Thursday, November 17, 2005

Angela Goes Apartment Shopping

When you think about a Japanese apartment, what comes to mind?

Our original plan was to stick with a western-style, executive housing option in the ex-patriot neighborhood of Roppongi. However, after visiting 3 different apartments, I think we want to try one of the smaller (and less expensive) options available here. Here are the 3 options:

Hotel-Like Room
One option is to stay at a building that offers both hotel rooms and temporary apartments. There were 2 room types here. One was 60.7 sq meters. The other was 51 sq meters. Both felt very large. They had seperate rooms for kitchen, living, bedroom. They had large closets. They had a dishwasher. One kind of fun advantage is the weekly maid service. But it did feel like living in a hotel. We are currently staying in a smaller, more normal sized hotel room and it just doesn't have a homey feeling.

Dark, Vault-Like Room
As I entered the 4th floor of the building, I felt like I was walking into a bank vault hallway. There were doors on each side with weird handles. They were dark and it looked like a bunch of individual bank vaults side by side. This would have been fine except when we walked into the apartment, it was just as dark and vault-like. The wood was a beautiful mahogany color, but just made the room feel even smaller than its 42 sq meters. The beds were separate and set perpendicular to each other. It was cave-like even though it was on the 4th floor. Not somewhere I could see myself living in for 1 day, not to say 5 months.

Bright, Sunny Apartment
This was actually the first place I looked at. The utility room and bathroom were both set off to the side. The main kitchen/living/bedroom area had an open floor plan. The bedroom had a separator wall between it and the living area. There were lots of windows. The only down side wasn't the size (38.5 sq meters), but rather the fact that the beds were separate. The agent showing the place said that we could not move the beds, it would scratch the floor. So the proposed plan was for us to move into this place on Sunday, then move to a different place in mid-December (same building). The new place has a bigger bed, is slightly bigger (by a square meter or two), and is 2 levels. Kind of like a loft, I guess. Unfortunately it was not possible to see the other place, it is currently unavailable.

Decision - Bright, Sunny Apartment
My preference is to stay in the small, one-level place for the entire time. That is, given that we can move the beds carefully together and get one of those bed combiner things. Or, that we can see the second place and kind of evaluate the amount of light and the size of the 2 levels before we move in.

So, we may move Sunday. Overall the experience of apartment shopping was positive. The company that helps Dan's company operate smoothly in Japan had sent over a representative to help me do the shopping. She spoke English well and was fun to be with. I guess we will know soon what will happen with our moving adventure.


Dan said...

Wow...this is like House Hunters Internation! I never realized that before.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.