is where I lived for basically most of my stay in Tokyo. It was just
by chance that I got to stay here, and not out in Ichigawa in Chiba
prefecture. The room was open so I debated, quickly, and decided to
take it. It turned out great. The room was very small, but
every one room place in Tokyo is. It was also quite pricey but I
actually saved money in the long run. I chose to stay here because
it saved me riding the train all the way to and from Chiba everyday, which
it ends up would have cost more (the train isn't that cheap) I lived
in quite an old fashioned neighborhood by Tokyo standards, which I think
now, was the best choice. That meant the noise was at a minimum, and
I could sleep at night. I lived in something foreigners in Japan
know well as the 'gaijin house'.
This means "foreigner house",
gaijin being the slang, kind of rude way to talk about non-Japanese people
in Japan. It is slang for the term 'gaikokujin',
which means "foreigner person".
Why is gaijin, not as polite as saying gaikokujin.. it just is. It
is the feeling when the word is said and the context. Just like
slang words of race in North America are considered very rude. Anyway it is a thing buried deep in Japanese culture and will not change
for a long time.
foreigner houses, typically a place where only foreigners stay, sometimes
Japanese people stay as well. This may be because it is much cheaper
than regular housing (which is true) or because they want to meet
foreigners and they feel this is the only way to do it. Anyway I
stayed at a foreigner house because of one thing, money. It is the
only semi-cheap accommodation available in the Tokyo area and other large
cities. It is all mostly semi-short term too. This can be
anywhere from a week to a month minimum, totally depending on the
place. Some places are absolutely horrible. No
joke. I shopped around a bit at first and saw some really bad
places. By bad I mean everything from bugs, to loud obnoxious
foreigners, to just plain dumpy. So plan to look around for about
three or four days to find a nice one, that has rooms available. Some are full.
Usually the nicest ones.
am I going on and on about foreigner houses, well because before I went I
had very limited information on them and anything would have helped.
So this is for anyone who needs it.
cost is totally dependant on the owner. Anywhere from 45000yen
to 90000yen ( $450 to $900 ) a month for lower end places. More for
better or bigger places.
to check out a few small things that I read in a
book before I looked around, that helped out in the end. First make
sure the caretaker or owner lives in the same building. This keeps
down noise and bad behavior, which you don't want in a small place. This also keeps it clean, a big plus where cockroaches are rampant
that means all of Tokyo ) The other thing to do is ask if they have
a washing machine, telephone, place to cook, etc. I lucked out and
they had a washing machine where I lived and it turned out to be the best
thing. It saved me walking all the way too the coin laundry with my
stuff and it saved me money, as the price was included in my
you want to know exactly where I lived, it is called "Fuji-mi
Hotel" which means you're supposed to able to see Mount Fuji from
there but there was no way. It was a nice enough place. It was
down the road from the north-west exit of Nippori Station, only a few
blocks away. Very convenient. It took only about three minutes
to walk to the station and less than five minutes to get on a
my place there were a few places that I went all the time, mostly for
food. My favorite was good fast really cheap, and convenient, it is
called "Yoshinoya" and they sell "gyudon" there.
Gyudon is a Japanese (as far as I know) dish that is simple and rather
good. It is basically just rice covered with strips of cooked beef
marinated in a special sauce. The beef is usually mixed with strips
of onions too. There are a few fast food chains that sell "gyudon",
another is "Matsuya". They are all about the same. Yoshinoya is usually the cheapest though at about 400yen (4 dollars) for a
meal. Pretty good for Tokyo. And it's surprisingly filling
too. Not something you'll want to eat everyday, but if you're
strapped for cash it's great. The meal comes with "Miso"
soup as well. Another place I went often is the local bakery. Bakery's in Japan are some of the best I've ever been to.
Why? I don't know. They all have really good small desert breads and
pastries, and then loaves too. The only 'but' is that they aren't
super cheap. Expect to pay about close to 150-200yen for one small
pastry. That's about 2 dollars, but most of the time it's really
worth it for the quality breads. In Kobe I always went to a place
called "Donq", which is supposed to be like a French bakery I
guess. They had the best selection and quality I think. Unfortunately
there were none in Tokyo.
local convenience store in Japan is just that, convenient, unlike it's
North American counterpart. There are many convenience stores,
actually too many, they have kind of taken over since they started
appearing a few years back. Now there is literally one on every
corner. They carry an incredible selection of items. Anything
from dress shirts, to dinner. Of course there is an assortment of
junk food, but not nearly as much as a North American store. That
means there is more room for real food. I bought my dinner at the
local 7-eleven all the time. Sad? Maybe, but the dinners are
actually cheap and not half bad. I got things like curry rice,
yakisoba, salads, fruits, just plain rice, and a lot more. It's no
substitute for real cooking but when you have no place to cook, it's a
real life saver. There was also a local market just around the
corner from my building. One of the last few remaining in Tokyo, it
was a great place to shop for food. There was a "bento" - lunch
box shop near the end of the road that sold real cooked meals,
that weren't too pricey.
other thing I liked about living there was the view from my window. Nothing to write home about, but it was nice to see the skyline in the
distance, where usually I'd be seeing my neighbor's window, or worse yet,
brick wall. I saw many a beautiful sunset from that window. At
night it was easy to see the Sunshine 60 skyscraper in Ikebukuro from my
window with all it's lights.
Copyright ©1999 3DeeArts. All photos property of 3DeeArts Tokyo Virtual Tour.
Copy or re-use in any way is prohibited.
Background photo by Tsutomu Kuriyama ©1999.
Main text by 3DeeArts ©1999/2000. Additional
text by Donald Richie from
Introducing Tokyo ©1987 Kodansha International Ltd.