Now that I am settled in my new home, I usually reflect on the process that I went through in order to get my apartment. Initially, I was so worried because I did not have enough money and also because I am a gaijin (foreigner). I was told that it is not easy for gaijins to get an apartment. It gets even worse for gaijins who are family men. However, after meeting Mizunuma-san at the Able office in Chuo-Rinkan, all my fears were dispelled because she was gaijin-friendly and helped me regardless of the fact that I am married and have two kids.
Prior to stepping my feet in the Able office in Chuo-Rinkan, I knew only a few Japanese words associated with apartments such as reikin (れいきん[礼金]) – key money, hikkoshi (ひっこし[引っ越し]) – changing residence , and yachin (やちん[家賃]) – rent. After going through the apartment search exercise, I have learnt the following words:
- fudosan (ふどうさん[不動産]) – real estate
- ooyasan (おおやさん[大家さん]) – landlord
- tesuryo (てすうりょう[手数料]) – handling charge or commission: This is the money that you pay the real estate (fudosan) for helping you to find the apato.
- shikikin (しききん[敷金]) – security deposit: This is the money that you pay the ooyasan (landlord) as a deposit.
- hoken (ほけん [保険]) – insurance
- hoshonin (ほしょうにん[保証人]) – guarantor or bondsman
In Japan, it is very easy to learn Japanese. The only thing that still scares me is the KANJI! Otherwise, shaberu koto ga dekimasuyo (I can converse in Japanese)!