カテゴリー別アーカイブ: オークハウス吉祥寺2

The secret of the best sharehouse: Food sharing

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Sharing food is one of the scenes that you witness living in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. Many of us, especially guys, are good at cooking for some reason. Even if we don’t officially plan a party, sometimes people just start showing up and a party just start naturally.

Today was exactly the case. The difference was… that it happened twice on the same day. Shohei, who is my neighbor, suddenly decided to cook for everybody, especially for Katelyn who has been kind of sick. I happened to be in the living room when the cooking was taking place and he was kind enough to invite me. He even knocked people’s door on the second floor to check if they want some food. Eventually, ten people showed up and we shared his super delicious hot pot.

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Shohei serving his hotpot to everyone.

It was very generous of him to share food like this. This type of random food sharing really is the best opportunity to talk about things with housemates. Now that we have another French guy, Samuel arrived, we decided to do some French party next week. They brought some cheese and wine from France. They always say we need a good bread to eat with. I’m just happy with wine and cheese by itself.

Would you try to give some money to Shohei in this situation? This could be an interesting topic to talk about but…I personally don’t think giving money is a good idea. Besides, I don’t think he takes the money.

In our house, we usually don’t give money to a chef. I don’t think it’s because we are stingy but it’s because it feels more natural. When I receive this kind of generosity, I’d apparently feel good and at the same time, I’d feel I’m in debt. This debt, however, is not like money debt and it doesn’t come with guiltiness. but I feel I have to reciprocate in any way I can in the future. I feel like the person I reciprocate to has to be Shohei. It can be anyone in the house. That’s how this random act of generosity keep going around in the house. This might be the reason why I think it’s so comfortable to live here.

How would you reciprocate when you receive free food in the house?

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It was a full of food in the biggest pot we have in the kitchen. Even with this amount of food, the entire pot disappeared after 10 mins.

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This one person serving looked so little when there were 10 people to share with.

Thanks again Shohei! for sharing the great food!!

Message me here [guafly2002@gmail.com] if you have any questions, or you want to know some Oakhouse tips before moving in.

Shima

My birthday party!

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There was a party last night in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. My birthday party. Around 10 to 15 people came most of them are my housemates in Kichijoji 2 but two of them came from Oakhouse Kichijoji 3, which is 5 mins walk from our house.

That’s one good thing living in Kichijoji. There are at least 5 Oakhouse sharehouses around Kichijoji area, once you know some people from other houses, you get to know more people in the area. Oakhouse people tend to be pretty diverse. Japanese people are still the majority but I hear 60% new people moving into Oakhouse sharehouse are now not Japanese.

Kichijoji is known as one of the most popular areas to live in Tokyo. If you’re interested to stay in Tokyo, visit here once and see if you like the neighborhood.

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This is how we usually notify people in the house about house events. There’s a big white board in the living room on the first floor. We usually don’t charge people for food and just tell them to bring food to share. It’s cheaper and more fun that way.

We had lots of food by the time 5 people showed up at 9pm. Then we started drinking. We have now a couple of new people moved in these days. Thomas, a French guy who’s looking for software engineering job in Tokyo, and Ko, he’s also a tech guy from Korea. I have seen them in the house a couple of times but never really get to know them until yesterday.

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There was so much food that I was full soon after we started eating! I brought a French wine that my friend gave me a while ago, cheese, and some bread.

Win, an iron chef of Thai kingdom, cooked an omelet rice and cheese bread. I was surprised because he only cooks Thai food! He cooked these western dishes knowing that my favorite food is Italian. It was really great. I tell you one of his special talents. He can reverse-engineer any kinds of cuisines. All he needs is for him to try that dish once. As long as he tries once, he can cook the same exact dish by himself. He is so talented at cooking.

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Win said he has never ever cooked any of these food in his life. I couldn’t believe him. It was really good.

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I got two cakes!

Now that I turned 31 years old, I’m asking myself what has been changed in my life…. well,

Probably nothing.

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Summer festival with housemates

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My housemates, Joon (left), Me (center), and Maud (right)

Me and my housemates in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 went to a summer festival (夏祭り) around the area of Kichijoji.

It’s one of the traditional events that many people go during the summer holidays here. It usually happens in a park or temples. The staff, usually local volunteers, build a special stage where people dance in a circle with music.

There are usually many street stalls open during this period of time and it’s fun to look around, try some food that you don’t usually see.

Although this kind of street stalls are kind of an Asian thing, it’s actually rare to see them in Japan and Korea. So, here we are with two of my housemates. Maud and Joon. I was surprised to hear Maud owns 3 kinds of Yukata (traditional clothes).

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The festival was in Kichijoji, in one of the temples located at the back of LOFT. To be honest, I didn’t know that there is this big festival going on every year there.

