So, I live on the 3rd floor of the 3 story building. There are 3 apartments on this floor. Each one has its own water pump outside of the building on the first floor. Sunday my water pump broke. I've been without water for 6 days now!
There's good and bad. The bad is of course that I'm effing pissed as hell. It's HOT and MUGGY in Tokyo so when I get home I'm often sweating as though I just had an hour long workout. I NEED to take a shower. Monday night when I got home the landlord han promised that it would be fixed but it wasn't.
There is a sento (public bath) 1 building away from my apartment. I've never been so I thought, "well fine, I guess this is as good an excuse as any to finally go check it out". So, I put some clothes back on, grab a towel and walk on over only to find Monday they are closed. I ended up standing in my shower slowly pouring a 2 liter bottle of water over me that I bought 4 years ago to store for earthquake preparedness.
It's basically gone like this. Sunday, middle of the day the pump is not working. I go downstairs to see if it's something obvious, I turn it off and back on, go upstairs and it works but as soon as I turn the water off, if I try it again no go. So, I tell the landlord. He says he'll fix it. An hour or two later he says it's fixed. I go try it and it's the same as before, it works once but stops. So, I go tell him and he says there's probably nothing more he can do on a Sunday be he'll try. Later that night I try it again but it's not working at all now. I leave a polite note on his door with my cell phone number explaining that I've had to go the whole day without toilet, shower (ie, I stink) and water.
Monday I go the gym since otherwise I haven't taken a shower since Saturday morning. It's $17 per visit. The landlord calls about 2pm and says it's fixed. I've been working late so I get home at 1am (see above). I again leave a polite note. The problem now is there's not enough water pressure. It's about 10% of what it was and bearly trickles out. Japanese water heaters heat on demand and they turn on automatically if the flow through the heater is above a certain amount. The water pressure is not enough to turn on the heater nor is it enough to wash in.
He calls me at 5am (I didn't answer) and again at 8am (I didn't answer since I'm asleep). He leaves a message that it will be fixed. I again go to the gym. I get home, again around 1am, it's not fixed. Fortunately it was actually a cool day and I'm not too hot but unfortunately the next day I have Japanese class in the morning so I don't have time to go to the gym first to take a shower 😞 So, I go to school sticky having poured the remaining earthquake water in my hair so that I can at least not have total bedhead. After class I go straight to work, no shower on Wednesday.
He calls again at work saying it will be fixed. I get home axious to stop feeling sticky from no shower and although the water pressure seems slightly higher than the day before it's still just a trickle. No shower for me. I leave another message on his door. I really have no good idea how to cuss or be angry in Japanese well so I opt for explaining again that I haven't been able to shower at home for 5 mornings now and would he please fix the water.
Thursday morning he calls again at 8am (I don't answer) and around 10am the management company he uses calls to say they will have it fixed today by 3pm.
I come home at 1:20am, it's worse than the day before, the water pressure is lower but my blood pressure is much much higher. I'm ready to start breaking windows and shit but I opt just for chatting with a friend about it and writing this blog entry. I looked up what would happen in California. Basically I could either withhold rent, putting it in escrow until he fixes the problem at which point I could pay him for that rent but at a reduced rate. Or, if the problem is less than one month's rent I could have it fixed and deduct the costs. Or I could move and not have to worry about my lesae. Of course this is not California, it's Tokyo Japan and from what I've seen as far as I know he as no obligation to make the place livable and there is no lease.
My question is I don't know what I should be doing. How many more "1 more days" do I give him? What are my options short of moving. Moving is not simple in Japan, it costs 6 months rent to move so if the place you are going to rent is $1K a month then it will cost you $6K to move. If it's a $1.5K place it will cost $9k to move and that's not including paying a mover to move the stuff (another $500−$800)
Anyway, the good parts, if I had to find them are, I got to the gym 3 times this week. That's probably the most times I've been to a gym in a week in my entire adult life. I had been meaning to start but I wasn't going to the gym so this got me out. The question is can I keep it up. 3 times a week would be fine. I didn't just take a shower when I went I managed to actually work out. 20 mins on the a bike then some nautilus on 2 days, swimming on another day.
Another good thing is managing to not blow up. I'm acutally pretty sure that if this was America and I could bitch out my landlord in English I would have but it's not America and my Japanese is really not up to bitching out someone, certainly not fluently. So, I kick and scream in my head and then I write a straight foward note in Japanese something like "I'm really sorry to be bothering you but my water is still not working. The water just barely trickles out and I can't take a shower. Could you please tell me when you are going to fix it. Thank you."
Also, while I can't say I wanted this experience it is an ever so small taste of other possible situations. For example, if we did have a natural disaster and the water was broken it would really suck. I don't think I ever really serious thought about it but with the water broke and no shower, no washing dishes, no toilet, it's acutally not very easy nor fun to deal with. I can be glad it's not a real disaster and that I do actually have the option to go work or the gym.