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Apartments in Japan

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Apartments in Japan

Postby Akutabai_Gamma » Wed 07.13.2005 4:27 pm

I was wondering just how hard is it to get an aparment in Japan? I've heard that landlords really do not like to rent out to gaijins because of, "rasical" reasons and also because of discrimnation and one of the reasons for this is because they don't like to deal with ppl who don't know Japanese or they think they might not be able to understand the rules as well. So can anyone please shed some light on this and maybe offer some advise for moving AND finding an apartment in Japan?
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Mukade » Thu 07.14.2005 10:50 pm

I've personally never had any problems in renting an apartment, although I've had some friends who experienced this sort of discrimination. The most common reason given by landlords for their refusal to offer a place to foreigners is that they don't know of any legal recourse should the person trash the apartment and then suddenly decide to up and leave Japan for their home country. Seen from this light, it would be understandable; how would the landlords go about getting the damages paid for?

In reality, though, deposits are so high (usually around $4,000-$6,000, with only about $500 coming back to you when you move out), that this really shouldn't be a worry. I don't know about you, but I think I'd have to try pretty damn hard to inflict $6,000 worth of damage to an apartment.

So, I think the real reason isn't financial, as is often claimed, but indeed racial. There are plenty of xenophobic Japanese. There are also plenty of Japanese who, although not necessarily racist, are just not very willing to deal with foreigners (mostly due to a sort of inferiority complex - but that's another story).

But once again, I've personally never experienced this, despite having moved three times in two years. Not only was I not refused, but my landlords seemed unconcerned by the fact that I was gaijin.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 07.15.2005 12:09 am

I don't know... Some reasons aren't entirely racial.

Trash sorting is something that most gaijin never really feel the need to do, and makes a major hassle for the landlord and other residents who are stuck with garbage that the trash men won't take away.

Like all things, there are some gaijin who want to follow japanese customs, and some that, for various reasons, don't. Unfortunately the ones that don't make it hard for the ones that do.

Back to the main question though, it isn't hard to get an apartment in Japan, especially if you have a job. Work places, especially when hiring a gaijin, will often have find you housing and set up the legal aspects of it for you.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby alarma » Fri 07.15.2005 5:46 am

Yeah, I agree with Harisenbon.... I think it's less an issue of racism and discrimination and more an issue of gaijin not adhering to certain aspects of japanese life. And also, if you have a job, they usually provide you with accomodation!!

Although I went as a student for a while, I found off campus accomodation to be expensive for me, but if you are from other 1st world countries, it should be what you are used to.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby SO_Rennish » Sat 07.16.2005 8:58 pm

Akutabai_Gamma wrote:
I was wondering just how hard is it to get an aparment in Japan? I've heard that landlords really do not like to rent out to gaijins because of, "rasical" reasons and also because of discrimnation and one of the reasons for this is because they don't like to deal with ppl who don't know Japanese or they think they might not be able to understand the rules as well. So can anyone please shed some light on this and maybe offer some advise for moving AND finding an apartment in Japan?


There are many apartments that will accept foreigners in Japan. It is true that there used to be some of the landlords did not like foreigners staying in the property, but most landlords realize that the money is the same. There are also some apartments that are full of foreigners. I have some friends who stay in an apartment like that in the daikanyama area of tokyo. It was nice, and what the landlords did was have 2 apartments that were vacant for visitors of the tenants. I have stayed there once, when I went back to Japan. All of the rooms in that building were set up american style to accomidate the needs of the tenants.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Mukade » Mon 07.18.2005 10:37 pm

Although I agree that there are some foreigners who cause trouble, and thus cause some landlords to refuse apartment space to foreigners, I wouldn't throw out the concept of racism alltogether.

Racism is, quite frankly, rampant here in Japan. Every crime wave that occurs typically gets blamed on foreigners. The current spread of AIDS in Japan is, according to Japanese people, because of foreigners. Laws are currently being pushed to reduce foreigner rights in Japan (as if they weren't scarce enough).

On a more personal note, I've been refused service at restaurants and stores because I'm foreign. I've had Japanese men come up to me and tell me to "go home," or I would "get killed soon."

My co-worker, a holder of an American teaching degree and an American teaching license, as well as a Japanese teaching degree and a Japanese teaching license, was told flat-out that he would never be offered a full-time position at our school because "he's gaijin."

As I said in my original post, the instances of foreigners being refused an apartment seem to be rare. And there are some Japanese who will refuse foreigners out of reasons that are not necessarily racial. But to deny that there isn't any racism, or that it's uncommon, is, I think, being apologist, or worse, naive.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Shibakoen » Tue 07.19.2005 6:02 pm

If you PM me, I'll give you contact information for a landlord who rents rooms to gaijin, pretty much specifically. The places are a bit expensive, but you don't have to deal with paying a realtor or key-money or that MASSIVE deposit usually required.

But by-and-large, my friends and I had a few options for housing in Japan aside from the traditional renting system with its prohibitively high costs. First, there are gaijin houses. Really not much privacy. You might get a bedroom to yourself, but it's probably small and then there will be a common area, kitchen, toilet, and shower. These are very flexible depending on how long you want to stay there. If you're going on a tourist visa, it doesn't make ANY sense to go the traditional route and get your own apartment so this is probably the best option.

If you're going very short term, it might be best to just find a little ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel). They're kinda cool, and they're not as expensive as the five-star hotels or as cramped as the business-man hotels (basically a closet), but they have NONE of the modern trappings. You might actually luck out and find a good one with a hot spring like where I stayed on my vacation in Shimoda. I really like them, but be very mindful of Japanese customs.

If you've got a job in Japan and they're giving you a working visa, the employer is basically obliged to at least help you find lodging or set you up in some sort of dorm.

