Moving On Out: Living In A Box

I’ve mentioned before that Dan and I live in a box in Tokyo. My family and friends know this, however it still seems to surprise them when I show them around our place or describe it. I knew we would be living it low-key in Tokyo as we had come from a four room apartment with a spare bedroom, to a 13 squared metres box. Don’t confuse the maths now, that is not 13 metres each wall, that is 13 squared metres…

As you step inside our apartment, you’ll be struck by the sink wide enough for only one hand to fit in when washing up (unless you have retractable elbows) immediatly on your left. Above the sink sits two small cupboards, without doors, for our crockery. Next to this sits the electric hob. It’s always nice when electric appliances are paired with immediate access to water.

Move right across to the fridge-freezer combo, with some storage on top and some helpful stickers from our rental agency saying “FRIDGE” and “FREEZER” in case we couldn’t work that out. I mean, if we couldn’t work that out should they really be renting to us…?! Then move across an inch or so and you’ll see our slimline wardrobe. Fit for 20 hanging items with some slight inside space to put everything else we own. Next up is the bathroom, and this is where the true luxery of this space  comes into its own…the bathroom. We have a toilet, sink and half-size bath tub with overhead shower. This may not sound like much but consider that our first apartment in Tokyo (yes this is our second…) had no bath and only one sink…the kitchen sink. So that separate space to brush our teeth really gets me excited.

Step out of the luxurious bathroom space and you’ll see a window with a desk underneath. It’s a small desk but does the job of holding almost all of our stuff. Slide along a step to right and you’ll bump into the single bed / sofa depending on when you come to visit. A single bed I hear you query? But you are in a double couple! It’s true. Every day Dan has to bring out his bed from its lucrative hiding space of under my bed / the sofa. In order to maximise our comfort of living this way but erode our relationship with our neighbours, we opted for the blow up bed as bed number two. So each evening our tiny box will be filled with the ear shattering sound of a bed motor, as we put together  our evening space.

Move past the nightmare bed / sofa situation and you come across the small shelving unit which houses the microwave, toaster, and rice cooker. This sits next to our bins, shoes, laundry station. I added in station to make it sound like it was thought out, rather than just being the only other space left that isn’t in the centre of our home. And there you have it! That is what we current live in. However it is not for much longer…as in two days time we are moving up in the world to a new apartment. Oh yes, this one will offer us a wholesome 17 squared metres. Winning at life? I think so!

It’s true that the new place costs more and is currently opposit a building site (double glazing on windows isn’t a thing here so that building site may as well be in our apartment). It still doesn’t have a double bed and, let’s face it, is still really small. However, it will not have our ‘hacking his lungs out all day smoker / hanging his savage (very used) bath mat outside our door’ neighbour we currently endure. Sure, the walls will still be paper thin but the beauty of our new space it the person next door is with the same rental company as us, so we will be able to unleash the wrath of our shared contract should they decide to watch / partake in an adult movies at 1am. So in some very important ways, this move is us winning at life.

Why do we chose to live like this? Well, it is the reality of life in Tokyo unless you are filthy rich (see my blog to come on volunteering in Tokyo for some hints about that…) It also means we get to continue living and working here and really the only alternatives with our budget are shared houses…so at least in our case we have our own space! Plus, we’re still (kind of) young and (kind of) not sick and so, why the hell not? (Please, please don’t list any reasons why not on the comments…) Believe it or not there are also some benefits to homes this small:

1. Cleaning is a breeze. Not like that dust bucket we lived in in Shimonoseki.

2. Heating / cooling is easy peasy! One space = one heater. Job done.

3. Dan is always there. When I turn around he is literally always there in my face. When I go to the loo I know he is just 30 cm away. It’s lovely.

4. I never have to walk more than three steps to get anything. Sometimes I can just reach out from the bed / sofa.

5. It’s in Tokyo…so I never feel alone as I can hear so many people at all times. *Note, this is not the same as never being lonely*

So this is the life I we currently live. It was / is a temporary life, however that is about to change and not just because of our move in two days time…news to come on that soon! I jest about the not-so-great things, but all in all were still very happy living like this and on the days we don’t want to kill each other, we are happier than ever!

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