Hello from Tokyo, Japan! We made it to our third country in Asia, but the first with a drastic change in homestyle. We booked a traditional Japanese home for our 3-week stay in Tokyo. We knew it was going to be different though we were up for the challenge. Upon arriving at the house, it took us about 5-mins to realize the home was not as advertised. Yes, we were up for living in a traditional Japanese home, but we still needed 3-bedrooms.
Unfortunately, the AirBNB listing was more than a little misleading and the house wasn’t going to work for us.
Jim quickly went to work and contacted both the owner and AirBNB. It took him basically a full-day, but thankfully, we were able to find a new house on AirBNB with adequate accommodations with a full 3-week availability, which frankly was almost a miracle! After only 1-night in the traditional Japanese house, we packed up and moved to the new house. Let me show you around!
Tokyo is a huge city and I mean huge, it’s like Los Angeles and New York City combined. Our house was in Shinjuku, which is the major commercial and administrative center in Tokyo and is the location of one of the busiest railway station in the world (Shinjuku Station). The house was a 3-story row house in a very quiet neighborhood. Upon entering the house, there’s a small closet area to remove shoes and store coats followed by a very narrow hallway, which lead to a bathroom and bedroom. At the end of the hallway, a narrow staircase led to the second floor. On the second floor was an open living space with a dining table, kitchen area, and bathroom. Finally, another very narrow staircase led up to the third floor with two more bedrooms and a half bath. While the house did have a lot of space, it was interesting, to say the least.
We found a welcome guide, which was helpful at times, though most of the everything was in Japanese. We struggled with the shower, the water heater, the washer, the TV remotes, the cooktops … everything .. thank goodness for Google Translate. The guide book and owner also repeatedly reminded us to keep the noise level to a minimum. Apparently, the neighbors were prone to calling the police for noise complaints. And don’t think for a second, we didn’t use that on Nolan constantly … “keep it down on the police are going to come” … worked like a charm! #parentsoftheyear
The kitchen wasn’t a kitchen. On the second level of the house, there was a sink and counter that was maybe 3-feet wide total. There was a very small refrigerator and microwave that were tucked in a closet area which also housed the shower. There was a shelf behind the sink/counter for storing dishes, a toaster, and a kettle. Under the sink, I did find a single burner cook-top with one saucepan. There were no plates, only bowls and no silverware, only chopsticks. We only had 3-weeks in Tokyo and we had 2 trips planned, so I knew we wouldn’t be cooking much, but I was surprised by the kitchen space in the house.
The living space on the second floor also had two beds. Very often living spaces in Japan are used for sleeping. No couches or lounging spaces at all in the house. Nolan did hangout in the living space, but used on of the beds as his snuggle area.
Each level of the house did have a toilet separate from the bathroom/shower space. The toilets were by far my most favorite feature of the house. Every toilet set was heated and with the unexpected cold weather in Tokyo, we all loved the toilet seats! We quickly discovered that most toilet seats in Japan were heated including all public bathrooms. It was amazing!
As for the bedrooms, Priya took the bedroom on the first level and we took the bedrooms on the third floor, which gave everyone a little separation of space. The bedrooms were all a decent size and the beds were very cozy.
The workspace was interesting in the house. Jim set up work on the second floor on the dining table. I purchased a very small desk from a local shop and setup workspace in our bedroom. At this point in the trip, we’ve learned to just “make it work” …. we only had 3-weeks in Japan and we had a packed schedule, so we wanted to make the most of our time.
Now, let me who’s you around the apartment a bit more.
Building & Entrance:
First Floor – Entry Way/Hallway/Stairway:
^Very narrow hallway.
^Washing machine in the bathroom.
Second Floor – Living/Dining/Kitchen/Toilet/Shower:
^Dining table and Jim’s workspace and the kitchen area. The sink in the kitchen was the only sink on the second and third floor, so it was used for cooking, brushing teeth, washing face/hands … it was interesting to say the least.
^Behind the gold curtain was the standing shower directly across from the refrigerator.
^This is the living space across from the dining table. It was also the drying area for all our clothes.
^Toilet closet. There was a toilet on every level.
^Another narrow staircase. I held the banister at all times!
Third Floor – Bedroom/Toilet: