Since I last posted here, I have been frantically pushing to complete the first draft of the first draft of The Oni's Shamisen. I actually did so about four days ago. We're in a rest period now, where I catch up on all the things that need doing and haven't gotten done while I've been in the Meiji Era.
This compounded by the fact that fall is maintenance season in Japan. Most of it doesn't affect me, but at my building, when the weather cools off, all sorts of cleaning and maintenance chores begin.
The Drain Cleaning People need to come in to my apartment and spread plastic everywhere prior to snaking out every single drain in the place. It takes them about 45 minutes. They're extremely efficient and all the plastic they put down and take up means they leave no evidence of their passage. But I have to be here.
Did I mention the earthquake? We had a pretty big earthquake, with the horrible alarm blasting from my phone (in case I didn't notice?), forcing me to get out of bed and lurch across the rolling room to turn it off. Then the community loudspeakers came on and announced it (in case we might have missed it?) No damage here, though a couple of things fell over. There was real damage elsewhere, power outages and derailed trains. The Earthquake Authority put the intensity at my house at 5.1, which is pretty darned shaky.
This year, although this building is brick, they are doing outdoor painting. This was scheduled with each unit because the painting requires that your front door be propped open for priming and painting the trim so it can properly dry between and after coats. After posting all kinds of notices telling us we could request specific days during a range, and giving us forms to fill out, I discovered that was all irrelevant, as the choices were much more limited and the painter more or less told me which days were convenient. The paint is thick, oil-based and smelly, but it looks nice, and at least my bit is done. He is nice and efficient, but he's still working on various outside things and the paint does smell! The outdoor gardeners will be coming soon, and I will want to have my part done so they can clean up and take away what I dig up and trim.
Then there are all my usual fall chores, one of which jumped out at me due to a happy event: I was able to buy some custom milled organic beige (partially milled) rice straight from the farmer. I got 15kg, which I suspect is about a year's worth for me at 33 pounds. It comes in the mill's special big brown bag, which has nice pictures of rice on it, and travels at a special rate. It is now stored in my floor pantry, which is vented to keep it cool and dry, and is newly cleaned to house all this bounty.
One of the nice things about my apartment is that, while it doesn't have real rooms and is very small, it has "areas." I had to bring in a plant that can live outdoors in the warmer weather. It's quite large. This meant I had to move things around, and this resulted in re-arrangement of the area housing my Buddhist Altar. We normally offer cooked rice, and it's so lovely I wanted to take a picture of it. But since you can barely see it, I took a close-up. It is gorgeous and very tasty rice. To the left of the altar, you can see some apples. We also normally offer fruit. I also got a case, yes, a case of apples. These are the $5 each size at the grocery store, but because these are "seconds," and came right from the orchard in a special apple box, they were (calculating frantically) about $1.17 each, door to door. They're so huge, you have to have a party to consume each one. And they are equally wonderful. Most of them have been frozen against future use.