Lauren In Tokyo

Monday, September 13, 2004

Thinking of moving

I mentioned before that I lived in a large apartment in the suburbs of Tokyo. Unlike most Japanese living in this area, the square footage (or square meterage as they measure it here) is almost three times the size of a typical apartment in Tokyo for about the same amount of money. Though the building is old, it was renovated before we moved in so there were some very nice amenities that made our decision to live there easy.

We live on the fourth floor of a four-story building. The law in Japan mandates elevators for buildings of five or more floors. Less monetarily-endowed developers stop construction at three or four floors to avoid the cost of installing an elevator, and the richer developers build 8 or 10 story buildings so as to not waste money on a smaller elevatored apartment. To reach our apartment, we climb up four flights of stairs.

However, my wife and I plan on having a baby one of these days and that fourth floor is looking less and less appealing. She balks at the idea of climbing those steps with the extra weight of a kid inside her. And I balk at the idea of having to hear about that every day.

So we have started thinking about moving. We don't want to move far because our location is actually very convenient. Two shopping malls are within walking distance, three train lines are nearby, the highway interchange is less than a minute away by car, and on nice days we can walk to the Edo river and stroll along its banks. Except that this place is on the fourth floor, it would be ideal.

Across the street from our apartment a smaller apartment is just finishing up construction. It stands at three floors and the top floor seems to have a very large apartment made up of two or three standard apartments joined together. Of course, as it does not have five floors, it does not include an elevator. However, the three floors that it does have seem to be shorter than our current apartment's third story.

We took a tour and it looks really nice. The only problem is that the room that we saw was tiny. It couldn't have been more than 15 or 18 square meters. This was just a studio apartment, so for a single person it probably would have been sufficient, but it makes me wary of the larger apartment units. Except for the extra-large unit on the third floor, all the rooms seem relatively small. They would all definitely be a step down in size from our current accomodations.

Still, the location is great. It is even closer to our parking space than our current apartment is. It is brand new with very nice kitchen and bathroom appliances. And the climb to the third floor is going to be a lot easier than the fourth floor.

The apartment goes on the market in less than two weeks. I think we'd better start thinking seriously if we want to take it or not.

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