Posts Tagged ‘moisture absorption packets’

Rainy Season

June 15, 2009

[Taylor]

Spring is over. We’ve been experiencing the rainy season of Japan for at least the past two weeks, if not longer. Here in Northern Honshu the weather is cool but humid, the landscape green and gray. Although it’s the middle of June, it doesn’t feel like summer at all. We’ll have to wait until the end of July for that.

In the meantime, with all the extra humidity, we’ve had to step up our mold prevention effort. This weekend we swapped out all the moisture absorption packets in our closets and drawers.

Over 48 packets replaced.

Rainy season is also, apparently, caterpillar season. We’ve seen them everywhere we go. Most of them tend to look something like this.

Slightly smaller than my index finger.

Weekend Stuff

On Friday we had a wonderful time hanging out at a yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant with friends. The following morning Julie helped out at a local nursery.   She met many kids under the age of five and, for most of them, it was their first time meeting a foreigner. In the afternoon I played Go at the community center.

On Sunday, I went hunting.

By “hunting” I mean watching animals in the woods with my friend Bryan without weapons (though to be fair Bryan surprised me by brandishing a fake pistol that he hilariously explained would be used for self-defense). We ended up in a moist forest on the outskirts of Shichinohe and at times I felt like I was back in Oregon.

Bryan thumbing through a guide book of birds in Japan.

So did we find anything? Yes. Just when we had given up hope of spotting large, interesting creatures, a Japanese serow (wild goat-antelope) came trotting across a ridge about twenty feet away from us. It was, understandably, surprised to see us and stared us down for a few moments before venturing deeper into the woods. Success.

Looking ahead to this week, we’ll both be pretty busy with school visits. However on Thursday afternoon I’ll be participating in a teacher softball match. On the weekend we’ll be heading to the Oirase Gorge for a night of trivia, charity fundraising, and fun with friends.

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Mold: The Neverending Battle

October 1, 2008

[Taylor]

The picture above is a snapshot I took a few minutes ago from our kitchen window.  I know.  Gross, right?  Well the macro setting on the camera exaggerates our problem but the fact remains that we have mold to deal with in the apartment.  How did this happen?  We woke up one morning and found condensation on the window.  We wiped up the water and a few days later mold appeared.

Japan is a humid place, even in Aomori-ken.  In Oregon it probably would have been sufficient to just wipe up the moisture.  We should have gone the extra mile in our kitchen by cracking the window open for ventilation and dropping a moisture absorbing packet on the sill for good measure.

We have since become more proactive in the war on mold and have deployed the following resources to combat the problem.

Moisture Absorption Packets

In the battle of mold prevention, these packets represent our infantry.  We’ve deployed them everywhere in the apartment.  They can be found in our closets, drawers, window sills, living room, kitchen, and even the space between our mattress and bedframe.  This particular packet helps suck in moisture from our clothes as they hang to dry in our closet.

Leaving the windows open as long as possible

This is pretty self-explanatory.  Fresh air is good for your lungs as well as your furniture.

Dehumidifier

In winter we won’t be able to open the windows as much.  In fact we will have afixed a screen of bubblewrap to them to insulate against the cold.  Expect a post on winterizing the apartment in a month and a half or so.  Anyway, the dehumidifier removes moisture all by itself.  All we have to do is feed it electricity.  As you may expect, this produces a great deal of heat.  Now do you see why this will be so effective in the winter?  It should be particularly effective at helping dry our clothes after the wash cycle finishes.

What happens if you don’t do anything to prevent mold?

As a matter of fact, I found out exactly what happens today.  A vacant apartment in our complex had a few spare space heaters and I asked the school if we could have them.  They said ‘sure’ but had two maintenance people come by because the heaters were directly connected to a gasline.  When they arrived I met them down in the vacant apartment and I could not believe my eyes.  Mold had taken over the apartment.  The floor was covered in white fur arranged in rectangular formations in every room.  Green and white dots lined the ceiling.  Wooden closets and their floors were stained black.  Objects and furniture left behind were now completely unusable.  Needless to say we left as soon as we snagged the heaters.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault that the mold took control.  It would be hard to imagine something like that happening, especially in Northern Japan.  But it did.  Would leaving the windows open have prevented the infiltration?  Something tells me it wouldn’t have been enough.

How are they going to clean it up?  I have no idea.