Falling Apart at the Seams


Tuesday May 20th, upon returning to my blogging, I wrote a list of things I want to buy. A few related items are: pants, computer, and car. You may wonder how pants, computers, and cars are related. Well, let me tell you.

Japanese butts are shaped differently from Caucasian Americans’. Of course, everyones butt is shaped a little different from everyone else’s, but there are significant differences in the shaping about the hips and butt between me and the average Japanese guy. This means that buying pants which fit well is a bit of a challenge. Just finding a size big enough can be a chore but, inevitably I find pants which feel awkward when I try them. So far, my answer to this problem has been waiting until I return to America and buying some jeans. Either my latest jeans were too cheap or my last trip was too long ago, but suddenly both pairs of jeans have begun disintegrating. They probably look very fashionable for a casual party, but not so good for teaching at school.

My computer was a zinger in 1998 when I bought it, but there have been a few advances in the last 10 years. For speed, a new computer would be nice, but far from necessary; however, this machine has literally been falling apart over the last few years. Japanese summers are hot and humid, and I’m the kind of penny-pincher who won’t run the A/C unless forced too. I think the cooler in the computer is not in the best shape which makes a poor combination with my lifestyle here. Shortly after I moved to Japan, I noticed a small screw on my table. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out from what it came. (Glasses, computer, …) I saved it for a long time and eventually, found another just like it… in the same location. Having written it off as something that was left behind by my predecessor, I had to reconsider after finding the new one.

At my second residence, I had no internet or telephone, so the computer didn’t get used much. Since March last year, I have been running the computer often at this house. In the summer I found another one of these screws… near the computer… and a thorough search revealed that my computer has a few screws loose. I watched a show about recycling computers and found that bodies are designed to be thrown in a warm bath for a period of time and have the screws drop out, saving tremendous labor in the process. I have decided that the Japanese summers are trying to recycle my computer prematurely. The top left panel moves quite a bit. This problem is aggravated by putting a USB2 adapter in the PCMCIA slot to use my external drives or print photos at reasonable speed. This generates a lot of heat. A new machine would have USB2 built-in, but I might need a cooling pad to pamper the machine.

My car was a low-ball deal from a friend of a friend. It is cute and fun, but it has problems. First, the steering wheel doesn’t rest straight. I’m guessing some alignment issues needs to be fixed. The tiny wheels and the Japanese custom of having several centimeter square curbs at the entrance to parking areas have taken their toll on my front assembly. I feel funny noises that probably indicate ball joint issues. Recently the transmission has been slipping. It’s kind of like driving a car with a bad clutch, but it’s an automatic. The block apparently leaks oil, but I have never seen a spot in my parking area. Recently, I found the radiator maybe leaking as well, which surprised me since, as I said, I haven’t found spots in the parking area. Little issues exist as well: hatch door struts should be replaced; tape deck doesn’t work; dummy gauges apparently don’t function; battery maybe getting drained; etc.

So, the common factor here is that all of these items (pants, computer, car) are literally falling apart at the seams. I will probably try to milk them along for a bit, but they won’t last forever. I bought something like Dockers to wear to school, so I’m good until I visit Seattle. The car is registered and insured through March, so I will make it last if I can. The computer contains precious data and will probably be replaced before the weather turns nasty hot.


6 Responses to “Falling Apart at the Seams”

  1. Teela Says:

    I think the pants issues is mostly due to lack of visitation to the US 🙂

  2. びっくり Says:

    Perhaps you are right. I’d fly home every weekend, but the round trip takes three days…

    I hear you are moving to Switzerland. You need to be writing a blog so I find out about these things quicker. I hope you are well. When is graduation?

  3. verbivore Says:

    I remember the clothing issue from when I lived in Japan – luckily I’m small enough to fit most Japanese clothes but there was something unsettling about sizing and often things just didn’t fit well. I definitely saved up for shopping in the US.
    Hair cuts were another issue – but I’ll save you the sob story. 🙂

  4. びっくり Says:

    Oh, there will be some haircut stories this week…

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