This post continues my chronicle of moving to a new apartment in Japan. I just picked up the keys to my new place, and now I'm dropping off my first load of boxes.

Week 4, Tuesday:
It's already nighttime when I walk into my new place, and it's probably thanks to lights shining in from my neighbors' homes that I realize another hole in my carefully planned move: I'm going to need enough curtains for all the windows in my new home.

Japanese homes are usually built extremely close to each other, to maximize the tiny plots of land on which they're constructed. In urban areas, having a small garden in front of your door is a luxury, and having any kind of a "yard" (grass, lawn chairs, any room for kids to play) is a mark of significant wealth--or that you really lucked out when you were searching for properties.

"Hey, I heard you doing laundry.
Think you could wash this for me?"
It's not uncommon for buildings to be so close that a single person can barely walk between them, and sometimes the windows on each of these buildings will line up as well.

Hence the importance of curtains.

In my last place, I lived in a high-rise, and there were few other buildings of similar height in the neighborhood. Throwing open my curtains meant a nice view of the city without compromise to my privacy.

But now open curtains mean I get to watch my neighbors eat dinner in their living room.

Now, I'm hardly complaining in light of all the great improvements my new place offers over my last. I have much more space, my commute is better, and the neighborhood is deathly quiet at night--exactly what I was looking for. The high-rise's view wasn't worth the daily elevator rides, either. Two years without neighbors at eye-level just meant that curtains had slipped my mind as a moving-in requirement.

So I jot down another memo on my moving to-do list, finish unloading one last box from my car, and drive back home to eat and get ready for a big day ahead.

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