Today I moved out of my apartment in Higashimatsubara, and whilst I was a little sad to be leaving behind the setting for a lot of enjoyable memories, I can’t say that I’m too gutted to be leaving what effectively amounted to an expensive prison cell. The men from the gas and electricity boards came around to settle my remaining accounts, and the key was successfully dropped off at the estate agent. All that remained was for me to strategically dump my remaining waste in the bins of my nearby park, and to whisper a hushed goodbye to Heights Near Park Number 205. Sadly the whispering was born out of practicality rather than any notions of romance, as I was desperately trying to avoid drawing attention to the metal laundry poles that I had conveniently left around the rear of the building.
As I will be moving back to the UK next week I needed to transfer the remaining money from my Japanese bank account into my British one. Unfortunately JP Post, with whom I bank, don’t have any sort of (decipherable) Internet banking system, and so I was forced to walk down to my local branch and attempt to do it the old fashioned way. We got off to a bad start, as apparently slightly creased and wet forms are not an acceptable form of legislation. After filling out my second set of forms I was then informed that my name was Illingworth Samuel Michael, and not Samuel Michael Illingworth, as I had always presumed to be the case. After filling in the forms for a third time it transpired that I needed to write the amount in pounds sterling, and not yen, whilst after the fourth attempt I was informed that I had been given the wrong set of forms. Still we got there, eventually. Come mid-afternoon I checked my phone (I had been lecturing, and was thus unable to answer it) to see that I had seven missed calls from an unknown number. Fearing the worst I rang back, and waited with waited breath for an answer. Turns out that it was my local post office, wanting to know an explicit reason for why I was transferring money out of Japan, as ‘payment into my UK account’ was not sufficiently verbose. They seemed happy with my answer of ‘because I am moving back to the UK, where I will be destitute unless you allow this transfer to go ahead’, and thanked me for ringing them back with a response. Heaven only knows what their plan of action regarding a mislabeled parcel is, but I warrant it involves several phone calls, a couple of faxes, and a letter to your embassy.