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  • Guest house or own apartment

    I'm coming to Tokyo May to start work teaching English and was wondering which is better - to get my own apartment (through the school) or live in a guest house or shared house. Which is a good company to get a room in a guest house through? If I decide to get my own place further down the track will this be very difficult? Has anyone got any experiences of living in guest houses? I don't know which area I'll be in as the school has yet to tell me. Thanks for any advice.

  • #2
    Originally posted by laura_robertson38 View Post
    I'm coming to Tokyo May to start work teaching English and was wondering which is better - to get my own apartment (through the school) or live in a guest house or shared house. Which is a good company to get a room in a guest house through? If I decide to get my own place further down the track will this be very difficult? Has anyone got any experiences of living in guest houses? I don't know which area I'll be in as the school has yet to tell me. Thanks for any advice.

    Toyota is a good company.
    Sony used to be a good company.

    Most people enter their companies when they are about twenty-five, and go through them for a period of forty years.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by laura_robertson38 View Post
      I'm coming to Tokyo May to start work teaching English and was wondering which is better - to get my own apartment (through the school) or live in a guest house or shared house. Which is a good company to get a room in a guest house through? If I decide to get my own place further down the track will this be very difficult? Has anyone got any experiences of living in guest houses? I don't know which area I'll be in as the school has yet to tell me. Thanks for any advice.
      Don't agree to/sign any rental contract until you have physically seen the place, even if this means staying in a hostel for the first couple of days.

      The decision 'own apartment' or 'shared' depends on many things such as budget, preferences, hobbies, location, ...

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      • #4
        Do both. Guesthouse companies often have apartments, if you want your own toilet (and I found that was the worst part about guest houses....surprisingly it wasn't the gaijin fowling Japan up with our vile ways ;-), as it was just me and one other at most in several instances, and I remember the other guy was as cleanliness keen as myself).
        I used to like Interwhao but they seemed to become crappy with their whole deposit thing. Oakhouse rock. 10,000 cleaning fee, no deposit, 30 days notice. I think you can still change rooms/apartments with a 3,000 yen fee too. If we come back to Japan, I'd likely go straight to them. They are not the very cheapest, but with no deposit and stuff it works out well, and they are reasonably priced. Always really decent in dealing with us, too. Sakura house....well, I can't speak from experience but I have visited friends and it lived up to it's rep as a gaijin party place, but please research it to see if that is true of all their locations. There are more as well....I like the lack of commitment guest houses and their apartments in particular offer.
        Have you been to Tokyo before, by the way?
        I'd certainly recommend a guesthouse/apartment over a hotel. With a hotel you are often paying 6-8,000 yen or more for a few nights until you sort out a monthly arrangement and there is then the incentive to make a rash move. I love how in Japan, especially Tokyo, guesthouses are an option and the main reason why it'd be easier for the missus and I to go back to Japan than to move cities in Canada. And Canada is way better than London for temporary accommodation, but I digress.

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        • #5
          Thanks

          Thanks for the advice, that's really helpful. No I've never been to Japan before so it's all a new experience for me. Do you know of anywhere to stay in the Roppongi area? I have a month before my job begins and I wanted to stay somewhere central for some of that time - maybe a good hostel? Then when I start teaching I'll move to which ever area they send me too. How long did you live in Japan for? Thanks again.

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          • #6
            I lived in Japan a good few years, and it' s possible I'll be back this year. Mileage varies, and I know those who like Japan, those who don't, and of each group some are for the right reasons, some not (if that makes sense). It can be really hard, so it's important to keep things in perspective. There are so many good things about Japan, but often people get hung up on the negative. The general advice that usually surfaces that I think is best is simply be aware, respectful and appreciative of the place, people and culture, even if any of those are not respectful of you;-). My advice is compartmentalise it, and you'll enjoy it way more.
            It's a great place :-)
            So, near Roppongi will be more expensive. It's the pricey area. I'd also say Roppongi may not be the truest image of Japan you'll see.....
            (Just for your information I found Westerners often fall into two groups in Japan- those that try to "go local", learning the language, attempting to force natto on rice down their throats until it becomes strangely pleasurable, etc and those that assocaite mainly with other gaijin, never learning much Japanese and moving mostly in ex-pat circles. There are blends, of course, and lines are blurred, but it can be easy to fall into the ex-pat mentality. I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with it, just....saying it happens. Roppongi is very ex-pat heavy and where foreigners often head. I've met many people who have literally have just landed and are asking for help getting there. To say they were all guys, with that strange look in their eyes, and possibly bearing Roppongi's reputation in mind would only reinforce the stereotype, so I won't (even if they all were;-))
            Hostels are similarly priced to dorms with guest houses. You really may be better off in your own room in a guest house and it's the difference of say, 30,000 yen and 50,000 yen a month, but the time and hassle saving IMHO is worth it. If you arrange it beforehand, for a month, then you have no accommodation worries for that time. If you don't like it, you can move elsewhere. No 12 month contracts or any of that rubbish. I wouldn't let a school acommodate me, btw. If they offer to help it's one thing, but I am wary of school provided accommodation, unless it is free!
            Why Roppongi, btw? . Roppongi itself requires the subway to reach it, and it's not the best placed location. If you want to be central, think more along the lines of being somewhere on the Yamanote line. There is no real "centre". If you are on the Yamonote line you are never more than 30 minutes away from the key locations.
            If you go to http://www.oakhouse.jp/eng/ and see what they have. They have women's only options, usually, too. Sakurahouse, Interwaho I mentioned and any others that you can find with some digging. I would personally use Oakhouse because they are cheaper and easier overall than the rest and I liked dealing with them. Interwhao used to be awesome,too, but changed owners and from some changes I last saw I can't stay at my old place with them again as it's become more like a regular apartment with 1 months "thanks money" (agent money, whatever you want to call it, but basically one month's rent as a "gift" for the place). Shame as I really wanted to spend a month there for nostaligc purposes.

