Tuesday, August 2, 2011
My third year in Japan began today, and I thought things would be pretty normal from here on out. I was wrong, son, I was wrong.
This morning, I woke up to a sound I can best describe as a cross between nails on a chalkboard and a money counting machine at the bank. Thinking something was trying to come in through my mail slot, I got up to investigate. That's when I realized the sound was coming from my heater. Somewhere, deep inside the stovepipe, something was alive and frantically trying to escape. There wasn't much I could do at that point. I considered dismantling my heater, but didn't want to accidentally break anything. Then was the problem of whatever was in there escaping into my arms - or apartment.
I decided to hurry and get to work as quickly as possible, so I could tell someone there. So, I went to make breakfast. When I went to open my brand new huge bag of cocoa powder, I discovered that I had accidentally purchased a big bag of hot chocolate instead. Doesn't work quite the same in recipes.
The sounds were getting really distressing at this point. I hadn't known my little heater buddy long, but I was really worried about it dying in the stovepipe. So, I hurried to leave my apartment.
I discovered along the way that I managed to lock myself out of my own bathroom.
Once at work, I told my supervisor that an animal had gone to my stove. We worked out what had happened, and then everyone disappeared for a meeting of some sort. I wanted to ask about my creature, and I kind of wanted to go back and just take apart the stove.
At lunchtime, I didn't really want to go home, because I didn't want to hear the desperate scratching sounds, and I also didn't want to not hear those sounds. I stopped by my apartment for a few minutes anyway, just to satisfy my curiosity.
Ohhhhhh, not what I was hoping for.
I sadly made my way back to the office. Midafternoon, three coworkers and I came back to my apartment to see what was going on in my stove. They put on heavy gloves and tapped on the pipe. Still no sound. So, they slowly started taking apart the stovepipe.
In the bottom, there was a tiny brown body of a sparrow. It wasn't moving.
One of my coworkers gently picked it up to dispose out the window. As he let go, it revived and fluttered away! It went straight to sit on the back fence.
That sparrow is going to have one heck of a story for its little friends when it gets back to the nest.
Is this setting the tone for the new year?