Friday, February 27, 2009


I was hibernating under my blanket, unwilling to open my eyes to leave the warm comfy lair. Then i receive a SMS from Ahmet.

"It's snowing outside!"

WUAH!!!! The speed I jump out of my bed, Jet Lee also not as good kung fu as I am!



How to rent an apartment for gaijin student in Japan.

Being a gaijin (外人) in Japan, one of the most inconvenient thing is to find and rent a house in Japan. Here's my personal experience.

First of all, MONEY!
In Japan, renting a house is like sucking out all your life saving. Normally, any house owner in Japan would require you to pay

敷金 - shikikin : Deposit Money
礼金 - reikin : Gift Money

Minimum 1 month rent each. Normally 1 month 2 months or 2 months 1 month or 2 months 2 months. I asked my Japanese lab mate once, they think it's strange if owner doesnt collect shikikin and reikin, they think something hanky-panky happened to the house if nil is collected. Well, for gaijin like me, I dont mind if I could find a place without a need of paying those. :)

Except reikin shikikin, prepare one month rent agency money, key money, insurance money, cleanning money and one month pre-rental.

Personal touch :
I found a house from an agency call Able. Pronounce E-i-bu-ru. エイブル.

A mansion cost 67k yen rent monthly and 5kyen management fees.

Mansion Management Fees: 5k yen
Reikin: 67k yen
Shikikin: 67k yen
Pre rental: Nil. (After showing my difficult face on the final sum he made, the agent made a call again and finally agree to waive this fee)
Agency Money: 35.175k yen (Able collects 52.5% rent)
Cleanning money: 15k yen
Key Money: 15k yen
Insurance: 9k yen (Bought from school, much cheaper, Able's insurance cost 20k yen).

A whoppy 210k yen!! (RM 7875 with RM3.75 to 100yen currency rate).

It's sometimes negotiable, just bring your "I am poor student with no money face" with you along to the agency.

Then, location, location, location
Anywhere inside Tokyo, cost fortune! Do a lot of survey from the internet, normally all the properties are listed online.

It's also expensive if:
House is near to the station.
Final stop of a station.
Train station has more than one line.
Express train that stop at that station.

Personal Touch:
My university is Tokyo Institute of Technology Oookayama campus in Meguro-ku, Tokyo. So, I do not mind a little bit of travel to Kanagawa-ken (which is out of Tokyo) along Meguro train line as long as I do not need to change train.

It certainly require you to speak Japanese or know Kanji (漢字). Bring along Japanese friend with you if you are not sure.

After you decided on a property, go to the agency listed online. Normally, that agency specialize only in that local area.

Firstly, once you enter the shop, they will ask you to fill up forms, name, address, personal info. Then, comes the main part, they will ask you what kind of houses you are looking for.

1) Budget (rent + management fees).
2) Along which train line.
3) A little bit of your background.
4) When do you need to move.
5) How far away from train station is tolerable.
6) Desire condition.
For me, I wanted western style room, indoor washing machine place, 2nd floor and above, 1R, 1K or 1DK.
(1R = 1 Room - room and kitchen together,
1K = 1 Kitchen - Kitchen and room seperated,
1DK = 1 Dining Kitchen - with dining room)

Normally other conditions includes, toilet and bath together or separate? (Separate cost higher), bicycle parking? facing which direction? (South cost higher).

Then comes the crucial part, they will scramble along all their available properties, and MADE PHONE CALLS. The conversation normally goes like this,

" Hi, this is Koyama from Able, I am planning to introduce this property to a customer and wonder is it still available?"

" *short pause - Checking* Yes, still available, go ahead!"

"However, the customer now is international student, I am wondering is it still okay."

*Long hesitation*
(This is indeed the most annoying part, it's more difficult than a job interview. Questions like, which university? can they speak Japanese? How do they receive their income? Which country? Malaysia? Nope, terrorist!!! *click......* It usually takes more than 2 calls to complete the inquiries.)

Then, they will show you the "O-Kei" (okay) properties. Look through each property carefully, Be very sure what you want, what you didnt like for example too expensive, too small, too far, before asking to see the house.

Field Trip
After you decided you kidda like those few houses they introduce, ask to see the houses.

Firstly to notice is the neighborhood. As Japan is considerably safe country, it shouldn't be causing too much problem. Also, is it quiet enough, peaceful? near to the traffic is usually annoying. Then inside the house, is it bright enough? enough sunlight? is there any blocking view from your balcony or front door?

