Well, after what had to be the worst plane flight I have ever experienced, followed by a skillful landing by our pilot, fighting against unpresidented and fluxuating gusts of winds, onto a fog-covered, near zero visability runway, the people in ANA flight 254 gave a small standing ovation to the crew of the aircraft.
Anyways, it was quite the experience. Needless to say, I`ve arrived in Tokyo.
I spent the weekend with Miho trying to find an apartment for myself, buy a cell-phone and such. Japan is very strict about apartment rentals and usually requires a Hyoushounin (Co-Signer) if you are a foreigner or if you are not a full time worker.
Also, there are a number of other fees attached renting an apartment from most places. Key-Money is usually an extra month`s rent paid up front on top of the first and last months rent, and this is not refunded it is a present for the landlord. There is also a security deposit which is about 2 months of rent worth, and a cleaning fee of about 10,000 Yen (100 dollars). The security deposit is refunded, the cleaning fee is not. There is also a commission paid to the realtor (you dont rent places here by shopping for houses with for-rent signs. Rentals are only advertised at this large rental agency offices).
Anyways, there is this paper about the whole headache of the process someone already wrote in their blog, but I can`t find it right now, but basically, your $800/Month apartment will cost like $6000 upfront or something ridiculous like this, regardless of if you are a foreigner or not.
So how do people do it? Well, most smaller places (what we would call a bachelor) don`t have some of these fees attached, while some student-housing companies and such have basically no extra fees at all. So, Miho was going to be my co-signer and get this all set-up, but because she is a contract worker, even though she works full time, they could not accept her as a co-signer, and in-fact if she were to rent an apartment herself she would require her mother to co-sign even though she is Japanese.
So yea, it was kind of annoying and as of right now I am not %100 sure where I will live yet but we will figure something out.
In the mean time, Mr. and Mrs. Taguchi have invited me to stay at their place for 2 weeks in Tokyo. They are so generous and kind people. Today Mrs. Taguchi and her friend and I will go out shopping in Shibuya, not that I have a lot of money to spend, but it should be fun anyways I think.