I’m in a hotel room; it’s my last night in Shibata, and tomorrow I go to Tokyo, spend the first night with Mo, and hopefully move into a guest house Wednesday. (You are again advised not to ask me what my plans are. I have a knife.)
I’m feeling much better that I’m out of the apartment. I’ve barely slept the last few nights in there, obsessing over which parts of it need more cleaning, which things in it I need to abandon and which I can take with me. My mind clings to physical possessions; Snufkin wouldn’t approve; I kept all my Moomins books. I also feel oddly better knowing I’ve decided to take my spices, tea, and coconut milk with me, even though they make my luggage much less manageable than it might otherwise be.
My time today was divided roughly as follows:
8:00 – 9:00 – Got up, showered, ate, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and called the guest-house I’m staying in to confirm stuff, sent them 30000 yen deposit.
9:00 – 12:00 – Tried by various methods to get rid of my appliances. On Friday I’d asked whether I could leave them in the room for the next teacher (who was also the previous teacher, and who had in his turn left me stuff), and been told, “that sounds reasonable, but let me ask.” I got a call at 8:00 last night telling me that I had to have them out of the room, or I’d be responsible for the disposal fees. Joy.
My journey the next morning was pretty convoluted, but I eventually ended up calling a cab to take me to Off-House and selling them there. For a barely-used iron, ironing board, fan, and humidifier, and rice cooker with a couple of scratches in the pot’s teflon – originally, all this cost me 13000 yen – they paid me 500 yen, not quite enough to cover the taxi fare. None of that was for the rice-cooker, which they said they couldn’t sell because of the scratches, so they were just going to throw it out. This is actually better than I’d expected – I’d been half resigned to paying the city to have them all destroyed myself. Apparently Japan is very neurotic about used stuff.
(I’d previously tried to sell them some of my clothes, mostly things I bought last winter and only got to wear a few times before I lost all that weight. There was a suit jacket in there that I’d worn twice, and a sweater I’d never worn at all – they said that though they were “damaged” and they wouldn’t pay for them, they’d put them in the garbage for me if I wanted. Bizarrely, the only things they thought worth buying were two polartec fleeces that were all pilled up (90 yen for those). I guess they sell well. I know that clothes closets can always use business suits for people going to job interviews, but no one could suggest me one in the area, so I’m going to try to get it to the Salvation Army or someone in Tokyo.)
12:00 – 1:20 – Went back to the room, finished cleaning, poured the last of my apple juice into my thermos, made sandwiches with the last of my bread and ham, and called a cab to take the rest of my things to the hotel. (It’s walking distance for me, but not for me with my bags.) Then I walked back to the school and turned in my key to the manager. This was very curt. (I also returned a beanbag and plastic coin some of the kids had apparently stuck in my purse. I unfortunately failed to find all the coins in my purse – I still have two.)
1:20 – 1:40 – Bought a new pair of insoles at Daiso, put them on and washed my face in the McDonalds bathroom, sat in the McDonalds drinking my apple juice and texting Mo for twenty minutes. I was tired.
1:40 – 3:30 – Third and last encounter with socialized medicine (for this particular problem). I said, “There hasn’t been any change in the lump’s size, and I’m about to leave town. Can you just go ahead with the surgery?” He considered this, took my lump’s picture to check against the pictures he’d taken last time, and said, “Okay.”
He explained the procedure to me with the aid of a cheerily illustrated medical phrasebook he’d dug out when he saw me coming, then sent me into the next room to wait until the people with appointments were done. Then he anesthetized the spot on my back and did the surgery. This took about twenty minutes and cost me 1860 yen. The gauze, tape, and disinfectant cream for the wound, which I got next door, cost 900 yen.
The one problem I had with this whole experience was that the guy didn’t use enough tape on the bandage when he put it on – it came loose pretty much right away, I think while I was still in the office, and I didn’t notice for several hours. (At first, because I was still numb from the morphine, and then later because I’d been numb when it was first put on, and so didn’t realize that it felt wrong. I’m fortunate I wasn’t wearing the white shirt today.) You need more than a centimeter of tape on either side for a fat person, doctor! The skin rolls around! I know this is Japan, but you must have had overweight patients before at some point!
3:30 – 4:45 – Went to the bank and transferred all but 10000 yen from my Hokuetsu account to my Japan Post account, so I can actually use it when I’m in Tokyo – Hokuetsu has no branches there. (The Japanese banking system, ladies and gentlemen!) I’m only leaving the Hokuetsu account open because it’s what I use to pay the cell phone company and NHI, and I don’t feel like messing with that right now – 10000 yen should be a little more than is necessary for the next month.
4:45 – 5:15 – Walked back to the hotel, taking a bunch of pictures. I stopped at the creepy shrine again, and met its god. I’ll post a picture of the god later.
5:15 – 6:43-something – Discovered that my bandage had come loose, spent about ten minutes changing it (THIS IS THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE TO HAVE A BANDAGE), ate one of my sandwiches, wrote this post, made tea, am about to lie down and drink the tea.