This morning, my guest and I left the Smile Hotel and went to a nearby soba restaurant in Asagaya. This was my first time having soba this trip, and certainly my first time having it for breakfast! The restaurant was very neat in that there was self-serve, all-you-can-eat wakame.
After that, we planned to do some apartment hunting and find my new home for the next year. Before that, however, we stopped briefly at the school were I would be working and I showed her through some of the hallways.
One of the interesting things about this school is that they have several vending machines, including an ice cream vending machine and a 7-11 vending machine selling everything from sweets, to bread, to onigiri and packaged chicken breast.
We stopped by a number of realtor offices, but it wasn’t that easy. By now, I only had about a week left at the hotel, before I would need to check out and move into my new home. However, the realtors told us that that was nearly impossible and that typically, at least two weeks was required to process all the paperwork before moving into a new place. Oh man.
The JET Programme gave me two weeks at the hotel, which basically meant that I should’ve been deciding on my new residence within the first day or two of arriving. I had not realized that things were so fast-paced.
The first couple of realtor offices that we went to were not so helpful. One of them even said that Wednesday was a holiday for realtors, and that the next day would be the soonest that he could show us any apartments.
After leaving there downtrodden, as just one last try, we stopped into a random little realtor office that we were walking past. The difference! The realtor here got straight to business, no messing about. I told him that my only requirements were clean and close to the school. He showed me a number of possibilities, and made bunch of phone calls. Then, we got into his car and off we went to the first apartment viewing! I am so glad that we didn’t give up hope.
By the time we got to the first apartment, it was already past 4:30PM. I have to admit, it was pretty depressing. There was no way that I could imagine myself living in such a tiny place. I mean, I know I said that the size didn’t matter, but this was literally like a walk-in closet.
We left quite quickly, and the second place that we viewed really wasn’t much different.
I was starting to lose hope, but when we saw the third place, I saw that we certainly had saved the best for last. It was still tiny, but bigger than the first two, and at least there was no loft. It was slightly further away from the school and the train station than, the first two, but it was high quality and practically brand new. I decided on the spot. I’d take it.
We then headed back to his real estate office to complete the paperwork. It took a couple of hours, and I can’t lie — by the end of it, I was exhausted. Under normal circumstances, I’m sure it was already quite a lot to handle, but dealing with everything in Japanese left my brain completely fried by the end of the evening. And the rough thing was, even after all of this, nothing was for certain. In order to secure a rental, you must provide a cell phone number, but without an address, you cannot get a cellphone. It was a real catch-22.