Saturday, May 24, 2008

My dream apartment in Tokyo

Instead of doing my homework I am day dreaming about moving back to Tokyo. I know that everyone thinks Tokyo is expensive, but its way way way cheaper than Melbourne, Australia. For example the rent for our 2 bedroom apartment in Melbourne is $1500 a month (shared between 3 people its good, but alone that's crazy!) A similar apartment in Tokyo would be about $600-$1000 per month in TOKYO not boring old Melbourne! Plus I'm talking about in a cool area in Tokyo. Admittedly it won't be as spacious as our apartment, but really not by much. Buying an apartment there is even better. I have found this website that lists properties in English and have fallen in love with this apartment in my fave area of Tokyo, Shimo Kitazawa. I lived close by when I lived in Tokyo, but living in Shimo would be AMAZING. This apartment is approx $350,000 AUD which is a fair bit for a 1 bedroom apartment, but to live in Tokyo I think its a fair investment. There are cheaper places on the website for $200,000 that are 2 bedroom apartments but their location isn't as central (but still pretty central) as this one. To compare Henry's brother just bought a shit box unit in the far far far away suburbs of Melbourne for $270,000 AUD. Totally not worth it. It takes over 1 hour by car to get out there, they live near nothing fun and the Unit is dead ugly. The selling point for me for this apartment though is the RED KITCHEN. Wow my total dream kitchen.

Another nice apartment is this one. Its a 2LDK (which means a 2 bedroom with lounge, dining and kitchen combined) in Shinagawa, a popular expat area because the apartments are more "western style" meaning big and no squat toilers (these are so gross!) This apartment is HUGE and has such a big balcony, Hachiko would have the best time and our house wont be so smelly. This apartment is $310,000 AUD which is also very reasonable, especially for a 2 bedroom apartment (our apartment in Melbourne is valued at over $500, crazy). I like the idea of having a spare bedroom for visitors, a study or maybe a baby??? This apartment is probably more ideal, but the location isn't as fun (its kinda a business area, not a party/shopping area)

An example of a cheaper place. A 1 bedroom apartment 2 stops from Shibuya Station for only $200,000. Wow. There are no interior shots, so maybe its ugly, but at that price its such a bargain and we could renovate, or as they say in Japan "renewal".

This is how I would decorate the apartment thanx to polyvore. Similar to what we have now, but better cos its in Tokyo! Also Ikea Japan is cheaper than Ikea Aus so I could sell all my furniture here and buy all new there and not really lose out, I will in fact maybe gain more furniture for my money!

Nearly everything on this balcony is by Ikea. The balcony shade, parasol, outdoor set and the watering can are all from Ikea's summer collection (not yet released in Aus). Prices start from $14 (in Japan, maybe it will be more here) for the balcony shade. It will look so FUN! Hachiko will love it.

The bedroom. Again similar to my bedroom here, but with that amazing yellow bed from ikea that I love. I wont be able to send over my retro dressing table to Japan so I will have to try and buy something similar. Tokyo has so many little interesting furniture shops I'm sure I'll find something cute though. Kartell is also very cheap in Japan so I could easily get a Kartell chair or 2.

The lounge will be set up similar to our current house. Maybe with some nice yellow wallpaper. I want a black sofa because it's classic. We will have the same ikea shelf and dining table. The colours will be the same as our current house, reds, pinks, yellows, whites and black. I think it will look amazing. I'm not sure if a Chandelier would be such a good idea in such an earthquake prone city, but it will look cute don't you think?

This also isn't an impossible dream, its a reality. I will be moving back to Tokyo in 2010 and I am thinking about buying an apartment there as I plan on living there for at least 5 years, so it will be a good investment, I can sell if I want to move home and the buy here, or keep it as a holiday house. Another plus is interest rates in Japan are crazy crazy low at about 2.4% (I only got taxed 1.4% when I lived there too, instead of the 14% here) Basically I don't understand why people think Tokyo is so expensive. Yes it was in the 80's but the bubble burst and now its so cheap. You can eat out at a nice restaurant and have 3 courses and only pay about $8-$9 per person instead of maybe $20-30 here. An apple in Tokyo at a department store can be about $20, but at your local supermarket it will be $1. So there are some things that are crazy expensive, but you can always find a cheaper alternative. I wish I didn't have to wait 1.5 years to be able to go back, but at least I know for sure 100% what I want to do with my life now, open a shop in Tokyo and live there for at least 5 years...the only problem with this is will I have children in Japan or Australia...I read a few blogs of expats in Tokyo who have had babies and they make it seem fine, but I still would like my children to experience Australia, and really I don't want them to go through the Japanese pressure cooker schooling system, its just too intense. I have loads of ideas for a baby nursery, but I'm not going to be having babies for about 3 or 4 years so there is no point in thinking about it now, by then I will like something else.


