As of 2 weeks ago my apartment building is undergoing external renovations. The whole 3 stories are enveloped in scaffolding and tarps, to the point that from the outside it looks like we’re being fumigated or torn down. I suppose to the average passerby this is nothing unusual, especially considering all the reconstruction that is going on after the damage from the earthquake. But this is my first time living inside a building while it is essentially being stripped down and recoated.
As if the somewhat oppressive feeling of winter wasn’t enough, the all-enclosing super-size tarp blocks out almost all light from my windows and balcony, leaving me in a somewhat weird greyish limbo state (very much like Silent Hill…). In addition, though sleeping in on the weekends is one of my favorite things it is very hard to do when there are shadows and voices and the metallic clatter of boots on scaffolding coming from right outside your window at 8am on a Sunday morning. In fact, it’s a little like being trapped in your own home, for someone as shy as me. I’d really rather be completely anonymous, but every time I go outside I have to face the fact there will be random Japanese builders widening their eyes in surprise at the sudden emergence of a gaijin.
To add insult to injury, I came home from work one day this week to find that now the entire inside of the building has been covered in plastic and electrician’s tape, coming to look like an abandoned warehouse from a slasher movie. Every inch that is not being painted has been wrapped like a fly in a spider’s web, and it was somewhat freaky to find that my door and windows had all been taped shut in the same way. In fact, I had to tear a hole in the plastic to get my key in the lock! The worst part is, that very morning I had replaced my little potted plants to their normal spot on my balcony after having taken them inside for the weekend when we were told they were power-washing the whole exterior. Now that my balcony door has been sealed shut I can’t even see them anymore, and I’m wondering if they will survive…
All in all, the eerie atmosphere and muffled sounds and light give the impression of living inside an insect’s cocoon, and every time I come home from work I half expect to see little egg sacs emerging from behind the swathes of plastic and tarp. Though I know there is still another few weeks to go I sincerely hope the whole experience ends quickly, before I or the building start sprouting wings or extra legs.