We stayed initially in the tatami room, which was their guest room, and it was pretty good there, since it was warm, especially for us suaku Singaporeans who had never been to temperate countries prior to that and found the spring temperature of about 20 degrees at night somewhat cold.
The tatami room. Of course, in summer, the place gets ridiculously warm. But if not, it's always a nice place to hang out at.
And since then, unit number 303 of Tokorozawa Century has been for me, the home away from home.
The entrance to Tokorozawa century.
It didn't matter how many times I went to Japan. This place has always been warm and open, whether it was Louis or Steve who was staying there. Even when I had my own apartment just a few blocks away, I knew that if I wanted to drop by, I didn't even need to call ahead (though I usually did) and I would be welcomed in the place.
There would be food. And both Auntie Chris and Kathi are excellent cooks.
Place where you can get good food.
Place where good food is made.
There was also free Internet, which was extremely helpful if you're there just for a short trip, or when your own Internet has not been set up yet.
Place to get free Internet. Incidentally, this was where I ended up sleeping on that first trip in 2005 after some of the team members said it was too cold and they took over the tatami room.
But most importantly, it was like family; the Laus and the Weemes never excluded you, even if you did feel like you were an 居候 in the place.
Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, it appears that the house will now have to be returned to the landlord, since there will be no one staying there for the next couple of years. Louis has always been proud of the fact that he managed to get a really good deal on the house, getting a rather large unit at a relatively cheap rate, but I guess it is time to move on from the place they've called home for more than 10 years.
And I, for one, will also be sad to see it let go. There's always this sense of nostalgia each time I've keyed in the security code and walked in through the sliding doors and smelt the air inside the building; I'm always brought back to that 2005 trip, when everything was new and exciting (not that it isn't any more, but the first time is always the most impactful anyway).
So thanks for all the happy memories, for all the fun and all the joy. And just perhaps, maybe in the future, the home may come into the possession of a friend again.