Saturday was the second house hunting trip to Ise. We visited an apartment building in Kawasaki (河崎) we had not seen previously and then went to the apartment we had picked as the best from the previous trip. When we were inside the Kawasaki apartment I thought my girlfriend was going to compel me to rent it. It had windows on three sides allowing for good air movement, ample lighting, and good views. From one side we could look down on the river, from another we were looking across very traditional roofs along the very trendy Kawasaki road. Also, it is probably about five minutes on foot from her house; however, the floor plan made the kitchen (the most important room for her) feel busy. Cramped breezeways, a narrow balcony, and a minuscule elevator were turn-offs as well.
Our target location had new units open, so we checked them out as well. One overlooks Furuichi Kaido (古市街道), the old, winding road that connects the outer shrine and the inner shrine. I love that street because it is mostly lined with traditional architecture and is much quieter. We nixed this unit because, other than a view of the old street, the scenery was not so hot.
Another fourth floor unit at the end of the building ended up as our choice. We both liked the fact that it was an end unit with extra windows: in the bathroom, the toilet room, and the kitchen; which lights things up a lot. All of the plumbing – bath, vanity, toilet, and washer connection – can be isolated from the hall with an accordion door. Finally, I will have a toilet with a fan, and for a little icing on the cake, there is a washlet: a seat with bidet-like features built in.
Cabinet space in the kitchen is fairly good and there is a 60 by 180 cm alcove where my rolling steel shelves can provide more kitchen storage. The entry hall has a full height coat/broom closet and a shoe locker. Both of the main rooms have large Japanese closets with storage all the way to the ceiling. As far as a 2DK apartment goes, storage space is great.
One of the rooms is Japanese style. This was a point for me because so many of the newer apartments aren’t including any tatami mats. The balcony is about twice the width of a normal apartment balcony and is about 5 1/2 meters long.
Tucked in a bamboo grove, it is quite calm, yet a five minute walk from Ujiyamada Station (宇治山田駅). My morning commute will be nice if I don’t have to walk very far to catch the train. On backroads it turned out to be about a 10 minute walk from my girlfriend’s place as well, so she can refresh at the apartment when she gets breaks from her 24 hour schedule.
My walking around to time things got me thinking, and I went on another adventure. On the first of each month, tsuitachigayu (朔粥) can be purchased from 5 to 8 in the morning on Okageyokocho (御陰横町) near the inner shrine. I am planning to get up early and ride down there on Furuichi Kaido, but being on foot, decided to see how long it would take. Shortly into the walk, I stumbled upon an old house with kind people inside showing historic photos. I was trapped. We chatted for a long time and made impromptu plans to set up some future classes.
Continuing on my way, I saw a shrine, a temple, a monument, a fun garden, some cherry blossoms, and countless other special points. All told, it only took about 40 minutes. Now I’m considering whether to walk or bike. I’ve included some photos here, but will have to spend some time taking more once I get settled into my new life.