So you completed your TEFL certificate. Within weeks, you have landed your job and it comes with your own apartment! Now, from what you have heard and/or read, typical Japanese apartments are kind of small. In 99% of the case, that is correct.
The Apartment – TEFL Japan
The typical apartment a company will give you will be 6 to 8 tatami mats. Each mat is about 3 by 6 feet. These will include a 1K (kitchen) or 1DK (dining and kitchen) area. Most large conversational schools will provide you with one of these. If you are one of the lucky ALT living in the countryside, you might get your 1-floor house as I had the great experience of getting. But those are usually not the case, especially if you are working in the bigger cities.
Furniture – TEFL Japan
Of course, the apartments will come furnished with the most basic needs and your company will usually go over that information with you in your contract. A big concern for some people is the lack of a dryer. There is a washer, but dryers are not found in a typical Japanese apartment or even a house for that matter. If a dryer is that important to you, you can go out and buy one yourself.
Again, don’t be fooled by the word furnished because this is not the typical furnished house you would get in Canada or US. They will usually have a futon and covers for sleeping on. Don’t expect a bed. Futons are just as good and probably much better on your back. Give it a try and enjoy the cultural experience.
Sometimes a kotatsu table will serve as your dining table and work space for your books and laptop. For those who do not know, kotatsu is a short table with a futon cover placed between the table top and the legs of the table. You can use this to drape it over your legs when you sit under it on the thin carpet that comes with a kotatsu set.
Appliances – TEFL Japan
There will also be eating utensils, some cookware, a small fridge, air conditioner, heater and most likely a microwave. A lot of it also depends on what the previous teacher left there. I once got a kendo sword and an awesome spice rack that was left behind. Any internet line would have probably been cut off by the previous teacher before leaving but be sure to ask your school or manager to help you get your connection set up.
I’m sure your company will go over everything with you and of course, each apartment is different. Your manager or even co-workers will help you out as long as you ask them. Don’t forget to decorate your space to your liking because it will be your little cozy place for at least a year!