All of our belongings are moved to the new house and our contract on the apartment has ended; however, there is still a lot of work to make it our place. The day of the move we recalled that there were no rods in the closets for our hanging clothes, and we had them draped over a mountain of futon and other sleep-related material. Wanting to resolve this quickly, went hunting at the hardware store and it was an adventure.
Traditionally Japanese closets do not have rods for hanging clothes and customs are slow to change here. While new homes will have rods installed, a trip to the hardware store will reveal no standard brackets or supports and no wooden rods. One is more likely to encounter bamboo for sale, but that is also a little rare.
Friendly staff, upon interrogation, directed me to steel tubes for handrails. Several times during our conversation, it was made clear that these were not clothing rods, but handrails – as if my using them as such would void some sort of warrantee; however, whenever asked about clothing rods, it was intimated that this was the product to use.
Tubes were available in 910mm and 1820mm lengths yet my closets are about 100mm short of each of these sizes. Inquiring about getting these cut brought forth all sorts of conversation. First, I was told they could not cut it for me; which surprised me a bit since they will cut a board once for free and many times for a small additional fee. After a bit, conversation regarding a cutting tool which customers could use floated up. It was kind of vague and mysterious and I was told to ask the register clerk by the lumber, but on initial approach I was told customers couldn’t use “the tool”. Mentioning the first conversation evoked a call to a person, apparently the keeper of “the tool”, who seemed to be seeking some secret code words before he led me to “the tool”, which turned out to be a radial grinder.
After receiving many warnings about unplugging while making any preparations or adjustments, the keeper swiftly departed. My wife was fascinated that I could use a tool which made such short work of a steel pipe and produced a fountain of sparks worthy of a summer festival. The cuts were the right length (measured twice) but were rough enough that they required some rasping and sanding, which gave me an excuse to pick up some more tools.
Installing the short rod was fairly simple, aside from curling my body up inside a closet; however, the 1.8 meter pipe was another story. Since all the parts are for handrails, the pipe had to be inserted into both brackets before installation. Screwing a bracket into paneling with a long pipe and gravity working against you is challenging. My wife felt too exhausted to hold a steel bar while I worked, so I used some storage cases as support. The cases came up short but fortunately, resting my copies of The Odyssey and The Iliad on top perfectly made up the difference.