May 21st, 2012

Just got finished viewing the eclipse here. People out on the street and all that. Got to see it through a filtered lens, and while the live view is something you should see, it’s still–ironically–way better on TV.

What was neat, though, was the quality of light–something which you can’t really photograph well. It got darker, but not the way it does with coldness. Kind of a muted shade, but still with direct sunlight. Spooky, and cool.

Categories: Focus on Japan 2012 Tags: by
  1. Troy
    May 21st, 2012 at 12:18 | #1

    yeah I took a walk around during the peak just to get the weirdness.

    Last saw in in July 1991 I guess.

    There’ll be a total eclipse in Aug 2017 that will go from Oregon to Florida.

    Something to look forward to.

  2. kensensei
    May 21st, 2012 at 12:40 | #2

    Our eclipse just finished here in Cailf.
    We managed to view it through a thick opaque-white plastic storage box from IchiBan Kan! Works well for short intervals. Longer intervals leave you with a flashbulb effect trailing in front of your eyes for a few minutes. Not too smart…

    I also noticed the shadow effects on the walls. Everything had a double or triple shadow where you would normally see just one.

  3. Troy
    May 22nd, 2012 at 09:04 | #3

    Hey Luis, I see you moved into your “deluxe apartment in the sky♫” 5 years ago now.

    UR does look pretty good compared to the alternatives, but is it true they require 50倍 x 家賃 in 貯金 to qualify?

  4. Luis
    May 22nd, 2012 at 09:53 | #4


    Well, we didn’t really move in 5 years ago, we reserved it then. And boy, was it expensive. We were making two incomes then, and it was less than our separate rents combined at the time, so it seemed reasonable. But then Sachi quit her job, and we let it slide… for too long. Shoulda moved a year before we did, could have saved $15,000!!

    Rent was 250,000 yen a month. Fifty times that would have been 12.5 million yen, and I am fairly sure that I did not have that in the bank at that time–had they even asked, which I am fairly certain they did not. Sachi backs me up on that–they need to know that you have a bank account, but neither of us recall them ever asking how much was in it.

    I recall that the first time I moved into a UR place back in 2000, they required to see my contract to be assured that I had a salary that could cover the rent, that’s all. I am not sure where you heard that formula, but it does not make much sense, considering that it’s government-subsidized and is, at least at times, intended to help people on smaller incomes (despite the really nice rooms in their more upscale places).

    In fact, getting in to UR was much easier than most places. They require no real estate agent’s fee (a month’s rent saved), no “gift” money (also called “key money” or reikin, another 2 month’s rent saved). They are specifically prohibited from discriminating against foreigners, which still goes on today, though not as bad as it was in the 80’s or 90’s.

    The only thing that costs more is the deposit–you have to put down 3 month’s rent for that–but they are also very good about returning it and not stiffing you. I left my place in Inagi with a lot of damage to woodwork, including a water-stained and -warped kitchen counter, scoring on the hardwood floors where I placed a badly-designed chair mat, and moistness/mold damage had a lot of the wallpaper peeling and stained. And yet they only took out less than $200 from the deposit, as I recall.

    In fact, when Sachi and I moved in to our apartment in Nishi-Tokyo, they had a Spring deal where you only pay one month’s rent worth of deposit per year for the first three years–we only paid the first year’s portion as we moved out within one year.

    And, oh yeah–UR required no additional gift money on the 2-year renewal. Not to mention, when I lived in Inagi, the rent actually came down over time, being keyed to land prices. I’ll bet that no private apartment owner ever does that.

    So, for, let’s say, an apartment at 120,000 yen per month (about $1500) over a three-year period, you save on the agent’s fee, gift money, and contract renewal money to the tune of $6000. Rent is probably cheaper relative to an equivalent private place. You have no hassles with a landlord that you might usually have, instead there’s a kanri jimusho on the grounds, there to help with problems. And they are fairly generous giving back your deposit.

    So I would definitely recommend UR. Keep in mind that many of their more spacious units are reserved for married couples & families (they let me into one on a technicality once–I had a girlfriend and the staff themselves suggested that I refer to her as my “fiancé”), and they’ll probably want to see a contract at a certain level along with other papers (I think they require an official form from your employer or something). Might be a bit tough right off the plane, but if you stay at a boarding house for a few months while settling in, it should’t be too hard.

  5. Luis
    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:00 | #5

    I believe that this is the page on their site which spells it out, there seems to be a link to the page about forms, but I could not make sense of it myself–I think your Japanese is better than mine.

  6. Troy
    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:05 | #6


    ah, never mind, I guess I have to learn how to read “または”:


    So if you’re grossing 4倍 the rent (the “基準月収額”) I guess you qualify regardless of how much cash you have in the bank.

    Funny how now I wish had not lived in Hiroo all those years but instead out in Atsugi, LOL, saving all that money. But hey, with an iPad, these days if I’ve got a seat I’d be good to go.

  7. Troy
    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:38 | #7


    (ah, I also see if my household gross is 25万, or 40万 if the rent is over 20万, the 基準月収額 requirement is met . . . not too bad)

  8. Troy
    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:48 | #8

    combining 10.7’s “kyoko” speech voice with this legalese is an awesome study aid (I already use to help with the meanings, but it’s quite silly how many kanji characters & words I can “read” without really knowing how to “hear”).

    it’s like that lady they use for bus stop announcements reading the text to you.

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