Sunday, November 20, 2011

House under the Rising Sun, part II

We heard you wanted to see some pictures of our home in Sugamo, so here you are :). Once we've settled in we'll post our own photo's of the house and neighbourhood.  

 The front door

Nice desk and artwork

Hopefully we can read what's on the scroll very soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

House under the Rising Sun

We found a house. After weeks of comparing, discussing, discarding, vanished wish lists and keeping an eye on the yen-euro rate, we found a place that answered to our endless demands. So what were our demands? A good location of the house, a large (enough) room, a Japanese decoration with tatami, and lots of storage. Preferably at a good price.

Last year we had a room in a guest house in Maruyama-cho, located in Shibuya. Maruyama-cho was an experience in itself. It’s at the center of the center of Tokyo’s central “omg-this-is-where-it’s-all-happening!”-hotspot. This year we were looking for something different. A little less of the craziness of Shibuya, and more of a quiet, urban Tokyo neighbourhood. Because we want to cut our transportation costs by buying a bicycle the location can not be too far away from the city center. Cycling might be part of Dutch cultural heritage but we are not looking forward to cycle for hours each day. So we found a house in Sugamo, "well known for Jizō-dōri, a popular shopping street for the older generation (the area is known as the "Harajuku of the old ladies")". And it is located only four kilometers from our school and six from the dojo.

Our room is 6 tatami large, approximately 9,7 m2. Not an enormous amount of space, but big enough and we have a lot of storage room with two big closets. We love that our room has tatami, refined straw mats that are the traditional Japanese carpeting. They make the crucial difference between a Western style room and a Japanese room if you sleep on futons (which you lay on the floor). Tatami and futon (fold-in mattresses) are two sides of the same coin. Sleeping on a vinyl floor with futon feels like laying down on a garden cushion. You might start to like the planky-feel, but the cold comes right through. Tatami adds a lot to comfort and keeps you warm and comfortable at night. And it adds a great traditional Japanese look to your room. We share a living room, kitchen and bathroom with the other residents of the guest house, so we hope to meet nice people there.