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Many street stalls selling food. I found somewhat unusual even for this kind of occasion, like Brazilian beef skewers.

There are at least 4 summer festival sites around Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. Living in Kichijoji for 3.5 years was long enough for me to know there are 3 sites. but I only found out this year that there’s even another one.

The most interesting part of these summer festivals is the dancing (盆踊り). It might be the only occasion that you see Japanese people ever dance in a daily life. At the center of the festival, there’s always a two-stories stage. There are a big Japanese drum and the guy who hits the drum on the top story. and there are the dance masters dancing so that people on the ground can see them and copy the dance.

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This photo is from another festival in Kichijoji. It’s rather a small one so that there is no drum story. People just dance around the building. The music usually just a tape. It’d be great if it can be a live music though.

Me and my housemates danced too. I do this every year but it’s hard to remember the motions. But you get to learn quickly because there’s usually a certain sets of motions and it repeats in every 15 seconds. Well, I don’t think dancing in a right way is the point in here anyway. It’s just fun to move around.

You get to know some people too. After all, they all live in the neighborhood.

A brand new bathrooms are looking great!!

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If there’d be one thing that I always wanted in my house, it’s definitely a new bathroom.
Here in the “Oakhouse Kichijoji 2“, there are two bathrooms on the first floor and the second floor. There are 4 toilets in each bathroom. Considering the fact that there are around 20 people living in the house, that’s a fair number of toilets. The problem was the way the bathroom looked.

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This is how old bathroom looked like. Dark, old, dirty and smelly. It was not a pleasant place to go every day.

In July, Oakhouse finally decided to renovate the bathroom of all share houses in Kichijoji area. There are 6 houses that Oakhouse runs in Kichijoji (as of September 2017). The manager of the house notified us the renovating plan which takes about two months to complete. It seemed slow but understandable. They started working on the bathroom on the first floor in July.

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The partitions and toilets were removed. The bathroom looked so empty.

Things started to change quickly. A bunch of Oakhouse workers took out all the partitions and toilets within a day. People started posting photos on the shared LINE group.

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After a while, they painted the wall in white. and changed the floor, installed new toilets and partition.

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This was one of the busiest moments. Sometimes they were even working on the weekends too.

While they were working on the bathroom on the first floor, they didn’t touch the bathroom on the first floor so that we can at least take a bathroom in the house.
And finally, everything was done!!

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You know the best part? Oakhouse added washlet function in the new toilet and a seat heater. These are pretty common utilities in Japan but it’s really nice to have in the house.

Oakhouse, as a company, is the biggest share house agency in Tokyo and they are working on building many share houses every year. They even opened a brand new place, called Gran Mitakadai, close to our house last month.

I’m just glad that they care about older houses like ours and they are willing to reinvest.
Thank you Oakhouse for this and we’re very happy with the result :)

How to get SIM card for long-term travelers

Let’s say you decided to move in one of the houses in Tokyo. What’s the next step?
Regardless of the purpose of your stay, getting a mobile internet connection is probably one of the things on the top of your To-do list. The first 2-3 days should be fine as all the Oakhouse share houses offer free WiFi in the lounge (common space), but there will be moments that are troublesome not being able to be connected outside.

The first problem you encounter would be transferring trains. Living in Tokyo doesn’t require you to own a car. I don’t own one, so as most of my friends here. but taking the train might require some time to get used to.

I’ve been in Tokyo for 3 years but still in need of these train apps once in a while. At least the trains are on time most of the time which help those apps stay accurate.

(There are multiple train transfer apps in the market. and I recommend English version of NaviTime For Android users, cleck here. )

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I’ve been asked many times how to set up mobile internet SIM in Tokyo, mostly by my housemates who live in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. In this post, I’d like to give you a step by step guide on how to sigh up for SIM card in Tokyo.

◼︎ 1. Check if your phone is unlocked (or SIM free)

You need an unlocked phone to sign up with SIM card in Japan. Checking whether your phone is unlocked or not, entirely depends on where you bought your smartphone. If your phone was provided by a phone company like Softbank, or AT&T, your phone might not be an unlocked. On the other hand, if you’re from certain Asian countries like China, Hongkong, Taiwan, Singapore, the phones in the market are mostly unlocked, so there’s nothing to worry about.

◼︎ 2. Prepare a credit card and a proof of residence

Most SIM card providers require credit card payment. That means you need to have a credit card available in Japan. Most worldly famous brands like VISA and Master card work in Japan but I hear that some cards don’t work sometimes. If your phone is debit card directly connected to your bank in your home country, your card probably doesn’t work even if it has a VISA or Master logo on the face of the card.

