Since I have been moving to a few different rooms, on hindsight, it gave me somewhat a perspective of what I should be looking for in an apartment. So it was with a mental checklist that I went when Koresawa-san brought me to visit some houses.
These are the places introduced by the 1st real estate agent - Sky Trading. All 3 were around the Kitano around, where most foreigners live.
The first place was quite huge, about 50m2. Slightly more than double of my current place, which is about 21m2. It had plenty of windows so it felt airy.
Large bathroom combined with toilet, which is very convenient, and unlike most Japanese traditional arrangement. I like how it was in pale pastel colours, so it felt more youthful.
There are 2 rooms, equally large with their own closets. I quite liked this place if not for the fact that it would have been too big for me. Would be nice if there was a housemate. I'm not a big fan of house cleaning!
Since the balcony that comes with the apartment is rather narrow (in fact precarious if not for some flimsy netting across the low rails), we can hang clothes on the roof. Okay, so I see the prospect of having lots of housework to do in addition to climbing to the roof just to do laundry.
This place is on the hillsides of Kitano, so the mountain is just behind. Then I realised from here I can see a temple with some cemetery! Erm, I'm not really superstitious, but it was a little 微妙*.
It's quite a nice view, with the front facing the sea, and downtown Sannomiya area.
The 2nd apartment was in Sky Mansion 2, just across the road from the first. You would have thought the word mansion evoked some grand illusions of a mini palace. Actually mansion here is supposed to be the equivalent of a condominium but I was rather shocked seeing the place.
Shocked because this place was fully furnished, but obviously in the previous tenant's tastes. The sofa set matched the colours of the bathroom tiles, toilet, bathtub and sink - a shade of green that would have been fab in the 80's.
I'm surprised it came with everything! Most of the time the apartment is empty, but perhaps the previous tenant was happy to leave everything behind. It's as if they didn't want to bring anything with them, or think of how to dispose of these furniture. We were rather amused to find a set of salt and pepper on top of the microwave oven, complete set of cutleries in the cupboard, and most electrical items found in the kitchen.
There's even a bed with mattress and blanket left behind. But the bedroom is sandwiched between the living room and kitchen. If you had guests or were cooking, you'd be exposing your bedroom. Quite a funny arrangement I must say.
The carpet looked stained and some of the paint was peeling. This would have been a good choice for those who don't want to spend on their own furniture and don't mind the rather musky feel of the apartment.
Though you get to see some nice cars parked outside. Since this is quite a hilly area, most people have cars. Except for me.
The 3rd place is Sky Mansion 5. It's even further uphill into the residential area. I was beginning to wonder how I'd get to work, or even to get something as simple as groceries when I'm hungry in the middle of the night.
I liked the kitchen in this one. Plenty of cabinets, inbuilt oven and stove, and also dish washer! But then again, I'm not hosting parties, so maybe not so essential. There were 2 vacuum cleaners left behind too, how considerate. Both in pink, apparently the previous tenant was a lady who stayed by herself.
This was also a rather huge place, similar to the first but with only 1 room. There was a TV set and video player in a small rack.
The bathroom area is also nicely done, combined just like how I like it. Everything is within reach.
Also very spacious with no definite divider between the kitchen, living and dining area. Still quite big for me, and a little too far from the station.
Nice area though, perhaps if I have a car! The Kitano area was recommended as there are many other foreigners living here. It's also close to a tourist spot where Western-style houses can be found, since Kobe was one of the first few ports that opened to the world.
But I have to be practical, I have to imagine how it'd feel walking up and down the hill for work, in skirt and heels and bringing lots of things!
* 微妙 【びみょう】 (adj-na,n) (1) delicate; subtle; sensitive; (2) difficult; delicate (situation); complicated; (3) doubtful; questionable; dicey;