Moving to the city

After a bit more than 1.5 years since moving to my current place in 志木, it’s time to move again. I’ve set my mind on a tower mansion 2 minutes from Ikebukuro station in Tokyo and should get the keys by the end of June.

floorplan of the new apartment

The view from the living room should be like the picture below on clear days (albeit from a lower vantage point but I should still be able to glimpse the Fujisan). Can’t wait to be doing cool Tokyo timelapses from my own window.

fujisan view - the weird white triangular building is Nakano

This time, my company does not wish to rent it for me and take it out of my salary as I am a local contract employee. So this is my first foray into actually signing a rental contract and paying all the fees myself upfront. So lets break it down:

  • 1st month of rent (you pay your rent in advance in Japan) = ¥220.000
  • Moving in on 26th of June so 5 days worth of rent until 30th = ¥36.700
  • 敷金 – deposit, 2 months of rent = ¥440.000
  • 火災保険 – fire insurance = ¥25.000
  • 鍵交換代 – lock change fee = ¥35.000 (that’s a hell of a lot for a lock!)
  • 町内会費 – neighborhood association membership fee for 2 months = ¥500

For a grand total of ¥757.200 or three quarters of a million yen… upfront… it hurts…

And actually, I should count myself lucky, this is rather cheap and most of it is the deposit which I’ll mostly get back. Apartments here, especially new ones, often have a 礼金 which is also called key money and is a nice gift of 2 months of rent to the owner.

Thinking of all that money makes me a bit more partial to the idea of buying a place for myself…

Weirdest dream

As my moving in date approaches I’m getting all the preparations done, canceling utilities contracts and setting up new ones, packing, etc; all of this stuff is racing around my head 24/7 and lately I started having really weird dreams.

I remember one vividly from last week. I was showing off my new apartment to my friends. Inside, it was the same really cool apartment as the one I’m moving into in real life, with the same price, but the dream one was not out in the boondocks, 20min into Saitama from Ikebukuro: this one was in 松濤, a very cool neighborhood just behind Shibuya where 2 of my very rich expatriate friends live. The problem is, a 60m2 apartment in a brand new building over there is nowhere near ¥140.000 a month, I guess it would be more around ¥600.000 and that would still be cheap.

So how could I find such an apartment for such a dirt cheap price? Well that’s what I start explaining to my friends when we get there (I’m still in the dream here) and I tell them that there is no front door and that we have to come in through the windows…

I found an apartment

After waiting a week for an answer from the owner to the real-estate agent, we finally called him up yesterday and were told the apartment was ours.

my new apartment in Shiki

Now all I’ve got to do is have my company sign all the papers and we can set a date to move-in, hopefully by the beginning of November. I will be living in a 60m2 2LDK apartment on the 6th floor of a brand new building 2-minutes from Shiki station on the Tobu Tojo line. That’s 20minutes from Ikebukuro by express and 37 minutes from where I take the company’s bus in the morning to get to my office.

Bed town

This Saturday, my girlfriend arrived in Tokyo to look for a job, pass some interviews, etc. She’ll be staying at my place for 2 weeks or so, hopefully enough to get a good feel of the current job market.

So this Sunday, we went to Kawagoe to scout out the place and see what kind of apartments we can find over there. It’s a big town, 300K inhabitants, very lively and only 30min from Tokyo. I’d be happy to live there. But after talking with a real estate agency, we were told it will be hard to find a newish apartment close to the station there and we’d better check out Fujimino for this.

photo by pepewk (forgot to bring my camera when visiting)

Fujimino is one station down the line, 5min closer to Tokyo on the express train. I had never stopped there before, but always saw the tall apartment buildings, 20+ floors, all around the station. We came out and walked a little bit around, and apart from a couple of conbinis, a McDonald and a little 24/7 mini-market around the station, the town barely has a dozen shops.

The town is so dead and empty that, as I came out of the station in the village I live in, I thought it was really lively (something that would never have crossed my mind the day before). The real estate agent said it well: Fujimino is これから, the question is “will I be there to see it?”.

Next weekend, I’m going back to Kawagoe to really see some apartments. I’m hoping I’ll find an older mansion that had a renewal not so long ago.