Proof of residence might be required depending on which SIM card provider you sign up with. This means you need to apply for SIM card after you move in the house and get Zairyu (residence) card. Even after you get Zairyu card, DO NOT FORGET to register your address in the city hall. You need to have your address printed on your residence card (they go through this process in the city hall).

◼︎ 3. Choose the SIM card brand and sign up online (or visit their local store)

There are more than 20 – 30 SIM card providers (we call them 格安SIM = literally means cheap SIM ) in the market. Despite the number of options, it is not hard to choose one.

There are 3 major phone contractors in Japan, docomo, au, and Softbank. Basically they built the mobile network in the country and now they are leasing the network to those SIM card providers.

docomo is the oldest and got the best quality network in this country so I recommend the SIM card providers using docomo’s network.

I’ve been personally using the brand called “IIJ mio” and I’ve been happy with the service. I recommended this brand to many friends. The only problem with this brand is that they don’t have English website or any kinds of support in English. they don’t have a local store so it’s hard to ask for help as long as you’re already fluent in Japanese.

IIJ mio

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My second choice would be Rakuten Mobile. They have English website and they have local store as well. Rakuten is one of a few Japanese companies where employees have to speak English in the company, so I expect their local store staff to speak English too.

Rakuten Mobile

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Hope you find my guide above helpful. Message me here (guafly2002@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

Eating food helps you build relationships!

Eating.
Without it, we, human beings can’t live.

Eating good foods.
Without it, I can’t live…

Hello, everyone.
March, the month of beginning of spring, has come.
In Japan, It is still cold but it will be warm soon. (I hope…)

As I have written at the beginning, I like eating.
Today, I will write about “foods” in my daily lives here in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2

There is a kitchen in our common space.
Pots, pans, knives, tablewares, microwave, teapot…various stuff in the kitchen.
We can use all of them freely. We “share” them.
When I lived an apartment previously, I couldn’t afford an oven. If I want to cook something I need to use an oven, I couldn’t.
But, now, I can make a gratin and bake a pie !
I think this is one of the merits of living in share house.

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Quiche I made with the oven

What we are sharing is not only the cooking stuff.
Sometimes, we share foods too.
On the other day, I made Kenchin-jiru (Japanese soy source flavored vegetable soup) , and shared with some housemates.

In our house, there are various people who come from a lot of countries.
10 Japanese, 3 Thai, 2 Korean, 1 American, and 1 Russian.
They often cook their country’s foods and they also sometimes share the foods they cook.

A pasta dish made by Daniele(Italian), Kimuchi Chige made by Joon(Korean), Tacos made by Daniel (American), and Green curry made by Ken(Thai)…

We get to try foods from different countries around the world.

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Win, he is one of the best chef in our house!

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Searing foods and happiness!

Besides, we sometimes share our recipes.
I learned many types of recipes from housemates.
Thanks to it , I have been improving my cooking skill !

For us, it is one of the ways of communication!

If you like cooking or eating, it is fun for you to live share house.

Nice to meet you !

Hello, everyone ! Welcome to my blog !
My name is Hagi !

“What is it like to live in Japan ?”
“What is it like to live in Tokyo ?”
“What is it like to live in shearhouse ?”

I guess you have questions like that. It is difficult to imagine the life in shearhouse. Actually, I couldn’t imagine before I live here.
So, I will introduce the shearhouse-life in Japan through my daily life !

【Who am I ?】

First, I will write about myself.
I’m a Japanese guy, 27 years old. I was born in Ibaraki prefecture (the north of Tokyo).
I came to Tokyo 9 years ago. I have been in Tokyo since then.

I’m a playwright and director of indie theatrical performance. I mainly create works in my own team “mooncuproof”, and sometimes I do requested writing and directing.

【My life in Oakhouse】
I have lived here since last April, 2016. Before then, I lived in an apartment.

 The reason why I decided to live in a sharehouse is to have a lot of experiences.
I thought living in here with people would give me a lot of ideas for my writing.
And, this idea was totally correct!

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My housemate: Shima and Joon at living room sharing food.

I have a lot of chances to have good conversations with my housemates. Some ideas have come from daily conversation !

What is more, when I feel tired, they encourage me with kind words. (and sometimes with foods they cook !)

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Sometimes we have a party.(This is a last year’s Christmas Party )

【About dormitory】
In Oakhouse Kichijoji 2, there are 18 private rooms and one dormitory in this house. I live in the dormitory.

There are 4 beds, bathroom, small table, kitchen, etc. Now ,there are 3 people in my room, Japanese(me) Korean and Thai.

Our nationality and lifestyle varies. But, sometimes we talk there with some foods and drinks. It is interesting to know various cultures !

I love my life in Oakhouse. I’ll post about my daily lives here.

See you in next post !!

