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7 Diary of Chaungtha trip in Thingyan
--Day 3--
6 Diary of Chaungtha trip in Thingyan
--Day 2--
5 Diary of Chaungtha trip in Thingyan
--Day 1--
4 Yangon Madam? Daily Life Struggles
--Shopping Part 3--
3 Yangon Madam? Daily Life Struggles
--Shopping Part 2--
2 Yangon Madam? Daily Life Struggles
--Shopping Part 1--
1 Yangon Madam? Daily Life Struggles
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Seeking pleasure at beer pubs (2)

Seeking pleasure at beer pubs (1)

Get through the handicap

Inviting a thief to my house

Water comes out (continue from Kyobintha village)

A visit to Kyobintha 4

A visit to Kyobintha village (1-3)

Mandalay Diary 6th Jun 2001

Mandalay Diary 26th Mar 2001

Mandalay Diary 1st May 2001
Yangon Madam? Daily Life Struggles --Apartment--
by Nishigaki Satoe

It was I who had a dream about marriage full of joys & pleasures. In April 1999, I got married and came to Yangon with some large quantities of Japanese food.

Soon after my marriage, I arrived in Yangon where my husband had been working. Apart from whether it was sweet or bitter for living in Myanmar, actually I had begun my new life.

Our building was situated in so-called heart of the city. It was called "China Town", because there are so many Chinese people. We live in an apartment of the building. The apartment was well-decorated. It looked like a small room but we rented it uneasily.

Our rooms and SANAY are in this building

First we had to meet the owner of this room and negotiate with the room rent fee for one year. (As a rule, a person who would like to rent a house or room has to pay in advance for one year when we contract in Yangon.) Then, the first and foremost point is to have a phone or not. The condition of telephone communication is not good, if you think that every house has been installed with telephones, your opinion will be incorrect. More than that was to get a phone. If you want a phone to be installed in your home, you'll have to wait for about 3 years. But you can't say surely to get the phone after waiting for 3 years. It is said that to get a line of phone, we'll have to pay 800,000Kyats (US$2,500). To say it intentionally, cellular phone for one line (only one phone) is 1,200,000Kyats (about US$4,000) for current price. For the time being, the price of cellular phone is stagnant but mostly the above-mentioned price is the current one. Formerly, the price was as much as twice.

Let's get down to the first subject. Each apartment has its owner. It was difficult for us to meet the owner although it had been a vacant room to rent. In every quarter there are house brokers (or) house agents surrounding those who want to rent houses or apartments. If you want to find them, go to a tea shop around there, then you can find them. Because they usually gather round there.

They will start to show you the vacant rooms. If you find an apartment to your satisfaction, you are allowed to see the owner through the house agents or broker. If you had rented the room, the owner would have paid to the agent as a commission, usually it is a month rental fee. It has really become a habit in Myanmar. There are Real Estate Companies dealing with it. If you have a taste for an apartment conducted by a Real Estate Company, both the hirer and the owner will home to pay the company as a commission, one month rental fee. In any case, it is a sheer waste of money for a housewife. We got an apartment through a house agent.

The whole building including our room was not built by foreign engineers. By only Myanmar construction company it was built. I was not impressed by the sight of laying the bricks and the position of concrete. I had a feeling that if was established an old how. It looked as if they were practically made things in a classroom. When we went into the room, we found 5 doorways. And 4 of them could not be closed already. From the start it night have been a mistake in the construction plan. Because it was a brand new 2 year old building.

This door could not be closed

Let's speak about the bond. After bargaining the price, we made the contract. Then, when we entered the room, I was extremely surprised. It was because there was nothing in it. When I came to think in comparison with the flats or apartments in Japan that I was very surprised to see nothing in the room. I would not be astonished if I could see even a switch. Without a stove and a carpet. Feeling concrete walls and sewage pipe including the toilet could be seen.

It is the account of our experiences in Myanmar. It happened 2 months before our marriage in 1999. We made a visit to Myanmar to search for accommodation and convenience. We chose wall paints, colors of lights & sorts of carpets (whether to use ordinary carpet or vinyl sheet) Then, looking at advertisement papers & designs in the catalogue from Japan and we placed an order at a furniture shop. The prices of ready made furniture & ordered furniture were of the same price. According to the quality of timber to be ordered, the price would be different not a design. Labor wages might be very cheep in Myanmar. I was very anxious to see in which design my ordered things would come out. So I came back to Japan from Myanmar.

Thus our wedding took place and the time had come to see
our expected new apartment.

At the international airport in Myanmar, Mingalardon, as we landed from the airplane, a thought came into my mind that how could it be. We had the empty apartment repaired for our stay in Yangon. So I am greatly worried about it.

Thinking that heart expectation was useless and we were approaching our apartment with anxiety. As I was thinking how fast my heart was beating, my husband opened the door. I would like to stay longer in my fantasy world without opening the door. So I felt dissatisfied and looked askance at my husband and entered the room.

As soon as I switched on the light, I found my chosen light shining radiantly inside the room. I was very much delighted to see it. Over the past 3 months, the dull and tedious room was seen sadly. Now it had become lively as I felt the warm atmosphere.

Dining room

The color of walls was in good condition. Some of the rooms were covered with vinyl sheets. My woes of the past disappeared and I become happy. The kitchen was made for me to cook conveniently. I was very pleased to have a nice kitchen to go into without bending my head.


The furniture was in the same design which had been described in my advertisement paper. So nice, so fantastic! But the plate rack in the kitchen was an annoying one. We could not close the drawer of the plate rack. I neglected it as we were in Myanmar.

In April, we decorated our apartment. After one and a half mouths, I am very grateful to see the changes of the situation. At that night I put all my food supplies on the rack. I think now is the time to think about the struggle of a housewife and I spend time pleasantly.

© Nishigaki Satoe

To be continue