Interview: Sunjoo, Jon (Gran Takarazuka residents)
Gran Takarazuka resident interview
Gran Takarazuka opened in February 2019, making it the first Gran series house in Kansai.
Right now, there are people from Japan, France, Korea, America, India, Denmark, and more countries living together in this house.
This time we talked to two residents about their lives at Gran Takarazuka!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sonjoo, and I'm from South Korea, and I go to a university in Busan.
I love languages, and right now I'm learning Portuguese.
I'm taking time off from my studies, so I got a working holiday visa and came to Japan.
What made you want to come to Japan?
My first trip overseas was to Japan, to Kyushu, when I was in middle school.
Back then I was really into Japanese music, movies, and manga, so I wanted to learn Japanese in high school.
In university I wanted to learn another language so I'm focusing on Portuguese, but one day I thought, hey, I want to do a working holiday in Japan!
So I applied immediately and got the visa. I'm very impulsive! (laughs)
You sure are! How did you come to live at Gran Takarazuka?
At first I lived in Premiere Kichijoji in Kanto, but then I heard a lot about how Gran Takarazuka was opening.
I was just thinking about going to Kansai, so it was perfect timing.
At Oakhouse you can just pay a small transfer fee and you can move to another Oakhouse, so that was easy.
What made you want to go to Kansai?
The Kansai dialect!
Also, I really love okonomiyaki and takoyaki, and Kansai makes the best!
They're tasty! So how do you like living in Kansai?
The more I stay here the more I love it.
From my perspective, I feel like Kansai people are a little looser when they're working, and there are lots of great people.
And everyone is very funny!
Did you feel any culture shock coming to Japan?
I'm really flexible so I don't think I felt any.
Plus there were lots of things I was moved by.
Like, the fact that people line up so straight before getting on the train, or how convenient it is with all the convenience stores and vending machines!
So what's your favorite thing about Gran Takarazuka?
There are so many I can't choose!
But if I have to say one, I think my best memory is when all the housemates got together and threw a surprise party for the house manager.
Also the big Kansai BBQ event was so fun!
Even though BBQ is everywhere in South Korea, this was the first time I had done barbecue outside by the river!
BBQ Party in Kansai
Other than events, what else sticks out to you?
Whenever we get a new housemate we throw a housewarming party, and it is always a great way to get to know everyone.
We don't have a huge lounge at Gran Takarazuka, but still, everyone comes together for parties.
What do you plan to do when your working holiday is over?
I wanted to come look for work in Japan, but now that I've lived in a share house I've had a change of mind.
Now that I've gotten to meet people from all over the world, I want to go to other countries and do working holidays there too!
But of course I want to come back to Japan. We only have one life, so might as well enjoy it!
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of moving to Gran Takarazuka?
The house is in a quiet neighborhood,
and there's lots of nature so it's easy to live here.
It's just 5 minutes from the station and it's easy to get to Osaka. You share a unit as four people, so you have a kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, so it's easy to get to know your immediate housemates.
Jon travels around the world and comes to Japan to relax
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Jon, and I am from France.
I worked as a programmer in games and IT, and in 2017 I took an extended leave and traveled around the world.
I loved in all sorts of places, but it is very tiring, so I wanted to spend an extended time in just one place, and I chose Japan.
Wow! Where did you go?
Southeast Asia, Japan, India, eastern Europe, South America, all over.
I love mountain climbing, so about 20 to 30% of my trip was spent on mountains.
On my last trip I climbed Everest, and in Japan I climbed mount Yotei, Daisetsuzan, and mount Shirouma.
I also enjoy photography so I took a lot of pictures.
That's amazing! Why did you come back to Japan?
My main reason was, my favorite camera was stolen in Argentina!
I loved how safe and peaceful Japan was, and there's so much nature, and the cultural atmosphere is great, so I realized it was the best place to relax.
I also love sakura, I was so moved when I first saw the pink blossoms in full bloom.
This is your first time at Oakhouse?
Yes. I looked at other share house companies at first, but Oakhouse was really polite when I contacted them, and it was all online so it was very easy.
I wanted to stay in Oakhouse Kyoto Kawaramachi, but there were no open rooms, so I settled on Gran Takarazuka, but that was a good decision in the end. I love it, there' s a lot of nature.
That's good to hear! Is this your first share house?
I've stayed in many guest houses before, but this is the first time to stay in a share house for many months.
I'm very glad my first experience was with Oakhouse. It's the best experience!
What is your best memory so far?
Definitely hiking with other housemates to Minoo Falls.
Also just every day. Almost every weekend we get together to play board games or video games.
I also remember I wanted an Indian housemate of ours to try real French cheese, so I spent a lot of time looking for some!
Minoo falls hiking tour
What's your favorite nature spot near Gran Takarazuka?
There's a hiking tour you can take from Nakayamadera station that's great, lovely views, and few people.
How long to you plan on being in Japan?
Actually my tourist visa is almost up, so I have to go back to France. But I can't wait to come back again!
That's too bad! What do you plan on doing back in France?
I'll just take it easy...eat lots of good cheese, finally... and look for my next job!
I love telling stories, so I'm thinking of looking for a job in cinematography in the movie business.
Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of moving to Gran Takarazuka?
This house feels like home, and it's a great community. Plus everything is new and clean.
It's also easy to find things to do along the Hankyu line, from Hibarigaoka Hanayashiki station to Osaka.
There's lots of great places to drink near Juzo station!