Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Apartment

I knew nothing about my apartment before coming to Akita, for the simple reason that they did not have one for me yet. I'm very happy with the one they chose, however.

I've seen at least one other JET's apartment and heard descriptions of others, and it sounds like mine is a relatively good size. I have two tatami rooms: a 6-mat one where I sleep, and a 4.5-mat one where guests can stay, or where I can serve meals or tea. I have a living-area (upper right) where I can watch TV on my recliner or eat at my kitchen table. The kitchen and living-area are pretty much opened up to each other, though you can close the sliding doors. Then there's the entrance area (remember to take off your shoes!), the toilet (western style!), bath/shower room, sink, washing machine, and outdoor balcony for drying clothes.

6-tatami room. Plenty of closet space there on the left. I sleep on the blue thing to the right.
4.5-tatami room. I've got a low table there now, great for Japanese-style meals.

Living area. This looks really messy, but I've cleaned it up now. I took out those awkward square tatami and pushed the kitchen table against the wall. The junk in the corner is my heating system, which someone will come install before the weather starts getting too cold.

The kitchen, seen from the living area. My microwave has an "oven" function, but I've yet to try it out. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be able to do.

(Looking in from the entrance area.)

Sink and medicine cabinet. Japanese sinks are pretty low off the ground.

Here's where I take showers. It took a while to figure out how to use, even with the help of some teachers. I had five Japanese people over at my apartment before we got it working! First you have to turn on the gas, turn some knob, light the flame, hold for about 15 seconds, turn the knob to shower, and finally turn the shower on. I've been showering standing in the tub, although I guess that's not necessary, as the whole room is a shower that drains through a grate on the floor.

The washing machine. The left is for washing and rinsing, and the right is for wringing out clothes before you hang them up. The Hello Kitty stickers were there when I moved in.

The toilet- with a sink and faucet over the water tank, so you can wash your hands using the water that refills the tank.

Outdoor balcony. If I look to the right from here, I'm looking right at my high school, to which I literally live next door.

View from my bedroom window.

Also from my bedroom window.

And if you're interested you can see my apartment from above with the impressively clairvoyant Google Maps here. The buildings directly below my apartment and to the right are Akita Minami High School, where I work. (Also, if you're familiar with Google Maps already, you might be able to figure this out on your own, but since its in Japanese: if you want to go to satellite view, click on the middle of the three buttons on the upper-right corner of the map.)

So, my place is a pretty good size, very close to the supermarket and school, and (best of all) it's a jutaku apartment, which means its subsidized especially for people employed by the city, myself included. I end up paying 11,400 yen a month for rent (about $114), so I can go out for sushi several times a week if I want.


Anonymous said...


This is your cousin Rob. I love your pad!!! I lived in Japan (off and on) for 6 years working for the Oriental Land Company in Shin Urayasu, (quite a bit south of you). It was by far the best experience of my life!! I wish you the best of luck in everything you are doing out there. I am jealous that you are there and I am back in the states!!! My one word of advice.....GET OUT and really experience how fantastic the culture is and how rich the traditions are!! Enjoy it man!!! OH YEAH, that tatami smell......NEVER goes away hahaha

Subaram said...


I'm glad to hear you're in Japan doing Japanese shit! Pick up some used underpants for me! -.- <3333

Sukiko said...

Jeff!! It's Ashley (Stark, now...I suppose) Boyles! How are you? I'm absolutely know Benny is out there too, right? I have no idea if you two are anywhere near each other...but it might be nice to have someone from back home to talk to every once in awhile. I'm going to really look forwad to reading your blog!!

daniel pena said...

114 dollars a month? holy smokes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,
Uncle Denny and I are enjoying reading you blogs ( what ever that is) we are not computer savey. Your apartment looks nice. Can you get
through the doorways ?. I bet those
cute little Japenense girls thinks you are a cutie. I don't know if this will get to you but I just wanted you to know we love you and miss you but have a wonderful time and see as much as you can. It will be a lifetime memory some day.
Love Aunt Jan and Uncle4 Denny

Cora said...

Way cool, Jeff. What a change from OC. I'll pass your site along to Anna. --Cora Judd