Aoyama Girls Night Out – Tulip Team Style!

Omotesando’s more down-to-earth neighbor and Harajuku’s more sophisticated older sister; Aoyama is a place to refresh, get inspired and feel fancy. So it only makes sense that our staff decided to make it our go-to destination for a girls night out – Tulip style!

There is a certain air to Aoyama that gives it an exclusive feel, perhaps because it is tucked away in the hilly slopes of Tokyo, but the small streets do not feel too narrow. Or maybe it’s the effortlessly fashionable artists and designers that can be overheard talking about their up and coming projects in passing. The tiny, boutique shops and local bars’ dedication to their craft to produce top-notch quality and protect the artisan culture, or maybe it is the eclectic architecture that somehow the groups of tourists have not yet discovered.

Heading over to dinner, we passed by Sunny Hills, designed by one of Tokyo’s most beloved modern architects, Kengo Kuma. Fans of Kuma’s work should definitely check out his many projects scattered around Kagurazaka, where we also happen to have two lovely share houses, Chilli Pepper & Cream and Happy House Kagurazaka.

As we approached the restaurant, we were taken aback at the gorgeous exterior and atmosphere. Walking through the bar area (and slightly regretting our outfit choices), we were shown to a table seated by a lit-up terrace. 

Cicada is located just a minute’s walk from Omotesando Station and specializes in modern Mediterranean cuisine. The space itself has a Euro-chic atmosphere but the flavor of the dishes were deliciously authentic. We started with some toasted pita accompanied by various dips of your choice – we went with the classic hummus and a carrot, yogurt, & mint spread.

The cocktail menu was very impressive, which is expected as the restaurant is owned by Tysons & Company, the founders of T.Y. Harbor Brewery.

After our lots of chatting, laughs and “kanpais!” we scoped around the area for a place to grab some cocktails. We stumbled upon Radio Bar and were intrigued by its retro atmosphere, like something out of an old Japanese movie. It turned out that Radio Bar has been around since the 1970s, and THE place to go for cocktail connoisseurs and aspiring mixologists to enjoy a proper pour (which is hard to come across in Tokyo nowadays amongst all the Lemon Sours and Whiskey High Balls).

Accompanied with an incredibly delicious spread of fresh fruits and cheese came Bar Radio’s original cocktails served with impeccable presentation. Each cocktail has been meticulously crafted and perfected over the decades and we appreciated the attention to detail until the last very last drop. Because of the high standards of the establishment, the cocktails are not at all cheap and be prepared to be on your best behavior, that also means to dress accordingly!

Satisfied and slightly emotional over how exquisite our night has been so far, we were not ready for it to end. We decided to check out the nearby Commune 2nd, suggested by our staff Jan who is in the know about many Tokyo’s hidden gems.

At Commune 2nd, you will be greeted with hip, neon clad signs, beer and food stands with a modern-style food truck-like layout, and groups of merry making locals and foreigners alike enjoying themselves over drinks and food.

Commune 2nd closes at 10 PM, let’s clarify that all the shops and eating spaces close at 10 PM sharp! We had too much fun in the lively atmosphere and did not want to leave, but had to take a team pic while we were getting kicked out.

Although at first a bit intimidated and unfamiliar with the Aoyama area, it has become one of our favorite places to explore. Stay tuned for hopefully an Aoyama Part 2 Guide by the Tulip Team and also a possible share house that will be newly opening up  in Aoyama some time in the future 😉

Thanks for reading and enjoy Tokyo to the fullest! Tulip Real Estate specializes in female-only share houses in Tokyo. Send us a message to ask about our share houses and we are more than happy to recommended our favorite places to check out nearby.

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Tulip Travel Tips: Taiwan Edition

Summer is approaching its peak and we all know what that means…its traveling season! If you live in Japan, you might have noticed that Taiwan has been a trendy go-to destination for Japanese people for quite some time. People of all ages flock to Taiwan for vacation for many reasons whether it be because it’s just a quick  flight away,  for the bustling night markets, instagrammable foods (mango shaved ice, boba, and dumplings, oh my!), traditional temples, or Studio Ghibli lovers yearning to walk through the small town that was used as an inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” – Taiwan is a place for one and all to enjoy.

九份 – Jiufen

We decided to head out to Taiwan to catch up on the excitement for ourselves! If you are planning on taking a Taiwan trip soon, here is your guide to delicious local eats and must-see spots.

First up is Huashan 1914 Creative Park located in Taipei’s center. Originally a winery, Huashan 1914 Creative Park has been transformed into a spacious park and marketplace with an artsy twist that is free and open to the public. Here you will find galleries, rotating exhibitions, design shops, trendy cafes, and even an independent movie theater. 

