Resident Interview: Happy House Vitamin Color, Nakano with Klaudia from Poland

We met up with Klaudia, a resident in our Happy House Vitamin Color shared house in Nakano. We strolled through the park with her and ask about her experience so far!

         Happy House Vitamin Color

Klaudia, what interested you to live in a shared house?

As a foreigner, looking for a place to live in Japan is pretty difficult. It was a much easier method than an apartment and I really liked that Tulip’s shared houses are for women only, so I don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable.

What is your favorite thing about living in Happy House Vitamin Color?

I work and am a student so I actually don’t spend too much time in the flat. But I love to cook so I use the kitchen often and also love to relax in my room. I have a balcony in my room so I can even sit out there!

   Admiring the Hydrangeas During the Rainy Season

How would you describe the surrounding area you live in? Do you have any favorite spots?

I think Nakano is great because it is a bit of a student’s area.  Other areas like the main Shinjuku area or Shibuya are quite loud and are like party places. I’m a student so for me, it’s better to live in this area because it is so much more quiet. It’s so nice because there are a lot of parks, temples, and shrines around here.

Strolling Through the Park

What are your favorite things to do in Tokyo?

I am busy working usually, haha! But I love travelling outside of the Tokyo area like to Kamakura or Yokohama because of the port. At night, it really looks like a movie with all of the beautiful lights. I like the Chinatown in Yokohama too.

Has living in a shared space help or change you in any way? How so?

I love cooking at night and early in the morning, but I think about others more like, “Oh, people are asleep right now. I can’t be noisy!” In Poland, we make a lot of food that will last us for a couple of days. But because there is not so much space in Japan, I get to cook more often and am more aware about space now.

Klaudia’s Favorite Jogging Route

Have you had any challenges in the house that you were able to overcome or resolve?

 I don’t have any problems with the house or the people living here. I’m so relaxed so if someone is making a little bit noise, it doesn’t bother me. I’ve heard some people singing in the house sometimes and I think it’s really funny!

 Do you have any other plans in the future while you are in Tokyo?

 I would firstly like to finish my Japanese studies and would like to have some time to travel more in Japan. Since I love to bake pastries and cakes, it would be great if I can open my own business here one day and run a bakery.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience in your shared house?

 If you have never lived in a shared house before, it might take a bit to get used to at first. It’s important to remember that you are in Japan, so the size of the spaces are different if you come from a western culture. Overall, It is a good and unique thing to experience here!

Resident Interview: Happy House Herb, Nerima with Resident from Hokkaido

We met with Ms. S, a resident at our Happy House Herb shared house, who has enjoyed the shared house life for 7 years. Happy House Herb has recently been revamped with some lovely design touches that fit the house’ name. Please check out our interview with her and the why she feels that the house is unique.

Happy House Herb

What interested you to live in a shared house?

 Before I moved to Tokyo, I had been living alone. When I came home and no one was around, it felt a bit lonely and so I thought about a shared house! Things have really changed since I’ve moved because now I come home and talk with the housemates about things that happened that day, something interesting we saw, or anything at all and it makes me feel very happy.

What is your favorite thing about living in Happy House Herb?

 The location is great. I can go to Ikebukuro from the Seibu Ikebukuro Line or to Shinjuku from the Oedo Line so it is very convenient! With the small number of people in the house, it is nice to know everyone’s face and know the housemates better.

Delicious and charming bakery

How would you describe the surrounding area you live in? Do you have any favorite spots?

There are several universities around so there is really a college town feel. For drinking parties or hanging out, a lot of students gather near the station to meet but it doesn’t feel dangerous because the police station is near. There are quite a lot of great small Japanese restaurants, curry shops, restaurants with International dishes, as well as many antique stores and handmade craft shops.

    Ms. S’s favorite japanese restaurant

What are your favorite things about Tokyo?

 In Tokyo, you can meet many people with similar interests as you do. For example, I have an interest in music and moving here has allowed me to meet many like-minded people.

 Has living in a shared space help or change you in any way? How so?

 Living with people from other countries allows me to discover new things. I learn about the food differences from other cultures every day – different seasonings, cooking utensils…I’ve even seen a red colored crepe being made! I also think about how to communicate with others more since we all live in a shared space. With the international people in the house, I can practice some English together and even resolve things in English. If there is ever a more complicated issue in the house, we can always contact Tulip.

Cute entrance to the cafe we went to together!

Have you had any challenges in the house that you were able to overcome or resolve?

We experienced the big earthquake in East Japan. Fortunately, there was no major damage in our house but that was a very uneasy night. One of the residents had a radio, so we all gathered together listening to the radio and all slept upstairs on the second floor.

