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.
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.
This previous weekend, my girlfriend and I were travelling from New York to Virginia. We wanted to stop for the night in Baltimore because my girlfriend had never been and it was the right distance between the two. It just so happened that there was a flash sale on Jetsetter for the Monaco. We jumped on it.
The Monaco is a nice enough hotel. It was recently renovated and honestly, we didn't spend enough time for me to see most of the amenities. But we did have a few problems with the room itself. Whenever we walked in, to the left was the bedroom, ahead was the bathroom, and to the right was a room left completely empty. It was big enough to fit a sofa and a tv, or maybe just a pair of sofas, a dining room, whatever, but this was odd. Why not just put a door on the entry and lock it? This wasn't a big deal however. We didn't mind.
That night, we went out and did the blue crab thing. Afterwards, we were both beat and just wanted to head back to the hotel and watch a movie. For whatever reason, the on demand wouldn't work. I called the front desk and was told that an "engineer" would have to come up and reset our box. Well, he did and it didn't work. As he left, he told me that he would call the front desk and see if they could do anything to "right this wrong". I expected to be compensated or sent a gift card for the hotel chain. Nothing was done when we were checking out. (I also rarely actually check out anymore, I just walk out.) I didn't expect to be given anything in the first place. But it is bothersome when you are told that something might be worked out then it isn't.
All in all, I would give The Monaco about 3.5/5. It was new, clean, and the beds were comfortable. However, when staying at a nice boutique hotel like this, I expect some quirkiness, but I would at least like to be forewarned that our hotel room had a weird empty room in it and that there was nothing to be done about the On Demand problems.