We arrived to Matsumoto at noon on a warm 32•C day and were greeted by Dr. Takahashi at the bus depot. This year the first few weeks of our stay in Matsumoto is not in the International House but in an apartment to the west of Shinshu University up on a hill. In addition to being on a hill our apartment is on the 5th floor. The view from the balcony is amazing, it looks out over all of Matsumoto and into the Mountains that surround the valley. On clear days we can even see Mt. Norikura from the balcony.
The expanse of the view made me mention to Abby that this would be the perfect vista to watch fireworks. We haven’t been disappointed. Today is “Marine Day” as in Ocean celebration day which initiated the summer beach season. Though tonight will probably be amazing the whole weekend we have been enjoying firework displays both natural (lightning) and in celebration out of all our windows.The apartment itself is very nice and big, yes, I said big. We have a bathroom (more on this later), a kitchen, living room and 3 bedrooms with tatami mat floors. With the windows open and shōji (paper doors/ room dividers) open we get a delightful breeze through the apartment keeping it cool-ish. A night we sleep on futons on the tatami mat floor with pillows made of cut up pieces of straw and giant towels as sheets/blankets. Life in the Japanese apartment is pretty good. Shōji (Paper door and window shades/curtains)4 1/2 tatami mat room with shōji doors
A note is needed on the shower. There is a Japanese style tub (2 ½ ft. square by 3 ft. deep) with a shower head attached. To use it first one must turn on the gas and prime the water heater. Then you can choose to fill up the tub or take a shower on the tiles just outside the tub. Thus far we have only showered but a soak will be in our futures before moving to the International dorm in a few weeks. Temperature options range from scalding, burning to hot. Amazingly the shower water is instantly hot after priming and starting the shower. The only way we can get a cool shower is by not priming the heater, but then it is sometimes too cool.Japanese tub and shower with gas water heater
So far we love our apartment and will be a bit sad to leave our traditional apartment for western style dorm rooms. Then again we will soon begin our mountain (work) adventures and will be spending less time in Matsumoto.