 Do you have any other plans in the future while you are in Tokyo?

I want to try learning about the tuning fork (a musical pitch resonator) in Tokyo. I believe that there can be a healing effect with that.

 Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience in your shared house?

If you don’t want to be at home alone but want your own space, I think that a shared house is great. Living here allows you to meet people that are different from you and you won’t know who you can get along with until you try! Because the living is very affordable and the moving process is very reasonable, how about trying it sometime?

Resident Interview: Happy House Kamikitazawa with Edith from New York

Meet Edith, a resident in our Happy House Kamikitazawa shared house. We chatted with her at a lovely park nearby about how she is liking the shared house life.

Happy House Kamikitazawa

Edith, what interested you to live in a shared house?

Well, I was looking to get an apartment in Tokyo and it was such a pain! You need to have key money, a guarantor, getting gas and electricity set up, etc. and it was just too much work. I was looking at share houses and all that stuff is done for you! You pay one monthly rent, the internet is taken care of, it’s just so great.

 What is your favorite thing about living in Happy House Kamikitazawa?

I like that it’s actually really quiet.  I come home from work and it’s just nice and quiet! Everybody is very peaceful here, there aren’t a lot of loud things going on in the neighborhood or in the house itself, so it’s a really great place to unwind after a long work day. Also, people are really conscientious in this house and everyone is good about sharing our space together, I never feel like we’re ever in each other’s way.

How would you describe the surrounding area you live in? Do you have any favorite spots?

The bagel shop near the train station is definitely my go-to! This area is just incredibly beautiful, there’s a park backing right onto the house so you can go immediately into the park. The river nearby is good if you like to exercise, I jog there at night and never feel unsafe. It’s just a gorgeous area especially during cherry blossom season, actually it’s been beautiful every season of the year – even winter. The people are also nice in the neighborhood, they say hello when I walk out and things like that. There’s a real community feeling.

Edith’s favorite spot in the neighborhood

 What are your favorite things to do in Tokyo?

 I’m kind of a shopping addict so I practically live in Shibuya for shopping. The sizes are good if you are a more of a western-size body and there are a lot of chains like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara. Recently, I’ve been really into picnics! The weather is nice so every weekend I’m at Yoyogi Park with a bunch of friends having a picnic.

 Has living in a shared space help or change you in any way? How so?

 Well, I did go to college and went through the whole dorm thing and it’s so much better than dorms! I think it takes away from my daily stress; I don’t have to worry about bills or worry about my home because I know somebody will always be there. There are other people around in the house so it’s a comfortable feeling.

           A walk in the park

 Have you had any challenges in the house that you were able to overcome or resolve?

Not particularly. I’ve been really happy here since the beginning and haven’t had any problems since then. Sometimes I’ll get annoyed over little things like if someone leaves their clothes in the dryer, but usually it’s so fast and someone will come and take it out right away and then it’s all good!

 Do you have any other plans in the future while you are in Tokyo?

 I’m actually looking forward to the Olympics and hoping that there will be some cool opportunities for English speakers around that time. They always need volunteers during Olympics time so I’d like to help organize things or even teach people to be more prepared so they can deal with an onslaught of foreigners. Also, if I can get involved in the games in any way I’d be totally into it.

New Yorker-approved bagels

 Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience in Happy House Kamikitazawa?

 My friends have asked me, “Isn’t it inconvenient sharing with other people?” and I find that that’s not the case. It’s actually a really good experience in terms of having a community there but you still have your privacy. There are so many advantages too like having a big kitchen, huge shower, having a house that is actually a house and not one, tiny box. That’s the great thing about shared houses, it’s a house and not a tiny space, so I think people who are interested in shared houses should think about that.

Resident Interview: Witt Style Apricot Terrace, Sugamo with resident from Thailand

We met with Thidaphat, a resident in our Witt-Style Apricot Terrace shared house in Sugamo, Tokyo. The area is famous for having many traditional Japanese shops and a great street market scene.

Witt-Style Apricot

What interested you to live in a shared house?

Last year when I came to Japan, I lived in an apartment by myself. But when I came home, my only friends were the TV and radio and it felt lonely! I wanted people to talk and share things with. In my shared house, there are many people with different nationalities. When we all come back home, we can meet and talk.

 What is your favorite thing about living in Witt-Style Apricot?

