My apartment

My apartment is small, and my rent is cheap. Coming from a big city, it seems almost too cheap. Like, less than my electricity bill at home was per month.

It has two rooms, a bedroom and a kitchen/living/dining room. Hmm. That implies that the second room is big. It’s not. It’s a living room with a kitchen crammed in the side, with a fridge hanging out on one wall with a microwave on top. Even to call the kitchen a kitchen is a bit of an overstatement – it’s a sink and a 2-ring gas stove with a tiny broiler/grill for fish (or a single slice of toast). Most older Japanese homes won’t have an oven, so no lasagna, roast chicken, casseroles or baking.

I think that theoretically the bedroom is supposed to be living space too, since one wall is taken up with giant deep closets for storing futons in during the day, but I never seem to manage to put the futons away, so for me it’s a bedroom.

The bathroom area has 3 parts – a little entrance way with a washing machine crammed in, and then a shower/bath room and a separate toilet. The bath is a typical Japanese one, small and deep. It’s for sitting in rather than lying in.

In addition, I have a little hallway with the usual raised platform. I come in the door, take off my shoes and then step up into the apartment. There’s a small storage area for shoes there.

All in all, when I arrived the apartment seemed quite western. There was a regular bed, there were no tatami mats (I was disappointed about this at the start, but now I’m happy with the wooden floors since I’m such a klutz – tatami is impossible to get coffee stains out of). There was a tv and a coffeemaker.

Since I’ve arrived I’ve made some changes. The bed is gone in favour of futons on the floor. The idea was that I’d be able to put the futons away during the day and have more space (see above). Also, if I made friends and wanted to have them stay over, futons are easily moved around to make two beds where there once was one. This might have been a mistake – partly because I never put the futons away, partly because I haven’t made any friends that I would invite over yet. So, the net result is that I’ve just lost the storage space under the bed. Oh well.

I also got a new couch and chairs. The old couch was kind of gross and really uncomfortable, so I shelled out $49 and got a new one. Yes, it was brand new at that price. The chairs were $15. I’ll post a photo, and when you see them you’ll think they look weird. They do, that’s because in Japan furniture is traditionally on the floor, as in, without legs. This has the effect of making the apartment seem much bigger because it’s not crammed with furniture. Also, the couch and chairs can be folded flat and the table’s legs can be removed so the whole living room set could be crammed into one of my futon closets, if I ever wanted to try.

Hmmm. What else? I don’t have a garden, or any outside space. There is a parking space with the apartment, but no car as of yet. I do have a bicycle for getting around though!

Where do I go on my bicycle? Details of the town to follow…

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