Human Ants

So I haven’t forgotten my promise that I would post about the moving company.

I know you’re all dying to read all the details. 😉

But it is a new experience for us, and a facet of living in Japan!  And hey, that’s part of what this blog is about!

We realized that we would need a moving company early on in the process. We realized that we didn’t have the man power to get all of our stuff downstairs and into a new place– nor did we have a truck.

I had no idea about moving companies- but I had heard that they offer all kinds of services, including a company packing up all your things, moving it and then unpacking it for you in your new location.  I hear now that they do also offer this service in the States.  I wouldn’t have known– I’ve always done it the cheap way. BUT of course the rich and famous can afford to have someone take care of it all for them… I can’t really see celebrities packing their own boxes.

So. One night on the train coming home from Tokorozawa, I googled in Japanese about moving companies and came up with some page that should give you quotes once you put in all the furniture you own.  I filled out the form, clicked “receive your quotes” or the equivalent thereof, and literally within 5 minutes, I already have 7 emails from different companies and about 5 phone calls.  Now this was about 10:30 at night.

I was on the train and answering your phone is a big no-no. I let a huge breath blow through my teeth, turned the silencer on and said, “I’ll figure this out tomorrow”.

But this is basically what the next week looked like.  Phone calls every day, all day long. I did answer one.  And during the conversation, I thought I was asking them to call me back the next day between 1 and 3 because I would have a friend who could speak better Japanese and help me out.  I found out the next day that they had actually come to our apartment to do a consultation of some sort. But we weren’t home.

I don’t know where I missed that whole facet of the conversation, but apparently I did.

Finally, Vicente had a friend help him schedule about 3 companies to come do in-house consultations.  They came, they looked in closets, made notes, pulled out calculators while we sat waiting on the couch. They showed us whole catalogs about their companies, talked about why they were the most secure company, offered us deals if we accepted right then and there.  They pulled out tiny little printers to print us their quotes.

From one company, we received a “gift box” of cleaning spray and rags.  From another company, a bag of rice.  The quality of it was actually pretty good. From another company, we received nothing.

Humph.  See if we hire you guys!

And we felt the awkward foreigner moment (I wonder how Japanese feel in these moments) when the sales guy bowed multiple times for about 5 seconds in position.

Seriously, what do we do during that whole time?  We just kinda looked at each other questioningly.

At any rate, we contracted a company that we felt most secure and had the best deal. I was a wee bit nervous to make a decision, but we later heard from some Japanese that they were impressed that we got such a good deal with a great company. Ari-san (for short) is the name of the company.  Literally it means Mr. Ant.

Boxes and stuffing and tape was delivered to our door and the packing began.

We did have to get the AC unit we had bought for Rosalyn’s room uninstalled, which required a phone call and scheduling before moving and scheduling reinstallation. Not too painful, but I’ll admit that I was wary to answer the phone not being sure what company was going to be calling me.

The actual moving part was pretty amazing! They came in, checked that we had it all packed and what was awaiting them, we paid and then the ants invaded.

Not only did they set up foam walls to protect both apartments, but they took their shoes off coming in EACH TIME and put elastic blankets over every item of furniture.  I waited awkwardly inside while they RAN in and out and up and down stairs. They were sweating.  Vicente and Rosalyn waited downstairs by the moving truck, Rosalyn directly them to be careful with her things.

It took them about an hour to load everything.  We closed up the house and took the train to the new apartment. Unloading, we directed them what rooms each thing went in, how we wanted our living room set up and other things.  One mover kindly gave Rosalyn back her tricycle to play with.

Overall, the beginning was stressful, especially if you aren’t sure of the terms and conditions of things in another language.  Not to mention the overwhelming typhoon of phone calls from companies.  Did I mention we had a full-fledged actual typhoon come through the day before moving? Yes, yes we did have one.

But once that was accomplished, the actual moving day was made so easy (thank you Lord for perfect weather!). They were unbelievably fast, incredibly careful and very efficient.

We just had to unpack after that. And convince a 2 year old that this is her new home.

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since we’ve moved.  Rosalyn is adjusted and loves being about to pound down the hall, with no worries for us of disturbing our neighbors downstairs.  We’re almost fully past the phase of “have you seen such and such??”  But it’s great to be in our new place.  We’re so thankful!

It feels like home.


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