Living in a new country can offer some challenges. Check out our article on the 5 must-have items for your Japanese Apartment.
Leaving the comfort and familiarity of your home country is a huge undertaking and one that requires a certain mindset. You will be experiencing a different culture and learning to adapt to new ways of life. This begins in your daily life and continues to your living and work areas. Your apartment will need to be thought of the most as it is the place you will live and relax in after a busy day. You won’t be comfortable in your new surroundings at first and you will soon find that some things available in your home country won’t be available here. You will also find that you will need some new items that are more common in Japan that you may not have needed back home. We will look at the top 5 items you’ll need when you live in a Japanese apartment.
This is a touchy subject as you may get a few differing opinions on it, but for the most part in Japanese apartments, and houses, the walls are extremely thin and easy to damage. If you are used to western walls it will be a little surprising to hear full conversations come through your neighbor’s apartment. You may sometimes hear the neighbors above and below you, too. Any sound that is louder than a normal conversation will be heard by your neighbors and some will take a proactive approach to let you know they don’t like it.
This also affects the durability of your apartment walls. Wall in Japanese apartments don’t take even small damage well. They can be torn and have the paint or the wallpaper peel. Usually, there will be something in your contract that will detail what the owners allow or disallow to be hung from the wall. Most landlords refuse to allow anything to be hung on walls. Others will rarely allow you to use heavy objects like nails or thumbtacks. Sticky adhesive can be purchased at the 100 yen stores, but they are not the best solution as they tend to tear the wall more often than not. Some types of wall hooks that don’t use adhesive and instead have small pins can also be found. These hooks will still pierce the wall, but the needles are small enough to hold themselves up and not damage the wall. They are inexpensive and come in large packs of up to 10. You can find them easily and they help you decorate your room without worrying about your repair and cleaning bill being extra high.
Japan is a rare country that feels the full force of every season. Summers are very humid and hot, Spring is warm, Fall is cool, and Winter is very cold. You will be surprised if you come from a warmer region and you find you didn’t think ahead about keeping warm. One of the best solutions in Japan is getting a kotatsu.
A kotatsu is a table that has a small space heater attached to the bottom of it. They come in varying sizes and can cost up to 200,000 yen for the high-end models. They usually have a special kind of comforter that is draped over the top of it and cover everything down to the floor. You can slide underneath the blanket and warm up with the heater blasting heat. The kotatsu will fit in any size Japanese apartment and some can fold away for storage. During the warmer months, you can remove the heater and use it as a normal table. They are the perfect answer for anyone looking to beat the cold.
Most Japanese apartments are very small and offer little room to store your belongings. It makes residents have to think of the best ways to creatively use their space. A typical western-style bed may seem like a good idea, and some of them offer extra storage underneath, but they tend to take up too much space. The dimensions of a double-sized mattress can remove as much as 40% of your living area. To help you have a comfortable bed and ensure you can save room, you can purchase a futon.
Futons are perfect for Japanese apartments and houses. They come in a variety of sizes and materials. They are available in all department stores and are easy to transport or delivered to your place. They keep heat with the right comforter and they can fold away for easy storage. The typical apartment dweller will have a futon that can be stashed in their closet during the day and pulled out when they are ready for bedtime.
Drying Pole/Clothes Line
One main difference living in Japan is that clothes are dried outside. A regular Japanese apartment and house will have the correct attachments for a washer and nothing else. They will typically have a veranda or a patio area that you can use to hang your clothes out to dry. The problem is that there is no pole or line for you to use. You can easily purchase a long pole or strong clothesline to hang outside. You can purchase inexpensive clothespins and hangers to optimize the space you will have outside as well.
This particular appliance will be necessary if you don’t know how to cook rice in a pot, or don’t want to. Rice is an important staple of the Japanese diet, and it is used in most of the cooking there. You will do yourself a huge favor if you get an electric rice cooker. These appliances come in many shapes and sizes and will be able to accommodate any price range. They store away easily and take up very little space in the kitchen. Many can be used as slow cookers as well allowing you can create meals in advance to help you keep steady meals at the ready.
These items are almost necessary to make sure you have an easier time living in Japan. They will make life manageable and allow you to adapt to your new surroundings quickly. You will find some other items that will be helpful, but the 5 items we covered here are a top priority when living in Japan.