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I am a freelance writer for newspapers,magazines as well as a journalist for TV.
I am from Tokyo, Japan and have been living in Los Angeles since 1990.
[日本語のブログFromLAby藤本庸子] fromla.cocolog-nifty.com/blog
[日本語のツイッター] https://twitter.com/YOKOfromLA

#139- Am I bitch or smart???

Since last month (on December 22) I have been in trouble with my apartment (if you want, please read my old blog on Dec 26, 2010).

Finally new wall and new window installed in my bed room on January 21. Thank god…it took a month to have a normal / perfect life.

Just proud of myself that I finished my novel (in Japanese) during this bad condition (I made great feeling for writing with peaceful meditation, nice food, beautiful flowers and tasty nigori-sake!).

Yes, I was in a bad condition…I didn’t have a blind in my bed room for a month (I had a vinyl sheet cover for the wall and window in my bed room), which means I couldn’t open my window in my bed room for a month.

And I had a path of the paper sheets (pink! ha ha ha ) from the front door to the bed room(as you know, I am a clean freak plus a little bit OCD, no shoes in my place, even though people were wearing shoes covers, I had this extra protection with paper sheets’ path in my place).


******** Am I bitch? :

Almost every day(except holidays), I called or visited downstairs’ offices at my apartment building (manager’s office, leasing office and maintenance office) and asked them, “What is going on with my bed room problem?”, “Did you find out when is the window vender coming?”, “Did you find out when is the wall/painter vender coming?” etc…

Each day, apartment people (apartment manager, assistant manager, maintenance manager, leasing staff)’s answers were different.

Maybe next week, One week later, Tomorrow, By the 7th, By the 15th, By the 17th…!!!

It was like a comedy drama :)


*****

Me: You told me that you guys will fix the wall and window in my bed room by January 7th! But nobody call me by today!!! What is going on???

Apartment manager: I am sorry Yoko. But window vender hasn’t called us back, so we don’t
know the schedule of replacement of the window.

Yoko: Call the window vender now!!! And find out the schedule as soon as possible!!! I can’t live like this anymore! There were mold and termites in the wall as well, I might have a sick from the mold.

Apartment manager: We took the wall out, so there are no mold, there are no problem right?

Yoko: No…the problem is still there! The wall is still open. Oh…And…how could you raise my rent for new lease (my lease is end on Feb 23, 2011)? I told you in October (when I found out that the new tenant’s rent is so low / compare to mine, $200 cheaper/ on Google maps and the apartment website), I want you to discount of my rent. How could you raise my rent ??? Especially I have a problem with my bed room???

Apartment manager: Yoko, your room has nice view (pool and hill side view) and your room is on the corner, so your room is expensive.

Yoko: I researched the prices at this place with many people (I talked with many old tenants and new tenants), you gave cheaper rent to new tenants. I don’t understand about your business style. We as old tenants are very loyal to your company and you charge us a lot and new tenants always come and go, which means, you guys don’t make any money from them. I felt like I pay too much money to you guys and I felt like I am paying for new tenants!!! Oh…I found out that you gave $100 a month discount for one tenant’s new lease, that’s unfair!!! You should discount mine too!!! I could sue your company of this mold and termite problems!

Apartment manager: Yoko, you are yelling at me. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

Yoko: What? Am I yelling at you now??? I am just talking to you!!! (My mother in Japan said to me on the phone, “you probably didn’t feel like you are yelling at her, but you probably did…” And my brother said to me on the phone, “you should consider her.” ) ha ha ha :)

Anyway, the apartment manager didn’t want to talk to me, so I called the corporate office of our apartment company. I talked to the right person and she understood me and she was great listener.

I have sent an email to this person about the problems (wall and window in my bed room and my new lease) and photos (of wall and window) as evidence.

Ok…they (this person and the apartment manager) wrote me an email that the wall/painter and window guy will be on January 17th, but the window guy didn’t show up on January 17th!!!

Of course, I was mad at this maintenance management again :(

I have sent an email to the corporate office again on January 17th. Please see below.

*****

Dear Ms. A,

I hope you had a nice holiday, today.

Today, I just want you to know that I am very disappointed about the maintenance management for the problems of my bed room wall and window.

I just finished cleaning after mess of today (wall fixed and painted the wall in the bed room).

Please see below.

1) The wall fixed, but the window vender didn't show up.(As I left a massage on your phone.)
I heard that the window vender told Mr. B (the maintenance manager) last week, "We can't make it on the 17th. We will be there on the 18th."

2) Mr. B (he was off today) should tell someone that "if there is no window replacement today, we need to cover the window or put the blind in Yoko's bed room."

Instead of that I had to ask Mr. C to do it, but he had to go home at 5:00pm, so I and wall/paint vender had to cover the window with paper. I worked as a maintenance guy.

3) It took long for the fix the wall and paint, from 8:00am to 6:00pm. I felt like I was working with the vender all day. I also had to clean the mess until 7:30pm.

4) The vender dropped my books (when he walked near by my kitchen counter) and made small scratch on to my book case with his tools.

If I wasn't there and didn't tell him that "Please be careful", who knows, he might made more damage on my furniture.

That's why I really would like to stay and watch people who are in my place.

Ms. A, I attached my bed room's wall and window photos of today. Please see attachment / photos.

I totally understand about the outside vender situation, but I don't understand about the maintenance management at this apartment. I am very sad about today again.

Ms. A, I have to work on the 18th,19th and 20th, so please don't let the window vender come to my place until the 21st.

