Minutes to the workspace: 3 peaceful minutes
Style: three bedroom apartment
Roommates: 2 – Kaisa and Alyssa
Neighborhood: downtown Kyoto
Best thing: The apartment was super close to the workspace, and my roommates were great!
Worst thing: There were a few: sleeping on the floor, the musty smell, and lack of privacy
Like many things in Japan, the apartments in Kyoto were fairly small and minimalist. We had a bit of a rough arrival, arriving late at night and having a tough time figuring out how to work the AC, hot water, stove, washer, and other things that had buttons only in Japanese.
I was in a three bedroom apartment, in which two bedrooms had the traditional Tatami mats and mattresses on the floor. This was not a welcome sight when I arrived, though I grew to see the charm in living like an actual Japanese person for a month.
The apartment had the typical front entrance with a raised floor, where you remove your shoes. It had one toilet and one shower, each of these in separate rooms so that multiple people can use them at the same time.
The bathroom also had some interesting features – a mirror at waist height and some buckets next to the tub. We later found out this was related to the onsen ritual, in which people cleanse themselves on small stools outside of the tub (the floor had drains) and later soak in the bath to relax. The tradition has expended into private bathrooms now as well.
The kitchen, dining and living room space were about average size. The kitchen is smaller than most US kitchens, and was missing an oven and lacked much of the counter space you’d typically find in the US as well.
The dining room held a 6 person table, but its proximity to the bedrooms (about a foot and a half from the literal paper thin bedroom doors) meant it didn’t get much social use.
The living room had a standard couch and tv setup. Nothing interesting to note there.
Bedrooms were small and lacked storage. Clothes that needed to be hung were placed on a portable clothes rack in the open, and there were no drawers available either. My biggest complaint about my bedroom was the lack of privacy – the apartment had a strange layout in which the 3 bedrooms all bordered each other, with the living and kitchen areas at the center. One bedroom was basically a proper bedroom, with walls and only one set of paper doors to the living area. The other two bedrooms had the same paper doors to the living area, but also had a paper door between the two bedrooms, rather than a wall. These doors, besides having no soundproofing at all, also didn’t close tightly, so you could easily see into the other bedroom and/or be bothered by the lights being on. Remote Year took care of this by hanging sheets to cover the gaps between the doors, but the lack of sound proofing remained a bit of an issue throughout the month.
I was quite concerned about the apartment at first, as it was abundantly clear we wouldn’t be able to work from home this month thanks to living with a mix of nightshift and non-nightshift roommates, as well as the soundproofing issues previously mentioned. However, this really wasn’t an issue given how close we were to the workspace. We all just popped over to the workspace when we needed to work, and coming and going multiple times a day is feasible when it’s only a 5 minute walk.
Our workspace this month was called And Work, which was housed in the Millennials capsule hotel. Like all workspaces, it had its plusses and minuses, but overall, I liked this workspace.
Though RY had no dedicated work area, I’ve found this hasn’t been much of an issue while most of us work the nightshift. There’s rarely other people in the workspace at night (this month has been the exception since the workspace doubles as the lobby and check in area for the hotel, which due to the capsule nature of its rooms meant that guests would hang out in the lobby instead of their room).
The best thing about this workspace was the free coffee and hot cocoa. They had a machine that made a pretty decent cappuccino, and some really delicious, rich hot cocoa. I’d like to know how many cups of hot cocoa Polaris drank this month – I’ve had more hot cocoa this month than I have in the last 15 years combined.
The workspace also had a full, proper kitchen – for those who like to cook. It also had a nice variety of seating options – cozy booths, leather couches, tables in the common area, and a separate quiet room with tables and proper office chairs.
The internet was no issue for us all month, and we made good use of the lockers, free bike parking, and abundant hot cocoa.
It was also in a great location – tons of restaurants and shops, some even 24 hours, within a short walk of the workspace. We also loved popping into Round 1, an arcade about a block away, for a quick Dance Dance Revolution or Mario Cart competition.
Overall, I liked this workspace and I especially liked being only a 5 minute walk away!