Apparently in my efforts to convey the relative remoteness of my location in Japan, I may have left the erroneous impression that I have traveled back in time to the 19th century, complete with outhouses and water pumped in the front yard. (No, that was Georgia.) Thankfully, this region in general and the university in particular have all the mod cons, although perhaps not to the level that we have grown used to in the States. One of my readers has asked for more details about my kitchen, and I am so charmed that she did that I am sitting right down to share my modest digs with her and you.
I am living in a faculty residence, designed to hold a small family. It has two floors. On the top floor is a large open room which has been configured for me with a small kitchen on the left (you’re about to see it all), a large space in the middle which holds a small table against the wall with two chairs, and on the right a single bed and TV on a stand as well as a bookcase. No sofa, reading chair/s, no place to sit were there ever to be a guest. On the same level is a bedroom which for some reason I cannot use for sleeping (no furniture) but which may be used, according to the sign, for “storage” and there is a closet with a raised floor where my clothes reside. Completing the layout on this level is a small toilet, just the toilet, nothing else.
Downstairs, where one enters, one finds in the entryway a large useful cabinet that stores the shoes of the household – one does not wear them inside – and some cleaning supplies in addition to blue plastic helmet and gardening gloves that is standard issue but never explained earthquake preparedness kit, apparently. There is also the “large” bathroom containing three little rooms. One holds the tub/shower, one the toilet, and one the sink and washer and dryer. It is very tight, but workable. There are also two additional rooms, one of which is locked summarily and the other has a sign on the door handle which reads that it is to be entered only in case of emergency. Of course I peeked in and it’s another empty small bedroom. Finally there is a steep narrow hairpin staircase with eleven steps that connects the two.
So here’s a look at my kitchen:
The pots and pans are in the cupboards you see below the sink. Food stuffs are above the sink. A closeup of my gas stove, which works beautifully:
Turning just slightly to the right, one finds my refrigerator. The freezer section is small, and the ice maker consists of two small trays containing leetle blocks of ice. They’re turned manually into the small container below and then you can make two more. (Notice the whole operation in the upper left of the photo below.) Wilson would never approve.
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. Here’s the rest of the ‘fridge:
Cold fruit, cold yogurt, cold water, cold salads. You may notice a theme.
Another quarter turn and you espy the remainder of the kitchen electronic machinery – a microwave and a toaster oven:
…and finally to the right of that the cabinet where plates, cups, glasses, and silverware have been thoughtfully provided:
You’ll notice some additional features about the place in these photos. The walls are white, there is nothing hung on them, the flooring is the identical wood-looking plastic covering that I had in Batumi, and the drapes are all a modest light green polyester that thankfully blocks the light fairly well since dawn comes just around 4:00 am here. Lighting is all fluorescent and overhead, with the sole exception of the fluorescent lamp beside my bed.
The final question from my reader was what food or seasonings do I miss. Great question. Real coffee with half-and-half; Maine blueberries; avocados; breakfast in general that’s not yogurt, fresh herbs, and, because Ted makes the best ones in the world and I had two this spring, BLTs with heirloom tomatoes on sourdough bread. Oh, and T&Ts.
Hope this helps – I’ll do a little more sharing about the physical environment where I’m teaching in a later post. Time to get back to correcting.