Independent Living in Tokyo
There are various rules and customs associated with living in an apartment in Japan that foreign students need to know about. Ignorance of these rules and customs can lead to problems with the caretaker and neighbors, and adversely affect your life in Japan. At the very least, you are advised to observe the following basic rules to avoid trouble and enjoy a fulfilling student life.
- Observe designated times, days and places for putting out garbage.
- Put out your garbage on the morning of the designated day (do not put it out the night before collection day).
- Dispose of cardboard boxes in small pieces (tied together with string or packing tape).
- When vacating your apartment, contact an oversized garbage collection center (information available from your local municipal office) and have them collect your electric appliances and other oversized garbage. You will need to contact the center in advance (usually three weeks beforehand) and pay for collection. Abandoning oversized garbage is punishable by law.
- Keep your voice at a reasonable level.
- You should not listen to music or play musical instruments at a loud volume.
- You should not vacuum, do your washing or have a bath late at night.
- Open and close doors quietly.
- Try not to make too much noise when walking.
In particular, you should avoid making noise early in the morning and late at night.
- Be particularly careful about noise and water leaks.
- Make sure the drainage hose does not get knocked out of the drainpipe (this can occur quite easily).
- Avoid doing your laundry early in the morning or late at night.
- Be careful not to leave electrical appliances on (iron or heating appliances such as air conditioners and kotatsu).
- Make sure you extinguish cigarettes completely. (Do not smoke in bed)
- Make sure not to heat your bathtub empty.
- Always turn off the gas at the main tap when you go out or go to sleep.
- Make sure you read and understand your tenancy contract and observe the terms and conditions contained therein.
- Always pay your rent by the end of the preceding month (check the due date in your contract). In Japan, it is usual to pay rent in advance.
- Do not have guests to stay or sublet the apartment, even for short periods, without the landlord's permission.
- Check your postbox everyday and dispose of unwanted mail in the garbage bin in your apartment.
- Do not leave personal belongings on the land surrounding the apartment building, or in communal corridors and passageways.
- Keep your apartment clean.
- Do not keep pets or feed stray animals.
- Use properly if there is any communal equipment such as toilet, kitchen or shower. Do not bother other residents.
- Be polite to the caretaker.