So there I was, with a key to my house which was not a home.
During the visit, there were many things I hadn’t realized. The house, which looked ok (not exactly clean, but definitely not filthy) was in a terrible state. The filter of the AC was in a terrible condition, the sinks were stained, and the floor turned my socks black. So I spent my money on cleaning products and my morning scrubbing away until it was better.
But of course, let’s not forget there was nothing in it. There wasn’t a bed, or a chair, or a table. And, obviously, no refrigerator, microwave or washing-machine.
So, even though I had my own apartment, it was not yet my home because I couldn’t live there.
And then the shopping began.
Do realize that, if you go through something similar, like me you will have blown most (or all!) your savings, so spending even more money on furniture is excruciating. Sure, it’s something you must buy (you can’t sleep on the floor, now can you?) and isn’t it better sooner rather than later?
◆But what if you can’t afford it?
Well then, you’ve got to prioritize.
As I have stated in earlier posts, I was incredibly lucky because I was staying at my friend’s house. That allowed me to save up some money before the shopping spree began. Also, we had a big, thick and wonderful mattress and futon she wasn’t using which was perfect for my needs (in fact, I’m still using it, I haven’t gotten around buying a bed yet!). So there, bedding solved. (Carrying the mattress from her house to mine on the train was a hilarious story. The looks we got from people were just hilarious.)
The first thing I actually bought was a low-chair, a comfortable one, because I know that since the dining-kitchen was small, a tall one would only take away more space.
Then, on one escapade I managed to find a 100-yen shop, in which I bought little things which might not seem important but are a blessing to have: somewhere to leave the drying dishes, dishes (duh), slippers, one of those sticky roles which take away dust from your clothes, etc.
Ok, so then I had the essential, small stuff but not the essential, big stuff.
So, the day came when I went to the electronics shop (Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, etc). First things first: in Japan, these kind of huge shops have membership cards, get yourself one so that you can save up some points (or miles with JAL!).
First things I bought? A fridge, a microwave and a low table (actually, a kotatsu, because winter is coming). I figured I could always use my friend’s washing machine, but I ended up buying my own a week later.
And while I was waiting for it all to arrive home, I stayed at my friend’s (who had by then gone on a business trip) and when it was all there, and I had even managed to find some time to get some curtains…!
… I moved in.
(note, that was practically 3 weeks later!)
◆What kind of apartments are there in Japan?
1R (1 room): Well, as stated in the name, there is only one room (and the bathroom, separatedly). That means the ultra-small kitchen will share the same space as the bed, and usually the toilet and bathtub will also be in the same room. Normally they are 12-15 sqm.
1K (1 room, kitchen): The number stands for the rooms, and the single K for the fact that there is a small separation between the kitchen and the room. Normally, the kitchen will be in a tiny hallway. Sometimes the bath and toilet are separate, sometimes not.
1DK (1 room, dining-kitchen): This stands for one room (the number) and for a bigger sized room with the kitchen in it, which is the dining-kitchen. It is usually much bigger than your usual 1K, and the bath and toilet are usually separate, as well.
1LDK (1 room, living-dining-kitchen): As you can imagine, it is basically a room with a very big room which stands for a kitchen, a dining and a living room, and usually it is big enough to fit a table and a sofa comfortably.
So, basically if you add numbers and take away a letter you can create any sort of apartment!
Personally, at first I was looking at spacious 1LDK’s, because I wanted as much space as possible. I ended up with a 1DK and I couldn’t be happier. Now I think a 1LDK is maybe too much for a single person.
(note that, the bigger the apartment, the more expensive it'll be!)