カテゴリー別アーカイブ: オークハウス吉祥寺2

Beer pong event!

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If you know what the “Beer pong” is, you have probably spent some time in the States. It’s a collage drinking game started in America. When I studied in the States, I happened to be in the school where the game started. Well, at least that’s what they say. They call it Beirut instead of Beer pong though. but beer pong is a better known term for this game. Of all the drinking game I know around the world, I personally think it is the best game ever.

Here in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2, me and a bunch of my housemate played this game for the first time in the house. It turned out to be a great idea.

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Aiming the cup on the other side…

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Filling cups with beer…

The rule is simple. Put plastic cups on the table like bowling pins and pour a beer in each cup. Then you throw a ping pong ball from the opposite side of the table. Take turns. If you get the ball in, the opponent team has to drink. I honestly think this is the drinking game for share house because it usually gets messy while you play. You don’t want to play this game in your living room.

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The table gets messy as the play goes on…

As the game goes on, it gets harder and harder to get the ball in the cup. Also, you get drunk quickly if your team is losing. Though the funny part is that you never know which team is going to win until the very end of the game. The last cup on the table is always the hardest one to get in. So even if you’re losing at the beginning, you still have a fair chance of winning later on.

Even if you’re not good at it, give it some time to practice. You will get better as you play again and again. This is why I think this game is close to sport. In fact, there is a world championship of beer pong.

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It gets harder and harder as you get drunk.

It was great to be able to play the old drinking game I used to play. Everyone at the party loved the game even though some of them played it for the first time. We’ll probably host this kind of beer pong party sometime soon. Maybe even make it a regular event? Our house is probably the only house you can play beer pong in the entire city of Tokyo. Message me know if you want to join us!

Three musical instruments we have in the common room

If you are someone who likes playing music. Our house Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 might be a place to take a look.

You’d be surprised to hear that many of my housemates in Kichijoji 2 actually play some music. In our house, common room (living room on the first floor) is where people play music. It is probably not a good idea to play music in the private room as it could be noisy for other housemates. On the other hand, playing music in the common room has never been an issue in our house.

It is so much fun when you are playing the piano and your housemates start singing along with you. That’s something you never get to do by living in an apartment.

Today let me show you three kinds of musical instruments we have in the house and how we use them

1. The piano

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The piano probably the most frequently used instrument in the house. At least 4 people I know in the house can play the piano well. One of us is a professional composer so her piano is absolutely amazing. Check out the video below.

Cool isn’t it?
It is an electric piano so you can adjust the volume or even play with earphone.

2. The guitar

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The guitar is often picked and played by our friends and guests. Hagi, an actor and playwright, sometimes playing in the living room. It’s not really a high-end type of guitar but it’s enough to enjoy some music time.

3. The cajón (acoustic drum)

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The cajón is probably something you don’t usually see in the house. It’s one of the acoustic drums. You hit the box-shaped body with your bare hands and make a rhythm. It’s fun to try it but not many people can actually make it sound decent.

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These three instruments are enough to start a band or something. Let me know if you’re interested!

French Party and cheese

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Out of all the great parties we have hosted in our house (Oakhouse Kichijoji 2), French party is probably the most repeated party. Why? Because there are many French people living in our house. That means, of course, cheese.

I’m a big fan of French cheese and my housemates here know me very well. They are nice enough to bring cheese from France every once in a while. and that is a perfect present I can hope for. There is cheese you can find in Japan but they are very very expensive and the portion is very small. It’s tough to live in this country if you are a cheese lover.

Voila!

IMG_3561Cheese, wine, bread, and some pasta I cooked to share. Just perfect.

All the stuff including wine, cheese, the duck pâté is from France. The bread is from a local bakery in Kichijoji but it’s one of the few places that our French housemates keep going back.

IMG_3560Good food. Good smile.

IMG_3557Tons of cheese!

There were Comté, Parmigiano, Mimolette, and Gouda. Comté is my favorite.
It was such a great dinner to share. We should do this more often.
The photo below is shot by my 360 camera “THETA S”.

French party @ Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Sharing tomato pasta with housemates

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Last night some of us in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 had a small pasta party. I cooked one of my favorite “penne all’arrabbiata”, which is a spicy tomato sauce pasta. 4 housemates including the one living in Kichijoji 3 joined and we shared the food.

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Taka, the guy on the right is actually my coworker who has been working with me for a couple of years now. and he is the one who told me about Kichijoji 2. Thomas recently moved in the house and looking for a job in Japan.

While cooking, I found something very interesting. When a tomato sauce is too sour, add salt. It sounds like counterintuitive but it really worked. salt turns sourness into something else and it was good.

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I’ve been working on this tomato sauce for many years now. The research has been on and off but I think I’ve reached the point that I’m fairly happy with the quality. The ingredients of the tomato sauce are, onions, celery, and carrots. Chili peppers and garlic is what I add when I mix the tomato sauce and olive oil at the end of the cooking stage. I added my favorite smoked bacon from Hokkaido to flavor it up. Last but not the least, a hint of fresh basil from the front yard makes a big difference.

Joined our neighbor’s party in Kichijoji 3

Kichijoji is one of the best places to live in Tokyo especially when it comes to a long-term stay.
I’ve been living in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 for three years and half now. I initially didn’t plan to stay this long but once I came here, it’s so comfortable that it’s hard to imagine life without this place.

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Dining with housemates is what you usually see in our living room. If you like cooking, you have more than enough chance to get to know the people in the house.

The reason why it’s so comfortable is people. Our house is large enough to have rooms for 18 people. Only three people, including me, has been living in the house more than 3 years now. That means there is a constant flux of people and it’s a good thing. There are always new people to meet every couple of months, new events to attend, new drama to gossip about in the house. I might not have stayed this long in a single place if this place didn’t offer me new experiences.

The good thing about Kichijoji is that it’s a popular area for sharehouses. There are at least six Oakhouse share houses around Kichijoji area, including the recently built new one called Gran Mitakadai. (There are many more share houses not run by other companies) It means there are so many houses you can visit and people you potentially get to know right around the corner. Tokyo is a big city. The fact that you get to socialize without actually traveling to the opposite side of the city is something valuable.

Last week on Saturday, my girlfriend and I visited a good friend of mine, Taka, in Oakhouse Kichijoji 3 which is literally 5 mins from our house by walk. It was a Korean food party and one of the Korean guys was cooking for like 20 people.

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Songmin who silently cooked a massive amount of food for everyone. What he cooked was extremely delicious.

We had Korean hotpot, Bulgogi(Korean sukiyaki) as well as so many other things that I don’t know the name of. Very delicious. I realized that it’s been a while since I had a good Korean food previously.

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Korean Bulgogi. It was sooooo good! Perfect food for a cold day.

People I talked to in Kichijoji 3 told me that they don’t party often (it was the second party in 6 months). It doesn’t mean people are not friendly or they don’t like partying. In fact, they used to party more often. but now they are in short of party throwers. I guess this is true in many share houses. Only certain types of people like to throw a party in a share house. It’s like an agent that triggers a chemical reaction.

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Taka, the guy on the right, who invited me to the party.

It was such a fun party. and I know they should do that more often!
Next time, I’d like to invite them to our party in our house, Kichijoji 2. I’ll let you know here when that happens!

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.