Day 6, April 4 (Search for Money/ Getting Apartment)

Ben and Kailey's Bed haha - First Night in the Apartment (we were so tired!!)
                This day was entirely dedicated to finding a way to withdraw money from our Canadian Bank accounts.  It took us ALL DAY.  We left the hostel in the morning, each towing our 80kgs of luggage.  We had arranged with the real estate office that we’d have the money for a deposit and 2 months rent so that we could move into our apartment that morning, but we encountered a few glitches.
                Apparently, foreign credit cards and debit cards don’t work at regular ATMs here.  Usually the ATM’s that accept foreign cards are only found at Post Offices.  We first tried to withdraw money at the Post Office near Doshisha, then at 2 major banks near there, but to no avail.  We decided to take the subway to Kyoto Station, and tried the ATM’s there, and then we got a lead to try the ATMs at Kyoto Tower Hotel, central Kyoto.  Nothing. 
                During this time we also bought a calling card and tried to phone Visa and the CIBC in Canada, but of course because of the time change, it was past midnight in Canada so we couldn’t get anyone on the phone.  We were also getting concerned because we’d missed our appointment at the real estate office and we currently had no place to sleep that night.  We were also extremely tired of towing around our 90kg of luggage each and we weren’t sure when the real estate office closed.  Asking for directions and answers to why we weren’t able to withdraw money was extremely challenging with our limited communication skills.  It was also starting to rain.  Finally we were directed to THE central Post Office in Kyoto.  It worked!  We got JUST enough money out of the ATM to pay for our apartment that night, but by this time it was 5:30, and we weren’t sure if the real estate office was still open.
We sat down at a Starbucks in Kyoto Station and Ben managed to get very limited access to wi-fi after a half hour of trying.  We found the website for the real estate agency and after some difficulty finding our way around the Japanese website, we saw that they were open till 7pm!  So we quickly made it back to the subway and made it there by 6:30.  The real estate people were happy to see us and helped us inside with our heavy luggage.  It was still difficult communicating with them because they didn’t speak any English, but we managed to get through filling in and signing the necessary papers, and we even understood a small amount of what they were saying.  After handing over the deposit and the rent, they placed a booklet with terms of agreement on it in front of us.  Of course we couldn’t read it at all because it was all in Kanji, but the guy understood and said that our friend Kazu could explain it to us since he was coming back to Japan in 2 weeks. 
                After that, it was nearly 7pm, and the real estate guy was so nice, he walked us outside, down the street, and into our new apartment.  We were so happy when we saw inside.  It was small, but very nice and clean and on the 3rd floor.  We were very fortunate that they even let us rent from them at all.  We hadn’t applied for foreign registration yet, we had no cell phones, no Japanese bank accounts, and we didn’t understand the terms of agreement.  Really, it was thanks to Kazu’s mom for coming in there with us a few days ago, and thanks to Kazu’s pre-arrangement with them that they trusted us enough to give us the apartment.  They rented to us with the promise that we would get our Alien registration, Japanese bank account and cell phone info to them as soon as possible.
                We used my hairdryer to heat up the apartment, and after an hour, figured out how to use the heater installed on the wall.  All the buttons and symbols were in Kanji so it took some trial and error.  We had no futons to sleep on that night, so we dumped our clothes on the floor and went to work making mattresses.  After trying a few different things, like stuffing shirts, we found that the best way was to tie to pairs of pants together at the bottom of the legs using hair elastics and then stuff the pant legs full of other clothes.  We then dumped more clothes on top and used belts to hold everything together.  Surprisingly, our homemade mattresses were more comfortable than the futons at the hostel and with the heater working, we slept well that night.
Day 5 (Food poisoning and rain)<<<Previously                                 Continue reading>>>Day 7 (Alien registration/futon)

Ben and Kailey lived in Japan not too long ago and also visit Kyoto every year.

Ben is developing a Japanese Practice site. It's current main functions are:
1. a Flash Card system that features a leveling system where you must answer correctly and "level up"to gain new cards, receive money and buy new decks - anime decks included!
2. Fill in the Blank system where you can choose to focus on particle practice or verb practice etc.
Japanese Practice Blog is here. Check out the Japanese Practice site here

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