01 June, 2016

Our carport is tight

We did a live Skype interview with my parents' church on Sunday. One question they asked was what we thought was the hardest thing about living in Tokyo. Yesterday I wrote about a good thing about living here: a great choice of reasonably priced restaurants. 

One of the challenges about life in this city for two "country kids" is space, or the lack of it combined with lots of people. Plus the value in Japanese society that you should try never to inconvenience other people. 

So whenever we are outside we are, at various levels, aware of this. The larger your vehicle, the more you are a potential problem for others, of course. I remember feeling frustrated early on that you had to plan ahead when you took your car out. You need to know if your destination has a car park or room for your car. Something you don't think about much in Australia, except in the centre of the big cities. 

Here are a few photos from outside our house. Whenever we're packing our car for a big trip (or unpacking) we have to park the car out in front of the house because the carport is too small, especially with four adult-sized bikes parked in there too. This immediately renders this section of road a one-vehicle-at-a-time road and can cause problems. But at least the road is wide enough for vehicles to pass. But we generally don't leave our car in this position any longer than absolutely necessary. 

Carport sans van. Above the carport is our shower/laundry room. 

At the back you can see our tiny shed. It's very difficult to access when the car is parked so we don't keep much in there.  To the left of it you can see our concertina gate (a common feature of Japanese carports). We only use that when we're away in the car for several days as the car is too long to fit with the gate on. 

Car parked again. Sometimes I can get it in there in one turn but usually some adjustment is needed. It is pretty exact. Centred enough to get bikes out both sides as well as open the sliding door behind the driver's side. And the side mirrors retracted too otherwise you have a lot of difficulty getting bikes out. 

We're thankful for our car and adequate carport! And most days Tokyo's space/people issues don't bother us a great deal. I guess it's something you get used to, but remains a underlying stress about living here. Mind you, we always look forward to getting out of the city. Hence camping!

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