The space has a mysterious and historic feel as most of the buildings are covered in plants or have been left untouched with the faded exterior. The structures throughout the space have an industrial feeling and house high-end, hip fashion shops and local artists alike.

Taipei is a bustling city with crowds, restaurants and street markets, but there are also many pockets within the city where you can enjoy parks, temples, and traditional constructs like  Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Taiwan’s ministry of culture transformed the hall to become a national landmark for “facing history, recognizing agony, and respecting human rights.” In the large park and plaza surrounding the monuments, you can find groups of people meditating, practicing Tai Chi or dancing in various styles in the early mornings.

If you have time for a day-trip while in Taiwan, try going down South to Kaohsiung City where you can see the Tiger and Dragon Pagodas. Enter through the mouth of the beasts and climb up the spiraling staircases in the seven-story towers.

Also a famous attraction in Kaohsiung is 85 Sky Tower, the tallest building in the city where you can check out the observation deck on the 74th floor that overlooks a stunning view of  Kaohsiung and its main harbor. The elevator ride to the observation deck goes dark and projects a star-light show on the ceiling!

Hop on a ferry and in 5 minutes to Cijin Island where you can stock up on fresh fruit and seafood at the street market leading up the beach and enjoy the local island feeling. I have had my share of mango shaved ice in Taiwan but the Cijin Island shaved ice was hands down the best!

Next up is probably #1 on a lot of our Taiwan bucket lists is Jiufen – a small village tucked away in the mountains that is now one of the top attractions in the world for anime lovers. Known to be used as the model for the ghostly street market in Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away,” you can explore the shops serving delicious street food, local handmade goods, and of course some Ghibli souvenirs to take home.

Taipei Gourmet Guide:

Kao Chi  – A dumpling house right next door to the original Din Tai Fung dumpling house that started it all. Despite being near the now world renown dumpling house chain, Kao Chi stands their ground offering delicious freshly steamed dumplings and packaged to-go bites for the road. The crab and miso dumplings are a must!

Eastern Ice Store – Located in the hip and international area of Daan, Taipei serves cold or hot dessert bowls with your choice of rice cakes, red beans, grass jelly, etc inside. A perfect dessert for any season.

Wang Ji Fu Cheng Rou Zong – With less than 10 items on the menu, this local shop is sure to give you a true taste of Taiwan. Try their signature pork rice dumplings, noodle dish, and fish ball soup. 

Tiger Sugar – A shop you won’t miss because of the enormous line, this boba shop has taken the popular milk tea tapioca drink and uses their own brown sugar concoction to take it to another level of milky heaven. Totally worth the wait!

So, have you booked your ticket yet? 🙂

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Part Time Job Opportunity at Share House Company, Tokyo

Hi! We’re Tulip Real Estate, a small female-only share house management company in Nerima, Tokyo. We’re looking to grow our international team and we welcome women from all over the world.

Varied and Exciting Work
The work is very varied. You meet new people all the time and you will never be bored. Responsibilities range from usual duties like viewings, paper work, replying to inquiries etc., but also marketing, copywriting, updating social media, cleaning, stocking and decorating. We need someone flexible who also enjoys travelling to different locations within Tokyo.

We Want Your Ideas!
If you are creative and brimming with ideas, Tulip Real Estate is the part time opportunity for you!

As a small company, everyone’s ideas get listened to; you will be an important and valued part of the team. Our International Team members have the freedom to pursue their own projects for marketing or to improve the houses.

The work environment is casual and there is no dress code. However the work is also challenging and sometimes there are time restraints. Therefore we need someone who can take responsibility and manage their own time.

Gain Great Experience and Japanese Language Skills
You will be involved in all aspects of the business, meaning it is the perfect opportunity for those who want to learn about and gain experience in real estate; particularly share house and guest house management.

This is also a great chance to improve on Japanese skills and experience working in a Japanese business environment.

We are flexible when it comes to discussing work hours and days so students are welcome!

Hear From Our Current Staff!

Jess, UK:My Japanese has improved so much since I started working at Tulip. I’ve learnt so many words that I wouldn’t otherwise encounter and can now use them with confidence when communicating with colleagues.

I’ve also had the chance to explore many parts of Tokyo that aren’t well known and had the chance to share this knowledge with others through Tulip’s blogs and social media. I love meeting other people living in Japan, there’s always the chance to have an interesting chat and make a new friend.

Sometimes rushing around Tokyo to meet a client after another appointment overran is tough, but if you enjoy challenging and varied work with the chance to meet lots of new people, you will enjoy this job for sure!