Friend’s party @ Ikebukuro

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Earlier this week, my friend invited me to a party in Ikebukuro. I brought one of the housemates in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. I also brought a 360 camera called “Theta S”. I just thought it’s a good chance to try this cool camera.

Cafe Noise is located just about 10 mins by walk from Ikebukuro station. Ikebukuro is known as one of the most popular areas of Tokyo. The street around the station is crowded with people. It almost made me feel like I was walking in Shinjuku. The difference is that it’s not as business-like. It’s somewhat in between Shibuya and Shinjuku as I see many signs and neons on the wall of the tall buildings. Walking in the street for 5 mins makes you realize that it is a town for a younger generation.

I did not know Ikebukuro is such a big city.

Here we are, a room full of 30 people were already there at Cafe Noise and here’s the shot.

バレンタインイブ会@池袋 #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Joining the “House’s Line group” is the first thing you should do after you move in

Win (housemate)'s birthday party

Unless you’re fluent in Japanese, making friends in Tokyo is probably one of your many concerns. Japanese people are shy and that’s true. There’s no such thing as “casual talk with strangers”. It’s ironic to say, Tokyo is the most highly populated city in the world.

Once a friend of mine from England asked me. “How do Japanese people make friends?” and I thought… That’s a good question.

Even if you’re fluent in Japanese, you will probably be lonely while your stay in Japan, especially if your stay is longer than a month. That is not always because of the language barrier but the cultural differences.

Following points are what I think it helps you make friends in Tokyo.

◼︎Download Line app

Line is the most widely used messaging app in Japan. It’s like whatsapp or Facebook messenger.

I recommend you to download this app because it triggers unexpected communication with people you meet here.

Most Japanese people use Line app by creating a group. And we usually belong to multiple groups. Line group can be literally any group. It could be a family, close friends, high school friends, housemates, colleagues, or even weekly lunch mates, hiking friends, or traveling mates.

You get a notification every time the member of the group post in the group. (You can turn off the notification by setting) So if you belong to many groups, there’s usually someone posting something. It’s kind of a facebook feed but more closed.

We have this line group in oak house Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. We post things like party schedule next week, Korean town tour, day trip to some island offshore, tuna tasting experience, or hangout in the Disney land ( because one of the housemates works there)

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If you don’t speak Japanese, use this translater as a friend on Line. It works on Line and it’s beautifully seamless. We installed it on our line group too. It also translates other languages. (basically it’s connected to Google translate). The translation isn’t perfect but it helps you understand the conversation.

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◼︎Learn to be a food lover (because it’s worth it)

I’ve traveled more than 30 counties in the world. For me, traveling is not about visiting historical places or shopping something unique, it’s about eating. Eating good food, trying local cuisine that I have never tried gives me the greatest joy.

I think a majority of people in Japan are like me. If we have to choose, we would choose a good food over a good house.

What I want to say is that there are people who really care about food here in this country, more than anything else. Therefore, I think, the food is generally good. And the thing is good food are not just Japanese food. Indian food, Thai food, Chinese food, Italian food are very well accepted here. It’s not the same as local food, but the food often end up very good.

Anyway, that is probably why there’s an ingenious book called “Lunch passport“. It is basically a restaurant guide with coupons but the book covers only a certain area, like shibuya, shinjuku, nakano. The coupon offers such a high discount rate, usually 50% off.

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The idea of this book makes sense. Restaurants want more customers on less busy hours and we all want a big discount (but only a few of us can get this discount because it only applies on weekday lunch hours). If you’re studying Japanse, this book will help you find a good restaurant on low budgets.

Planning a restaurant party would be a great start to hang out with people in the house.

New Year’s calligraphy!

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Calligraphy has always been a part of our life in Japan. We have a curriculum in school and we learn it. There’s even a competition and award for those who are good at writing beautiful letters of Kanji and sometimes Hiragana.

I hated calligraphy class not just because it was hard to write with a thick brush but also because I didn’t see the point in doing it. Why do you want to write anything in such troublesome way when you have a pencil?

I don’t think I fully see the beauty of it, but my understanding of calligraphy is about “cutting off the very moment of life.” It works just like a picture.

Writing a calligraphy is something very close to drawing a picture. There is so much room for expressing something in the letters.

Here my housemates and I decided to write each one’s New year’s resolution by writing a calligraphy in a big white sheet of paper. It was so much fun. It felt like we were in school.

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Thinking about what to write…

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It was kind of embarrassing to write my own new year’s resolusion in public. But as everyone start writing their own, it wasn’t as embarrassing as I imagined.

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other housemates joined us. “there are some missing spots there”

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Katelyn wrote down her name here. This is genius. The kanji in the middle is Tori (bird = one of the 12 animal simbols of Oriental Zodiac.

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Dada~. Done!