Thank you for your time. Have a good one.

Best,
Yoko
*****

Apartment manager called me on my cell on next day (on the 18th) said, “I apologize for the window vender.”

Me: I am working (at the fashion market week) right now, so I can’t talk not much, but I just want to tell you that if I knew the window vender is not coming yesterday, I could work (at the fashion market week), so I lost one working day to deal with the wall/painter guy for all day, yesterday.

Apartment manager: Yeah, but the wall is fix right?

Me: Yeah, but if window guy and wall/painter guy come at the same time, I just need to deal with them for only one day. I am wasting my time.

Apartment manager: I will give you more discount of this month’s rent. I will take off $900 of your rent of this month (I already got $440 discount of the last month’s rent for this trouble).

Me: I really appreciate your professional customer service and support. Thank you for calling, by the way, please makes sure that the window vender will be at my place on this Friday (on the 21st).


******** Am I smart?:

On the 21st Friday, after the window fixed and installed the blind in my bed room (I am sure that I made five people crazy. I followed them everywhere to make sure that they don’t make any scratch on my stuff and supervised their work) , I went to the apartment manager’s office (downstairs) and renewed my lease for this year.

I already had a discount deal of my lease with the person (of the corporate office) & the apartment manager by phone & email.

Apartment manager: Yoko, you have to pay the renters insurance this year.

Me: No thank you. I don’t have any expensive stuff, so insurance money is wasting my money. I don’t need the insurance.

Apartment manager: Yoko, this is a require insurance at our company. Like the car insurance.

Me: Is this by the California law? No, right? Your company is trying to make money from us. I don’t need it.

Apartment manager: Yoko, I let you to sign the lease without this insurance last year, but I can’t do it this year again.

Me: You know what, I am paying too much water, sewage and trash fees, and I asked you to find out why I have to pay this much, but you never give me the answer. I think your company charges me for two people. And your company charges me another $20 for a month for renters insurance? No way!

Apartment manager: Yoko, here you go…our conversation is in impossible. Tell me what do you want?

Me: I want your company to pay my insurance!

Apartment manager: No, we can’t do that.

Me: Ok…give me another $20 discount of my rent.

Apartment manager: No we can’t do that.

Me: Ok…at least, $10. Like a win win situation. Your company pays $10 and I pay $10 for this insurance.

Apartment manager: No, Yoko, we can’t do that.

Me: Ok…I will sign the lease with this insurance, but I am going to call the corporate office and report about this bad service.

Apartment manager: Ok…please give me half an hour.

Me: Ok…

Then I called my car insurance company (AAA) to find out how much is the cost of the renters insurance. Oh…I love AAA. They gave me 5% discount for this, because I have car insurance with AAA. Yes, I got $110 for one year renters insurance. Great! I let AAA to fax the insurance paper to the apartment manager’s office and I went to downstairs.

Me: Hi ***, so do you have an answer?

Apartment manager: Another $5 discount.

Me: Oh…that’s great! Thank you! I got renters insurance with AAA. They will fax the paper to you right now.

Apartment manager: Oh great!

Yes, I got $45 a month discount of my new rent, instead of increase $30, so technically I got 5% discount of my new lease.

Am I bitch or smart? I can’t tell about myself… ha ha ha :)

But…I feel great for this New Year at my nice apartment with nice view from my window of living room & bed room :)

I hope you are having a great time at your house or apartment too.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
January 23, 2011

Copyright © 2011 Yoko Fujimoto

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#144- To my people, Japanese people 米国より東日本大震災(東北地方太平洋沖地震)被災者および日本の皆様へメッセージ / 海外セレブからのお見舞い&応援メッセージ -Pray for Japan(日本に祈りを捧げます)-

Sorry folks, Today, I am going to write a message in Japanese, in my native language to Japanese people. If you read Japanese, please do.

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P.S. I am going to write in English next time. xoxo Y

******** My Japanese blog :

From LA by 藤本庸子      
(http://fromla.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2011/03/pray-for-japan-.html)


東日本大震災(東北地方太平洋沖地震)被災者および日本の皆様へ

このたびの東日本大震災(東北地方太平洋沖地震)により被災されたすべての方々に心からお見舞い申し上げます。そして、犠牲になられた方々とご遺族の皆様に、深くお悔やみを申し上げます。

日本にいらっしゃる皆様、どうかご無事で、早く、安心出来る暮らし、笑顔が戻ってきますように、心からお祈り申し上げます。


*** 米国でも多くの人が心を痛めており、皆様のご無事を願っています

東北・関東地方で起った大震災に心を痛めながら、私は、「米国在住のライターの私に、日本の皆様のために出来ることをしたい」と、こちらで流れるテレビニュースの画面を見つめながら、ずっと考えていました。

そうしていましたら、本日(ロサンゼルス:3月18日/日本:3月19日)、仕事でお付き合いのある茨城県在住の女性(実際にお会いしたことはありません)から、「テレビでも、世界各国からの応援メッセージをもっと放送して欲しい」とメールをいただきました。

早速、私が報道の仕事で関わっている日本のテレビ局、ラジオ局の幹部、報道記者の方々へ、この女性のメッセージを届け、放送に関してのお願いメールを送信致しました。


*** 米国在住の私に出来ることを考えてみました

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If you want to know about Kitson, Fraser and KITROSS, read below.

My translation (into English) is not perfect, but my Japanese article is more than perfect, ha ha…; )



********

Senken-Shimbun (major Japanese fashion business newspaper)

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Published on paper on June 27, 2016



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