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To move and to be moved – Part I

February 13, 2011

We moved into our new apartment on the 31st of January. The landlady, a lusty grandma, welcomed us and was very helpful. The first thing she asked me was if I needed help but I declined since my boyfriend was with me. Then she saw his barbells and didn’t know what they were so I explained it to her. I was full of energy although I didn’t sleep much during the following days. Everything went well and as planned. The furniture I ordered arrived without problems one after the other and after four days we had settled in. Finally, most things had found their place and it looked tidy. The only thing that didn’t work was the switch in our room. We just couldn’t switch off the light. Usually, if there’s a problem with a switch it isn’t possible to turn the light on, isn’t it? So we thought it was quite strange and told the landlady about it. She came immediately and thought the problem strange as well so she called a man who was our landlord as we should learn later…

He didn’t introduce himself nor did the landlady introduce him. We thought he was an electrician or something like that, but he talked to us in a very arrogant manner. The first thing he noticed was that I didn’t use the metal sheets on the gas stove. Although the landlady gave me those sheets when we moved in, I found that they didn’t fit our gas stove because it’s too small and there’s enough space around it anyways, so I decided to wait until we’d buy a bigger stove. The landlord obviously had a different opinion about that and said it was dangerous to use the stove like that. We used it like that for years and the sheet merely has the function to keep the surrounding area clean but I just said that I will attach the sheet later. Then he noticed that our closet stood too close to the wall and he told us to leave at least 3 cm between closet and wall to prevent mold. Okay, he was right in that respect but the way he said it was still not acceptable.

Finally, he looked at the switch and found it as strange as we did, but as he couldn’t find the reason for the malfunction he went to buy a new switch. He returned and attached the switch but it still didn’t work. While he was thinking about the problem he suddenly said to my boyfriend: “You’re only staying here to help her, aren’t you? You’re not living here?” Surprised at this question we answered that he’s of course living here with me. Now the landlady and the man were surprised and told us that this wouldn’t be allowed. The man started to speak in an even more arrogant manner than before. We claimed that the real estate agent who introduced us to this apartment knew that we would move in together but he treated my boyfriend as if he was a criminal. We still didn’t know that he was the landlord and were astonished about the way he talked to us and why he would bother about such a thing. Concerning the landlady, we were astonished that she didn’t say anything to us when she noticed my boyfriend’s barbells. Did she really think he would carry all of them into my apartment when he had no intention to live there? I was speechless…

In the meantime, the landlady called the real estate agent who also seemed to be surprised about our sudden trouble. But as we found out he was surprised because my boyfriend moved in with me rather than because this was a problem. He said he would visit us later to talk about the situation but I had to work that day and so the talks were delayed. As it turned out the switch was meant to turn on and off the light in the kitchen and not in our room. So there are two switches for the kitchen but none for the main room. To operate the light there we’d need a lamp with remote control. “Wow”, I thought, “Japan – the country where you can’t switch off a light with an ordinary switch…” But instead of the switch we had a much bigger problem now…

Nevertheless, I had to go to work although I didn’t feel like teaching at all. Somehow I managed to get through the day with the help of my Japanese colleague who really carried me that day, but I was really jazzed. When the working day was finally done and I arrived home my boyfriend told me that the landlord (who still hadn’t introduced himself) had talked to him again. According to him, I had told the real estate agent that I’d move into the apartment alone, which I never did of course. Therefore my boyfriend had called the real estate agent too, and was told that it was even noted in our contract that there was only one person allowed in this apartment. I was pretty sure, that this was wrong and showed the contract I had signed to my boyfriend. He also couldn’t find such a clause so we thought it must be a mistake and decided to show the contract to the landlady when the real estate agent would visit us.

Still thinking positively that everything will turn out well in the end, we went out to discover our new environment and explore the small parks around on the next day. When we came back we bumped into our landlady. While she remained quiet the day before she suddenly was quite harsh and told my boyfriend he’d have to move out at that very day. Of course that wasn’t possible but the way her tone had changed made us realise that she would not be up for a compromise. So we decided not to wait for the real estate agent to come but to go to the agency ourselves. We had no other choice as to move a second time…

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