Back to the Agency
Think! think! reconsider all the available choices. Normally the agent would push to close the deal with you. You could reject them politely and say you needed more time to think. It took me 2 full weeks, various field trip, to finally found a house. Stressful but satisfying experience.

Once decided on a house, it's all legal stuff, contracts, insurance, foreigners would need guarantor, consult your university on this matter. You would need to have alien card, 印鑑 inkan (name ink) when you are making your payment.

It's definitely not an easy task to find a house you like, mainly due to the language barrier and the sky high cost. My lab mate was being really helpful in helping me to find a house. Especially my tutor who even offer his help to go to the agency together. However, I was thinking this tedious stuff would be better not to bother others. huhuhu!! I will be moving starting coming Saturday, 4 days for me to slowly move my stuff. and slowly furnish my new home, should be fun. :)

So any friends of mine who are reading this, you will know what I want if you receive my phone calls from Saturday onwards! Muahahah!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Snowman finally appeared in Tokyo's weather forecast! muahahah!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


保険 = Hoken
Meaning: Insurance

保険人 = Hoken Lang
Hokkien people.

*保険人 doesnt make sense in Japanese actually. *

Thursday, February 19, 2009

World Flags

Can you remember those days during primary school, in art classes, one of the assignment is definitely to draw your country flag.

I sucks big time in art, drawing. I cant even draw a straight line.

So!!! Drawing Malaysia flag, the biggest problem for me was the 14 point star! I could never never ever get it symmetry!

Flag of Malaysia

Why not Malaysia flag as simple as Japan Flag? I am sure the Japanese school children love art classes.

"Students, today we drawing flag!"

5 mins later.


Flag of Japan

But then, later, enter university, met some friends from Penang. Then, my turn to revenge. To laugh at them for having such a difficult state flag to draw.

I am sure they are very expert in drawing coconut tree or pinang tree. Maybe students from Penang excel in drawing "Picnic by the beach" during art class.

Flag of Penang, Malaysia

Then, Ahmet told me during his art class, his red colour crayon all gone. One box of brand new crayon for art class, all other colours untouched, except red.

Flag of Turkey

But still, I cant imagine little children from Bhutan, Cambodia or Wales during their art class.

Flag of Bhutan

Flag of Cambodia

Flag of Wales


Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

For the couples

A Love Shape Strawberry.

For the Singles

Love SUCKS! Butt shape strawberry!

Happy Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter bear bear biscuit

Obviously bear bear from bear bear biscuit doesnt live in Tokyo. Because if so, this picture doesnt make sense. IT DIDNT SNOW, NOT EVEN ONCE IN TOKYO! It was freaking cold and yet it doesnt has the decency to even snow!! **Cold and pissed off**

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This is a really belated post. Happened once upon a time when Kim Ean was here. (1 month ago).

We went Takayama and Shirakawago. It's listed as the world heritage for their unique architecture.

It seems that during winter, the snow pile up so high, they need their houses to be 3 storeys farmhouse. If snow covered the first floor, they use they 2nd floor window as door and so on. The roof are built so that snow would not pile up on the roof causing collapse.

Shirakawago Village view from Shiroyama Viewpoint.

This was taken inside one of the farmhouse in Gassho-zukuri Minkaen, most of the farmhouses has been relocated to this open-air musuem to prevent them from destruction.

It snowed heavily that previous night. The next morning, we woke up as happy children, kicking and playing the snow at each other on the street at the risk of being honk by vehicles to our way to the bus station back to Shinjuku.

The imperial palace is only open to public twice a year. Which is on the Emperor's birthday, 23rd December, and during the new year celebration 2nd January.

It's kidda impossible to walk around the palace, they just lead you to an open space where Emperor Akihito would addressed the crowds for 5 mins, then you will get washed out the palace by the amount of people in the crowds. Some granny was so pissed off, stomping out the waiting crowds, screaming that she rather stay at home and watched the TV. Granny, I really felt you that time.

Third from left, Crown Princess Masako, Crown Prince Naruhito, The Emperor, Empress Michiko, Prince Akishino, Princess Kiko.

So, we rather amused ourselves by taking pictures with Keihin Tohoku train in Shimbashi.

That night, we invited Kelly to come over my place for dinner. Somehow, it turned out that Kelly was in the kitchen cooking...

The one who was suppose to be in the kitchen was not in the kitchen......

tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk.....

My contribution was the steam egg, 3in1 Thai green curry and frying the chicken marinated with oyster sauce.

But what was after the dinner that were awesome! Kelly made this fantasticly delicious dessert, match with Bailey and redwine that Ahmet brought, 最高!!

