Ok, so this is my first time going to Japan for more than 3 weeks at a time. I have stayed at hotels and once with a host family. ¨
But this time I'm going to live in a shared house!
There are some thing you have to consider before taking the final desicion:
1. Can you live with complete strangers over a longer period of time?
2. How long are you going to stay?
3. Are you able to find a place in time?
4. Are you going to cook your own food or eat out?
5. Do you have a "plan B" if you're not satisfied with the house/people?
6. Is it enough space?
1. This is maybe the most crucial question. Are you capable with living with strangers? How do you deal with disagreements? Rude people? Having to share bath, kitchen and livingroom? Many houses are a mix between the sexes, what do you think about that? What about other residents who are late up at night?
2. Money wise, is it the best alternative if you're staying for a short period of time? Are you doing it for the experience? Are you doing it for learning? (language and social skills)
3. This was something that I didn't think about. I though it was like booking a hotelroom, but it is not. At Borderless Houses you're supposed to move in (no later than)15 days after making a reservation. What happened to me was that someone "took" the room before me, because that person could move inn faster than me. I made a reservation almost a month before the move in-date, but because I didn't want to pay rent for two weeks before moving in I waited, and hoped it would still be available. I'm not sure if this is the case for every shared house.
4. This is also about money, but also about the atmosphere in the house. Do you know how to cook? Are you able to go grocery shopping? Will you like what others make in the kitchen? If you're going to eat out for every meal, maybe you should book a cheap hotel instead? Making food with the other people in the house is a very social thing to do. How will it be if you leave for every meal?
5. What do you do if everything goes wrong and you do not want to live in the house anymore? Do you have a backup-plan? It can either be that the house/room is not up your standars, or it can be the
residents that couses problems. What do you do?
6. If you have your own room this may not be as important. But either way, you're sharing a house with many others. Can you deal with it everyday? You can of course go other places, but "home" will still be that house. Will it be OK? Or will it be too much? Will you feel that someone at any giving time is to close? Will you be able to relax?
There are many different places online you can check out, like "Borderless Houses", "XROSS HOUSE" and "Sakura-House". Remember: I have yet to move into a shared house, so I do not recommend anything yet! But I'm having a skype conversation with Borderless Houses tomorrow.
This is what you need to remember!
1) What kind of room do you want?
2) What kind of restrictions are there?
3) When are you able to book/move in?
4) Are the time limits?
1) With a shared house the alternatives are: private room, semi-private room, shared room and dormitory. Ranked most expensive to least expensive. If you're staying for a long time I think it's important to have your own room. That way you have your own "zone" when you need time for yourself. A semi-private room have a partition with an opening from the ceiling. A shared room is often a room for 2-3 people. A dormitory is a larger room for 4-8, mainly with bunkbeds.
2) Some rooms are only for Japanese people! And some rooms or floors are dedicated to only girls or boys. There are strict rules about smoking, having pets, visitors and sleepovers. Chech this out before booking!
3) As I said: on some sites you have to move in 15 days after booking. Chech out how the rules are! A different thing is that the owner/leader of the shared house will most likely want a skype conversation with you before processing your booking. So be prepared for that! They will talk about the house/room, rules, and other things you need to know before moving in, giving you a contract etc. I'm having mine tomorrow!
4) In some cases you can minimum stay for a month, or even 6 months! Other places it is the opposite, you can maximum stay there for one month. Chech this out on the basis of your stay!
I have booked a private room at the Omori House, south of Shinagawa.