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I broke my homestay family's fridge

TalkaTalka Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm doing a homestay in Japan for six months. For the most part things are going well. Communication is difficult, but I think they like me and I haven't done anything rude or offensive yet, as far as I can tell. I live in a guest house next to my host parents' house, so I have my own bathroom, television, kitchen, and fridge.

I seem to have accidentally broken the fridge. I woke up one morning and noticed the door was ajar. Even though I have absolutely no memory of having left it open, it sure looks like I failed to close it completely. Not only is about $40 worth of foodstuffs ruined, the fridge has stopped cooling things. The light inside works, but it doesn't cool anything, and I can't hear a fan running. I tried to google what might be wrong and how I could fix it, but besides leaving it unplugged for a day (didn't work), all the possible fixes looked really hard. Especially since I'm in Japan and speak limited Japanese, so deciphering what the fridge says is nigh impossible.

So, question one: Is there anyway I can fix this fridge on my own? If you know anything about fridges, does the fact that the fan's stopped running mean I'm screwed and it's beyond repair?

The other problem is that I really don't want to tell my host parents, just five days after having moved in, that I broke their fridge. Especially since I'm not good enough at the language to apologize graciously (it'll come out "this doesn't work, sorry"). I'm afraid of ruining relations and seeming rude and irresponsible. I also really don't want to pay for another fridge, but it's kind of looking like I'm going to have to. The fridge was really old and crappy, so I feel like it was going to break on its own eventually. Plus I'm not even sure how I broke it. I certainly don't remember leaving the door open, and I didn't know eight hours of a cracked door breaks a fridge. Arrrgh.

So, question two: How do I tell my host parents that the fridge is broken? Do I offer to pay (is it my fault)? How much does a fridge cost (not too large, goes up to my chest)?

Finally, I'm just not taking this very well. Actually, I'm freaking out. Maybe this doesn't sound like a huge deal, but I feel like I can't do anything right and I don't know how to fix anything or explain anything. Being in a foreign country is fun and all, but right now I wish I was in America where I could just handle the situation calmly and rationally. Instead the language barrier and the need to maintain good relations with my host parents is making me stress over this really hard. I feel really awful. Like I'm totally incompetent and royally screwed now. Again, I have absolutely no recollection of leaving the door cracked open, but I'm furious with myself.

Question three: How might I stop freaking out? In America I would be able to just deal with the situation, but right now the prospect of trying to work through what's happened and what's going to happen with my host parents in my limited Japanese just sounds terrible. I feel like I haven't been this anxious over so banal an event in my life. Help? Advice?

Talka on

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    iostreamiostream Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Tell them the fridge is broken. They will not take it badly, homestay folks are usually pretty nice.

    Yahoo answers to leaving a fridge door ajar

    iostream on
    The Carrot

    Gugu held out his long carrot and said, "If you call this a carrot, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a carrot, you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?"
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    TalkaTalka Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    There have been horror stories in my program about homestay families that were not so nice. Like people getting yelled at to the point they break, or getting left out on the streets. I don't think that'll happen to me (they seem chill), but I do worry that they might get frustrated or annoyed at the very least.

    Talka on
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    delphinusdelphinus Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    "it was like that when I got here..."


    PS. Fridge Freon isn't a toy. It usually leaks out when unqualified people start messing with fridges.

    delphinus on
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    jasonlesterjasonlester Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    dude, don't worry about it.

    While there are horror stories, most of them are nice. I've been to Japan, and I've spoken to at least 50 people in the same program, not ONE had a bad homestay.

    If you tell them it stopped working. I can guarantee, they will not care.

    Put yourself in their shoes, you have someone staying, the fridge broke. Would you really care? No. Your guest is in a foreign country, scared out of their mind, you want to HELP them. You want them to be comfortable. That's what it's all about.

    jasonlester on
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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Talka wrote: »
    How do I tell my host parents that the fridge is broken?

    Anno, sumimasen. Watashi no reizoku wa dame desu.

    There you go, problem solved. If you have to fess up, 'I killed it! I left the door open and now it's dead!' that's going to be a little harder to say, but start off with just informing them that it's broken. At least you didn't leave the window opening during a typhoon, resulting in an entire room's flooring of tatami mats to be ruined.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
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    iostreamiostream Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Talka wrote: »
    How do I tell my host parents that the fridge is broken?

    Anno, sumimasen. Watashi no reizoku wa dame desu.

    There you go, problem solved.

    Win!

    iostream on
    The Carrot

    Gugu held out his long carrot and said, "If you call this a carrot, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a carrot, you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?"
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    GrimmyTOAGrimmyTOA Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    As a general principle, though, you should indeed offer to pay for the fridge.

    GrimmyTOA on
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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Point. I didn't mean to imply that he shouldn't do that, but there's no reason to angst about saying it's broken. One of the reasons that tatami incident was so egregious (tatami mats are retarded expensive to replace) was that the guy who did it was just, 'aw shucks, wasn't that a silly thing to do.' and didn't offer to repay his host family or do anything else to make it better. Then there was that time he went to Kyoto for a weekend and told no one... the guy was a 'tard in general.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    iostream wrote: »
    Tell them the fridge is broken. They will not take it badly, homestay folks are usually pretty nice.

    Yahoo answers to leaving a fridge door ajar

    Give this a shot, as well.

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
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    Josiah_9Josiah_9 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Yes, as the Yahoo answers say either your Evaporator coils are frozen and you need to shut it off for 24 hours. The other possibility is that the Condensor fan motor has gone bad from continuos use the whole time the door was open. If it is the fan it should be a rather inexpensive repair. Don't worry the fridge shouldn't be unrepairable due to expense.

    Josiah_9 on
    Saturate.jpg
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