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12/07/2008: "New Yokohama Apartment" mood: Revitalized

In my previous post I mentioned that I moved to Yokohama earlier this year. It has since occured to me that it would be a dandy idea to show you all the pics of the room so you can see for yourselves how hard I'm getting screwed by the Japanese rental system.

As you may be already aware of, Japan is famous for incredibly small living arrangements and extrordinarily expensive prices for everything. In no situation more does this hold true then with housing. First off let me explain how renting a place to live works in Japan.

Step 1: check your skin color, are you Japanese? No? Then go ahead and slash 90% of the possible apartments for rent off your list because almost no one will rent to you because of extreme blind and ignorant racism. I'm sure you're thinking, "He's overreacting, they're not that racist." You sir, would be quite mistaken. It is among the most famous problems foreigners face living in Japan. Everyone I know has been through similar situations to the story I'm about to share with you.

Just before sharing this story, let me break down the costs of moving into a place. When you want housing you contact a real estate agent and they help you find an apartment. As part of finding an apartment they expect what's called "key money" and a "deposit" that each respectively equal 1-2 months rent. The key money is sort of a "thank you for letting me give my money to you" fee and you will never see it again. Same goes for the deposit, it's not a deposit though because you never get it back, ever. From there, you of course must pay first months rent and a few other misc. fees. Right off the bat your move-in cost is between 3-5 months worth of rent which will only cover the first months stay. In addition to that, they require 1-2 guarantors to back you up in case you don't pay. This person must be a financially stable Japanese citizen willing to sign off to pay all your rent if you decide not to. Like most people, you'll never find this magical Japanese friend so you'll have to hire a guarantor company which conveniently is linked to the real estate company you're already paying all these fees to. The cost of the guarantor fee? About a months rent per year of contract they're covering. SO, to recap, you'll have to pay between 3-7 months worth of rent just to move in for the first month. Better not move out for a long time and spread out the raping over a long period huh?

Now back to the story. When I was looking for a place to live, I first wandered around the neighborhoods I was interesting in living in looking for real estate shops that post up apartments for rent (that's how it's generally found here, or searched on the internet). I ran across a place that had advertisements offering "no guarantor needed!" and "only 0-1 mo. key money and deposit!". I'm thinking, "great! let's give them a try!". I walk inside and sit down with an agent and start looking at apartments. I ask him total move-in fees for a few places and he says to me, "Well, I dunno, you're gonna need a guarantor, and you'll need to pay key money and deposit too." I of course respond with, "What're you talking about, your ads say you dont need them." He responds to me with a condescending tone, "Yea... but you're a foreigner, you don't pay your bills, so we need insurance." I of course angrily respond, "What does me being a foreigner have anything to do with it? Japanese people can skip out on bills just as much as a foreigner!". He laughs as says to me, "Japanese people never not pay bills, only foreigners do that. Also you will probably escape Japan and not pay rent." Keep in mind this entire conversation is in Japanese so it's very evident to this jackoff I'm not the type of foreigner who has been here only a week. Yet, he's was still racist as hell and wasn't afraid to act as such. To tell you the truth though, he's not even that bad, simply walking into most real estate agents you'll get people telling you "NO FOREIGNERS GET OUT!". Later I contacted a real estate office that wasn't racist but after selecting several properties, they called the landlords and had to ask if it was ok for a foreigner to live there, which 90% of them said absolutely no.

Anyway, I'm off on a tangent now. This brings me to my current apartment. For many foreigners, you're required to find monthly apartment services which actually don't require all the bs since you're renting on a month to month basis. Sure the rent is usually more expensive but it saves the hassle. Finding a good apartment in the regular system as a foreigner is a feat to be sure.

Now to the actual pictures. I live in a monthly apartment building on the 7th floor in northern Yokohama. Yokohama is on the coast on the West side of Tokyo Bay. It's about 25km southwest of Tokyo and 25 minutes by train. This picture above is the classy hallway after exiting my elevator.

To open my door you don't use a key. Instead, you use a numerical password. This is pretty convenient but I'm curious what happens when the door lock's battery runs out. plain

As you open the door, the soft and welcoming light of my Yokohama mansion beckons you in.

