Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheap Gaijin House in Osaka

There are various cheap housing options available in Japan: hostels, guest houses, capsule hotels, homestay families, dorms, et cetera. Although I've never tried any of those, I did stay in a gaijin house for seven months. It was the perfect first home for me in Japan.

In September of 2007 I came to Osaka for my exchange program, and wanted to get an apartment of my own. Not a dorm room where I'd have a curfiew, or a host family that I'd have to call everytime I wouldn't be back for dinner, but an affordable private room with no babysitting bullcrap or other annoyances. Of course I had to sacrifice some things such as getting my laundry done by the host mom or getting two meals per day in the dorm cafeteria. But what I really wanted was a place that allowed me to be independent.

So I did some research before getting on the plane to Osaka, and found a reasonable deal - a fully furnished private room with a mini kitchen, TV, desk, fridge, rice cooker, pans, pots, utensils, futon, sheets, air conditioner, CD player, a big mirror, bicycle, free water, high-speed internet, and a laundromat - all this for just ¥33,000/month + electricity and gas. No key money, deposit, personal seal, or guarantors were needed - everything was very simple and straightforward. The only downsides I can think of were the shower room and toilets that had to be shared among all lodgers, and I wasn't allowed to bring visitors to my room. But I got used to it, so in the end everything was cool and I had nothing to complain about.

Usually gaijin houses have no strict time limits, so it doesn't matter whether you're staying for a month or five years. The contract that you must sign is there to just make sure that you agree not to smuggle your girlfriend into the room, smoke on the tatami, or sell the bicycle you're borrowing.

I highly recommend checking out some gaijin houses in Japan. Issie's Place is where I stayed, and I'll gladly give it a five-star rating.

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