Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A little landscaping

1183924344703 Its so hot right now in Japan. I prefer cold over heat any day because I can layer till I feel comfortable. The average temperature in my city is about 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit which isn't really anything I'm not used to. The thing that makes the weather unbearable is the extreme humidity we have here. Even if it rains it still feels hot and sticky and I am already looking forward to the milder fall weather. I still have at least another month of this hellish weather and I'm not too happy about it.
I remember arriving here last year around the same time and feeling completely oppressed by the humidity. I can't believe a year has already passed since I left to work in Japan in 2007. I also have about the same amount of money I started with back in August 2007 which is kind of disappointing. It takes a lot of money to start living in Japan and to move, so I know where most of the money went, but its still discouraging to see I made nearly zero progress in my savings. At least I've been steadily paying my credit and student loan over minimum for the past year, so in a way my money hasn't been completely wasted...
Yard Renovation 009As much as I am concerned about saving money, I recently put my money into some room renovations. I got my apartment at such a "low" price that I took it with a few major flaws. I painted the cigarette stained wallpaper and floorboard trim in my bedroom last month. This month I began to focus on my back yard. Originally, my back yard was very  ugly and full of rocks, weeds, and dirt. I had bigger plans for my yard outside of storage, I want to use it as a place to relax, BBQ, and to admire as my own private area. So last weekend I bought a weed hoe and a rake at the 100 yen shop to clear out the trash and rocks. Unfortunately I lost pictures of my yard before the cleanup because I accidentally deleted the folder, but trust me it was like a mini-jungle back there.
Yard Renovation 008 The yard looked tons better after it was cleared of all the weeds and stones but I still wasn't satisfied. So a couple days ago I ended up buying some special black anti-grass tarps to lay as a foundation for my new rock yard. I ended up laying about 70kg of rocks in my small yard and still have a couple spots that are bare. Now my yard looks like a California desert rock garden. After tallying all my rocks and supplies, by backyard renovation put me back about 3,800 yen. I suppose that's a night or two dining out with a couple drinks which isn't so bad. The yard still looks a little bare, so I may buy a couple cheap hearty potted plants to put some color out there but I don't plan to spend any real money on any more improvements out there.
Yard Renovation 010 I'm very satisfied with the renovations I did on my apartment room and yard. I know I don't own the place and won't live here maybe a couple years from now, but I want to make my life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Fixing the place up was a way to make my home, MY HOME. There are still a couple areas in my apartment I plan to fix and tweak but at least now I got the big stuff out of the way. Hopefully I can start saving some real cash beginning on my one year anniversary living here. Maybe now that I have some space in my yard, I might buy a workout bench or some free weights to get back into shape. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper than joining a gym here...

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