September 25, 2007

OK, OK...here is an update

Well, it is probably safe to say that the worst of summer is over. It can get pretty warm during the day but it is always cooling down at night. So, no more air conditioning for this year, I hope.

Here is a picture of Zushi Beach taken from the rooftop of the building. Just because I can! It's nice, right?

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I have not been up to anything much recently...kind of boring, but that is good. School is over (ya-y!) and I think I will be slowing down a bit next term: three days a week at most instead of every day. And that should give me some time to get things done. Like, getting the Zushi place in order, for example. I will be happy when that is all finished. I did get some furniture, however...

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That is not the best picture, but the delivery guys came at the last possible moment and I really had to rush out of there because I was going to the baseball game with some of the students. I suppose I could have been late, but I was the one holding the tickets. Whoops.

Anyway, that was kind of a disaster in itself because we had 10 tickets but 11 people arrived. I gave one to everybody and went off to buy one more as close to them as possible. Unfortunately, it was standing room only. Instead, I went to the beer garden and watched the game on TV.

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There is a 1,800 yen all-you-can-drink special, it lasts from 6pm until the game is finished. I did not notice last time, but we are all going back on Wednesday. There are even "beer girls"! Well, they do not carry 15kgs of beer on their back, but everything else is the same.

Well, I should make an effort to update this more as I was told today that a lot of people depend on reading this so that they know what I am doing without talking to me. Or something like that.

Posted by Kirk at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2007

whoops...been awhile

Well, the apartment is finished. In fact, it has been such a long time since I wrote that in the interim, I have spent five nights there. Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, I haven't done much in the way of furnishing it, although I do have some things being delivered over the next week.

Anyway, it has been a really busy three weeks. There was an end-of-summer beach get-together (no pics), two (2!) beach bar closing nights (Zushi and Hayama), and a typhoon. Since all of this has happened down in Shonan, that is usually when I am fired up to write about it...but I do not have an Internet connection down there. So, that is my lame excuse.

Anyway, here are some post-construction, pre-furnished pictures. If you look closely, you will notice that I have all the basics...pillows, iPod speakers and booze.

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I did order a rug, some tables, and a couch/day bed thingy and they will all be delievered over the next week. I am making progress...its slow, but steady.

Goodbye bars on the beach!
So, the beach houses on Zushi Beach closed on August 26th, which is a Sunday. My first two nights in the apartment were the Friday and Saturday and I had planned to head back to Tokyo in the morning. When I found out that Sunday was the last night, I stayed a bit longer. It was really nice...there were so many people out just enjoying the beach and having a good time. Me too.

On the following Friday, Hayama Isshiki Beach also closed. I really HAD TO GO. So, I did. And it was crowded! I was the last to order a beer at the Blue Moon (woo!), so that was good. I spent some time on the beach, leaning back, listening to the waves and drinking my beer. That was also good. On the bus to Zushi, I chatted a bit with these two women that had come down to see the musician that was playing at the bar. Supposedly, he is rather famous. It was kind of embarassing to admit that I had no idea there was a live show going on. Ooops.

Here are a few pictures of Zushi (left) and Hayama (right).

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So, a lot of people ask why the beach houses and bars do not stay open longer as summer lasts as good three-six weeks after the arbitrary August 31st closing. Locals will tell you it has to do with the jellyfish, which tend to hang around a lot in September, and typhoons. Well, we had a typhoon last week, and if the pictures are any indication...it is a good reason to close up. I imagine the bar owners who have been slow about taking their buildings down wish they had not procrastinated.

First, here is a look at Zushi Beach. The picture on the left was taken on 4 Sept...the one on the right on 7 Sept.

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The tide really surged on the back of the storm, taking a lot of the loose sand of the beach and undermining the foundation of some of the remaining buildings. I imagine 120kph hour winds did not help much.

I could not help but take the picture of the leaning bar and the fake roman statue. Very strange.

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I really like these pictures for some reason. On the left, you can see a trap and buoy that has been washed in to shore. That is OK, its the surfer in the background that makes it look cool, I think. I like the one on the right because of the lighting and the wind blowing the mist off the waves. It was much more surreal in real life.

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In summary, the bad news is that the beach is torn apart and the beach houses that had yet to be taken down were damaged. But, the wind and waves were good if you like surfing!

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Posted by Kirk at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2007

Sneak preview!