Everybody in the house is very helpful and friendly. I try my best to practice Japanese with my housemates and even when it is broken Japanese, they patiently help correct my grammatical mistakes. Living with real Japanese people is such a cultural experience for me because I get to learn about their lifestyle. Especially the way they cook and eat- our main topics are about food! They also like Thai food, so we sometimes make plans to visit new Thai restaurants together. I also share Thai food with them when I cook. We have done “hanami” together and have takoyaki parties too. We have great friendships among international and Japanese housemates here.

Jizo Dori, the main shopping street in Sugamo

 How would you describe the surrounding area you live in? Do you have any favorite spots?

I like everything around the house. The overall atmosphere from the station to the house is very relaxing and I really like walking in the area. There is a dorayaki (Japanese red bean pancake) shop I love and I buy one every morning for breakfast. I especially like the 4th, 14th, and 24th of every month because there is the Sugamo street flea market. You can find all kinds of things and food. This area fits my lifestyle because during the day, it’s so lively but at night, it’s very peaceful so I can study quietly.

Trying a nearby taiyaki shop for the first time

What are your favorite things to do in Tokyo?

 I like to take walks in the city and go shopping, especially in Harajuku.

 Has living in a shared space help or change you in any way? How so?

 I decided to live in a shared house in the first place to become more natural in using Japanese in daily life and living in this house has helped me a lot. For example, I’ve learned about the importance of greeting manners in Japan which is quite different from my home country. By sharing common facilities in the house, I’ve learned to be more considerate of others too.

Have you had any challenges in the house that you were able to overcome or resolve?

Nothing really so far but in the past, sometimes the housemates would have a little party in the dining area together at night. Some residents who were trying to rest let Tulip know about the noise and we received an e-mail reminder. If we have parties at night, we try to whisper “Kanpai!” and there haven’t been any problems since.

 Do you have any other plans in the future while you are in Tokyo?

 I’m now a student and planning to stay here for another year. After that, if I can get a working visa and work in Japan that would be great.

Sugamon – the town mascot

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience in your shared house?

Shared houses are not bad at all if people might be thinking that. It’s very clean and just so much fun living with other people in this house.

 

Resident Interview: Happy House Asian, Nakano with Emi from Osaka

We had the chance to meet with Emi, a resident in our Happy House Asian shared house. We chatted with her over some tea about her experience there and strolled around the neighborhood.

Emi, what interested you to live in a shared house?

Well, I have never lived in a shared house in Japan before. There aren’t so many shared houses in Osaka, so I was interested in trying it out in Tokyo!

 What is your favorite thing about living in Happy House Asian?

I love the house because it is a very traditional Japanese style. Most people wear slippers in other shared houses, but it suits this house to walk around barefoot and feels very relaxed. I also really like that when I come home, I pass by the other dorms and can have a conversation with the housemates at the end of the day. We also go out and have a drink together sometimes.

How would you describe the surrounding area you live in? Do you have any favorite spots?

This area of Nakano is very quiet and serene. I love the neighborhood cats that walk around, it feels like I am in a Ghibli movie. Of course there are many cafes around but there are also a lot of bento shops, a coin laundry nearby, and a great public bath too. I’d say that it’s pretty easy to live in this area. My favorite place to eat here is a yakitori restaurant. I often go by myself, actually.

Emi’s favorite spot in the area

What are your favorite things to do in Tokyo?

 I mostly like to do indoor activities such as going to the gym or reading books, so it doesn’t really matter what city I am in, haha! There are a lot of nice big parks and art museums in Tokyo too and I like to go and spend time enjoying them.

 Has living in a shared space help or change you in any way? How so?

 I’m sure it has! I’ve definitely been more aware of myself and how I utilize space.  I’ve also been able to meet people of different lifestyles and cultures. It makes me think, “Wow, there are people that do things or see things this way,” that I was able to experience for the first time.

Traditional Japanese snack shop

Have you had any challenges in the house that you were able to overcome or resolve?

There isn’t any obstacle that comes to mind. There was a time that hot water didn’t come out! It was fixed quickly afterwards so that was great. But for the most part, all of the housemates really respect the space and keep it very clean so we don’t have many issues at all.

 Do you have any other plans in the future while you are in Tokyo?

 Hm…The idea of owning a business is interesting perhaps? In Tokyo, the image of business workers is rather uptight. Go to a local bar and you can get a glimpse of what I mean. That’s not my personality at all so I’m not too sure. In the past, I myself was a bit more uptight and I think that living in a shared house has helped me become more at ease.

Goodies from the local bento and sweets shop

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience in your shared house?

 If you want to come to Tokyo, you can really do it! You can find lots of different locations to live in this city. Especially in a shared house; it’s convenient, affordable, and if you are a foreigner, it may be even more hassle-free to move into a shared house.