I have decided to move out. As soon as possible. I was planning to move out of Ebisu’s some time next year anyway, so the thought is not completely new, although I was not planning on doing it quite so quickly.

The main reason is that the house has turned (almost) into student’s dorm central… Of the six rooms that are occupied right now, five of them belong to students in their early 20s. Not that they are partying all the time, not at all (and I am rather surprised by that), and they are all very nice and considerate. It’s just that they sit and talk for hours on end. Which is not a problem as such, had they not chosen as their favourite discussion forum the room just underneath mine – and I think I have made ample remarks about the thin walls and ceilings of the house already… As I said, they are not deliberately noisy, they are just talking, so there’s nothing I can say, that would be unfair. However, it sounds like there is a TV running in the background all the time, and I really don’t want to have that in my own home.

Solution: fast track the moving plans. I am looking for something with at least two bedrooms, and there are sufficiently many places to choose from, if not necessarily in my neighborhood. It seems even possible to rent a whole – older – house for the price of a similarly sized but newer apartment, and to be honest, I am leaning towards this, as I have always lived in a house and like the simple fact that there is an “upstairs”.

I have already asked my tandem partner for a few phrases that may come handy when looking for or at a house or apartment. There are also a number of very small rental agencies in my neighborhood where I can go to and see what’s on offer.

In a way I have started the process two weeks ago already… On the other side of the hill, there is this wonderful strange old house in this beautiful garden. It is strange because it is old – and it consists of a Western part in front and a Japanese part in the back. I first saw it about half a year ago I guess – and fell madly in love with it. I have always liked old houses, and this one fits virtually every of my bills… Several weeks ago, when I passed by the house again – there was a sign “For Sale”.

Immediately, I put all of my friends and acquaintances to work to help me contact the agent – I just had to see this house. It is very old and – almost the standard in Japan – in a very bad state, and I was afraid that it would be sold to one of those awful developers who would tear it down and build a mansion instead of it or something equally ugly, before I had seen it.

And this morning, I had an appointment with the agent to see the house! I was very excited to finally be able to get in and check it out. It is as I had expected: absolutely gorgeous and wonderful – and huge! The house has two floors, the Western part has two rooms on each floor which are bright with large windows and high ceilings with stucco; and there are even fireplaces in the rooms upstairs and something that looks like a tiled stove on the ground floor. The Japanese part is very traditional – low ceilings, dark wood and shoji, tokonoma and tatami everywhere. Altogether there are three bathrooms and two kitchens in the house, and around 15 rooms in the Japanese part if I remember correctly.

The house is about 100 years old, and was apparently built by a medical doctor who was working at Kyoto University. It is even possible that the university had financed the building of the house, and at that time having Western style rooms was very hip. It seems that the house was used both as living space and as practice – in the front room on the second floor there is something in a corner that looks like a washbasin. Another reason for the size of the house is, that the professor’s students were living there as well – something completely normal in that era.

I absolutely love that house, and the garden – about 1200 square metres – is equally gorgeous with old trees and lilies growing wild… Unfortunately, as I said, the house is in a very sad state – I will add some pictures tomorrow – and I think that besides the price of the house (which is actually the price of the land) one would have to spend an equal amount on renovations…

It’s such a pity I cannot buy it and renovate it, it would be wonderful. But, it’s out of my budget, by about a factor of 15. Not counting any renovations here… No, I have not yet made my peace with it, but I will eventually, I am sure. And maybe, I will find another old house somewhere that I can personally save from the rampant “mansionitis”…

main entrance to the houseback side - verandahback side - japanese partinside - groundfloor western partinside first floor - practice