Ah...so close I can practically taste it. I went down today for a final walkthrough. There are a few small things yet to be done, but the work is essentially finished. In addition, the absolute basics are there - air conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine and futons - and the electric and gas are hooked up too.

It looks fantastic. If only someone would go buy the furniture for me.

Here are a few shots to give you an idea. I am hoping to do some before-and-after, but I cannot seem to get the archived pictures to load into this entry. I will leave it to when I have some time.

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On Wednesday, I will have some things delivered...some beach clothes, drinks, another futon, chairs for the dining room table and a desk. After that, at the very least, I need to buy a sofa and table for the living room.

Then...we can have a party!

Posted by Kirk at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2007

I can hardly wait!

I have had a busy week! One of the things I did was head down to Ikea yesterday. That place is amazing...really. We spent something like three hours there and I am sure we did not see everything.

It is down in Yokohama and after the big shopping experience I had some free time so I continued on to Zushi to get some more pictures of the flat. It is really coming out well now!

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Well, it is a little messy still, but not bad. On the left, you can see the tile has been put in. I took this about 4:30pm - the sun shining in is lovely.

I also got to see the lighting scheme for the first time, as well as the entrance and the bath. There are things still to be done, but it should be ready soon.

Once it is all finished, I will do a before-and-after entry...I have about 300 pictures of the place, so I need some time to sort through them first. Here are some of the latest ones...these two are taken from the living room.

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These are pictures of the living room taken from the kitchen (L) and the bedroom (R).

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Finally, the entrance and the bath...

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Posted by Kirk at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2007

Lovely paint job! whew...

As I said below, I had a full day down by the beach. I went early and to look at the apartment and do a little shopping. I bought a refrigerator and a washing machine. I am going again next week to buy futons and an air conditioner.

Meanwhile, I have been a bit worried about whether the paint color would be good. And...it is! I was so relieved when I walked in to the apartment yesterday. It looks really good. The bad news is that it will not be ready until August 19th instead of the 10th as I had been hoping. Oh well...what can you do?

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I took a bunch of other pictures, but I will keep them for another time.

Posted by Kirk at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2007

It's almost done!

Yesterday was another Zushi day, but one almost entirely given over to the apartment. Which is difficult, because I have lots of homework and a semi-serious test today, so studying might have been a good idea. Whoops!

Anyway, I picked out the curtains and paint...all in, it took almost three hours to do. I am glad that is over and I hope that it turns out OK. I really have no idea.

After that, I tried to study for an hour and then I went over to the Blue Moon on Hayama Isshiki Beach. I really could not relax so I headed home early. Well, I went home when I told myself I would which is the same thing.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the ongoing work:

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On the top left is a picture of the color selection. I chose the one on the far left. I think it is good, but we will see! On the top right is a picture of the kitchen...everything seems to be in place. Since last week, the tall cabinet on the right has been installed (still needs shelves) and so has the hood over the stove and the kitchen table! Woo.

The picture on the bottom left shows the counter between the door and the bedroom. I think I mentioned there will be a roll screen above it...picked that out yesterday as well. And finally another wide shot of the kitchen from the living room.

I will be going down a lot in the next few weeks...place should be done by the 10th! Keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted by Kirk at 07:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2007

And an update on the apartment...

SO, of course I had to get some photos of the place...it is really starting to take shape now. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera on Thursday so no shots then. And on Friday, they started work on the bathroom, including putting some noxious chemicals in there. That made it hard to breath in the place, but it also gave Laura and I a cheap buzz before we went upstairs to watch the fireworks.

This is shot of the kitchen and the bedroom entrance. Notice the walls are up now, and the kitchen cabinets are almost finished. On the right is a picture of my bath...it is still in the box.

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I am going down again on Tuesday, so I will take more pictures and post them. Hopefully, without the glue sniffing high I had Friday! I am so excited...it should be done in just a few weeks!!

And one more picture...I saw this as I was walking in Kamakura. It gave me some ideas on how to decorate the flat when it is done.

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Posted by Kirk at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2007

More apartment work

I have been down to Zushi twice since my last entry, so I will post a few more pictures of the apartment below. It is slowly taking shape, but we are not at a stage where dramatic changes (walls being plastered, kitchen/bath being installed) are happening, so it may not seem like much of a change.

