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Friday, May 6, 2011

Decisions, decisions

We will visit Tsukahara in May. I plan on doing some repairs to the house using locally purchased goods rather than paying for shipping costs to Japan. Last October, I mailed a small box of epoxy resin via Federal Express, and it cost a small fortune to ship to Japan. Epoxy resin is considered hazardous material, but I think paying the shipping charges was more hazardous. A local boat repair shop in Japan sells resin at a reasonable price. The resin will be used to fill in and repair the rotted logs. If you haven’t done so, please look at the earlier posts for pictures of what I’ll be trying to do. The log beam located at the crown of the house requires mildew removal. I’m bringing some tools to accomplish that, but reaching the beam will not be an easy task.  I hope to take lots of pictures to share on this blog.
We are in the middle of a transition period and some very important decisions will have to be made. A vital piece of the puzzle will be if we decide to go ahead and build a garage in Tsukahara. A very kind person, Ogaki-san, has been searching for a contractor for us. He found a contractor willing to do the work, close to our budget. The problem is that our budget is dependent upon the fluctuations of the yen. The yen is trading at 80. After calculating the exchange rate and fees, the yen comes to about 75. When we budgeted, the yen was at 100. Imagine getting 75 cents to the dollar. OUCH! With the recent disasters, it’s harder to obtain building materials and the materials are more expensive. Sometimes I feel like a salmon fighting to get upstream to spawn. By the time I reach my destination, I’ll be too tired and poor to do anything. If we can sell our house in Seattle before July 1, we can budget our move without too much worry. If we can’t sell, then we have to look for a property manager so that we can lease the house by November. Our budget will be uncomfortably tight. A decision will have to be made by July 1st if we are going to move this year. The quarantine office in Japan needs at least a 40 day notice concerning the dogs. We would have to reserve seats for our flight as soon as possible to ensure the dogs can get on board. The shipper for all of our household goods would have to be notified. So many things will have to be sold or given away. The logistics of the move is mind boggling! Try to imagine moving from one city to another then multiply that stress by 100.
As I approach the time to make the big decision, I feel apprehensive. It feels as if I’m preparing to climb a huge mountain. Erika asked me if I was worried. I hesitated, then answered, “No, but I’m scared to death.” “Scared of what?” she asked. “I’m scared of failing,” I replied. As I thought about what I had said, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t sure about what I was scared of. I made up my mind six years ago that I was not going to work for my employer any longer. The company decided to close its doors in California and relocate up north without any notice.  I lost all respect and loyalty for the company. The door was wide open to leave…so why am I scared? I’ve found that when I reach a crossroad, the best decision is to go forward. Left or right…it doesn’t matter.  I’ve spent many years looking back at what I could have had if I had stayed in California. During this period I wasted time complaining. Erika and I often argued about my negative attitude. Finally, she told me to take an action…choose a road. I did and I’ve tried not to look back. The road I chose was rough, but fulfilling. Sometimes I needed a push to get up those steep hills. Each time I got to the top of a hill I found that there was a taller hill in the distance. Well, this next hill is the steepest one yet. Actually it’s not a hill, it’s a mountain. I think I might be scared at what I will find when I reach the top.


  1. Hi George and Erika,
    Sounds like you have so many challenges ahead! I just wanted to check if you have made contact (or know about...) Joe Reinhart who is from Alaska, but also lives in Tsukahara. He is a builder by trade and may be able to get you materials cheaply etc. as well as lending a hand. We have got some "freebies" from him at times and I know he has a lot of contacts. If you don't know him let me know and I'll give you his contact details.

  2. Hi Jo,

    We haven't officially met Joe, but we have heard a lot of good things about him and we have corresponded with him several times. He lives just down the road from us. He is renting his house in Tsukahara to a very nice couple that we chatted with. I think Joe is enjoying his life in the big city of Oita. He sounds like a great source of information and materials. We will definitely meet and chat with him one day after things settle down. Thank you again for your concerns and I do hope we can get together and share some interests.

  3. 初めまして。






  4. ゆっきんママさん