Now you're in my entry room. Careful, take off your shoes, don't want to get my wood-looking plastic floor scuffed.

Ahh.. and now you've entered my living room. Go ahead and take off your coat and I'll give you a tour.

Follow me right this way. We're passing the pantry, kitchen, and storage room at the moment.

Welcome to my Entertainment room/study. I have my TV here, my PS3, and my closet holding all my suits and jackets.

Let's move on to the computer room. Here you can see my lavish work desk of which no chair is needed. Instead, I more efficiently squat or sit on the floor to use my computer and study.

Alright, let's go back down the hallway to another part of the mansion.

Ah the master bathroom. Slightly elevated from the rest of the floor to ensure you break toes and arms when you trip returning to the bedroom after a midnight tinkle.

The toilet is a classy addition I might add. Putting the toilet and the "shower" together allows the user to more efficiently use his time by crapping and taking a shower at the same time (note the drain in the floor). Also, no needless waste of space, your knees will hit the door when closed and the toilet paper dispenser will kindly jab into your right leg. Also note the heavy duty platic piping. Don't worry, the same piping is used for the kitchen as well.

This spacious shower allows you to use either the sink or the shower head with a simple twist of the knob. The bath is also big enough that if you sit down, you'll likely get stuck and have to call for help to get out. Only the best for my master bathroom!

Let's move onto the kitchen. Let me guide your attention to the hotplate of a stove I have. This allows me to "cook" many dishes from mac'n'cheese to a full blown Thanksgiving dinner. Right next to it is the sink. Placing them so close together helps because, when you're done cooking, the splashing water from cleaning dishes will help cool down the hotplate and the steam generated by the water hitting the still blazing hotplate acts as a sauna. Looking above, you will see my large cabinet setup. This allows me to store a whopping two plates and two bowls. Haha, I don't know why I need so many plates, who ever has that many guests to entertain anyway!

Next, the refrigerator. I first though about getting one of those bulky models with the ice machine and multiple doors but then I thought, who wants a freezer? Not me!

The placing of the chair to the table I don't have also assists the door in this full-swing opening. Uh-oh, better be careful, don't want to hit myself with the door by opening it too fast. The roomy interior of this fridge is also big enough to hold a carton of milk, two water bottles, some jam, and alot of sorrow.

Let's move to the pantry and linen closet. Here is where I set my backpack and briefcase (which I switch depending on the work day or school day). Here you can see my microwave and lack of anything reminiscent of an oven. The pantry and linen closet are also big enough that I store the mansion trash can here as well.

Now we come to my bedroom closet and medicine cabinet. If you're wondering what those red circular objects are in the medicine cabinet, its cheese...

Ah books, nothing is more enjoyable then cuddling next to my oversized stuffed banana and reading about Human Resources and International Monetary Economics.

His name? Tsutomu. He's a mascot, for life.

Here we are at my bookshelves. On the top you can see my video equipment. Followed by some school books and behind my bed which you can't see, my extensive collection of Option magazines. It's comforting to know that if an earthquake hits (which is frequently does, I've been through two since moving to this place) this bookshelf will come toppling upon my legs as I sleep, effectively pinning me to save me the trouble of being able to escape to save my life.

I keep shoes here.

Laundry basket as well.

This is my favorite part of the mansion, the view. Most people would be upset living next to the highway, I'm happy to hear the various cars speeding down the road at night while I guess which car it is just by the exhaust note.

Looking left out the window slightly you can see the the highway offramp. In the distance, you can see the downtown skyscaper section of Yokohama. Under the highway, it's actually the ocean. Technically I live right on the coast, but there is alot of man-made land extending farther out.

This is looking right out the window. That is the main street next to my building which you could actually follow all the way to Tokyo. In the distance you can see the "suburbs" of Yokohama.

And lastly, to the far left out the window you can see JVC's headquarters office sitting on fake land. Farther beyond that, JVC has one of their factories making TVs and stereos that likely end up in your BestBuy.

Alas, this is the end of our tour. This is where I live. Thanks for checking it out. LOL

Replies: 3 Comments

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BadGirl546 [e-mail] [homepage]
Monday, December 22nd
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Friday, December 12th
Why do you stay and deal with the racism? how much is you apt. a month? keep strong and stay happy! smile