April 01, 2007

Japan: My Apartment

So I'm back from Japan. This time, it was only for five days, compared to my previous long stays. Instead of putting all the photos and stories in just one entry, I figured I'll break it up to several posts to make it a little more interesting. Easier for me too, hehe.

The objective of this trip was to pack up my personal belongings and finally vacate the apartment I was living in for almost a year. It was quite a sentimental moment for me, because I have no idea when the next time I'll be going to Japan again would be. Also, being away for 10 months really put me in the awkward position of clueless communication with the Japs. My very-feeble Japanese did not seem to work, and the English-speaking Japs had problems communicating with me too, as they too have not spoken English in a long time. Massive chicken and duck talk, I tell you.

Anyhoos ... I thought I'd start with the packing for this entry. After living in the UK for three years, I managed to pack up to 5.5 boxes (the other 1.5 belonged to an ex-boyfriend) of belongings to send home. That's bad, right? I stayed in Japan for less than a year? My items came up to SEVEN boxes!! When I was packing my stuff, I was like, how the hell did I manage to amass so much junk??

Before I show you how messy my room was when I was clearing out my stuff, I'll just give you a short tour of the area.


This was where I lived, in a 1-bedroom apartment not far from the company. Mine was the second room from the left. For some reason, the Japs call it a dormitory, not an apartment. It's definitely an apartment on its own; we don't share kitchens, bathrooms, etc.

Sensory thingies

The thingy on the left is the sensor where I wave my key (which looks like a small round keychain. It does not resemble a key in any way. Too bad I forgot to take a photo of it before checking out) to open/lock the door. The thingy on the right has a hidden camera inside, where I can monitor who's at the door from inside the apartment. It also works as an intercom. Cool, eh?

This was how the apartment looked like when I was in the midst of packing. Yeah I know, it was really messy when I was doing the packing, but in actual fact, it was quite neat and tidy :p

Messy apartment

The ladder leads to a storage area for luggage, and bigger items. Initially, I thought I was supposed to sleep there :p


The small table's actually a kotatsu. I did not layer it with linen and duvet, even during winter, as it traps dust and dirt. Used it as a normal table.


I slept on a futon on the floor. Yep, no bed for me.

Kotatsu area

Messy corridor

After my stuff were cleared out, I felt pretty melancholy looking at the empty apartment.

Empty apartment

Quite a big walk-in closet, actually. I definitely want one of those when I get my own place.

Folded futon

Tidy area

Empty corridor

That's it for the apartment. Bear in mind that not all apartments in Japan look like this. I was actually staying in a pretty high-end one; the rent's pretty high compared to my friends' homes. Most apartments are smaller than the one I stayed in.

Houses in Japan are very expensive. You either work for about 30 years to finally get your own landed property (mostly built from scratch; you buy the land, and then build the house), or you rent for 1/3 of your lives. Standard of living is high everywhere, notably higher in the cities.

Goodbye, oh gorgeous apartment. I'll miss you *sniff*.


Paris said...

Ahhhhh kawaii-neh? hehe... it looks like those apartments I see in those Japanese serials. My mind always boggles at how they manage to fit in SO MANY thing in to such a small space! Your stint there must have been fun. :)

Ken said...

Nice blog!

Jemima said...

Tine, is the ladder fixed on?

Paris said...

You're IT! humour me eh? lol

Tine said...

Paris: Oh you would be surprised. I've been to quite a number of friends' apartments and houses, and they are SMALL. And quite overloaded with things, actually.

Ken: Oooh ... thanks! :)

Jem: Nope, the ladder can be taken off to hang on the metal bar you see next to the ladder.

Paris: Ooooh ... a travel meme! I like!! :P

beetrice said...

I want the ladder with the storage space above!! hahaha...

Tine said...

Beetrice: Cool leh? Goodness knows I need it too, what with my junk and all. Hehehe!