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Day before yesterday the alarm went off in our house.

Fire alarms like everything else here are different than they are at home.  There are no little flashing red lights and just a loud noise, here we have a digital screen which displays what type of alarm is going off.  For example, if there is a fire the screen displays flames etc…

We were in the midst of a nice dinner the other night and off it goes – scaring the begeezeus out of us and flashing a bright yellow house on the screen.  Baffled and completely confused it only got worse as it started talking to us.  We went to the door and could hear that the same speech was happening in the hallway, clearly this was a serious thing!

Still though, we didn’t know if it was really an emergency – the house by then had stopped flashing leaving just some red text behind of course in Japanese.  Not willing to risk it though we did what any normal person would do.

We took a picture.

And then of course we threw on some shoes and decided we should probably go downstairs and see what was happening.  It was a good thing too as we realized we’d never found the emergency staircase out of the building in case just such an event would arise so we tried to decipher the exit map and went to the stairwell doors to find them locked.  Fortunately about that time the elevator came so we hopped in with our photo in hand and went down to the concierge to ask if we should be freaking out.

As it turns out the announcement was advising that the elevators would be out of service for 60 seconds as they were testing the equipment but then would be back on. The bright yellow house it seems is an announcement system.  Seeing us rather frazzled looking the very nice concierge said, “perhaps we should do an announcement in English.”  That would be nice however it would ruin the excitement of not knowing if we should be freaking out.