As far as what you've heard about racism, don't use that as a blanket application. I'm sure it happens sometimes, but by-and-large foreigners in Japan aren't staying for the long haul and really can't unless they get married and everything. Basically, the biggest hurdle to finding a decent apartment in Japan is the deposit/keymoney structure to finding a place to rent and this impacts young Japanese when they first get out on their own just as much as it does gaijin. It's a big reason why there are so many "parasite singles." Here we put down a month deposit with our first month's rent, while there they basically pay a half-year rent up front. There are agencies like Mini-Mini which specialize in low end housing that might be able to help anyone staying for a long period of time, but this requires the foreigner to have a Japanese guarantor (either their employer or a significant other).

I guess my point is the system makes it hard on anyone just starting out and getting their first place in Japan, whether your Japanese or not, and though there may be some racism in individual cases I definitely wouldn't apply it to the whole system. And if you think about it, a lot of the foreigners in Japan are there not because they are completely enamored with the culture and want to live as a Japanese, but because they are stationed there. As you can probably tell, I'm not very fond of military base culture even though I grew up on them and have lived near them for most of my life.

Just as a side note, I was kind of irritated when I came back to the US to go back to school and when I applied to get an apartment I needed a guarantor since I only have a part-time job while I'm at school, even though I'm 26. I ran into none of that in Japan and really enjoyed my apartments (first in Yokohama and since Hodogaya is the most boring place on earth, I moved to Tokyo).

Though I probably did not live in Japan as long as Mukade, I really had no problems with racism aside from the very occasional rude comments. I even met some Yakuza while I was out one night (don't ask for details) and they were very nice and quite funny. But then again, maybe Tokyo's just more used to foreigners than other regions of Japan. There were some negative experiences, of course, but things like groping on the trains happen to Japanese women just as much, if not more so than they happen to gaijin women. Gaijin women tend to kick and hit and yell, while the Japanese women I know were much less likely to act out. I also had a roommate who was beaten for breaking up a rape on the street in Shibuya, but in that case everyone involved was foreign. It was a little strange being a minority and there were definitely some negatives, but my overall experience was amazing so I'm definitely going back as soon as I can. Lets just say I felt more comfortable walking through the roughest parts of Tokyo at 4 in the morning than I felt while walking through some parts of NYC during the middle of the day.
Last edited by Shibakoen on Tue 07.19.2005 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Spaztick » Tue 07.19.2005 8:19 pm

*cracks knuckles*
*whips out his anti-marine bat*

Let's go!

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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 07.19.2005 8:40 pm

EDIT *
Never mind.. just not going to go there.
Last edited by Harisenbon on Tue 07.19.2005 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Mukade » Wed 07.20.2005 12:23 pm

Harisenbon wrote:
EDIT *
Never mind.. just not going to go there.


No, no, no...please do! :p
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Akutabai_Gamma » Thu 07.21.2005 5:00 pm

I do one day hope to move to Japan, work in Japan, and even though the chances are slim, maybe even one day marry in Japan(which brings up aother questions but i will save that for another time) and i knew that it was hard to get an aparment i mean, its hard here in the U.S but it just seems even harder in Japan espically since i know no one in Japan to help me and After reading everyones comment i really thank all who replied. I would also really like some tips on all this and please continue to tell me more about this issue and your personal expriences it helps set my mind at ease about moving there and knowing other peoples expriences.


also,
Racism is, quite frankly, rampant here in Japan. Every crime wave that occurs typically gets blamed on foreigners. The current spread of AIDS in Japan is, according to Japanese people, because of foreigners. Laws are currently being pushed to reduce foreigner rights in Japan (as if they weren't scarce enough).

On a more personal note, I've been refused service at restaurants and stores because I'm foreign. I've had Japanese men come up to me and tell me to "go home," or I would "get killed soon."

My co-worker, a holder of an American teaching degree and an American teaching license, as well as a Japanese teaching degree and a Japanese teaching license, was told flat-out that he would never be offered a full-time position at our school because "he's gaijin."


That actually seems quite, well, scary to be honest but it doesn't suprise me at all i mean, a white man walking in a black neighborhood is no different, maybe even worse. (forgive me for using such an example and i apologize if i offended anyone)
Last edited by Akutabai_Gamma on Thu 07.21.2005 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby I-samu » Wed 02.22.2006 11:52 pm

As long as I didn't open my mouth, I wasn't a Gaijin.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby Oracle » Thu 02.23.2006 12:43 am

When I was looking for an apartment in Tokyo once, one of the apartment ads said:

ペット可
水商売可
外人可

I'd like to think they weren't in order of preference :)
Last edited by Oracle on Thu 02.23.2006 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby keatonatron » Thu 02.23.2006 4:10 am

Finding an apartment in a place with a lot of gaijin is probably easier. I didn't think about it at all when I was looking for a place, but after I moved in I realized I'm in a very "international" area. Kinda close to Chinatown, and there are a lot of Koreans and Chinesein this area.

Anyway, my apartment is actually owned by a huge faceless corporation, and I found it through a housing agency, so I never had to sit down face-to-face with a landlord and face the possibility of them rejecting me.

I've never experienced the kind of harsh racism Mukade mentioned either. It could be where I live of course, but I've also travelled to the countryside (Miyazaki--middle of NOWHERE) and didn't experience anything there either.
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RE: Apartments in Japan

Postby b4d0m3n » Thu 02.23.2006 8:25 am

Oracle wrote:
When I was looking for an apartment in Tokyo once, one of the apartment ads said:

ペット可
水商売可
外人可

I'd like to think they weren't in order of preference :)


Could you elaborate on this hilarious thing? I'm afraid my kanji/japanese proficiency is poor.
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