Although many of us look at Oakhouse as a temporary housing, it doesn’t mean that we can’t improve the quality of life by upgrading some stuff in the house. Oakhouse is one of the few companies which provides affordable housing in Tokyo especially for those who only plan to stay for a short time.
As I already explained here, housing in Tokyo can be expensive, even for (especially for) those who plan to stay for a couple of months.
I’ve been working on upgrading my Oakhouse apartment, Tachikawa Garden Town. It’s not a fancy DIY or anything but I thought it’s worth doing as I plan to live at least a few year and I’m raising a baby daughter with my wife. It makes sense to make this room as comfortable as possible for my family too.
How I justified myself to improve the house
The things I did to improve my house might just look like a massive splurge. To be honest, I used to be bothered by that. I usually don’t spend much money on stuff. I know how to make my life content without making myself surrounded by fancy branded products. That’s part of the reason I was happy with the life I had in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2.
Having a family changed my mind a little. I still enjoy being frugal but spending some money to make my life comfortable isn’t a waste of money.
Fortunately, living in Tachikawa garden town helped me save a lot of money I could have spent on other houses. I wrote more in detail about how much you need to just start renting a house in Tokyo here.
I already saved hundreds of thousand yen so that I can spend some to make our life a bit more comfortable.
Working desk space
This is the space I needed for my work. I have office in Shibuya but I’m allowed to work remotely and sometimes I work from home. I needed a work station that I can focus when I want to. External display always help work efficiently as well as other stuff like mouse. This space used to be covered by a Japanese style door but I took them away to build this space.
There’s an Epson home projector right next to this space. I already wrote about this projector here. I think projector goes really well with this apartment.
This is something I really wanted to work on. Even though I have a work space in the room as I just described, it’s not always easy to focus when I want to. There are times when my wife is watching a TV or cooking. My baby could be crying right next to me. I found that the balcony space in Tachikawa Garden Town is actually comfortably large. Then I got this idea to make this space into my second work space.
First I got this reclining chair, people call it “zero-gravity chair”, on Amazon. It’s amazingly comfortable chair for 5,000 yen. I also got a small table I can attach on the chair so I can comfortably put my laptop on while I’m reclining.
This space is my holy ground. I’m not joking. Imagine waking up at 7 in the morning and sit on this chair while the summer breeze is still nicely chill or having something on your mind and start working on your computer in the middle of the night. This is the space I go to work on whatever I have in my mind. Nothing disturbs you.
A big balcony like this can be used in many ways. I can imagine doing a BBQ with friends and neighbors or working out in the morning to fresh start a day.
If I one day decide to have my own apartment or a house, big balcony is something I’ll definitely going to build.
This might be more of a splurge. At least my wife thinks so. This little machine on above is a device which can replace all the infra-red remote controllers in the house. Any device that emit infra-red can be controlled. What’s cool about this is device is that it can work with Amazon Echo or other AI speakers. I’ve got Amazon Eco in my living room and I can control all these devices like aircon, projector, ceiling light etc… with my voice. Cool isn’t it?
This is something similar to Ratoc system but it’s much simpler. This little device can control the on-off of any device that is connected. This also works with Amazon Eco so I can, for example, control a light bulb without buying a smart bulb.
This is something I did on the other day.
What I want to do in the near future
Smart lock and smart bulb is something I want to buy in the future. I am uncertain of buying smart bulb because I can simply control the bulb with smart plug as I just described. However, there are times that I want to dim the light or change the color temperature of the light at night. I might get them in the future but I guess there are other things I want to do before.
Smart lock is one of them. With this, I don’t have to bring key with me at all. I can simply come close to the door and the door unlocks. Isn’t it so cool?
I’ll update if I make a purchase in the future or I might think of some better ideas. Let’s see.
Today I visited my friend Thomas in Kichijoji. He is someone I met while I was in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2. He once moved out of the house and spent some time in his country and came back for another job in Tokyo. He once lived in the east side of Tokyo now he came back to Kichijoji. He is, just like me, one of the regulars who come to the Kichijoji 2 every now and then for parties. Even though both him and I don’t live in Kichijoji 2 anymore, it’s still fun to go to the house to see some old faces.