            Now, if you want to save money...there are capsule hotels in Asakusa (which is a 30minute odd commute to Roppongi) that used to be about 1,200- 1,3000 yen. These are basically shelves that you sleep in with a curtain- at that price forget the image of futursitc capusles; those are actual capsules and 33-5 times the price. There's women only floors.

            Basically sakurahouse, oakhouse are trustworthy, have some better deals for distance/train cost/room type if you hunt around. The websites are friendly, with good search options. They won't rip you off (unless others have different experiences). It's up to you, but sorry I can't recommend one place as it really is dependent on what you want, can get at the time and there is certainly plenty of choice.
            Some other money saving advice- cooking for yourself isn't always that much cheaper. Head to local supermarkets (well, not in Roppongi necessariyl- other neighbourhoods perhaps;-) about 8pm. You'll see lovely 30%-50%-70% stickers on food. The bentoo (not always the Western idea, by thw way, literally "lunch-boxes", so any food in plastic boxes counts!) is worth getting there. Convenience store bentoo is said to have preservatives a plenty. Supermarkets cook fresh every day, and then get rid every night. I love the bentoo shops like Origin and Hoka-Hoka-Tei, but to say they use a lot of fat is an understatement. We used to stock up when good deals on, and load up the fridge for a few days. find QQ99 and Can-Do stores and other 100yen stores. QQ99 are plentiful, and sell vegetables and some fruit. Local gorcers are also fairly decent. Enjoy real bread before you arrive, as it's all white, sweet, fluffy air stuff there. Oh, and to save money get out of Western cravings;-) Or bring plenty of things like baked beans with you, ho-ho!

            Anyway, ploughing through these forums will often yield the help you need, but if there is anything you can't find, just come back and ask!
            Good Luck!
            Last edited by BouncingAroundJapan; 2012-03-10, 07:19 AM. Reason: Info alterations

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            • #7
              :-)

              Thanks for all that information - that's fantastic!! really helpful. The reason I'm going for Roppongi is I have a teaching job organised that starts at the end of June however I am arriving in Tokyo mid may as I am currently in Australia and that's when my visa expires so I have to leave Australia then. That means I have a monthish without work, so the plan is to do some hostessing for that month. I've heard all the hostess bars are around Roppongi area so that is why I wanted to be there - I don't want to spend a fortune on taxi's home after work going long distances - unless the subway runs all night?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by laura_robertson38 View Post
                Thanks for all that information - that's fantastic!! really helpful. The reason I'm going for Roppongi is I have a teaching job organised that starts at the end of June however I am arriving in Tokyo mid may as I am currently in Australia and that's when my visa expires so I have to leave Australia then. That means I have a monthish without work, so the plan is to do some hostessing for that month. I've heard all the hostess bars are around Roppongi area so that is why I wanted to be there - I don't want to spend a fortune on taxi's home after work going long distances - unless the subway runs all night?
                Entering Japan on a Hooker visa???

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                • #9
                  You plan on hostessing? Oh man, this is a whole other thing. I think we should bat this out there under a whole new thread.....

                  (well_bicyclically 's comment should give you an idea of how this falls into the "Not the best of plans" category a lot of us may think)

                  May I suggest "Should I Hostess A Month In Roppongi Before ESL?" posted in hese fin forums.

                  A few early pointers.

                  A) This is not something your visa covers you for. If you were to get caught, that'd be you out (unless somethings changed I don't know about).

                  B) If you need to economise to save money until your ESL paycheck, dorm in Sakurahouse or Oakhouse, find a 300 yen or less bentoo shop or linger around supermarkets between 8-10PM, and drink lots of TAP water;-) and get some 100yen spagetthi. Seriosuly, I'd avoid hostessing. If you insist on black market working, try English shcools who will hire you sans visa, conversation cafes that will do the same or private lessons.

                  C) It may not be safe, it pretty well will likely not be pleasant, and it's not the way anyone should satrt their life in Japan who within a month will have a job, IMHO.

                  Seriously, reasearch this like mad, throw that thread out there and let gaijinpot regulars have at it.

                  You've never been to Roppongi, so.....

                  I would seriously advise letting this idea go, and only venturing into Roppongi once you ahve settled in Tokyo, with the option to not return unless by choice. It's not for everyone, that's for sure (it has it's moments, I'm not judging, but there are those who love it, those who loathe it, and those who haven't tasted enough to now any difference).

                  Good Luck!

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                  • #10
                    Great start

                    It really makes everything so much simpler to start your life in Tokyo in a share house. I don't know the details whether the school will arrange everything regarding the apartment for you. In that case it might be easy. Generally speaking, it makes things way simpler to stay at a share house since everything is included in the monthly fee, which usually is not that much really, not to mention always having house mates with more experience of life in Japan than you around to ask for advice makes a huge difference.

                    I stayed in 4 different Sakura House share houses for 4 years, and usually paid around 70 000 per month. It was clean, the staff was really easy to deal with, and I had a great time there getting friends for life in the process. I eventually got married, so that was point when I had to move out, but I kind of miss it today.

                    Anyway, I can definitely recommend starting out in a share house, and due to my personal experience I can highly recommend Sakura House (if you are unsure if the place is good enough for you, just ask them to show you the room first).

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                    • #11
                      Recommendations?

                      Hey guys, I'll be coming to Tokyo in a couple of months and I really need a decent apartment!
                      Can you guys recommend any? Of course Sakura House is out.
                      These are my criteria:
                      -No Roaches or Rats
                      -Very Clean
                      -Hot Water
                      -Internet
                      -In Tokyo pref. only 30mins away from Shinjuku

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