There’s nothing like moving house to make you realize how much of what you own is either broken, disfigured, useless, unidentifiable, or just a complete piece of crap. Likewise, moving from one temporary residence to another in a strange foreign country can cause you to reflect on how much you’re paying to keep all that broken, stained, unidentifiable crap in a storage shed back home. Meanwhile, you find yourself collecting still more crap, because that’s the fundamental nature of human beings: after reproduction, our chief biological imperative seems to be to collect stuff. In my case, except for high-end electronics and books, that stuff tends to be junk. Given that I’m also childless so far, nature has probably written me off as a complete failure. As far as the natural world is concerned, I’m just taking up space.

The photo below provides a pretty accurate inventory of just about everything I’ve added to my pile since I arrived in Japan eight months ago. It includes winter clothes (mostly secondhand), of which I brought diddlysquat with me, a couple of easy chairs (used), a small Japanese-style couch (used), a floor lamp, a table lamp (used), a coffeemaker and a rice cooker, and some boxes containing books and maps, kitchen and cooking items, and a bunch of the miscellaneous detritus (see above) that we’re not sure we really need to drag along to a new place but can’t bring ourselves to throw away. This is the stuff that’s still sitting in a room in my apartment building in Fukui, because I haven’t yet figured out how to get it to Osaka.

Not pictured here is everything I brought with me on the train yesterday – i.e. whatever I could jam into two straining suitcases – the same two suitcases I arrived in Japan with last August. Funny how most of the stuff that went into them is almost exactly the stuff they contained when I arrived.

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