One day he contacted me saying he has a gift for my daughter Hana. That was very nice of him. He didn’t tell me what the present is but he sounded like he wanted to give me that present as soon as possible. So I decided to go to his new house in Kichijoj which is what I wanted to do for a while. He told me he found a new house to live in Kichijoji a couple of months ago and I never had chance to visit him there.
The house he lives in is run by a company called Libest. It is one of the real estate companies based in Kichioji. I knew about the company but I did not know they run share houses. It was a three stories building where almost 30 people lives. Bathrooms, kitchen, and living room is shared just like Oakhouse share houses.
The living room area is big enough to fit a couple of dozen people. The kitchen is nice and big. Thomas told me about the Takoyaki party they hosted a couple of days ago. I like it that their living room looked more like a cafe than a dining area.
A big 40-inches TV is placed on the wall in the living room. This entire living room isn’t next to other rooms on the same floor. This is probably a good idea for people who want to do some parties without annoying your neighbors.
That’s Thomas in the photo below, by the way.
There is a couple of common fridge in the kitchen too. The common areas looked well maintained overall.
Everyone has a private room just like other share houses. The size is about 6-tatami or around 10 sqm. I am not sure how old this entire building is but the interior design is probably renovated. The Thomas’s room looked new and clean. Good job looking for good furniture. It is his selection of furniture.
He told me that he had to buy all the basic furniture by himself when he moved in because the furniture doesn’t come with the room. That part might be a bit troublesome but it is nice that you get to buy all the furniture you want.
This below is how his room looks like.
We played a couple of video games that he has in his room. Thomas is actually known to be a game lover. Maybe more of a collector. These are the only a tiny bit of game discs he owns. He has three of these game binders in his room and that’s only half of what he actually owns. The rest is left in his house in France. I couldn’t believe it. I have never seen anyone who have this many games in my life. Look at how thick this binder is!
Game disks are not the only ones he collect. He has many game consoles too. X-box, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, Wii… that’s why his drawer is filled with controllers!
Owning this many games was my childhood dream. I used to have a cousin who’s family was doing a game reseller business. I always envied him for being able to test out all the new games for free.
I used to play games often too. Well, I grew up in the 90s. Family computer, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Playstation. It was the golden age of gaming even though the graphics aren’t as good as now. All the great games were born around those times. I literally spent most of my time on gaming as a kid as hanging out with friends meant “playing games” without a question.
Visiting Thomas on that day reminded me of those good old days when playing games was all the fun we had.
Well, now I’ve got uncle Thomas and I know where to find him.
Just last week on Sunday I visited Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 with my wife and baby. It was the very first time that my ex housemates see my baby. Both my wife and I wanted to bring the baby to the house for a long time but I heard a baby and mother usually stay at home for at least a month, sometimes even a couple of months, after the birthday. We followed this custom? To stay indoors. There seem to be no scientific reasoning to this practice though.
Anyway, this is how it went.
Then we were hanging out with the baby for a while. All my ex-housemates must’ve felt weird to see a baby in the house but they were very welcoming. Everyone got to hold my baby once that day!
I was kind of imagining maybe one day my daughter moves into this share house. There will be while different people living in the house but it’d be such a great experience to spend some time in your life in a community like this.
People who live in this share house is so diverse. I wish I could live here as a high school student or something. That would have been impacted me and my life a lot.
On the same day, there was a BBQ going on and a couple of people who don’t live in Kichijoji was there too. It is always nice to see some people outside the house.
I always see some new people when I visit the house and that is what makes Kichijoji 2 different from other houses.
Grilling at the backyard
When we do a BBQ like this, there’s always someone who try to marinate things. This time we tried something different. We ordered some meat online and shared the cost. One of us found this BBQ marinated meat on Rakuten and this was really really good.
It was such a hot humid day. The alcohol disappeared so quickly!
This BBQ is becoming like a weekly thing now. I don’t think I can join every week but it’s such a good way to spend a weekend. I’ll definitely come back here again.