I lived in a Leopalace apartment for over 6 months when I came to Sapporo and for the most part it was pretty functional. Fully furnished, plain and it has it’s own magnetic lock and security system, like a cosy prison cell. There are one or two hiccups though which aren’t immediately apparent.
The first is internet. Or Leonet as they call it. Or nightmare-net as I call it. You can’t just pay for internet and then hook up. You have to set up an account on leonet, pay for leonet credit, and then pay for internet access using this credit. Professional hoop-jumpers and passionate bureaucrats would happily settle in. Leonet has so many wonderful functions available; rental films, cable television, online shopping and so many more ways you can empty your dwindling bank account. But it doesn’t end there! There is no WiFi available so pray to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (depending on your hardware church) that you have an ethernet port on your laptop. I discovered next that the ethernet cable was built into the wall and could only be extended as far as one foot. Without any kind of extension I was delighted to experiment with all new yoga positions as I balanced a laptop off my knee, perching in the corner of the room. I have now mastered the crooked crow position!
The second is condensation. I’ve always had a healthy scientific obsession with condensation like most people do, but this was particularly great. If you’d like to conduct the experiment yourself, you’ll need: an inefficient extractor fan in your shower, a metal front door, extremely cold weather and finally an unwillingness to switch off your heating because you’d rather not catch hyperthermia. When you have all these things, live your life as normal but with one exception; measure the volume of water building up on your front door. Approximately after a week you’ll be amazed to see how you’ve developed your very own artificial waterfall! The door will be constantly damp and every time you enter or exit, water will drip down onto your head. Extraordinarily useful if you want a quick shower, and it makes your front door look as though it belongs in a park fountain.
Third was the bed. Or more specifically the stairs leading up to the bed. It’s difficult to imagine but the photo shows exactly what I mean. Those steps look simple enough but in reality they have a dual function; their secretly storage space. Isn’t that cool? When I first moved in the lids were left up and I marvelled at my peculiar triangular shaped boxes. Unfortunately I never quite saw they were steps because I never closed the lids. Therein lies my dilemma; how to jump into bed that was at chest height. Of course, had I seen those lids closed when I first arrived I would have instantly known I could just walk up them. But alas, I resorted to more direct means. Which in this case means, I made a running jump every night to throw myself, olympic high jump style, onto the bed. I became very good at this technique. I repositioned the pillow to catch my head before I cracked it on the wood and I used my suitcase to help me vault up. Occasionally there would be some mistakes. More than once I didn’t quite make it over the top and instead crashed the bulk of my body into the edge. Bouncing off by a whole meter is the current record for airtime on my self-injury history. In the morning I would back off the headboard, hanging on until I could gently lower myself down. I was of course considerate enough to leave my laundry this end of the bed, so that when I landed I wouldn’t disturb those living beneath too much.
I lived this way for over 2 months until the California girl visited and closed the lids for me.