Friday, January 28, 2011

Apartment. Ugh.

Apartment hunting makes me feel incompetent.

I have Mr. Ueno (who works for Interac), who is great and is helping me search for apartments and is DESPERATELY trying to get me to understand all of these "hidden" fees that aren't listed anywhere on the web, but I'm having a hard time understanding.

I'm sure everyone has to go through this at least once when trying to find an apartment, but it just makes me feel like a complete fool. I knew about Key Money and deposits, but I didn't know about doorlock replacement charges, cleaning fees, fire insurance, guarantor company fees, common area charges, neighborhood association charges, and I still don't understand what a "daito kentaku" charge is. >_<;;

I'm sure the real problem is that I'm trying to find an unreasonably low cost apartment since I have to send 700USD home a month to pay off student loans. I also want to be able to save money in case of an emergency and have enough money to visit Texas for Christmas break.

If anyone has any suggestions, helpful hints, etc. Please let me know.

BTW- This is the apartment I like the most so far and is at the high end of my budget (and for all I know I can't actually afford). I'm guessing it's 47,183¥ a month (including deposit and fire insurance fee):

On a positive note, I was informed last night that Interac has lodged my application for eligibility with Immigration and they expect to receive it around February 10th. AWESOME NEWS! They said they will be sending it as soon as they receive it. I'm glad that my paperwork is going well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yokohama- bound

A lot has happened since the last time I posted and most of it has happened in last couple of days. On Thursday, January 20th I was called by the head of placement for Interac informing me that my placement would be in Yokohama should I choose to accept it. I knew at the time that I wanted to accept it, but I wanted to talk to my family about things first. I thought "HOW LUCKY!!!" since I have already seen the area (the last time I was in Japan) and I would be placed right near my friends in Tokyo! It's also a huge city, so I don't have to worry about driving and things of that nature. I also have access to the rail system. Time to add money onto my PASSMO! ^_^

Over the weekend I confirmed that I wanted to take the assignment and received an email bright and early Monday morning stating that I would be contacted by the Yokohama office with the dates for training and arrival, which happened a couple days later (2 days ago). Finally with dates in hand I contacted my friends living in Japan (primarily Tokyo) to let them know I where I would be living and what I would be doing. I'm ridiculously excited. :D I will be teaching 2-3 junior high schools in the area.

Today, I bought my plane ticket. I was told to arrive on the 15th of March and I would have until the 20th to find an apartment. Of course Interac will be helping me with all of this (including paying for the hotel I will be staying in), which is incredibly awesome. I'm flying Air Canada (for the 1st time! WOOH!) from Houston to Toronto to Narita. I will have my training in Yokohama from the 21st- 25th. I'm hoping that I will have internet in my apartment once I move in, but that may or may not happen.

For now, I am working on getting everything I will possibly need to live in Japan for a year together. I'm thinking about starting to throw some things in a suitcase (that I won't need to be using here for the next month) just to figure out space and things I might be forgetting. As of right now I also don't know the status of my COE or Visa. I haven't been informed yet, but I'm not too concerned.

And because I don't want this entry to be too boring, here are some pictures of Yokohama I took last time I was there in the summer of 2009.

PS: I never finished reading the etiquette book, but I did read all of Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice and am 1/2 way through Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. I will finish reading the etiquette book soon though and review it in an upcoming blog.