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Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

From Tokyo with Love

I’ve been rereading the post I wrote more than three years ago when moving away from Amsterdam. And again I am battling with my possessions. First of all, I am proud to say that this time, I have not accumulated any of the things I complained about last time: no blank notepads, extra pens or liters of shower gel are coming with me. I have even been on a book buying moratorium since the beginning of this year (what is a bit annoying is that a bunch of unread books I had shipped over from Amsterdam were shipped back unread as well, but in the meantime I had bought and read a ton of new books).
Moving is always a good opportunity to evaluate one’s stuff and to purge the unneeded. Most of our possessions have a purely utilitarian aspect and we leave them behind without regrets. But I have to admit that we are leaving with more stuff than we came with. The good news is that I don’t regret it. I was completely taken in by the Japanese sense of esthetics and the beauty of many everyday objects. Did I mention I love Japanese pottery and fabrics and just about anything made of bamboo? I am crazy for bamboo. (more…)

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Since we have gone through this experience recently, I thought I share my insights for the benefit of other gaijin (foreigners) who have to do the same.
Since we have a limited time horizon in Japan, we rather went for the cheapish segment. We bought from the following stores:

Of course there’s also IKEA in Japan, but of this we have had already our fair share in Europe….
Of course the above list of stores is by no means exhaustive, it just contains stores that were in convenient reach for us.
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Zurich – Tokyo – Nitori

After having been to Geneva, Bern, Zurich, Munich, Naples, Amsterdam and Utrecht (only counting work related places), we are finally back in Japan.
And Tokyo greeted us with sunny weather and mild temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius.
The flight home was relatively comfortable. We got a lot of rest (I’ll not go so far as to say sleep) thanks to the fact that we had four seat to ourselves, on which we laid ourselves down with some contortions. And rest we needed, because before our next rest, some obstacles had to be taken. Imagine arriving from the airport in a shiny new, but completely empty flat.
Tokyo Sunset
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So we finally managed to gather all our belongings in Zürich, where they will stay for the time being. For people like us, who move every two to three years, it’s important to travel lightly. Otherwise moving becomes even more of a headache than it is in any case. Domenico did a good job at this, after all, he was able move all he owns in one big go by train. For me, it took two major moves by train and several suitcases that had been moved in the course of the last year already (not counting the two boxes that had to remain on my office mate’s cupboard in Amsterdam). And this, after having given away about everything except books and clothes!
True, compared to people who move with a big truck, this is still light. But having to lug it around on trains convinced me that it was really not as light as it could (should) have been. Going through my things piece by piece when packing, I kept thinking “now what did I have to buy this for??”. You see it, you like it, and bang – you bought it, and even though it’s perfectly useless, it keeps following you around. Either you keep dragging it with you (and yes, I have brought some things from Zürich to Berlin, then Munich, then Amsterdam and now back to Zürich without seriously using them ever) or then you are forced to throw away something perfectly good. Otherwise, you have to go through the trouble of finding a new owner.
Whenever I have to move again, I decide a few months before not to buy useless things anymore. No, never to buy such things anymore at all.
Not to enter a bookstore before having read at least a part of all the other books I already own.
And then this hamstering urge. Everyone has his own weak spot. As physicists, our main work instruments are paper and pencil. Every conference provides a free notebook and pens. Every physics institute has a cupboard full of them freely accessible to its members. Let me make it short. Among the two of us, we collected three dozens of blank notebooks and writing pads. I shall not take any more notebooks before using up these! No matter how nice the paper and how tempting they are! The writing utensils we own easily number a hundred.
But that’s not the only thing. We also managed to accumulate several liters of shower gel among ourselves. Why don’t I just use stuff up before buying it new? Is this the famous consumer mentality?
Next time I move, I will finally do it right. I will not accumulate this huge amount of stuff. You will see.

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Moving house – part I

It’s still far from September and yet we started to move our stuff. One box full of physics books was already sent by mail (20 kg, 7-8 weeks until it arrives, 54.9 EUR). Since we did not have scales and neither did our neighbors, we had to make estimates for the weight. It turned out that we were too optimistic. The Polchinskis, Di Francesco, and Peskin & Schroeder had to come back out (for your information, together they weigh nearly four and a half kilos).

Since we will be arriving with only our suitcases in Japan, I also had to get rid of most of my household items. I managed to sell my bookshelves (IKEA Billy, they moved with me from Berlin to Munich and Munich to Amsterdam) over the internet. Baskets, glass jars, a mirror and a bathroom rug came into the possession of various people living in the same house, colleagues, etc.

The bigger move was bringing my stuff from Amsterdam back to Zürich, where it will remain. We booked the night train and prepared two big suitcases full of books (heavy!), a camping backpack full of clothes and the rolled up futon to take along, furthermore we had two bags with photographic equipment, one computer bag and a guitar.

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