Friday, February 18, 2011

Chapter 44 - cats adjusting just fine

Cade and ruby, our two cats are finely settling into their new digs. I think last night was the first time we managed to sleep without cursing their meowing. To be fair to Cade, it's really Ruby who is most vocal.

As you can see Cade has found his favorite spot.

Some other views of the semi formal living area.

Below is the family living where all five of us can pile in. A more casual area.

Some of Lara's ikebana in the gallery.

And where I'm blogging from right at this moment. ;). Cats are still spending the night with us at the foot of the bed.

One more week and we'll introduce them to their cat door.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Chapter 43 - Shut the Door, have a seat

First post since we've moved in. Not sure if I can handle the pressure. About 80% unpacked. Not bad for first week.

So far the house is great and overall every thing we'd wished for. The most impressive thing from a functional point of view has been the insulation. It's fantastic! Our Ac units start at 6am and are on till 8. The heat rises to the second floor where it is very sunny in the morning. After 8 the heaters shut off and the heat from sunlight warms the house throughout the day. No more freezing hallways or floors!

Kitchen is a dream to clean. The miele dishwasher is super quiet.
And can't say enough about our washer and dryers. They are efficient like nothing else.

So anything we would change?
Well for starters, maybe I would have notified the internet company earlier about our move. But when your dealing with loans, packing, work, etc, the web takes a back seat as long as you have a reliable backup (thank you iPhone).

Other nice to have is having the walkway finished before move in. A compromise that will save us lots of money now though. Just have to be patient a couple of more weeks so we can plant grass in warmer weather.

The paint is great but kid finger smudges do happen. Just be ready for it. Remember that you can repaint it yourself later. We've realized that we can probably add a lot more color in the future even if we like as it is now.

Still lots of to dos for the next few months such as getting curtains and finishing the landscaping.

I will keep posting as we experience our design ideas further.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chapter 42–Video Walkthrough (T-minus 2)

We got the keys to the house!

The video will play in a separate window via youtube.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chapter 41 – The Last Mile (T-Minus 4)

Here’s what my to do list has been like this week thus far:
Monday: Load car with bed to give away. Go to City to pick up certificates of residency, certificates for Seal stamp. Go to Bank at lunch time, fill out more paper work for 1 hour, convert USD to yen from overseas accounts, Call Internet Provider to give notice of move. Call Landlord to see if he wants to keep anything of ours. Drop off bed at friend’s house. Play hockey late night hockey (this is my reward).

Tuesday: Still trying to get hold of ISP. Transfer money from US to JP. Hopefully it will all arrive on time. Coordinate final site check visit. Add blog entry.


Saturday we had a preliminary site check where we nitpick about any scratches to walls or caulking that needs smoothing, mosquito screens that don’t slide easily, etc. There are quite a few little nicks here and there but our site manager was present and helped mark all the areas for fixing with little pieces of colored tape.


We really couldn’t to see how the lighting would turn out. I think the overall effect surpassed our expectations. I think Lara summed it best as “Pinch me, is this really happening? Is this really our home?”. Earlier in the day Kawata-san our site manager and Sakamoto-san our architect were standing outside in our bedroom garden and were looking at the house with air of pride. Kawata turned to me and said “This is great home. It’s rare that people take the time and energy these days to build something this beautiful.” And it struck me that they had invested much of themselves in this project as well. Nothing like appreciating a job well done.



Stay tuned for a video walk through for our next post.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chapter 40- Yikes! (T-minus 9)

With all of the changes happening inside it’s a bit easy to forget the guys outside toiling away to make sure we have parking for the car and bikes.

Probably the darkest area of the home is our long hallway next to the entrance. So we decided to make it a little wider and put in niches to create a little art gallery. We chose LED lights here so we can leave the lights on most of the time without worrying too much about energy.

Our heating and cooling is installed now. We went with Daikin AC/Heater units. These models circulate air not just up and down but side ways as well. We like the flexibility and for equal money and features I will most of the time go with the specialist company.

We’ve been asked many times if we went with heated floors or Yuka Danbou. We’ve chosen not to mainly because we felt it wasn’t worth the prices for something that is used for just about 3~4 months of year. Don’t get us wrong, it feels great! but it’s a luxury we could live without. It also really limits your choice of flooring we’ve heard.

In order to avoid washing schools shoes (wabaki), calligraphy sets and various mishaps in the kitchen or bathroom sink, we installed a separate sink cabinet in the utility room. Not the prettiest, but a proud planning detail.


Double sinks in the washroom will hopefully reduce the occurrences of family members spitting on each other. At least that’s the hope. Whether there will be a definite boys and girls side needs to be seen.


So what is the YIKES all about? Well this morning, doing my daily morning supervision noticed a large crack on engineered stone kitchen counter, right where the MIELE IH cooker would be installed. Not a good way to start the day. But a quick email to Sakamoto and prompt response confirmed that they were on top of it already and that the counter would be replaced today. PHEW! I assume they must insured against these kinds of unfortunate events.