Monthly Archive: January 2018

House Tour!

It’s time to have a little house tour! Since April I’ve been living in this nice little house in an outer suburb of Tokyo. While it’s a fair bit smaller than the house I grew up in, it’s many times the size of the little apartment I lived in when I first came to Japan and it feels just about the perfect size for me! You just about see my little hyousatsu (house nameplate) on the left next to the post box.

This is the hallway, which as you can probably see is long and thin! It used to end in a washbasin, which was a bit bizarre, so I put in the mirrored door at the end.

A long corridor means a lot of spaces for pictures. I have lots now, but need more! Also, this sliding door leading to the living room is a nice one.

This is the main part of the living room, where my mail-order sofa is set up in front of the TV.

Here’s the TV, and some calligraphy from Fo Guang Shan monastery in Taiwan. Also a froggy humidifier than generally lives in the piano room but is in this room for winter. Bit cutesy for the room’s mood but useful for making the air less dry!

In the corner are two fish tanks for my axolotls. They get fancy lighting and lots of fans to keep them cool in summer.

Other fish tanks are on chests of draws next to the sofa. Normally the top one is in the piano room, but in winter I’ve got it and a couple of other tanks in the living room so I don’t have to keep two rooms heated 24/7.

And below the axies, my turtles live. One day when they’re bigger they’ll need a much bigger tank!

Looking the other way, there’s a desk with two more tanks that don’t live here, and a view to the next room – which is probably the nicest one!

This is my ‘Japanese room’, the least cluttered, most relaxing space. You can see the ‘Toko no Ma’ in the background, with calligraphy my parents gave me as a gift when I moved to Japan. At the centre, a traditional kotatsu, which I don’t put into storage in summer. I just like the way it looks!

In the corner is a nice go-ban, a board for playing go. I can play, but I’m very weak because I never really had anyone to play with (The Cambridge go club were friendly but rather elitist, so there was no real place for anyone between total beginner getting an introduction and shodan). But if anyone wants to play I can, and it just looks nice.

On the other side of the house is the kitchen. It’s the most dated part of the house and nothing special, but after having the tiniest little kitchenette in my Shinjuku apartment, having a big fridge and space to cook is bliss!

Space to cook…and a nice big fridge. Can’t beat it after having one that fit, like, a single six-pack. With no freezer.

Off the kitchen is the piano room, or music room. For obvious reasons – it has a piano in it! It needs a service but I asked for it to be left in the house when I moved in, and the previous owner was probably happy to oblige given what a pain it would be to get rid of.

Opposite the piano are some more tanks for frogs. These ones are currently empty, though, as everyone is in the other room for winter.

On the other side of the kitchen is the bathroom. Might not look it here but it’s quite modern. It has lots of buttons that talk to you, which was all a bit confusing at first!

Attached to the bathroom is this toilet. Nice dark wood…but more importantly, it’s a Pokémon toilet!

A closer view of the mirrored door at the end, with the kanji ‘kokoro’, meaning ‘heart’ or, figuratively, ‘soul’ above.

The final downstairs room is my study. It’s definitely not minimalist! It’s my private little space so it’s also where I let my geekiness flow freely. And it is very, very geeky.

The top of my drawers is covered with figures. A LOT of them. So many the collection is more or less complete and I have to try not to get any more. Do you recognise any?

You may have also noticed a large figure. In fact, this is my BJD, Oliver. Probably the biggest indulgence I got when I made a lot of money from cryptocurrencies last year, along with my gaming laptop. Isn’t he pretty and just a little spooky?

There’s also a whole shelf for Kagamines. Almost all Lens, but there’s one wee tiny Rin there as well.

Another couple of shelves have more impressive figures or characters I particularly like. There are also Sora figurines all around the room, on the speakers from the nice surround system I have here.

This is my sorta artsy cabinet. Very fashionable, you know. Actually fashioned out of old crappy cabinets we had but I didn’t want to waste. Some arty things, flowers, and then important things for me: my books, my band’s CD, the DVD of the music video I did for SMAP, some of the nicer figurine boxes, and then two figures that are large but delicate and honestly not my favourites ever, but pretty good for feeling these spaces.

Finally for this room, my wall of anime cels. I intend to get some more of these when I have money to spare. For now, two titles are represented: the old Nippon Animation version of HunterxHunter, and Psychic Force, which (via its game intro) got me into anime in the first place. They don’t make these any more, as the process is digital, so I should really get more while I can. I plan to get cels from Cardcaptor Sakura, Evangelion and Ghibli movies when I can.

Narrow corridor leads to narrow stairs! These are a tad steep but hey, it allows for bigger rooms. Or at least, bigger closets. Japanese closets are HUGE.

You could no doubt see that there’s a big picture of London up there. It doesn’t come across in pictures how HUGE this thing is. It’s massive! I got it as a gift from someone who couldn’t have it in their home, and I’m happy I took it. It’s not only striking, it reminds me of home.

Here’s my bedroom! Nice double bed, and not that much room for anything else, though with drawers and wardrobes it looks tighter than it is. I’ll probably eventually replace the tatami but there’s nothing wrong with it!

From my bed, you can see my projector screen. Again, I hooked up speakers around the room. Soft toys of owls and axolotls look down from either side. It’s a nice place to watch movies, though someone broke one of the support brackets so the screen is slightly wonky, and in future I’ll probably splash out on a bigger one anyway.

The upstairs toilet has a bunch of random mini figures, but it’s also a Japanese squirty toilet! Lots of strange buttons to try pressing.

The spare bedroom has two beds. Sometimes people will want to move them apart, and sometimes want them together I’m sure. This room is probably the most random. You’ve probably noticed the wallpapering in the house is a bit…patchy. I did it myself using the cheapest possible materials, and when summer turned to winter, a lot of the papering shrunk. And now a lot of it looks a bit…off. One day I’ll pay professionals to do it.

Here in the other corner you can see the different wallpapers, haha. Here in the other corner you can see the different wallpapers, haha. And that’s it for the interior!

Outside, the garden is still a work-in-progress. It was just mud when I first arrived, so the first step was to get it all green. There were a few pretty flowers during summer, but they’ve gone now. I’ve planted some little trees I hope grow well, but it’s still on the plain and weed-ridden side.

Plus the pond I dug, well, I thought the blue would sort of naturally get covered over by dirt and mud after the rain. But it hasn’t. When it’s warm enough I’ll probably cover it in mud. Fishies are happy though.

The only nice blooms right now, some pleasant winter roses.

Upstairs, I have a nice large balcony, accessible from both bedrooms. It doesn’t have much on it just now, but in future I might put some nicer decking or something on it. Some potted shrubs and such.

But for now, the cool thing is the two hammocks I set up! A very nice place to dangle and enjoy cold drinks in the summer.