Dear Friends,

“Make a decision and make the decision right.” – Abraham-Hicks

Last week, something clicked while listening to a lecture on abundance, and I felt that my biggest desire, an apartment, could be mine now. For some months, I’ve been putting off moving into my own place by saying that I need to save more– save for moving and all the fees, save for furniture for an unfurnished apartment, and save for any miscellaneous things that should arise. Yet, the months stretched on and the money in my bank account never seemed to be enough, enough for all that I thought I needed to move.

Then, finally, these sentences, that I’ve heard many times before, registered, “Make a decision, and make your decision right.” It finally hit me that waiting wasn’t amounting to anything but waiting, and whatever decision I made could be the right decision. So, I embraced the fact that I “know what I want,” and stepped into the sphere of making it happen.

Ok, stay with me… When I decided that I would get what I want, that I could make it happen, the universe presented it all to me. I found an apartment on www.gaijinpot.com that seemed to be perfect. The building was only three doors down from my current home in Suitengu, which is in a super neighborhood (convenience stores, the subway, and numerous eateries are only minutes away), and the apartment was newly renovated, on the seventh floor, with a nice balcony. I wanted it. However, the apartment fell through, because the owner chose someone else from the applications that were submitted. I told that agent, a really great guy named Yuji, that I wasn’t too disappointed, because something better would come.

About two weeks ago, a new woman started working at my job. We got on the subject of apartments and I told her that I was in the process of apartment hunting, and two weeks away from sleeping at our workplace. I told her that I’d already submitted my move out notice, without finding an apartment, and as the days sped away, the thoughts of finding a place were pressing, since our break room couches aren’t so comfortable. She related that after moving to Japan from Europe, she found a fantastic real estate agent at Hikari Home, and that she’d email me the info. That night, she sent me the agent Kaz‘s info.

Last week, I met with Kaz in Azabu-Juban (where it took me an hour to bike to– got lost); he showed me a number of places in the neighborhoods that I requested (Ningyocho, Suitengumae, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi and Hacchobori), and in a matter of minutes, we narrowed the list down to six contenders. He immediately called the six owners, and of the six, only two owners were willing to rent to foreigners. (After the 2011 earthquake, many foreigners packed up and left their apartments without paying rent, which left a bad taste in the mouths of many landlords. Some just don’t want to rent to foreigners.) Of the two, we went to visit one in Nihonbashi, in my price range, in a somewhat new building, and on foot, five minutes from my job. I told Kaz that I wasn’t interested in seeing the second place, that I wanted this place, and if the owner didn’t want to rent to me, he should bribe him. (Ha! I was really feeling abundant last week.)

That tiny studio apartment in Nihonbashi, in my heart and mind, was mine. Kaz emailed me that night to inform me that, indeed, the apartment would be mine as the owner had no issues with renting to foreigners. Unless, you’re planning to move to Tokyo at some point, it’s not for me to scare you with move-in cost estimates, but I would like to show you the fees you’d need to pay if you do:

monthly rent
management fee
deposit
key money
guarantor fee
agency fee ( 1 month + consumption tax )
fire insurance ( 2 years )
key changing money

* Key money is a month’s rent that you’ll never get back. It’s a thank you to the owner for allowing you to live in his/her place.

By October 1, I will be living in my new place in Nihonbashi!

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“I live in a universe that has a basis of well-being. It’s time that I start proving that to myself.” – Abraham-Hicks

1) I taught in Otemachi tonight and ran into DS (a friend from orientation). He walked with me to Ningyocho to pick up my bike (had to leave Lucy there, because of the rain), and we got on the subject of my new apartment. He warmed my heart, and he didn’t even know it, by saying, “I’m trying to think of what I can give you for your new place, even though I don’t have much.” His words were enough of a gift.

He also shared that he’s planning to take a mini group trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam. If I manage to save enough money by the end of January, I’d love to piggyback on that trip.

2) Since, I was in the neighborhood of Ningyocho and hungry as heck, you all know I had to get a bite at Komatsuya. I feel that place is my Cheers, and I was Norm walking into the bar. Everyone greeted me enthusiastically with smiles and thumbs up. I sat at the counter, and immediately, the very happy Ym, a stranger beside me, asked the waitress for an extra plate and gave me some of his just delivered beef stew and mashed potatoes. Delicious. I ordered lamb chops, which also came with mashed potatoes, and the awesome waitress N brought me a plate of sliced French bread, because I said I was hungry (and after all, it is my Cheers). It’s great to feel like a part of a neighborhood. (Find yourself a place, your own Cheers, whether it be a restaurant, a bar, a store, whatever, but find yourself a place that when you enter, everyone’s happy to see you, and when you leave, everyone walks you to the door to wish you well.)

3) Speaking of being part of a neighborhood, my visa has been renewed. I’m now legally permitted to stay in Japan for five more years. When I told my co-worker S that I was going to be in Tokyo for awhile, he said, “People like you don’t usually stay long.” I never got a chance to find out what he meant by “people like you.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdNX0dDMXlQ]

Until next time,

Val