Dreaming Big in Japan

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Almost There!

Only one month behind schedule...

Michie and I finally moved the first load of stuff to Ajishima yesterday. We had planned to go earlier last week, but there was a severe thunderstorm and none of our boxes would have survived the hour-long ferry ride in those conditions, if it even sailed at all. Thankfully, our patience was blessed with a bright sunny day and only slightly choppy waves! By the time we got on the return ferry, it was raining, so we lucked out there as well.
Ishinomaki City in the Background
Half of Our Worldly Belongings under One Tarp
Ajishima in the Distance
Once we arrived at the island, our friends were waiting for us and helped us load our stuff into several of their vehicles. We drove across the island to the other side (about 2 miles!) and unloaded everything into our new house:
Not Bad for a Rental!

Seven Tatami Rooms, Kitchen,  2 Half Baths & Sun Porch
Well, it's not really a porch, but there is a an outer hallway that wraps around the inner rooms separating them from the outside. The row of sliding glass doors in the picture of the house above conceals the hall way and leads to the toilet at the far end. The bathtub (kerosene heated) is off the kitchen, and both are floored with linoleum. The rest of the rooms are laid out in tatami mats (woven rice straw) and the hallway floor is hard wood.

With seven rooms, I think we will sleep in a different one everyday. And the quasi sun porch will make a great place to start seeds before we take them out to the garden leased to us by our friends on the island for a few vegetables' recompense.

The island is still without water service as the pipes washed away in the tsunami. Ishinomaki city sends a tanker truck twice a week with drinking water. There is a diesel generator truck parked in the middle of the island jerry-rigged to the power lines that provides a few hours of electricity in the morning and then again at night. We have one of the few flush toilets on the island, and just so happen to have a small water well behind the house. We will have to draw up a bucket and carry it inside and fill the tank for every flush, but it is doable. I still might do a composting toilet down the road.

I would rather be without electricity than without water, but I am certainly happy we have some conveniences. We can still use the washing machine with the morning's installment of electricity and a few buckets of rain water, though only until the rinse cycle since there is no more water or way to pump it in further. Then in the kitchen we have a propane stove standard in most Japanese homes, so cooking should not be a problem.

We are thinking of a couple designs for a non-electric fridge and even an outdoor rocket stove for boiling rainwater for drinking and cooking. All along the beaches mountains of debris have floated up with each successive tide. There are heaps of wood and other building materials to build just about anything we could want...even a whole house! Now, only if we had our own land...That will surely come down the road...

For now, Michie and I are so happy to finally take the next steps in moving to the island. Her mom will probably take us to the port so we can sail to the island later this week. After that we are on our own! We will have to leave some stuff at her mom's house for a while, but I will be back for the rice harvest in the autumn (since I won't actually be there to help her family with the rice planting in a couple weeks...bummer).

After all that has happened, what's a couple more days' wait, right!?!

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