I didn't have much faith that we were going to have a good place here. We found it very difficult to find a place to stay that was central, had two beds, and wasn't $4000 per month. At the last minute Todd booked us a room in a great area that was relatively inexpensive. I figured quality would suffer.
I'm thrilled to say that I was wrong.
We met Blair, our landlord who is 42 but looks (possibly significantly) under 30, and he walked us to the apartment. As promised, it's really just a few minutes from the train station.
Inside we saw a huge (by Tokyo standards) living room with a flat screen, a big L shaped couch, a dining room table and chairs, and a bizarre collection of decorations ranging from a bronze sculpture that looks like an alien head to a candle that Blair bought because he thought it was a chocolate and wanted to eat it.
Our room was even more surprising. It's a good size, has two clean and comfortable twin sized beds, a leather couch, a coffee table, a TV, and a mini fridge. We really lucked out.
We also lucked out on housemates.
There's Paul who is very quiet and reserved, but perfectly pleasant to be around on the rare occasion that he's in the living room.
Greg is a Belgian chocolatier (hey, it was either that or waffles, right?) who is here to sell the chocolate to Japanese stores. He's soft spoken, very friendly, and will always be revered as a demi-god for introducing us to our new favorite lunch restaurant. We tried his 73% cacao coffee flavored chocolate tonight and it was delicious.
Toby moved in a few days after us. In one hand he held his suitcase, and in the other he was carrying a kettlebell. For those that don't know, kettlebells are old Russian weights which have now been outmoded by dumbbells. Crossfit uses them extensively and we haven't been able to get our hands on one since Austin - they're very hard to find. Now we do our workouts with Toby and he came and tried our vegan restaurant for dinner last night.
Our location is amazing as well. We didn't research vegan restaurants until after getting here, but it just so happens that our favorite one for dinner is only one kilometer away and our favorite lunch place is half a kilometer away at most. We walk to both meals every day.
As might be expected by now, everything is going fantastically. We're loving Japan and, of course, spending most of our time working. For our last three weeks (or thereabouts) we'll be traveling all over the country so we're putting in the hours now to work less then.
Unfortunately our room here was already booked from April 1st on, so we have nowhere to stay after that. We can't seem to find a good apartment to rent (especially with the bar set so high). We're going to try couchsurfing.com, but it's hard to find a place that can accommodate two.
If you know anyone who has a fabulous Japanese palace in Tokyo and needs someone to drive their Bentley to make sure it doesn't gather too much dust, please don't hesitate to contact us. Otherwise... we'll figure something out and achieve sweet victory somehow.
We Love Our Mobile!!!
It made us feel so special!!!! I knew right away the card was from you guys!!! thanks (warm fuzzies)
I'm wishing you best of luck finding yet another great place while you're in your beloved Japan. I have no doubt things will work out, they always seem to for you. Thanks so much Guys! Miss Ya'll! -kara
Thanks for the introductions to couchsurfing.com - this seems to be the start of a very interesting journey! =)
Oh yeah, it's not a hostel, they're real, separate rooms. (With those traditional roll out futons, western rooms are a few bucks more per day) I wouldn't want to work in them although.
Well, I know of this 'gaijin' hotel close to downtown tokyo that I worked out to be around $25/day/room. That's around $750 a month per single person room. They're small, clean rooms (not a capsule hotel!) and it's a few blocks away from a train station. I forgot the website although. They said that they were listed as "the cheapest place to stay in tokyo" in the lonely planet japan/tokyo guide, so if you go pick that up from a bookstore, you'd be able to look the place up.
I have no idea why, but these flights to Tokyo seem so short. Despite staying up the night before I only managed to sleep for five of the twelve hours we spent on the plane. The rest of the time was spent entertaining the four year old next to me with magic tricks, reading her book about Disney princesses, and showing her how to draw on the computer.
The girl next to Todd slept in the most interesting position I've ever seen. Defying age old Japanese Etiquette, I took a picture for you.
Once we took the bus to Tokyo we were met by Blair, the guy renting us a room. Our room last year was fine, but nothing exceptional. This year we have a huge room with two beds, a couch, a TV, and a mini fridge. It's like a little hotel room. The rest of the house has a nice kitchen, living room, dining room, and bathroom shared by the rest of the residents.
Last week while I was in Alabama, I went with my friend Toby to buy my very first Jason Mraz CD. I've always casually admired his work over the years and have heard from numerous folks about how great a singer and lyricist he is. I stood in Best Buy trying to choose between which three of his albums to buy, and Toby (who happens to be a huge fan) more or less made the decision for me. I wound up purchasing this . . . This is actually his second album and arguably his best so far. (Though I hear that the latest one holds its own quite well.) It's called Mr. A-Z, and I've been listening to it in my car all week. Overall, it's a solid album full of lovely pop gems like Bella Luna, Wordplay, The Geek In the Pink, Plane, and the amazing first song Life Is Wonderful. His lyrics and delivery lack pretentiousness. They are often quirky, fun, and surprisingly insightful. One song, in particular, has really connected with me. I've been playing it on repeat a whole lot, and coincidentally, it is a piano ballad that transitions into cello in the latter half. Two of my favorite instruments used to great effect in one song!!! How awesome is that? He even sings opera close to the end!! Mostly though, the lyrics resonate with a lot that's been on my mind lately. It cuts to the core of things that are too important to let go. This week's Video of the Week is a fan-made video of Mr. Curiosity. I found it on youtube, and appropriately enough, it highlights this song's lyrical power. Mr. Mraz is a gifted man, and I hope to hear more from him for many years to come . . . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_JMBWd-c4] I hope I never stop being curious about such delicate things . . . -gordo