Tokyo – Sophomore Year

After 10 weeks in America, we returned for year two in Tokyo.  We are happy to report that we have a new addition to the family.  No, I’m not pregnant and we didn’t get a dog.  Thomas Jr. made a last minute decision to spend his senior year in Japan instead of returning to Exeter.  It will complete the circle that began when he went to kindergarten in Tokyo in 1996.  Funny how things work out.  Needless to say, there were some adjustments that had to be made.  First on the list: decide where he would live.  We have a nice size apartment but it was really chosen with three kids in mind.  In July, with Tom Sr. in the U.S. we had a family discussion with housing options as the topic and no one had any interest in either sharing or giving up their current rooms.  Tom told Thomas he’d have to sleep in the storage room.  Thomas Jr. reminded his father that he was 6’3″ tall.  Tom assured him that he would renovate the “room” into something really cool and very cave-like; warm and cozy.  Thomas wasn’t buying it.  However, it did peek Sophie’s interest.  She started questioning him about what he was going to do.  And he started making some promises.  Big ones.  The dinner concluded, the discussion over and Sophie agreed to move from her very nice bedroom with a deck and sliding glass doors overlooking Tokyo into a storage closet with no windows and no ventilation.  Tom returned to Tokyo after his two week home leave and started the building “negotiations”.  First, he spoke with the building management about getting Thomas a studio apartment in our building.  They gave him the listing sheets of all the apartments that were for rent.  Everything was too expensive except for something listed as “Maid Quarters” for $500 per month.  “Can you tell me about these maid quarters?”  Tom asked.  The woman from the management company started to laugh.  “That is only for women.  Not for men.”  Tom told her (with his tongue very far in his cheek) that he was going to report her to the ministry for discrimination.  Hmmmm… I believe if there were one of these, the lines would be very long.   Anyway, the maids room was not an option.  So he approached it from another angle.  He asked the management to remove all the shelves from the closet and to create new larger deeper shelves.  They said they would come upstairs and take a look.  After 5 people came, listened to Tom’s request, sucked their teeth, said “eh to ne” a few times, they said they would get back to him.  A week later, architectural plans were delivered to Tom.  This is no exaggeration.  And the proposed cost to build the new shelves (which Tom was going to put a mattress on was $2500.00.  Tom said Thank you, but no.  He ended up having the shelves built at a home depot like store (Tokyu Hands) and they made two tables that push together to form a platform.  A full size mattress sits on top.  Throughout all the deliberations, the management was very very curious about what Tom was doing in our apartment.  They kept making him promise that nothing heavy would be put on the shelves.  Tom would just nod his head and agree.  Nothing heavy.  Somehow, in a matter of a few short weeks, he was able to turn a very ugly storage closet into a pretty cool, cozy room for Sophie complete with flat screen TV, dressing table, mirrored closet and framed Twilight Book covers from around the world.  Our 4 bedroom apartment became a 4.5 bedroom apartment almost over night.  Adjustment #1 complete.  Now, if we could only solve the problem of feeding a family of 6 (two of them 6’3 hungry football players) for less than $1000.00 a week, we would be all set!


2 thoughts on “Tokyo – Sophomore Year

  1. Len Jardine (Sr.) September 2, 2009 — 10:27 pm

    Great kickoff story for year #2 – Keep ’em coming. Love, Dad J.

  2. Now, this story of the rennovation… tops them all. Talk about ingenuity. What else is there to say. The room looks fabulous. How gracious it was of Sophie to give up her room.
    Tell Sophie I acknowledge her.

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