We did IT: I!

Part One: Hell Freezing Over

Hello Everyone! Welcome back!!

Its now February proper and we haven’t written anything since last November. Why?! Well Let’s see…

First I was applying for apartments all throughout December and none of them accepted me as a tenant, I was busy with finalizing some university modules and essays.. which I have still ended up not being able to complete on time.. sigh..

Sasuke was the only thing keeping me sane as I was trying to pack, work (still full time at this point), study and be a good carer for him.

The start of January I decided to go to Fukuchiyama and plonk myself down at a realtor (estate agents) and work through finding a place to store our items and register the car with a parking space. Several hours later we found a place.

Jump to the end of January and the day before I head back to Fukuchiyama to sign all the contract details, I check in with the car dealership to ensure I can collect all the necessary paperwork. Turns out that the necessary paperwork for the car and an allocated parking space would take up to two weeks to obtain! I was due to move and have the car all by the 28th/29th January.

Well … shirt.

So. Now we get to..

January 24th.

Walking an hour and a half to the train station, I arrived to collect my reserved Hashidate Limited Express tickets (a 2 hour journey rather than 4 hours by local, slower trains!), only to be told by the person at the counter that the Hashidate is running on a reduced schedule and may even stop running earlier than planned due to the severe snow storm.

Wait… what! What snow storm?! Oh crap. I have so much to do!

I thank the person behind the counter and go to catch the train.

Arriving in Fukuchiyama, I make a beeline for the realtor and within 45 mins to an hour all the paper work was concluded and I had the keys! Now that was impressive – even by Japanese standards! Next stop was to go to City Hall to have the address changed on my residency card and certificate of change of address/residency.

Daaaaamn! City Hall was completed in an hour… max! That was faster than last time and way quicker than I had expected given the known nature of Japanese bureaucracy! Ok, next stop the police station to change my address on my driving license and sort out the parking allocation and paperwork.

I get to the police station and the officers behind the counter are super helpful and within less than 5 mins my address is changed – woohooo! Now for the hard part. I needed the paperwork for proof of parking for my car.

Blank stares.

Oh feck. Maybe something was lost in translation?!

I describe my car and provide my new address to the officer who has now joined the conversation. She looks at the information I provide about my car and then my apartment. She produces a rather large iPad with translation software and says that for a lightweight car, the certificate is not needed.

Ok. Now Im lost in translation… what was that?! NO certificate is needed?! But the dealership said that it was required to register the car?!!

Without missing a beat, the same police officer says in broken yet amazingly accurate English and without the translator ” You tell dealership Fukuchiyama police say no certificate needed.”

Alright then!

Happy Days!!

After all but skipping out of the police station and notifying the dealership about not needing the certificate I caught up with my friend for an hour at Starbucks I checked online for the train times back.

Shit. The Hashidate was cancelled. So local it is then and an epic 4 hour journey back.

I head to the station and at the counter check if my ticket is valid for the local and the lovely lady behind the counter said that I could catch the Hashidate back that is pulling into the station now. YES!! Score! I get the ticket and literally jump onto the train and head back to Kyoto and to Sasuke. Happy Days.

On the way back my friend messages to say that the storm has hit Fukuchiyama and that it was a complete white out and the amount of snow fallen was already ankle deep. Turns out I managed to catch the last Hashidate out of Fukuchiyama – phew!

Arriving into Kyoto the sky is borderline black and heavy clouds looming over the city. I run out of the train station and run a few errands before catching the bus.

Catching the next bus home within minutes the poor driver is struggling as the snow starts to fall. By the time we reach the main road to my stop, the bus is going less than 10 mph and everyone who was caught outside is scrambling for cover or trying to get onto a bus. Any bus. Reaching my stop the snow is falling heavily and is ankle deep. Thank god that Sas is inside and warm and safe. Guess that was the last bus to run too!

So what could have been a challenging and very expensive day leading to significant delays in getting the car turned out to be the best bureaucratic day ever ending with a gigantic snow storm.

Given the challenges of the past few years living in Kyoto and it being as hot, if not hotter than, hell… I guess the adage has rung true.. hell freezes over (change has begun!)

Alright.. that was a wild ride and only one day.. so what happens next you may ask?! Well..

Stay tuned for Part Two!

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