Thursday, March 10, 2011


four thousand.

sounds like a lot.
I guess it is when you are talking about $4000.
4000 isn't exactly loose change when talking in yen either. I mean I could buy a nice neck-tie with 4000 yen or even go out for a round or two of drinks after work.

but I'm not talking about dollars or yen, or how many times I've been on an airplane for that matter.
I'm talking about watts.
4000 watts.

if your like me and hate numbers and physics and all that, then you will probably have no idea if 4000 watts is enough to light a small light bulb or power-up a generator at a nuclear power plant.

well for your information, 4000 watts is shit all.

on leaving hong kong we had to chuck out lots of our electronic equipment as good old japan would have zapped most of our stuff.

although disappointing as it was to dispose of perfectly good equipment (we did sell some and give away others), the thought of purchasing brand spanking new, state of the art japanese electronics sent a shiver down my spine.
reality soon put a stop to that shiver as we didn’t really have the cash to shop like a Hilton offspring, although we did manage to buy some pretty cool stuff.

“cool" until plugged in I might add.

wham, our mansion (a japanese term for an apartment constructed of reinforced concrete) was thrust into pitch darkness.

turns out my breaker switch had tripped (mmm, do you say “tripped”?)
using the light from my mobile phone I found the big black switch and returned it to it’s ON position.
well whatta ya know, 5 minutes later and we are all sitting in darkness again because I had pressed the “cook” button on the blimmin rice cooker.
definitely not good for the computer to be unexpectedly cut off from it’s lifeline, or for my TV’s hard drive to suddenly be shut off.

apart from kou-chan (who will be 10 months tomorrow!) we were starting to get rather annoyed so I decided to give the tokyo power company a call.
in amazing japanese-style service, I had a charming old man at my doorstep in less than 2 hours!

he ever so kindly explained to the stupid foreigner that my mansion; like most mansions in tokyo, has a watt limit of 4000 watts.
there was absolutely no technical problem what so ever with my breaker but rather a slight issue with my selection of “cool” electronics (errr, not so cool now).
just by turning on our flash new oven I had already used up 1400 of my 4000 watt limit.

so with the oven on, the rice cooker cooking our rice, me watching TV while sitting in the warmth of the kotatsu (electric (!!) table warmer thingy), and the washing machine doing its spin, we were in other words trying to use enough electricity to power a small village.
one would think that the young dude at yamada-denki (electronic store) could have hinted that all of these power-hungry products that I was willy-nilly putting into my trolley may just be a bit too overpowering for the standard japanese home. but nope, he was all smiles and gave me an extra discount for my big purchase.

having lived back in tokyo for 2 months now, we have a few little rules in our home.
do not under any circumstance what so ever use the hairdryer while boiling water in the jug.
do not under any circumstance what so ever turn on the aircon while cooking muffins in the oven.
do not under any circumstance what so ever consider enjoying the features of our extensive range of household electronics.

thank god we have an unlimited flow of gas!


pascale said...

yay! I am the first!
welcome back on the blog! we missed you!

can I ask...
'you caked muffins?' wow... :D
plain? blueberries?

Okay you must be thinking, she said muffins when I typed lines and lines about 4000watts :p

Too bad about the limited watts you can use. For me, I cant use more than 3 electronics in the kitchen at once... has to be always 2 or else the 3 I attempted goes out.
But lights are still on ..... must be different for all housings.. argh

shellie said...

that is truly a bummer....and way too much thinking when you have a lot stuff to do

Luuworld said...

haha, i'm just like you, i hate numbers + physics!

that's so surprising that an apt. in tokyo should be so "primitive" power-wise. that's something i would excpect in vietnam.

anyway. wonderful service though, i must say! norwegians (and lots of other countries too!) should really learn from the superb service in japan.

Life for Beginners said...

That's incredible service. Here, I've signed up for a new broadband plan for my apartment and the damn tech guy who's supposed to come and install it hasn't even appeared after two weeks!

Japan rocks (customer-service, anyway). :D

P.S. Happy 10-month birthday, Kou-chan! :)

Lavender Playground said...

Hello~~glad to hear from you (even though you have limited electricity)It's scary how much energy and power we are using without even thinking about it.

Luuworld said...

watching the news now on what's happening in japan- how are you? please tell me your fine!!

pascale said...

I feel the same as Luuworld wos!!

shellie said...

im hoping everyone is alright?

Mary said...

i hope you and all your family & friends are safe.

Lavender Playground said...

Are you guys alright?

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