Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The One Where We Move House (Again)

It's fairly uncommon for ALTs to move house. I guess given the short nature of the job the cost of moving isn't usually worth it. We've now moved twice. Suckers that we are.
Our neighbours came around on moving day with good-bye gifts and promises to visit the new house. Rinon and her mum brought over cleaning supplies and helped up scrub the floors. When I handed back the keys our very brisk and manly care-taker (Americans say super, right?) came out and stood awkwardly in the lobby saying "I guess this is it then... I guess this is good bye" over and over until we exchanged phone numbers and made him promise to visit as well. Even the real estate agent came by and said that he was sorry we were leaving and that we'd been a pleasure to work with. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone, but I have high hopes for our new neighbourhood too after Hayate's recent adventure.
Move #1 was achieved with a fair amount of dependency on others. We found the apartment we wanted on-line (this is a great site if you're looking) but my then-boss helped with the forms, real estate etc. and various teachers assisted with getting the power and gar stopped/started. Our removalists worked for the husband of a friend of my husband's then-boss's mother. Because of this "connection" we paid less than half price. Our current home is much like Tasmania in that there is an advertised price paid only by ignorant newcomers, then there's the "mates' rate" everyone else pays.
Move #2 we wanted to do by ourselves. For the most part we did. It was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.... I'd achieve something complicated all in Japanese and feel like a champion, then the next phone call I wouldn't understand a word and feel like a worthless failure. Ex-pat life is tough when one is prone to dramatic mood swings. Overall we did just about everything ourselves but with some very appreciated help on a couple of sticking points. As it turns out, moving into a house is a hell of a lot more complicated than moving apartments. But anyway, first things first: our exciting removalists!
This time around I signed up to a website and then got contacted by a bunch of companies offering quotes. We ended up going with Sakai, the nation wide "Panda" company. I am a sucker for details, and after the guy visited our place to give a detailed quote and showed me all their little features I couldn't refuse, despite the fact that they weren't amazingly cheap. They gave us "panda rice" though.
Rice, tape, boxes and a futon-wrapper to be precise
They have pandas on their socks. How could I say no to panda-sock-wearing removalists?
The polite young man explained to me that they even have special t-shirts that prevent sweat from the workers getting on furniture. Initially the quote was higher than we had budgeted for. He asked what we were expecting to pay, then called the office, then revised the quote down to that. Maybe I should have picked an even lower number... Anyway, the service was very good. We didn't have to pack clothes from our draws, they just put a sort of furniture-condom over the whole thing as is.
The one on the right is a "fridge-condom"
Clothes in the wardrobe you just transfer into a hanger box, no need for folding or creasing.

Their training house, where they practice carrying pianos up stairs
They also offered a pet moving service, but we had to head out to Fukuoka prefecture early morning the day after moving anyway, so we decided to put the dogs into the "pet hotel" the day of the move and collect them after getting back from Fukuoka. A good plan, but it led to a stressful morning. I was leaving with the dogs as the removalists arrived, in the pouring rain. I got them to the hotel and then got a call saying I needed to meet the truck at the new house ASAP. I couldn't find a bus and wasn't sure what route I actually needed to take, so I ran my soggy, dog hair covered self over to a taxi rank. Then couldn't give directions to the house, because I had only been there with the real estate agent and she had driven me from the office, not the city. My poor old taxi driver eventually found the place... and I realised that I had no money.
I had absolutely no idea what one does in such a situation. He suggested going inside, and I had to explain that there was no-one and nothing inside because I hadn't actually moved in yet. I was in a full blown panic but the lovely guy just said he'd come by later and gave me his card. He didn't even roll his eyes. I think I was more upset about the situation than he was.
So it all had a happy ending :)
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  1. It is really hard to transfer to another home especially both you and your neighbors are already so close already. Dealing with a removalist is a very important just make it sure that they are trusted and takes good care of the things.

  2. We typically say "landlord" here. You can tell its a term of endearment, no?
    I look forward to some pics of the new place!

    1. Hmm, in Beigo the landlord is the person who owns the property. I'm talking about the person who lives in the building and maintains the common areas, like Matsuura at Proxy. Honestly I'm not even sure what we would say in Australia, there's not that much of an apartment living culture >.<
      I promise pics of the house as soon as I have it cleaned up... which probably means never ;)

    2. I think we would still call this person the landlord here... from all my watching of TV, that is the term that comes to mind. I guess its not so common here to have someone like Matsuura, who runs it but doesn't own it.

  3. There are many places in which people want to shift and for that they will hire the best moving company. Lots of things are available which you will not move by yourself and for that you will definitely need professional help. If you had a piano, then you need piano removalists Melbourne help. Thanks for sharing it.


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