Anecdotes about the housing aspect of living in Japan (A totally biased, one-data-point extrapolation, but we seem to be living in times where this is totally acceptable).
So, already in my very first post I mentioned my little apartment, which I quickly felt super comfortable in. While I never really considered living alone anywhere before, here are some insights into my solitary bliss here in Kyoto (or happy hermitage, an expression I rather like, which I stole from a comment of my former boss in his current coronavirus initiated blog).
First off, I live in a small apartmet in West Kyoto, close to 桂駅 (Katsura station), which I chose from the list of available apartments for intermediate length stay foreigers because it is in walking distance to the Katsura campus of 京都大学 (Kyoto university, often just ‚Kyodai‚). It is a quiet area, with mostly small houses and apartment blocks, (and currently not many foreigners). But there are plenty of small restaurants and bars. Its easy to forget here that I am living in a city of about 1.5 million people. Just yesterday, for example, I went to a small Izakaya-style restaurant, which is on my way home from work. There weren’t many customers, and I started talking to the chef who eventually said he recognised me from the times I was looking in the window, and was happy I decided to come back for dinner. And I have also been recognised by the store clerks in the nearby convenience store. That’s how rural the area feels.
Being in the country’s cultural capital, I have a selection of (at least, there may be more hidden) two temples and a shrine just across the street. Like most other parts of Kyoto, my neighbourhood is also criss-crossed by countless small waterways and streams. No Kyoto guide book I’ve come across so far tells you adequately about the incredible abundance of small channels in Kyoto, and the resulting countless tiny bridges that span them. In my optinion this is a big miss! The happily bubbling and ever changing flows (I could swear some of them switch direction sometimes) truely brighten up even gray days.
Now the whole aparment itself is about as big as my former room in Zurich, and also costs about as much in rent. Pretty much what I was expecting from what I had heard before I got here. Living in Japan can be expensive, especially when you don’t speak Japanese fluently, because then you are stuck with rental agencies that are specifically targeting foreigners, and thus ask almost arbitrarily high prices. In general I don’t mind at all (less cleaning!), but the tiny kitchen is in fact a bit of a problem. That’s why I’m glad restaurants are still open at the moment.
It is not a completely Japanese style (tatami mat) apartment, but still has some of the characteristics of Japanese housing. First, there are some things which I have really grown to love in my everyday life:
But naturally there are also some things I could live without…
Since the Easter weekend I have been spending considerably more time in my apartment than before, because I’m doing (recommended, but voluntary) home office. And while everyday routine is certainly slowly starting to weave it’s way back into my life (after several months of exciting daily changes), I am certainly far from being bored.
I’ve been posting updates for a while now and I’m curious if anybody is actually reading to this point? If you did, maybe let me know, I assume most of my readers have a way of gettin in touch with me 🙂