Yesterday, Ben and I went to Ikea. Neither Ben or I have patience for crappy beds, and for us, the futons here don’t cut it. After hours of looking on the internet for non-futon beds that we could afford, we finally figured out that Ikeas exist in Japan. Now Ikea can be very cheap, especially if you have will power. I’m not sure who came up with the Ikea business model, but it is absolutely brilliant. The stores are massive, and they are carefully laid out so that you must walk through every section inorder to find your way out. Ben and I quickly found they bed we wanted (they were one of the first sections when you walk in), but we could not for the life of us find the way we came in, so we were forced to follow the signs to the exit, after nearly an hour, due to our lack of focus and the constant barrage of shiny objects, we did not find the exit, we found the food court. Some how the bright lights and Swedish gobbledygook convinced us that we were in fact extremely hungry, and nothing sounded better than Swedish Meatballs. After we were satisfied, we again pointed ourselves towards the exit, this is when we saw the solar powered lamps, for the first time… and the second.. and the third. It was like subliminal messaging, it knew we could pass it up the first time, it was harder on the second, by the third time we saw it we both thought, you know, this is a sweet lamp… and then we ended up buying it. I’m very happy with the lamp, and I’m glad we have it, but I still sort of feel like we were tricked.

Floor plan of our apartment.

Ben and I now know our exactly where we will be living! We love our apartment, and we are so excited to move in. The location is also perfect, within walking distance of the train station, and where both of us will be working. I will write more on our house hunting experience, and our apartment once we get situated.

Aren with Sakura Wine

Ben and I will be moving in the next day or so. So the Saitos took us out for Korean BBQ for a going away dinner. I tried a lot of new foods including cattle intestine, and raw horse meat. Although those foods sound like they belong on the menu of a horror movie, they are very good. I love Korean BBQ, it feels to me like a lovely blend of a campfire, and a restaurant, and the food is always good.
I am very sad to be moving out of the Saito house, they are an amazing family. They have had many exchange students before, so they know exactly how to help. It’s extremely difficult to get constructive criticism in Japan, so your manners, language skills, and fashion choices are not easily corrected without being extremely observant. The Saitos realize that not knowing can be more frustrating than a gentle nudge, so they really helped me master my chopsticks, they helped Ben down the road of correct grammar and pronunciation, and they helped Ben and I with things like what we should look for in an apartment, what we should buy, and how to take care of a Japanese home. I feel like they made the transition to living in Japan much easier, and I am very grateful.