Tokyo Apartment

Tokyo apartment: Pictured a typical tatami mat room in an apartment in Japan (Photo by Paul Canosa)

Your Tokyo apartment or apartment anywhere in Japan (for that matter) will likely be tiny, and range in rent from 50-100,000 Yen per month.

Boy do things get dusty faster here in Japan than back home. With so many people living in a small space (more houses or residences per acre), your apartment gets dirty much more quickly.

Today for example, I woke up, and thought I was in a cowboy western, as I saw little dustball, tumbleweeds blowing by my futon (I had the electric fan on).

Even those pesky cockroaches don`t stay in my room. They take one look at those dustball tumbleweeds and they say in a southern drawl:

"Come on,...this is a dead town, ...let`s move on."

And I`m thankful that they do. Now I can almost smell baked beans being cooked over a camp fire, and could swear I just heard Clint Eastwood talking. Indeed I thought I was in a ghost town, but realize I am in my bedroom. Then Clint the cowboy morphed into Clint the tough cop and as Harry Callahan he looked down at me in my futon and said:

"I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

I don`t know what I answered, I just knew, I just told myself,I gotta get out of here, I have to live one more day to teach English.

Then in a flash, Clint was gone, and I was left standing on my tatami mats in my dusty, Tokyo apartment.

I gotta vacuum and quick!

Tokyo Apartment Size

Many rent a 1DK standard sized apartment which has a 3.5 by 3.5metre room with a walk in kitchen and small unit bath/showerincluding a toilet. This will cost you anywhere from the above quoted 50-100,000 Yen per month depending on where you live.

It could be a bit more or a bit less depending on the area.

Rents have decreased in recent years but Japan is still not a cheap place to live.

Tokyo apartment--Photo of bikes in Tokyo by Richard Baladad

Some teachers prefer to live in a Gaijin House in one of the major cities here. Although they lack privacy--you share a kitchen and bathroom, the rent is very cheap plus you will have an instant group of people to socialize and network with.

You might want to choose a school that offers an apartment

It certainly eases one concern if you have an apartment waiting for you with the school you will teach for.

If your school offers an apartment great! But be sure to ask for photos of it. If you go to a real estate agency, be sure to see the apartment before you sign a contract. You may even want to go to the area on different days to see if there are strange smells or if it is noisy at certain times or on certain days.

Japan still lacks zoning in many areas, so you can find yourself moved into your new apartment only to find that betweenMondays-Fridays it is very noisy or the neighbourhood is very smelly due to a factory you didn`t know of.

In our area there are many perfume factories and the real estate agents may opt to take you to the apartment when the air is cleaner on a Sunday. Renter beware!

Photo of Roppongi, Tokyo by Richard Baladad

School Apartments

Many schools provide you with a furnished or unfurnished apartment. Furnished can mean many things--from completely furnished to only having the very basics. Best to check with the school you apply to.

My first school apartment consisted of one light bulb. I had to furnish it! But some friends gave me a large futon and pillow and I got a few more freebies like a rice cooker. Which was great! Slowly I furnished it myself.

Japan is still a somewhat racist society and some landlords will not rent to you simply because you are not Japanese. So having a school that provides you with an apartment is a big plus! You can avoid the hassle of running around trying to find a place on your own.

Plus be careful of which real estate agencies you deal with.You don`t want to get into a bad situation from the start!Make sure they have been in business for a long time. There should be a certificate on the wall with a large number of about 18 centimetres tall, indicating how long this particular real estate agency has been in business. Plus ask around to seewhich real estate agencies seem okay.

The real estate agencies owned by the Yakuza (Japanese mafia)don`t tend to last long. The certificate for them will oftenindicate only one year in business. Stay away from anybrand new real estate agencies unless you know them or have a good friend who does.

Although many schools provide an apartment, few are free. You will most likely be required to pay rent--perhaps at a discount and perhaps not. You may be required to pay a damage deposit, that is usually returned when you move out.

You won`t have to pay key money though. This is something most people must pay just to get in the door. It is a form of thank you money to the landlord. At one of the apartments we rent for one of our schools, we even have to pay thank you money every two years. It is actually illegal, but most landlords still ask for it, and most tenants unfortunately, don`t even bat an eye and just pay it.

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Tokyo Apartment: Pictured: Quite a large room in a typical apartment in Japan. Probably you won`t be able to get such a large room unless youchoose to live in the countryside or a smaller city. Or arevery rich and pay a lot to live in one of the largest cities here.This is a nice apartment.(Photo by Paul Canosa)

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