So, this was probably a long time coming, but I realize that I never really talked about where I am living in Tokyo, and I know that personally that was one of the things I was most concerned about when deciding to study abroad. I remember concerns running through my head that were along the lines of, “What do I need to bring? What will they supply? How far is it from the school? Is it near places where I can buy things? What about laundry? I can’t live without internet!!”
Please, allow me to allay your fears. Should you choose to live in the women’s dorm (Kitazono), they supply all your linens and bedding, so you don’t need to worry about bringing sheets or a pillow, but if you would rather get your own, it is also within walking distance to the supermarket and 100 yen store which is on the way to the train station which takes you to school! Laundry only costs 200 yen per load, 100 for the washing machine and another 100 for the dryer. And obviously, the most important thing for people in this generation, yes there is internet! It is best to bring your own Ethernet cable because the wall sockets are a bit spaced out so your laptop might be too far in position to be hooked up to the Ethernet socket. The lobby downstairs also provides you with a wifi-router if you give a 1000 yen deposit which would be returned once the router is. From what I hear, the guys at the men’s dorm are even luckier because they also have TVs in their room and a microwave.
To get a better grasp of the layout and dynamics of living at the women’s dorm, imagine walking through the automated sliding glass doors. The staff in the lobby greet you with “Okaerinasai” in which the response is “Tadaima.” Welcome home and I’m home. You walk up to the board to flip your name printed on a plastic rectangle over to indicate you are home, first. Then you turn right, and walking down the hallway towards the elevators, packages for the residents are piled against the wall and mailboxes lined against both ends. Then, as you ride up to your floor and unlock your room, taking off your shoes in the equivalent of a genkan.
To one side are shelves to store things and a mini fridge while the other is a kitchenette complete with sink, hot plate, plates, and basic cooking and eating utensils. Further in, the wood floors shift to carpeting and right before the transition, on one side is your bathroom which is raised slightly. You find the sink is connected to the shower which is doubled up as a bath, too, and can adjust the temperature using the sink’s knobs and twisting the knob to redirect the water flow.
As for the rest of the room, a desk and chair are pressed up against the double sliding glass doors that lead to the balcony, and the bed and shelves take up the expanse of one whole wall.
Taking in a preliminary sweep of everything, you grab your sorted trash: burnables, non-burnables, and plastic bottles with caps and plastic lining removed and head down stairs again. Flipping your name over once more to indicate your leaving, the staff calls out “Itterasshai.” Please go and come back. “Ittekimasu,” you’ll answer in return. I’ll go and come back.
You walk out towards an open smaller building with large waist-high dumpsters, dropping off the non-burnables in the aqua one, burnables in yellow, and the bottles, caps, and linings in their respective open-air small bins. That being finished, you head off towards the station, past the wide-open gates that perpetually become further closed as it inches towards the 11PM closing time.