Monday, August 29, 2005

Limp Sunday

I didn't do much today. I visited a friend who is currently moving to a new place. I dropped by his old place and picked him up. He showed me his new place. He had warned me that it was pretty bad, but when I got there I was surprised. It wasn't as bad as I thought. In Japan I had been in and seen several shitholes here.

His place was rough, compared to the place I live. His toliet is Japanese style:

The image pictured above is connected to a sewage system. My friend's place is not. It has a huge pan that sits under the flooring. When you deposit your waste, the huge pan collects it. Every month, a truck comes by and sucks out the pan. It smells horrendous.

Luckily my friend Rob, says they'll be getting a western style upgrade in a month or two. I sure hope they do.

His place wasn't so bad, but compared to western standards it was the pits. In fact they are doing some serious remodeling because of the poor condition. They are painting every room with two coats of paint.

The kitchen cabinets were rotten. So when I walked in I saw a bare concrete wall. He and his wife had ripped out the old cabinets, and the kitchen hood and fan. The builder had used an empty cabinet as a hood, cut a square hole in the bottom of it, and mounted a fan inside. This sucked up all the grease and grime from countless years of cooking into the cabinets. It was awful. So they are debating how to repair the cabinets.

The flooring is made of 1/5 inch plywood slats about 10cm X 20cm. There are generally 40 in a room. The rooms are quite small. Well the plywood underflooring is hardly adequate. So I am going to help out tomorrow to add another 1/5 inch plywood base, which should make it sturdier. I'll take my jigsaw, and drill to help out. Hopefully we can get it done and make their apartment safer.

On top of the plywood are tatami mats:

Example of Tatami

These are brand new given by the apartment manager. So during the repairs they have been moved into storage to keep them from getting damaged or painted on.

There are some dangerous aspects of the apartment. It's got a 2 switch circuit breaker. I think it will support less than 1000 watts. It's small. And one of the switches inside the breaker, broke. Instead of repairing the old switch and replacing it with a new one, they wired a switch with wire hanging out of the circuit breaker box... it looks quite dangerous and ghettoed.

Along the danger line, it has a gas pipe mounted right behind the area where the gas burners are to be installed in the kitchen. It looks awful and dangerous. And Rob calls a guy who is a pipe fitter, and asked him about the rules for gas piping in Japan, and he was told there are no rules.

Gas Range in Japan

The place is a two story aparment. It's probably about 800 square feet or less. The bathroom is separate from the toilet. This is typical in Japan and I like this. Who wants to take a shower or bath right next to the place where your poop goes? Nasty.. western styled bathrooms are sickening now that I think about it.

But the tub is tiny. I have a small bathtub in my place but his was about 20cm's smaller in both directions.

The good things about the place is the apartment building is for teachers. It's teacher housing. They have a small area out front, and a backyard as well. Most of the other flooring in the place is made of wood. It looks very nice.

The greatest aspect is the rent. I think they pay around 10,000 yen a month and this includes a parking area fee of 2500 yen. The rent is very cheap, despite the fact that the building is in bad condition.

I will try to bring my camera and take some shots of the place so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about. Like a before and after. It should be interesting.


Rohit said...

So today I learn about toilets- Japanese style... Indian ones are similar, but thank god they are connected to a sewage system... How does your friend bear the stench?

Tarun said...

Its stinks that people who arent 'rich' have to live in rotten conditions in countries all over the world. The living conditions for the Indian poor are terrible (in the urban areas). I dont know wht it is like in villages w/o electricity and sewage and proper hospitals. With the price of kerosene and cooking gas going up, people will have to restrict themselves and save up for methane composts in their homes.

After all, not everybody can have loads of money all the time. Its bearable if it happens to others but to think that some of us will one day go thru this phase isnt a welcome thought (to us).

There has to be a minimum standard of living even for people who cannot afford it. Maybe govt.s could help out there.

Big Booger said...

Let me tell you gents, their situation is rotten.. and this is in Japan. I went over there on Thursday and helped him put down some better floorboards to strenghten them. I will go over there tomorrow and see how their place turned out.