After the real estate agent unlocked the front door, the musty smell told us that the house had not been aired for some time. He laid out slippers for us and proceeded to raise the shutters and open the windows. Then, upon entering the kitchen he exclaimed, "Katamuite iru" ("It's uneven").

We took out a small carpenter's level we carry when inspecting properties and placed it on the floor. The bubble was within the lines, indicating the floor was level, but as we moved it toward the east wall, it moved. By the time we got to the wall, the bubble had traveled west, out of the comfort zone. The floor was inclining downward to the east.

The house was built in 1988 and had been renovated at least once since then. The agent expressed puzzlement that the previous owner hadn't corrected the problem, and when we asked him how much it would cost to do that he said, "About ¥10 million."