Saturday, August 29, 2009


My guesthouse for this trip is situated west of Central Tokyo, in one of the cities that make up Tokyo Prefecture. It's called 小金井市 (Koganei-shi) and my closest station is 武蔵小金井駅 (Musashi Koganei eki), which is about 20 minutes from Shinjuku on the JR Chuo line (中央線).

The guesthouse is about 10 or 15 minutes walk from the station, down quite a steep hill. It's about 2km/1.5 miles from my University, ICU, which isn't bad as we might be able to walk that. I know some people who go to Uni in Tokyo but live in Yokohama and have to get three trains, taking over two hours twice a day!

The guesthouse is one of many belonging to the company "Tokyo Artistic Guesthouse", which has lots of different locations in the Western suburbs, whereas Sakura House, who I stayed with last time, have houses in the centre.

Here's the front of my guesthouse:

This is the front entrance, where we leave our shoes.
This is one of the colourful vans that we were picked up in on our first day.

My room is smaller than the one I had last time, although that was surprisingly big. This room has plenty of room for me and my stuff, so it'll be fine. It's on the third floor (that's Japanese third, British second floor), which is the boys' floor. The girls' and couples' floor is the second, and then mixed on the first floor.
Each room has internet (you need your own ethernet/LAN cable), TV (terrestrial channels only), fridge and freezer, bed, air conditioner (Y100 for 3 hours, although you can pause it and use the rest of the money later). I'm not sure if all the rooms have these things, but my room also has a chest of drawers, a desk, a shelving unit, balcony (shared with four other rooms) and a wardrobe.
A couple of things worried me when we checked in and signed the contract. They told us that sometimes the internet gets very slow when lots of people are using it. Because of this, it automatically reboots every hour, rendering the tenants internet-less for a few minutes at a time. This has been fine so far, nothing bad has happened! But they did warn us that Skype Video chat might be too much for the over-crowded line, and it might not work. This would be awful because that's how I used to stay in contact with my family! They're on holiday at the moment so I haven't had the chance to check it, but my fingers are tightly crossed!
Something else they told us was that each room is limited to the use of 20 amps at a time, which means that if too many appliances are running at a time, the fuse could blow, and then a manager has to come and sort out the electricity. I'll have to watch what I use!

I'm settling into life here now I think. After three nights I've started to adjust to the different way of living. The showers and kitchen are on the bottom floor so it's much further to go than in Sakura House, where everything was on the same small floor. But I do have a TV and my own fridge!

At first I found the bed really uncomfortable, despite having two futon covers under me, so I went to a department store near the station, Ito Yokado, and bought a rug for Y2,900 to fold under the covers, which has made it much better now, although I'm still considering taking it back and swapping it for a proper futon matress. I need good sleep to function!

Hopefully this place will be a nice home for me over the next year. It's quite empty at the moment, but I'm sure that the rooms will fill up soon!

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