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Monday, August 5, 2013

My Japanese Apartment Schematic In LEGO

The photo above is my apartment in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken Japan... apartment 307 Zuiko Haitsu, if you must know.

If You click on the photo, it should make it larger so you can read what is written on dictating what was my apartment.

I made this naked model of my 3-bedroom place out of LEGO, with just enough pieces to give you an idea of how large a place I really had between 1990-1993, when I was the luckiest assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange Teaching) Programme.

I must have been - look at the size of the place. I think it's bigger than the house I'm living in now.

Now... I never actually measured the place, but I had furniture and carpeting, a washer/dryer unit, fridge, convection/microwave oven.

I even had a big and brand new air-conditioner/heating unit added to my apartment - which I didn't add to the photo, but it sits to the right of the northern balconies above my television.

The Queen-sized bed was donated to me by someone in Ohtawara - it wasn't new, but the mattresses were... and I recall having to jump up on the damn thing because it was so high.

I also had a western-style toilet and a shower in two separate cube rooms, which was a blessing - I know my girlfriend Ashley had a Japanese-style tub which I could fit into if I had my knees bent... but then the kneecaps would poke up out of the water (though that is supposition, as I never used the thing - I merely sat in the empty tub once for reference).

Also not shown in the photo - but above the sink and stove were a set of cupboards (holding dry food goods), and cupboards beneath the sink... where I kept all manner of cooking wares. That same area held two drawers for cutlery et al.

My China hutch stood 6-feet tall (1.83 meters) and was over three-feet long... and held all my plates and drinking vessels. It also acted as my spice rack (fully loaded!) and dry tea leaf cabinet (fully loaded with every variety of Twinnings).

My convection oven/microwave sat atop a three-foot tall fridge, which taught me to go shopping for only what I needed because it was so small... and that meant shopping every couple of days. Daily for Coca-Cola.

The only room that was Japanese in my apartment was the central bedroom (titled 'boudoir'), with the tatami mat flooring. It originally came with a futon for my bedding, but my failure to move it and air it out caused my sweat to eat through and turn the flooring into a breeding ground for mushrooms. Always roll up your futon after each use, and once a week air the damn thing out.

New tatami mats were put in, and my office vowed I would never do it again.

Anyhow... I am in the process of making a 3D LEGO version of the apartment - complete with the furnishings... and once I accumulate enough pieces to build it, I'll take photos and place them up in a blog.

It's about 75% done now (not in the photo above), but I simply lack a few pieces to finish it at the moment. I lack the bricks to complete the white walls and the blue tiles for the carpeting in the living room. It looks good, and will look even better when I am done.

Anyhow... you can see an untypical Japanese apartment that lucky JET participants (IE me) sometimes get. If yours doesn't look like this, don't worry... you have a normal-sized place.

Again... I was luckier than most.

Andrew Joseph

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