Posts Tagged apartment cleaning
After several days of intense apartment cleaning (and occasional beer drinking), Azeroth and I believe the apartment is ready for a NOVA inspection before our new roommate moves in. Windows and surfaces are clean, clutter was removed, the kitchen looked inviting, the horrible forest of mold was gone from the bathroom, and Azeroth had finished moving from his room across the hall to the large tatami mat room off the living room.
Was our cleaning job perfect? Not at all. But it was good enough and we had no desire to spend any more time on it.
I briefly considered moving from my oddly shaped bedroom into Azeroth’s old room, which was larger and not oddly shaped. There were a few reasons why I ended up staying where I was. The first reason was lack of time; with my parents coming tomorrow for two weeks, I didn’t have the necessary time to move all of my stuff into Azeroth’s old room and then clean up my empty room before the new roommate arrived.
The second reason was the previous state of Azeroth’s room. Don’t get me wrong, Azeroth is a good friend and a fun roommate, but his room was filthy. I actually found what appeared to be black mold on the wall when I was helping him move. To be fair, it could have also been food sauce of some kind. Knowing what the room looked (and smelled) like when we started cleaning was not a great incentive for moving.
Finally, even though my current room is oddly and inconveniently shaped, I’ve spent over a year getting it the way I like it. It’s comfortable and familiar, and I don’t feel like I am missing out too badly by staying put.
Bring on the apartment inspector!
In preparation for a move in inspection, my roommate Azeroth and I have been working hard to clean our apartment. One of the items on the inspection list is a check for mold under the bathtub.
The “bathroom” in Japan is different from what I was used to in Canada. Back home, “bathroom” was a room with a toilet, sink, and a bathtub or shower. In my apartment in Japan the toilet is in a room all on it’s own, which is very convenient for use when someone is having a shower. The bathroom itself is an enclosed room with a shower nozzle, a deep bathtub, and a drain on the floor.
To be truly Japanese, you need to wash yourself with the shower until you are completely clean, and then sit neck deep in extremely hot water. The bath water stays clean this way, and can be used by different people. My roommates and I have probably never used the bathtub for its intended purpose, opting instead for the convenience of the shower.
Since the bathroom is always hot and damp, it’s a great breeding ground for mold. Until we started our cleaning exercise, I had no idea that I could remove plastic panels from the side of the bathtub and get access underneath. When I did this, I discovered a black forest of thick mold everywhere. It looked like the entire underside of our tub had been taken over by the dark hair of Sadako from The Ring (Samara for those who have only seen the American remake).
After trying to remember if I had recently watched a haunted VHS tape, I headed across the street to the small supermarket in search of one of the most popular mold killers on the market: Kabi Killer (literally mold killer). I returned home, and sprayed about half of the bottle under the tub, periodically stopping to rinse with the shower nozzle. I’m not sure when the last time this was done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been years ago. The whole experience was nasty.
English Teachers: when you get an instruction book on how to maintain your apartment in Japan, actually read it. Nobody wants to discover a dark mold cavern under the tub.
2016 Bonus Material: For an excellent read on maintaining your bathroom, check out this article on the excelled website “Surviving in Japan” http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2012/07/prevent-and-clean-mold-in-the-bathroom-japan.html
With a new roommate coming and only a week to get the apartment in order, Azeroth and I have a lot of work to do. NOVA is supposed to send an inspector for company apartments to make sure everything is clean and in order before someone new moves in. This apparently hadn’t been done for the last few people moving into our three bedroom apartment in Ooka City Plaza. We considered the chance that nobody would come again, but decided that we didn’t want to take the risk. It was also a good excuse for us to finally clean our filthy apartment. After work we cracked a beer and looked around to assess the situation:
- Azeroth wanted to move from his current room across the hall from me to Palmer’s old room off the living room. His room was literally knee deep in beer cans and food wrappers
- The main storage closet was filled with expired vitamin supplements and liqueur
- The living room was decorated with small toys from fast food meals and those plastic bubble machines in stores
- The fridge had condiments, booze, and expired food
- There was mold under the bathtub (apparently a common problem in Japan)
- The shoe storage in the front hall was filled with shoes that did not belong to Azeroth or I
- The kitchen cupboards were filled with pint beer glasses from local izakayas
- Everything was dirty
The closet was the first item on our list. Japan’s garbage disposal rules are confusing, so we decided that the best way to get rid of the supplements and liqueur was to dump it all in the toilet. Our toilet had seen some terrible things over the years, but I don’t think it was ready to handle load after load of vitamin pills. We topped off the vitamins with a bottle of egg based liqueur (eww) that had been in the apartment for at least 3 years. I recorded the occasion for posterity with my phone as the rancid liquid glooped into the toilet.
While we worked on the living room we returned to the poor toilet periodically to give it a flush. By the end of the evening the living room and closet looked much better, but there was still a lot of work left. We both made vague promises about buying cleaning supplies and curtailing our recreational activities until things were in order. It’s going to be a busy week!
** 2016 update – I watched the video of our cleanup again while I was rewriting this post. Seeing the state of our poor toilet made me giggle uncontrollably.
There were a bunch of sore, tired teachers at work today thanks to St. Patrick’s Day. Since it was Saturday, most of the teachers had to start at 10:00am. I started at 1:00pm and still felt rotten. I’m actually surprised that we didn’t get more complaints from students about pale, nauseous looking teachers on weekends.
During the day I found out that Azeroth and I were getting a new roommate at the end of the month. Since Palmer had moved to Hokkaido, we had been enjoying our 3 bedroom apartment between the two of us. Before anyone moves in to a new apartment NOVA sends out an inspector to make sure things are in order. My parents are coming to visit on March 25, which only gives us about a week to get things inspection ready. Azeroth and I are not the best housekeepers*, so we have a lot work to do in a week!
* When I say not the best housekeepers, I mean that we generally never clean anything.