WTF Wednesday: A Wee Tiny Rant about Apartment Searching

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This picture has little to nothing to do with the post’s text, but I made a de-motivational poster out of one of my all-time favourite images. I feel it encapsulates the spirit of WTF Wednesdays.

WTF Wednesdays. Sometimes, you need to get pissed off and rant about things.

I’ve been searching for a new apartment lately. This is, in the colourful words of someone once, about as much fun as masturbating with a cheese grater. (To wit: not much fun at all. Just in case you were thinking, hmm, that might be fun. In fact, it’s just a dumb idea that you shouldn’t do it. Really. Don’t do it, man.)

I want an apartment that is a) nice, b) cheap and c) close to a station, but my standards are falling by the day and frankly at this point I’m prepared to compromise on at least one of those things.

Apartment searching in Japan comes with its own unique set of – shall we say – challenges. One of the main ones is that we’re not Japanese. There’s something quite galling about hearing your estate agent call a landlord and enquire in all seriousness, “They’re foreigners – is that OK?” Also, Japan has a system of (usually) requiring aspiring tenants to provide the details of a guarantor – basically someone who’ll pay your rent if you skip out on it or fail to pay it yourself. And that person has to be a Japanese person with a job. Naturally, there are very few people I’d be comfortable with asking to be my guarantor, which limits us to properties that don’t require one or are willing to allow tenants to use a guarantor company.

And then there’s the fact that a whole bunch of the facts on real estate websites are, in fact, a load of horseshit. I’ve been to places that advertised built-in stove-top kitchens but didn’t have them, claimed to be a 10-minute walk from the station (more like 20 minutes according to Google Maps) and purported to be renovated (maybe in 1990…). We’ve had agents advertise buildings for immediate occupancy and then tell us they’ll have tenants in for a further month, or seen adverts on the websites for places that real estate agents claim don’t exist or have already been taken. As this once happened with a property listed the very same day, I was a wee bit sceptical.

So far we’ve been to thirteen different apartments. It’s not doing a lot for my mental health – by the end of each Saturday of fruitless traipsing, I’m just about ready to throw in the towel. Buuuut hopefully it’ll work out. Probably. In the mean time I’m off to bug the crap out of our estate agent, the poor chap.

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