CJGuide: Reading an Ad

--Pithy Epigraph Goes Here--

In Tokyo and other large cities, most foreigners will find their housing either through their employer or through an agent used to placing foreigners. In such cases, almost all advertisements will be in English. On the other hand, in the hinterlands, this may not prove to be the case. Also, even in large cities, there's no reason for apartment hunters to limit their choices.

This ad is fairly typical of the kinds posted in Japanese agencies and in free publications passed out in train stations.

A sample advertisement to help apartment hunters begin their search.

1 The base monthly fee for the apartment is 38,000 yen.

2 The landlord is requiring one month's rent as reikin (non-refundable deposit) and one month's rent shikikin ("refundable" security deposit). Add in first month's rent and the agent's fee (usually the equivalent of one month's rent) and the total start up price is around 152,000 yen.

3 The apartment's location. From bottom to top: the apartment is seven minutes by foot from Kitasakado Station on the Tobu Tojo Line. The seven minutes, it should be noted, is a subjective assessment and usually should be interpreted as how long it takes from station to apartment at a full sprint if you are Maurice Green.

4 The basic description of the apartment. "1K" means the apartment has one room and a small kitchen space. The word "mansion" underneath usually refers to a concrete building three or more stories high. It can also indicate the apartment was built or bought as a condominium, but is being rented out by the owner. Not usually a problem, but the tennant will be expected to uphold all owner's association rules. The word "apato" in an ad usually refers to a wooden building of two stories or less.

5 The apartment's floor plan. Note the placement of the cooking area right near the front entrance.

6 More specific information about the apartment. From top to bottom:
Line 1: The landlord assesses a monthly "maintanence" fee of 1,000 yen for common areas (steps, parking lot, etc.) making the actual monthly rent 39,000 yen. There is no parking fee (second circle).
Line: 2: The agency requires tennant to sign up to a standard insurance plan (no extra fees for this). The apartment is 17 square meters.
Line 3: The apartment is on the second floor of a four story building.
Line 4: The apartment is available immediately.
Line 5: The apartment was built in March, 1994.

7 A list of features. In this case, the apartment has an elevator, air conditioning, tile, flooring, etc. For a more complete list and explanation of these symbols click here.

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Copyright 2003, Dwayne Lively
Created January 2003