Today we went into the real estate office to sign the contract with the owners of the the Kamiooka Tea House.
I sent a bunch of the papers to the bank in advance earlier this week, and they reported that so far there didn’t seem to be a problem and they would get started with the valuation in advance of the contract.
I also signed what I guess is the equivalent of a power of attorney to allow Kumiko to do the writing and stamping for me. Not because I can’t write my address and kanji name (which is, by the way, 新垣安竜, in case you were wondering) a bazillion times, but because I can’t write my address and kanji name fast enough. This meant that on the final document, instead of my big, manly, jitsuin, the document is ‘signed’ by the same tiny, off-the-shelf stamp that Kumiko uses to receive mail.
So, the appointment was set for 10:30, and we arrived just on time: a minute or two early. We were ushered into the re-house conference room where the three owners and an unidentified woman already sat.
I assumed that the woman was the owner’s agent, but it seems that she was somehow related to the three men (the owners) sitting at the table.
The owners were three brothers, all in their fifties or sixties, and they looked completely different.
Sitting to Kumiko’s right was the one I’ll call Friendly. He was the most gregarious of the bunch, and seemed to know a lot about the house and lands (despite the fact that they had all moved out before the second floor was put in). He was the one who had been in the hospital (yes, only one of the owners had been in the hospital) and had insisted on being present. You may remember that my original reaction to this was to assume that he was a grumpy old bastard. In the end, it turns out that he is just very interested in the house, its history, and the selling process. It was best that we waited for him.
Next to Friendly, still on the west side of the table, was Sleepy. He wasn’t falling asleep or anything (no, that was me), but he just looked very laid back. Pudgier than his brother and more withdrawn.
Across from Friendly, on the east side of the table, was Ol’ Smokey. His skin was a deep tan, leathery, and pulled tight. Definitely the skinniest of the three, he had a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket.
The woman sat next to Ol’ Smokey… and we never did quite figure out whether she was a sister (then why wasn’t she an owner?), or Ol’ Smokey’s wife.
Hirasawa-san sat across from Kumiko, also on the East side of the table.
Noticeably absent was the owners’ agent. She’s the domkop who didn’t catch the items in my previous post (unregistered 2nd floor, wonky survey data) and let totally wrong information end up on the house brochure. Apparently, she also thought that the first hour of the contract signing was too boring to merit her presence.
The first part must have been boring for the owners, because it consisted of Hirasawa-san guiding us through the contract clause-by-clause and Kumiko translating for me. However, the owners had specifically requested to be present for the whole event, which is just a preview to how cool they are. I think it was really bad form, however, for their agent not to show up.
She finally did show up at around 11:30. She looked like somebody’s aunt. Her hair was a bird’s nest, and I thought she looked very poor… until Kumiko pointed out to me later that she was wearing a designer jacket and carrying a Louis Vutton handbag. I don’t catch these things, you see.
Normally, I’m all for the underdog against the big company, and until I realized that she spent all her money on her bag and clothes, I thought it was a little endearing that she carried her supplies in a cookie tin (versus Hirasawa-san, who brought his in a smart, leather box)… but, she was clearly incompetent. A couple of times, she started to do something (like create a receipt, or put currency stamps on the wrong document) and Hirasawa-san had to gently tell her that it wasn’t part of the procedure.
I now realize how lucky we were to end up with Hirasawa-san, someone quietly competent and customer-oriented, as our agent.
To be continued tomorrow…