Jan, Thailand:I like having the freedom to throw in my ideas and make use of my creative skills as a designer. I’m currently a student so I enjoy having flexible work hours and a casual office environment, where I can come to work wearing whatever I feel like!

My favourite part of the job is introducing Tokyo to newcomers and giving them all the tips and knowledge I’ve learnt by working here over the years. 

It’s fun to have the chance to get out of the office and travel around Tokyo for appointments, but this physicality can be tough. If you are the kind of person who is active and enjoys travelling, this opportunity is perfect!

Naomi, USA:It’s very rewarding to help those moving to Japan for the first time. Sometimes we are the very first people they meet after they land!

Adapting to Japanese work culture was a challenge but I’ve gained so much experience and greatly improved my cultural competence.

 

Requirements:
Fluent in English
Basic Japanese skills
Very organized and can manage own time
Can work independently as well as a team
Visa that allows working in Japan (with at least one year left)
Able to travel by train and bicycle to various locations in Tokyo

Desired Skills:
Creative skills
Familiar with social media
Good written English (for blogs and social media posts as well as copywriting)
Any other languages spoken will be considered a plus

➔ No dress code
➔ Travel expenses reimbursed (up to 10,000 yen per month)
➔ Flexible work schedule
➔ Possibility of a full time position in the future

If you are interested, send a resume and cover letter to n-mizutani@tulip-e.com

Tulip Welcomes a New Staff Member!

We would like to introduce a new member of staff to our residents!

Jessica is still getting used to the bustle of Tokyo after living in the middle of nowhere, Okinawa. (Seriously, the convenience store was a 40 minute walk away).

Originally from Liverpool in the UK, she has lived in Japan cumulatively for over a year and a half. She’s here to help our English-speaking residents (and soon-to-be residents) with any queries, worries or just general advice about living here.

If you see her around any of our share houses, feel free to say hi!

Volunteering at an English Camp for Children in Miyagi Prefecture

http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html
http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html

Last summer my Japanese friend invited me to join her as a volunteer at a weekend English camp for small children in Tohoku. I unfortunately missed the chance because I was occupied on most Saturdays, but I had subscribed for their next calling for volunteers. Then, they emailed me last week they are now looking for International volunteers of any origin to participate in their winter camps in Tohoku between February and March.

If you are interested in joining the camp, please check out their English page here.

http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/

http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html
http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html

In 2011, many families in Miyagi prefecture have suffered during the Great Tohoku Earthquake. People in the region are still not fully recovered from the lost since it’s still pretty recent. Last year an organisation called Ganbaro Miyagi started a weekend English camp to cheer the children from Miyagi prefecture up. International volunteers will be guiding the kids to speaking basic English and introducing different cultures to them through camp activities.

There will be four camps this winter as follow.

(1) Feb 7th (Sat) – 8th (Sun)

(2) Feb 14th (Sat) – 15th (Sun)

(3) Mar 14th (Sat) – 15th (Sun)

(4) Mar 21th (Sat) – 22th (Sun)

Volunteers don’t have to join all the camps. You can simply just choose one weekend that you are free. These camps will be held in Tohoku, so volunteers are meeting at Sendai station, and then travel with their bus to the camp venue.

http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html
http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html

The organisation will compensate your travelling cost to and from Sendai station at 3000 yen. It is unfortunately far from enough to cover the cost from Tokyo all the way to Sendai, but there are many alternatives to keep your travelling cost low.

I have signed up for the camp on the weekend of March 14 and 15. Since I have never made a stop in Sendai, I plan to spend a few more days in the area for sightseeing. On March 13, I will leave Tokyo by train with Seishun 18 Kippu.

http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/seishun18.html
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/seishun18.html

Travelling from Tokyo to Sendai at low cost can be done in less than a day with local trains, meaning that it will cost only 2,370 yen to get to Sendai. I took this route all the way to Hokkaido last summer and the trains were very reliable. After the camp, I plan to spend 2-3 more days sightseeing around before I get back to Tokyo for work and school.

http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html
http://ganbaro-miyagi.com/winter2015/en/photo.html

If any of you are free on the same weekend, please join me for this little trip. We can travel to and from Sendai together by sharing the train ticket (Seishun 18 can be used as a group as well as individually), and share a room in hostels (aside from the camp accommodation on Saturday night).

In case you are interested in volunteering, but can’t afford the time or money to travel to Sendai, they are planning Spring and Summer camps in Kanto region as well (either in Chiba or Saitama). You can email them to subscribe for a calling, or read my updates here on this blog. I will be reviewing the camp in March!

Look forward to hearing from you!

Jan