After abandoning the family nest in my late teens, I moved house a number of times before arriving in Japan in the late eighties. In spite what other people said, in terms of stress levels, moving never felt like much of a big deal to me. On the contrary, there was something exciting about moving to a new environment. Not to mention a constant limited budget, logistically it was always a bit of pain organizing transport and getting friends to help, but it was always fun to eat the customary first meal of pizza, and down a couple of six packs straight after! I didn’t own much stuff at that time, and though I didn’t move so many times, I always liked the feeling of being able to relocate immediately.
Nineteen eighty-eight rolled around and I started to think I’d like to see something of the world. I spent the next few months selling or giving ‘stuff’ away, and working hard to make as much money as possible to travel for as long as possible without having to work. By January 1989, I’d whittled my belongings down to a backpacks worth. Felt so great heading to Heathrow Airport on the morning of my departure carrying the minimum of ‘stuff’ and a pocket full of money. Suddenly I was tied to nowhere; liberated!
Eventually arrived in Tokyo and immediately felt comfortable in the confined environment of a 1K (one room with a separate kitchen and bathroom, roughly the size of a small double garage). Neither wanted nor needed anything bigger. Of course I was young then with no spouse, no kids and very little in the way of belongings. Fast forward a couple of decades and somehow I’ve acquired a spouse, two kids and more ‘stuff’ than a bustling Sunday afternoon flea market. When did that happen?
As with many aspects of Japan, relocating has evolved into something of an art form. In a very competitive market, specialist moving companies tout their particular angle on the moving experience on TV and in other media. Price is a major factor for many people though, including myself. Using one of these companies, moving would have to set me back a couple of thousand bucks, if only for the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ to be shifted!
Didn’t really want to spend that much, so this weekend I coaxed a good buddy into helping me. We rented a truck and within 24 hours the two of us had moved more ‘stuff’ than you would find in the average Walmart! May have saved a bit of cash, but neither of us can move today for aching joints and muscle pain! Though it’s not going to happen again anytime soon (I hope), next time I’m bringing the professionals in. Worth every penny!