Another very important thing I started even before coming back to Mexico, was to find a place to live.
This was a difficult task, because, as you might have already noticed, I don’t really go with normal XD
So really the easy way out, and the most recommended option, is to request a dormitory at the university. Either 6 months or a year, and stay there while paying less than an apartment. However, for me, there were various downsides to this option.
First of all, I have been living alone for the past 5 years. So sharing showers and kitchen and… any part of the house really, was a bothersome thought. But ok, maybe I could have done it for 6 months. Maybe.
But then I found out that almost every rental contract is for 2 years minimum. This would complicate things, since my scholarship period is for 2 years. If I stayed at the dormitory for 6 months, I would have to find a place that would rent for 18 months and not 24.
Then there was the issue of language. An International Student dormitory is bound to English as the medium of communication. I will not have the 6-12 month period as a research student to study Japanese, so I need to really immerse myselfe in the language, and the dormitory was not going to help.
So I decided to start looking for an apartment.Well… that is if you can call a 15m2 an apartment.
This also posed a lot of problems. All real estate companies needed me to have my residence card, which I obviously will not get before getting to Japan. And the one I found that could make a short term contract and then change it for a long term one was absolutely too expensive.
The other downside was the multiple expenses that the rent came with. The real estate fee around 1 month rent. Paying 1-3 months of deposit. 1-3 months of “reikin” or key money (a gift to the landlord for letting you rent his property). The current month’s rent.
That’s a whole total of 4-8 months worth of rent paid up front. Not to mention having to get a Japanese guarantor (many universities offer this service, not KyoDai, not anymore). That’s crazy. And I would still have to furnish the apartment.
I was just about to sign the request for the dormitory and worry about contracts later on in life.
But luck was on my side. I posted everywhere, on twitter, facebook, instagram, yahoo answers, google +, and whatnot, that I was looking for a place to stay. So one day a lady contacted me offering a furnished 1 room apartment about 15 minutes walking distance from the university. No key money, no guarantor and only one month of deposit. Hurra!
It’s really in a secluded neighborhood, but it’s really close to some parks and temples. The price was just on the limit I wanted, but I can do it since I wont be paying up 8 months worth of rent in one installment.
That’s a very important point. For those of you who do decide to live 6-12 months in dormitories, don’t think that you are free to spend the money you’re not paying for housing. You HAVE to save money in case you are not as lucky as me and need to pay 8 months of rent when you are no longer welcome at the dormitory.