Kim Ean ended her Japan trip with hot spring in Odaiba Oedo Onsen 大江戸温泉 with my Japanese foster parents, Kaneko-san and Kelly. It was so cool that onsen because you do not need to bring anything except your wallet to the bath, from comb, toothbrush to all kind of lotions are provided. Admission after 6pm is cheaper, apply for membership, first timer cost 1700¥. Consequent visit entitled 10% off.

I cut my hair yesterday. No more cheapskate looking half dyed hair.

I have bangs and kidda layered bob hair, dark brown. Pictures will be uploaded once I have a good one to show off. :)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Life After Exam.

Life after exam, it's very mind-bobbling. Cause all I could think of towards the end of my evening, is to decide which movie to watch. Too many movies, just too little time. *head-shaking in mild despair*

The Reader

If you are a fan of Kate Winslet's boobs, this is definitely a movie for you. She is showing off her body throughout the whole movie. Story begins with her having sexual affairs with a 15 year old boy, it turns out that Kate Winslet was one of the Nazi's guard during World War II, so after she suddenly disappeared after summer, she reappeared being prosecuted on court for murdering 300 Jewish women. That boy once upon a time, witness the court case as a law student, never stop loving her until the day he grew old and she died.

Movie starts with intense love scenes. Bombard you scene after scene like terrorist attack on the screen. I somehow doubted I was watching the "wrong-type-of-movie". Love and romance was never my cup of tea. This movie doesnt change my mind.


There's just no reason to hate or envy Angelina Jolie with her sexy lips. Her acting truimph it all. She as an ordinary working mum, played a strict but loving mom, found her son gone missing after a long day at work. Story based on a true story. Her son gone missing and corrupted police force are too occupied being corrupted. I would not include spoilers here. Wonderful twist in the movie, not to be missed movie.

Angelina Jolie was suppose to be a lady, a mom in the 1920's era. Soft-spoken and Oh-th0se-amazing-hats-she-wearing and to tolerate the male chauvinism. However, you can see a little bit of Girl Interrupted Angelia Jolie when she was thrown into the psychiatric ward and also that wee bit of Tomb Raider in the way she walks confidently in that movie. This gives the balance of being too goodie-too-shoes. It's no wonder the Oscar's nomination for best actress.


A documentary about Christianity, Jewish, Islam, Catholics, Mormon and Sciencetology by Bill Maher. The message of this movie was to encourage people to have doubts towards what they are believing. It's hilarious how he documented and presented the whole story. Like sarcasticly showing dinosaur in Flintstone to prove man and dinosaur coexisted thus no evolution of human from ape, man and animal were created within the 7 days! He made a lot of assumptions for example "What if Jack and the Beansprout is religion and Adam and Eve or Jonah living in the big fish for 3 days or Virgin birth are fairytales?" He agitated most of the people he asked.


On the way, Frost/Nixon, Grand Tarino, Hunger, Milk...

Too many movies... too little time... *more head-shaking with fierce despair*

Sunday, February 08, 2009


I havent have the time to do CNY decorations. So here is the replacement.

Tiny magnets of jumping frogs and swimming athletes with floats on my lab's working desk.

I also brought the spongebob calender to my lab. I hope professors wont ask me to grow up and start behaving like an adult!! *shy*

Although temperature maintained around 11degree throughout the day yesterday, it was sunny and perfect for strolling!

I was brought to a pregnant slim building in Meguro. See the red colour buldge. It's a driving school it seems.

Then went to Ueno Park.

The lotus flowers all decided that they wanna take a nap for the winter. So they all went to sleep.

But some flowers were cheated by the sunny day and assumed spring has arrived. They cant wait to sprout out to only realised that it's still winter. (Also maybe because of global warming?)

The Japanese has a way for the decorations on the floor, which I find it so adorable! The next time you visit Japan, do not forget to look down and see the piece of art you are stepping all over it.

"What are you staring at?" Grumpy green face.

"I love my new nose ring" Mascara-ed Sunflower.

Electrifying Sun.

Groovy grandpa.

Colourful Amoeba

Directory in Takayama.

It did not even snow once in Tokyo so I hope winter over soon already. I have enough of electrostatic shock already everywhere I go, and I have enough of cracking lips and dry skin.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


FINALLY!!!!!!!! After months of preparation!

I still havent calm down from the interview half an hour ago. I was so freaking nervous my bp shot up to 200/200. Me alone facing 7, 8 professors in a long table, including Professor Ando and Professor Nakagawa who I attended his class as a revision. I think it will take a while for me to cool down.

Maybe hot spring will help!

Till the result day, for now, it's YIPPIEEEE!!!!!!!