Long time, no see.
On November 18, 2011, there was a fire in my shop which destroyed everything. On top of my shop was my residence which was destroyed as well. Needless to say, it's been a odd last few months.
I wasn't home when the fire started. I decided to take some Japanese lessons at a local university and I was in class when it happened. I actually woke up that morning and had a ton of new emails come in and I was a bit behind schedule. It was rainy and windy and I remember looking outside, saying to myself "screw class", and getting back to my emails. But after a few minutes I gave myself a little Rockyesque pep talk, reminded myself that I needed to really get my Japanese up to a high level, so I put on the worst clothes I had (I hate rain) and set out for the university. About 30 minutes later the fire started.
It started in a shop next to mine. My shop is actually the end unit on a bunch of connected suites. To this day I don't know how it started. In Japan, it just doesn't seem that important. It was an old market and it was made of wood and the general feeling is that at some point they all burn down and it was just its time. Odd, but that's how it is.
Here are some pictures:
Yep, it's what's called a "complete loss." I managed to pull out a few things like a pair of jeans, a pair of shoes, about $1,000 in $5 coins that happened to be sitting right in a small area that wasn't quite burned (thank God for small favors), and other very small things like some silverware, medicine, and files.
It's impossible to really describe what happens in a fire, so I won't bore you with the details. I will say this: make sure you have insurance. I had it, and it's the only thing that kept me going. I didn't even know what I had. All I knew is that a guy came to my shop once a year and I signed some papers and that was it. Turns out I had some decent coverage. If you don't have insurance, and if you come home and see what I saw, your life if pretty much over. You just have what you have on you at the time and you start buying things over again.
Unfortunately, all of my computers were destroyed so my photo database was destroyed as well. I had about 20+ gigs of pictures. I started keeping all of the pictures of the things I sold over the years. I'm betting I had the most complete original photo database of Japanese games and consoles on the planet. The fact that it was so big is the reason why I never could get my head around the best way to present it. But that's all in the past now.
As for me, I'm still in Japan, but I'll probably head back to the US this summer (after the new gaijin cards come out!). As a side note, I'll be in Tokyo from March 26 to March 29 if anyone wants to get some drinks. I'll be staying in Ginza.