It’s exactly what I said I wanted..

Posted on 28.08.2014


The biggest idea that I took away from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun was the idea that you may get exactly what you asked for, just not in the way you expected it.

A long time ago, after years spent mowing my parents’ HUGE lawn during the summer months, I made a declaration: when I got older, I’d gladly own a house: just not one that required mowing the lawn. This could have manifested itself in different ways, I thought at the time. Option 1: I could buy a condo. Problem solved. Option 2: my boyfriend or husband could do it.

unnamedI thought these options because I thought that houses without yards (or gardens, if we’re in the UK or Germany) did not exist.

But then I moved to Tokyo. A city where the buildings and houses are built SO CLOSE TOGETHER, that I can literally reach out of my bedroom window and touch the wall of the (thankfully vacant) house next door.

Space definitely comes at a premium here, and when you buy a house, chances are you plan to knock it down and build another one in its place that fits closer to your requirements. This is the norm around here. When these houses get built, they are built to maximize space and normally have 2.5-3 floors, and not nearly enough windows. That being said, they are also built to allow a narrow walkway between them and the house next door, but no larger. So there’s really no room for yards or gardens here, unless you pay A LOT of money and buy 2 lots instead of one. But most people don’t do that.

There are some houses on my street with big, cement walls surrounding a small garden area, but mostly, the houses sit just about shoulder-to-shoulder. The houses with gardens are probably even older than mine, which was built in ’86. This is considered ‘old’ by Tokyo standards.

As you can see from the picture above, the only ‘garden’ I have now is that tiny green space in front of the house. And eventually, I intend to plant the shit out of it. For now, it’s overrun with weeds, but allowing things to grow naturally here is the norm, so it’s not really an eyesore to anyone. Thank goodness.

For any of the Germans reading, we got all of the things one would want from a German home: 2 toilets (both with windows!), a bath tub, and a balcony with a cover.

And for me, I got the house that I wanted: traditional Japanese, with tatami mats, 2 floors, a guest room, a huge kitchen and no yard to mow. All I had to do was move to Tokyo to get it!

Posted in: Japan, life