maintenance issues like a sagging ceiling by the elevator and cracked glass in one of the corridor doors. Overall it's pretty nice with a pool on the roof and a squash court on the seventh floor. There is also a fitness room with a decent treadmill and an OK weightlifting set. We have our own "personal fitness instructor" who cleans the pool and does a barely passable job of keeping the equipment maintained. While I don't know how much use I'll get out of the proximity to the beach once things cool off, (That's right, kids. During the summer it's actually too hot to go to the beach!) I do take our kids upstairs to the pool at least twice a week. There's something satisfying about being able to come home and say, "Put your swimsuits on, we're going to the pool," and actually be in the pool 5 minutes later. Having that convenience means that we can swim for 30 minutes and not feel like we have to stay longer.
As for the apartment itself, we live in a three-bedroom place with a huge living / dining room, tiny kitchen and a maid's room. Even thought the maid's room is about the size of a small walk-in closet, it has it's own bathroom and shower. We also have an additional three bathrooms, two of which have a bath and shower. It's nice to have a bathroom in out bedroom for when I have to pee in the middle of the night. In Japan I had to go down a steep st of stairs. Being ten steps away from a toilet makes all the difference. We use the maid's room to store suitcases and sporting equipment like my bike and helmets, running biking shoes. The maid's room bathroom is convenient for drying swimsuits and storing things like goggles and the kids' water wings. Our washer / dryer is in the kitchen and we still have a space for a dishwasher if we decide to get one. Even though the place is pretty big, we don't have much storage space. We have two built-in wardrobes and the maid's room to store stuff.
Overall, we're pretty happy with where we live. This side of town is pretty good and a convenient jumping off point for cycling or swimming. Because this side of town hasn't been developed as much, it's still easy to get a parking place. The problem lies in the fact that there are 6 residential high-rises being built on this block alone. While our place is seven stories with about 60 units in it, these new buildings are about 18 stories each. Ample parking and green space may be a thing of the past. Another worry is that this building was set to be knocked down in January to make room for what we're only assuming was a taller building. The school I work for was able to exert enough influence to keep that from happening (they have a lot of employees living here). Who knows how much longer they can keep the owner from deciding he wants a bigger building.