The Engineer, the Skeptic and the Wardrobe
by Eden Siwik
With Josh, very shortly moving permanently into Eden’s shoe-box sized apartment, the need for more closet space was imminent.
Three weeks prior, on Josh’s way home from work, he stopped at a used goods store and in the “junk” section, found a large sized wardrobe of adequate condition for only 700 yen (~$7)!!! He rushed home and told Eden all about it. It was a given that they would never fit it into their pint sized k-car. Josh suggested, “It’s not that far. We could carry it home.” Eden replied, “Josh, it’s pretty far. We could never carry it that distance.” The idea was raised a few more times over the next couple of weeks and always met the same opposition, “Josh, walking that distance is hard enough. Walking it with a wardrobe is impossible.”
The following weekend, Josh took Eden to view the piece and Eden took special note of the odometer on the drive there. Almost 3km from the apartment to the store. The wardrobe was nice enough and sorely needed to accommodate two people’s clothes. They tried to life the wardrobe and found that it wasn’t actually THAT heavy. It was much lighter than Josh had even imagined! Eden agreed that it would be nice to have. Josh restated that because the store would not deliver, their only options were for Eden to beg her very busy supervisor to pick it up and deliver it or to walk it home. Eden suggested adding wheels or some other rolling device and was afraid to think of how long it would actually take them to walk it home, but Josh assured her that adding wheels would just end up taking longer and that they would be able to carry it and walk at a normal pace. Eden reluctantly agreed. Somehow, the idea of walking 3km while carrying a wardrobe during the rainy season did not seem like such a bad idea anymore. So, the plan was set. The next morning, they would drive to the store, buy the furniture, walk it the 3km back to the apartment and then walk back to the store to get the car.
Buying the wardrobe was the easy part. The store workers insisted on bringing it to their vehicle and they were quite confused when Eden and Josh told them that no, they did not own the large van. They owned the small k-car beside it. They were even more confused when Josh tried to explain, in broken Japanese, that their apartment was “very close” and they were going to carry it home. The two workers looked to Eden for confirmation and when she nodded, they scratched their heads and moved away slowly. Josh and Eden pretended they had some important business to take care of in their car first so that the workers would not stick around to watch the exodus.
Josh and Eden each grabbed an end and set off on the adventure. Starting off, of course, from the rear entrance so as not to walk past the front of the store and the many on-lookers. Down the busiest streets they went (the only ones with decent side walks) arousing curiosity and eliciting stares wherever they went. Foreigners in Japan get stared at all the time. Foreigners carrying a wardrobe down the road almost cause traffic accidents.
The first 800m went by without much problem. They stopped in a small park for a rest and a coke and left the wardrobe on the sidewalk. Somehow, a wardrobe by itself on the sidewalk does not arouse curiosity. It is not until the foreigners are added into the equation that it becomes entertainment. It was at this point, in the park, that Eden realized that her fingers had frozen into the shape of little hooks and that her forearm muscles were now too weak and shaky to open the coke.
The next 300m did not go so well. It was quickly deduced that without ever increasingly frequent breaks of increasing amounts of time, they would never make it home.
Plan #2 was hatched. Josh would walk back to the car. Eden would watch the wardrobe until he got back. So, Josh left and Eden sat by the dumpster and guarded their purchase to the extreme amusement of the surrounding apartment dwellers. The small children playing soccer in the parking lot near-by were puzzled by the “crazy American” and this was one of the few times Eden did not correct the frequent error and inform them as to her nationality.
Josh returned with the car and after moving the wardrobe a few 100m’s more to a quieter road; plan #2 came to life. The wardrobe would be balanced into the trunk, Josh would hold up the other end and Eden would drive along slowly.
It took a fair bit of calibration to get the speed correct and frequent adjustments to keep the wardrobe from falling onto the asphalt, but plan #2 seemed to be rolling along with only minor embarrassment ad increased audience amazement.
With only about 200m to go, a kindly man with a truck, stopped, and insisted on driving the furniture the rest of the way.
The Engineer, the skeptic and the wardrobe all arrived home with only minor bumps, splinters and bruises.
Over a celebratory glass of iced-tea, Josh explained that he
would do that again if they found something good, and Eden looked for the
This site was last updated 04/27/04