18 August 2011

Our new digs!

     We've been living in our new house for a little over a week now, and we are definitely enjoying the change!  It's been simply amazing!  We still have a lot of boxes to go through, items to send to recycling and furniture to buy, but we can still function pretty well.

     On the day of the move, we went back to our old apartment to make sure everything was in order.  We were in shock when we entered and couldn’t believe we had spent 12 years in such badly lit, depressing place. It actually felt like a great home when it was all furnished and decorated, especially given the great location, but now that it was empty it looked awful.  It was really time to move…

     Here are a few snaps taken just before the movers came to unload our boxes and furniture...


More on how we're coping with the stress of being homeowners shortly.... 

16 August 2011

Home at last...

August 5th was Handover day!

     We went over construction details with our Builder and made some last-minute decision for a few items that have yet to be installed.   We are still missing our post box, our outside lighting, a faucet on the deck and a few other minor things.

A TEPCO team, came to set up the electrical cables.

We've gotten used to the electrical cabling style in Japan:
the cables run from the house to ....


... a large pole on the other side of the street!

     The meeting was brief and interrupted by a visit from representatives from Tokyo Gas, as well as by our Fire Insurance Agent to sign the contract.  We took a few pictures as a keepsake of this memorable moment.

      Because we didn't want to waste any more time, we decided to move that very same day, so I hurried to take a few pictures of the house before our movers would fill it with boxes.  Unfortunately, due to some unexplained technical difficulty, I can't seem to be able to use the Slideshow here, so I'll post the photos later.

     A little while after, the moving truck came and started unloading what seemed like an endless flow of boxes and furniture.  After everything calmed down, we looked forward to a relaxing shower...  but we were unable to operate the water heater!  That's despite "reading" the instructions, by this I mean trying to decipher some familiar kanji and largely basing our assumptions on the manga pictures!   It turns out, we found out 2 days and several cold showers later, that some kind of connection had not been made within our EcoJouzu unit (energy-efficient water heater)...  So I guess it would have been be wise to do a test run with the Tokyo Gas representative on day 1!

We went out for dinner, as we were too tired to go through the IH instruction booklet... 

14 August 2011

Packing, Recycling and Paperwork

Packing    After the inspection of our house, we started sorting through and packing our belongings. Our former apartment was a 53cm2 2LDK, so pretty small, and yet we managed to fill some 100 + boxes.  Plus the furniture and the appliances. Amazing how stuff just accumulates over the years...

Rooms quickly filled with boxes... 
We called several moving companies and settled for XPS Tokyo.

Recycling     We had to dispose of an aircon unit, since we were getting new, more efficient units at the new house.  In Japan, items that fall under the Home Electronics Recycling Law (TVs, air conditioners, washing machines/ driers, refrigerators, and freezers) cannot be collected by the city.  We can either arrange for the store where we purchased the item to collect it or we can one of several garbage disposal services.  Since the store (Laox Kichijoji) where we got this aircon no longer exists, we tried to find low-cost alternatives.  We placed an ad on recycle lists and got many replies.  But we were never able to give away our aircons due to the difficulty of arranging for delivery.  Our research yielded the following results:

#1:  Estimate from the online shop (Aircon no Mori) where we bought 6 units for our new home: 14,000 Y

# 2 Estimate from our mover, XPS Tokyo: between 8,000 to 12,000 Y

#2: Estimate from 24Express: 10,000 Y

#3: Estimate from HandyMan Tokyo: 10,000 Y

#4: Estimate from Nishida Service : 7,000 Y

#5: Mitaka City Recycling Reception Center (Tel: 0422-49-7000): Disposal cost depends on the brand.  Ours was SHARP so, 2,100 Y, plus the cost of pick up, 2,000 Y.

The best choice was obviously #5, but we had a lot of trouble dismounting the unit.  So we called Nishida-san (#4), who came over the very next day, and was done with the job within a stunning 15 minutes!  And he spoke perfect English too...

Paperwork     We had to notify the city of Mitaka-shi of our change of address and get our hankos registered too. We did that in anticipation of our move (8 days before), so as to get our new address on all of our Property Registration papers (Hozon Touki and Hodai Touki).

      To get our Property registration papers in order, we hired the services of a scrivener that our architect introduced us.  We heard these papers can be processed personally, but to avoid the hassle, we just entrusted the work to Tabata-san.
     We also had to notify utility companies of our move and arrange for them to come to our house on the day of the move to connect service.

     And of course, we met our Home Loan officer to fill out the final papers for the Home part of the loan. For this we had to prepare a number of items including Proof of Residence, Hanko Registration, Bank Book, and Hankos. This all went very smoothly.

     In the weeks prior to signing the loan papers, we also had to choose a Fire Insurance Policy.  All this while still working and packing at night...

12 August 2011

Final Details

Back from a long blogging pause...
We have finally moved into our new house! 
     The past 2 weeks have been pretty hectic, with packing and paper work to get done, and finally unpacking and settling.
     Let's backtrack a bit for this post. On the week of the 25th of July, a lot of last-minute work was carried out at our house. The 1F wood deck was installed as well as our 2F balcony.  We were able to catch our carpenters in action as they fitted the beams over support bases.

Coming along real well...

    The exterior lights were also installed and they look just as we'd imagined.  It's good to see that long hours of research for the perfect lights have turned out great results.

     The wood on the 2F balcony is darker.  That's because it's not real wood, it's Composite Decking, to avoid staining the walls.  The beams supporting the balcony were painted white and I just love the contrast.  The light on the pillar supporting the balcony turns on with a sensor or manually.

     Most of the inside lighting was also completed.  The pendant light I chose from Company-B, which has 2 stores right in Kichijoji, is just the perfect decoration for the island.  This was another choice right on target!

    On July 30th, we carried out an inspection of our home, with our architect and building supervisor Kato-san.  We noticed a few things here and there that needed fixing and were told that this would be done during the following week. Most of the items on the list were minor and we were pleased with the overall results.
     At that time we still had no stairway to the main door...  So there was still a lot to accomplish in a week.

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