It is rather common for foreign students, either studying at an undergraduate level or for a short 3-week Japanese language course, to find sharehouses in Japan, and one that proved more comfortable than most is Comfort Tama Plaza. Located at Aoba Ward in Kanagawa, the guesthouse is a 10-minute walk from Tama-plaza station, where various amenities such as a supermarket and shopping centre are available. Various restaurants and cafes are located within the vicinity, so those in a need of a good cuppa in the afternoon shouldn't have too much trouble finding their way around for a coffee. I spoke to three people living in the sharehouse about their experience with Comfort Tama Plaza:
Fai Vesvijak, 18, university student at Keio University
Having lived in Japan for the past 6 months, she recently moved in a month ago, but adapted to the pristine living environment easily here. "Before coming to this place, I was living alone in an apartment, and you get privacy in an apartment but its kinda lonely...so I decided that I'll move here." A wise decision that proved to be, as the sharehouse facilitated opportunities for her to meet and live with people from different backgrounds. "It's been a really great experience and I had a lot of fun!"
Fai shares a room with another Japanese girl, and thankfully enough, they both share good chemistry. "You have to share things with other people, like the fridge, the wardrobe, etc but...if you're okay with living with other people then it's a good place for you."
Fai sings high praises for the facilities available here at Comfort Tama Plaza. "It's quite big, and they have everything - the kitchen, the tools and equipment and the bathroom is really good, unlike my old apartment. They have heaters, high-tech equipment and they even have a fitness room and a theatre room! It's just amazing for me."
Damien Alvarez de Toledo, 18, Japanese language student at EF International Language Centre Tokyo
A Frenchman raised in Uruguay, Damien took up a 3-week Japanese language course and found residence in Comfort Tama Plaza for the duration of his study. Feeling a little lost initially, he began to get used to the pace of things here at Comfort Tama Plaza. Facilities were also more than adequate for him. "If you want to cook your food, you have a very good kitchen with everything at your disposal. Also, you have a really spacious shower, a room to do your laundry and its really good. Living with a roommate is really comfortable and the rent is very reasonable," he commented.
He certainly enjoys mingling with the array of people who live under the same roof as him. "I think that the Japanese people living in Comfort Tama Plaza are really polite, so it's easy to get to talk to them. They're really nice. Besides, students living here who are studying in EF are strangers, so its easy to make friends!"
Dai Ohno, 27, student coordinator at Comfort Tama Plaza
Dai assists the house manager at Comfort Tama Plaza, answering foreign students' queries with regards to living around the area. The 27-year-old Japanese has lived here for 6 months, and is clearly living it up. "This is the first time I've lived out of my parents' house, so its really cool! When I first saw the house, it was really amazing. I didn't even expect these facilities. They have a movie room, a really big room, a big TV and the kitchen is perfect, so I was pretty impressed," he quipped.
Like Fai and Damien, Dai found his staying at Comfort Tama Plaza to be a great place for meeting foreigners. "Personally I wanted to improve my English, and share with them my culture, so this is a great opportunity." For someone who did not know how to form basic English sentences when he first moved here, Dai now speaks more English than he does his native Japanese after having lived here for an extended period of time.
If you're a student looking for long term accommodation or just looking for a short month long-stay near the city centre, Comfort Tama Plaza would be your best bet.