  1. your polyvore sets are too cute! :)

  2. I think your rent is so expensive cos you're living in the city (we had a huge, new, 4 bedroom house 20 mins out by train for cheaper!) - but that's the city I suppose :) Shimokitazawa is awesome, I do agree! You'd definitely have to find a job that offered insurance or it would cost soooo much to have a baby in Japan. And I agree on the schooling situation, I just couldn't put my kids through the Japanese system!

  3. Zomg! your plans seem so much fun...

    I can't wait move out too someday.. but to Paris!

    but I've still got uni to finish


  4. Hey Sharnee. Our rent is actually pretty cheap compared to other city properties. We paid more for a run down 2 bedroom place in Fitzroy than what we pay for this city place. I have only ever lived in the city, Fitzroy or Carlton, I grew up a city kid, never lived in the burbs so there is no way I could live 20 mins away by train. The same in Tokyo, I got placed by Nova in a house way out in the burbs and moved into central Tokyo within 1 month, I went crazy!
    I found doctors to be really cheap in Japan, but I guess having a baby is a different kettle of fish. I went to the doctor in Japan a few times and each time it cost me $30, so I didn't even bother making a claim with my insurance as it was such a hassle all the paper work...I even went by ambulance to a hospital and all that was FREE and they didn't take my insurance details or anything. When I go back I'll be teaching for a while as an ALT before opening the shop so I'll have good insurance untill I'm out on my own. A "gaijin" friend of mine just opened a 2nd shop in Tokyo I need to ask her so many questions.
    Sorry this is such a rant.

  5. I love the poly sets...H you're simply too heaven for words. One and a half years isn't a great deal of time so 'cool your heels sista'. I had no idea rent of so cheap (well you know what I mean)...crikey Imelda might just move to Japan.

    Is your site up a school?

  6. Hi hayley
    You took my photo today hehe so just wanted to come and visit to say great post, makes me desperately want to go back/live in japan!
    check out my blog if you dare...its pretty boring at the moment.

  7. Hey Hayley could you leave the web address for those apartments in Tokyo, I'm moving too Tokyo next year soooo it would be a great deal of help :D

  8. Hey Anon.
    I did list the website in my post but here it s for you

    If you are looking for a rental though that website is crazy expensive for rentals. Your best bet if you are there for 6 months to 1 year is to move into a "gaijin house" which is basically a share house for foreigners. The reason for this is to get a lease on an apartment in Japan you need to sign a contract for a minimum of 2 years and have a Japanese person go as garentor. Also you may need to pay "key money" which is a gift of money to the landlord of about 6 months worth of rent which is exactly that, a gift, you don't get it can find property's without key money but you will need to speak Japanese. To find a gaijin house go to this website which is also a free weekly magazine for foreigners living in Tokyo. They have classifieds for jobs, houses, cheap furniture and events.

    I hope that is helpful!

    Hey Tea. Your blog is cool and you so should move to Japan. Its the my blog about living there
    I miss Tokyo sooooo much. What did you love about Shinjuku? The neon lights? The department stores? Did you go to Harajuku? Shibuya? Shimo Kitazawa or Koenji? Shimo and Koenji are the cool kinda Fitzroy areas of Tokyo with great vintage shops and cafes.

    Imelda, hey thanks for the love. My website will be up Wednesday hopefully. I'll let you know!


  9. wow, only two more years till you're in japan. i'm sure you'll make your apartment beautiful no matter the size.
    when i went to japan with my family we were really pissed at how expensive apples could get in department stores. we were so used to aussie 'cheapo' prices for fruit. we didn't eat fruit for a whole week and a half but then we finally found the 1 dollar shop.! haha lotsa bananas for only 1 dollar. we then bought lotsa 1 dollar chocolate too. we were seriously chocolate deprived.


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a message but remember to play nice!