Saturday, September 23, 2006

How can this happen?!!

This is a video of what the house looks like where I live right now. It's an 82-year-old house owned and continuously occupied by the same family who built it in 1924, the year after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 in Tokyo.

I live in one of the three small apartments upstiars. I couldn't get a good shot of the roof because I'd have to trespass on the neighbors property to be able to get back far enough, but this house has one of those traditional, very heavy tile roofs.

Hiroko told me this week that, probably in early November, the house will be cut in half. I'm still in shock! This particular house was built on leased land, and the current owner of the land wishes to build a small apartment building on part of the property where this house sits. My landladies (two elderly Japanese sisters) don't have the approximately $430,000 (U.S.) or 50,000,000 yen to pay the land owner to renew their lease for another 20 years, so they must allow half of the house to be "removed."

I still can't believe it will happen! My room is on the second floor on the left in this movie (the two little windows are my kitchen and bathroom). If you draw a line straight down from the smaller bathroom window, that's the part of the house that will be demolished. The room under me is the very large bedroom/art studio/music room occupied by the sister who owns the house. For Tokyo, it's a huge room, and has a sliding door that opens onto a small garden. Her room, my room, and the garden will soon disappear to accomodate yet another ugly, 2-story apartment building that will leave the remaining house boxed in with no sunshine.

It's totally disgusting that such a thing can happen to two lovely Japanese women who, along with five other siblings, were born and raised in this house.

As for me, I'm only a temporary renter, and yet I feel so sad that the women who have become my friends will suffer such a loss! This really sucks!

I'll keep you posted as the demolition unfolds.


Gaijin Girl said...

that's so sad. the poor old dears. and poor you, too! does this mean you have to move? i don't understand a lot of the planning permissions and construction that go on here. i don't think there is any urban plan at all. it's whoever has the most money.

i saw your comment on nooh's site. i usually get typhoon info from the site you suggested to me for earthquakes - the japan meterological agency. a lot of the info doesn't make sense, but they always have a drawing of the path of the typhoon. i don't know about you, but i am getting mightily used to looking at pictures to navigate my way through life!

EuroTrippen said...

That really does suck. Will they be compensated at least for allowing half their house to be torn down? I'm thinking not.

Very bad karma for the land owner...

Absolutely Tokyo! said...

Hi GG and ET! Thanks for your comments.

Yes, I will have to move, but one of my landladies manages some other real estate so she has offered me another apartment in the same area at the same price and will help me move. See how sweet she and her sister are?

I didn't ask if they would be compensated for their loss, but I would imagine not. A Japanese friend wrote to tell me that this type of thing is not at all uncommon. Isn't that sad?

Because I am also an energy worker, I feel that I am strongly being guided out of this house. It's been very comfortable for me here (except for the occasional roach!). If hearing that "your" house is being cut in half isn't a message from the universe to move, I don't know what is! I'm sure there are very good reasons why I need to move out.

Thanks GG for reminding me about the meteorological society for typhoon warnings! I know what you mean about learning to "read" pictures to navigate through life!

Gaijin Girl said...

hi at,

i just sent you an email but it bounced back! are you ok? just thought i'd check in as you haven't posted for a while. you're probably busy with the impending move, but this gaijin girl is a bit concerned.

drop me a line?