Hopefully, it will be done sometime in early August. I really would like to stay down there instead of rushing for a train back to Tokyo everytime I get settled on one of the beaches.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

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The one on the top left is where light switches have been put in. On the top right is a shot from the doorway through the apaprtment...bottom left shows the kitchen counter and doorway to the bedroom...finally, the bottom right is the front door - eventually there will be a counter between that space and the door at window height. When guests are sleeping there, they will be able to pull down blinds to offer some privacy.

I was down there last Friday and the weather was not really great, but at least it was relatively cool and not raining. Today, it is exceptionally humid and I think the real summer has finally arrived. Another reason to get the apartment sorted out. I need to go shopping for basic furniture soon, but I really hate doing that. Ugh.

Posted by Kirk at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2007

The walls are coming back up

Well, a lot of the wiring seems to be done and the frames for the walls have come up. In addition, the frame for the kitchen is complete and the counter will be built soon.

This is the first time I got a true feeling for what the finished place will be like. Of course, there was a lot of discussion on the floor plan before things got started, but imagining how it would actually turn out is not always easy for me. Fortunately, it looks great.

Here are some pictures....no before and after this time. I need to be better at positioning my shots similarly to what I did before. I will do that from now on.

This is the kitchen taking shape. It will have a sink and oven/range against the far wall. In front of that, there is room against the perpindicular wall (where the big sheets of wood are leaning) for a refrigerator and pantry. The counter is on the near side and at the end they are building in a kitchen table.

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This is a view from the back of the apartment...that is the kitchen on the right. Straight ahead is what will be the main bedroom and the living room will be to the left.

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And here are a few pictures looking through the apartment. It should remain very light inside, because the back room will not be walled-in. I hope that turns out to be a good idea.

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I will go back down again this week (of course!), so I will post more pics once I have done that. I am also toying with the idea of putting a lot more detail about the process on this blog, but I may just write it up separately some other time. I have taken a lot of notes so far.

Posted by Kirk at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2007

The walls come tumbling down

They started the reconstruction last week...and they are really moving fast. I have some photos below. In the meantime, I have been spending a lot of time in Zushi as well, mostly getting all the various details sorted out. I am on my way to London for a week, for the first time since I stopped working. It will be strange.

Anyway, when I went down last Thursday, this is what I found:

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And here are a few before and after pictures...lots more on the way, I am sure...

The kitchen:

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The back room:

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And straight throught the apartment:
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So, it is really different, right? The pictures above are from last Thursday. I was down there again on Saturday and took this picture, which shows them preparing to put in the flooring.

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I was also down there Monday, but I did not go to see the apartment. They are doing all the electrical work now and I wonder how far along they will be when I get back next week. That is the next time I will take pictures of the place.

Posted by Kirk at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2007

Apartment renovation time!

I have been running around like crazy recently! The good news is that the apartment is mine...signed, sealed and delivered! And today is the first day of the renovation process. So, I thought it might be a good time to put some photos up, since it will be looking a lot different soon.

First of all, I should mention this is a 60 square meter 3DK (if you are outside Japan, that means it is 3 bedrooms with a dining room and a kitchen). I am turning it into a 2LDK: 2 bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. But, it is not a standard design, so it will look a lot different. In short, I have made the rooms smaller and allocated that space to the kitchen and living room.

I should scan something in the computer and post it, but feeling a bit lazy at the moment...sorry.

Anyway, some pictures of the apartment as I bought it. It has already changed...the walls and interior are being gutted between now and Wednesday. I will go down Thursday to take some pictures of the "shell" of the building. Cool, right?

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This is taken from the middle of the apartment looking towards the (small, small) balcony. You can see the outline of the shoji (paper screen) walls in the middle and on top. What you cannot see is the tatami mats under the brown floor - nice, but I do not need them. This will be the living room in the new design.

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This photo was taken from the same spot, but at a slightly different angle. It shows more of the other room. The wall to the left is a big closet and it is being torn out. That will be part of the kitchen. Speaking of which, this is what is there now.

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How someone could cook anything there, I have no idea. Anyway, you can safely assume that the pink tile on the wall will be gone. Unfortunately, I have to keep the sink and stove where they are, but that whole bit is being replaced and it will be taller.

Here are a few more pictures...the back bedroom, which will be turned into a guest room and the lovely light fixture it came with.

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There is a wall to the right that separates this room from the entrance hallway. That will change somewhat - more on that later. That pink lighting fixture is going to be somebody's birthday present. Keep it mind...

Posted by Kirk at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)