Home Sweet Home

view from the street
It has been almost a month since we moved to our new place. We have all settled in well and are really enjoying the extra space and privacy. Our neighbours, who are all elderly, are extremely curious and friendly and are always stopping by to drop off a vegetable or two from their garden and to chat with the kids. The only snag we have run into is with our internet. After waiting four weeks, we were called by the internet provider and told, for some reason we couldn't quite understand, that our house can't be hooked up to their system. We now have to figure out some way of getting internet, either by changing the type of internet we will receive or going with a completely different company. Either way, it means that we will be waiting at least another 1 - 2 months for internet. This will be the longest that we have been without internet service in over 10 years and has been a bit of an adjustment not being able to use Wikipedia to settle our ever occurring disputes and feeling cut off from our friends and family back home. Our friends in the area have been generous in letting us use their internet when we need it, so I am going to make a point to put a blog post more often than not in spite our solitary confinement.

peering through the fence that Dustin built
So here is the catch up on what we have been keeping ourselves busy with in the past month. The first two weeks in June were spent unpacking and getting our yard set up.  Before we came, the yard was a patch of bare earth with an opening to the street and two bushes. Our first order of business was to build a fence to close off the yard and keep the children from running into the street. Dustin attracted the attention of all the old men in the neighbourhood while he built it. They kept stopping by periodically to see how far he had gotten and give him advice and praise. While he did that, I made a flower bed by the front window and a vegetable patch in the side yard and got all of the assorted plants from our apartment balcony into the ground. I also got our compost bin set up which pleased me to no end. Those of you who don't compost may think I am crazy, but for those who do, I think you share my inexplicable joy in watching food scraps decompose.

digging out the smallest of the three tree roots
The second weekend in June was taken up by removing three stumps from the yard, building a bike shelter, and planting grass. Some of our fantastic friends came over and with their help hard work we were able to get everything done in a weekend. We had hoped to put sod down on our yard since we didn't have much space to cover and didn't want to go through all of the time and hassle of growing grass seed. When we went to buy it however, there was only a few small, half dead bundles left in all of the garden centers we went to. The sod here is very different than what we are used to in North America. Here they sell a stack of eight 30 cm x 30 cm squares tied in a bundle. The sod that we bought had been sitting for over a month at the garden center so it did not look too great by the time we got it. When we bought sod in Canada, it was cut that day and rolled into big healthy green rectangles that were about 60 cm x 150 cm. Not many people plant grass in Japan, or have very much space to do so, and this was reflected in the health and quantity of sod available. So in the end we sprinkled grass seed over 3/4 of the yard and put the half dead sod on the remaining 1/4. We were pretty lucky that the weather turned drizzly for a week and a half afterwards and I didn't have to waste water while the seeds were germinating.

our baby grass growing in
The bike shelter that Dustin built has a living roof on the top of it. We still need to put a bit more soil up there and plant some nice hearty succulents in it. 

the top of the bike shelter waiting to be planted

There are still a few more things that we would like to do outside, but for the most part it is just being patient until the new grass fills in. As a point of reference, here is a picture that I took before we moved in and another of nearly the same angle that I took yesterday:
Sometime soon I will take some shots of the inside of our place and put them up. After only four weeks it really is starting to look and feel like home!


audible said...

I am so happy to see the changes you’ve made to your house. It look so much homier, and I’m sure it will look even better once the plants really take off.

Cheryl said...

Everything looks awesome...hope to see you guys in a 2-3 months time when you guys are back?keep posting till then


Sophelia said...

It looks amazing! I am so jealous. We're about to move into a house but neither of our COs help at all with key money, rent etc. Our key money and real estate fees alone were 525,000 :(
Anyway, it must feel great to have the great to have some real garden space and how lovely for the kids to have their own back yard.

The Freys said...

Very cute and homey looking! Hopefully we'll get to come and see it someday!


Laura said...

@ audible and The Freys: Thanks! Now that we have the room, feel free to stay if you are ever down Hiroshima way!

@ Cheryl: We are actually going to be back in Canada for a visit this month! We will be arriving July 23rd and staying until August 21st. Make sure that Elaine isn't working every day during that time so that we can hang out :)

@ Sophelia: 52 1/2 man? Yikes! We were so surprised that we didn't have to pay key money ourselves. It may backfire on us in the end though: we probably won't be able to stay in our house after our 5 years runs out with JET. Since it is under the BoE's name and they paid key money, there is no reason why they should let us transfer the lease into our names, especially if they have another family who is moving to the city. So I am letting myself get attached, but maybe not too attached...