Welcome Shun, Sako and Kiko – our Newest RAs!

It is the start of a new school year, and we have some awesome new RAs to introduce you to! Please meet Shun, Sako and Kiko!

 

Shun

Hello! My name is Shuntaro, but people usually call me Shun. I was born in Tokyo but grew up in Kanagawa. I am a student studying English and Management. My main hobby is listening to music, especially hip hop, rap and R&B. I am the head of an international exchange organization called Nexus. It’s like a club, and we hold events twice a month where anyone is welcome to participate! If you want to join, please contact our official LINE account or tell me directly. The official line ID is: @ixz8877j. We also have an Instagram (ID: in_nexus). Please check it out! If you need any help, just let me know!

 

Sako

Guten Tag! My name is Caizhen and I’m from China. People mostly know me as Sako. I have been living in Japan about 7 months. My bachelor’s degree is in German language. I’m currently preparing to study Social Sciences at Tokyo University, and am studying at Japanese language school now. I can speak Chinese, Japanese, English, German and little bit of Korean. My hobby is hiking. If you want to go to the mountains or need some recommendations, please ask me anytime!

 

Kiko

What’s up everybody! It’s Kiko. I am from China and currently studying Culture Anthropology at Tokyo University. I loving spending time with animals in my free time, so I always visit all kinds of zoos and aquariums. Recently I’m really into gardening, especially plants and flowers. So don’t hesitate to ask me about anything, I am always available to listen and help you out with whatever!

 

Make sure to say Hello if you see them around HAKUSAN HOUSE 🙂

It’s Cherry Blossom Time!!

Hello everyone! Cherry blossom season in Japan is right around the corner. Tokyo is expected to be in bloom as of March 22nd – so keep your eye out for these stunning flowers.  It is one of the most beautiful seasons in Japan! Here we have created a list of the most wonderful spots around Tokyo where you can go “hanami,” or cherry blossom viewing, as it is popularly known! Enjoy!

 

 

1. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is full of glorious arched boulevards of sakura trees all throughout the park! It’s one of the most beautiful spots to go in Tokyo in this season, and at night there are picnic sheets laid out for the public to use freely. Grab one of these prime spots and enjoy a spot of dinner with your friends at the park!

Closest Station: Ueno Station

 

2. Meguro River

Both Meguro and Nakameguro have breathtaking cherry blossoms views that can be enjoyed alongside the river! During sakura season, there are many street food stands posted down the riverbank where you can pick up a quick snack as you stroll next to the river and take in the view.

Closest Station: Meguro Station

Location: Just walk down the hill until you see the river! It will stretch out on both your left and right. If you follow the crowds, they will lead you to the best bits.

 

3. Inokashira Park

Inokashira Park is located in Kichijoji. This one might be a bit far but its is most definitely worth the trip! As it’s on the outskirts of Tokyo, you get a more local feel and can enjoy the blooms in a bigger and more open space. The park also has a lake where you can rent out a swan boat to paddle around on the water while surrounded by masses of cherry blossoms!

Closest Station: Kichijoji Station

 

4. Koishikawa Korakuen Garden

This is one within walking distance of HAKUSAN HOUSE! Just a 25-minute wander down the main street you’ll find a very elegant Japanese-style teien garden filled with numerous beautiful plants and flowers – especially cherry blossoms! If you want to see the cherry blossoms up close, this is the place to go.

 

 

– Written by Jado Kono, Resident Assistant at HAKUSAN HOUSE

Sunrise from HAKUSAN HOUSE roof top garden

Have you ever watched the sun rise from Hakusan House’s roof top garden?

The fresh air at 6:00 AM, the gentle wind blowing through your hair, beautiful clouds floating right before your eyes.

I’m very happy to say that I’ve already had the pleasure of experiencing this beautiful moment, and I’d like to share it with you here.

 

6:00 AM waiting

 

a little

 

silence

dinosaur

6:10 AM coming soon

6:20 AM untitled

 

6:30 AM here!

reflection

7:00 AM fresh day

 

So what do you think?

I know you must already be planning to watch sunrise from our roof top!

 

– By Han Zhang, Resident Assistant at HAKUSAN HOUSE

 

 

Say Hello To Our Two Newest Residence Assistants (RAs)!

As you know, we already have the wonderful Jado and Sena helping out at HAKUSAN HOUSE as RAs, and we have just added two more smiling faces to the team! Without further ado, meet TAIGA and CHOU!

 

TAIGA’S INTRODUCTION

Hi! I’m Taiga. I’m a Residence Assistance staff here and studying at Toyo university. I grew up in rural Japan, surrounded by amazing beaches and nice mountains! My hobbies are traveling, playing soccer, and soaking up the sunlight. This summer, I traveled around Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia for 43 days. I really like to spend time in nature because I grew up with it. I also like doing active things, like playing soccer, swimming, going to see the ocean and so on. I want to be outside as much as I can so that I can enjoy the sunlight. And I also like to eat delicious dishes, especially Indian food and Thai food. As there is a nice Indian curry restaurant with free naan nearby HAKUSAN HOUSE, let’s go there if you like Indian curry! My favorite place in Tokyo is Yoyogi Park, where people hold food events and festivals on the weekend. I really like to hang there and chill out by eating some foods and taking a nap. Especially in spring, the park is full of cherry blossoms. So, I really recommend you guys visit there! If you need any recommendations for travel in Japan, feel free to talk to me!

 

CHOU’S INTRODUCTION

Hello! My name is Han and Im from China, but people usually call me Chou in Japanese. I have been living in Japan for a little over 2 years and now I study Fashion Design at Esmod Japon. My hobbies are photography and cooking, so if you want to be photographed by me or if you want to try some traditional Chinese food, please dont hesitate to ask! I speak English, Japanese and Chinese so we can speak in whichever language you feel most comfortable. I also love K-pop and I’m a big fan of EXO, so I can speak a little Korean. If you see me around, feel free to talk to me about your favorite k-pop group!

Win a Trip to Melbourne!!

Happy December everyone!

 

It’s gradually starting to getting colder and colder in Tokyo (though today was really warm!)…but don’t worry – we have some HOT news for you!

 

 

We are currently holding a competition where you can win a trip to Melbourne, Australia, for you and a friend! You can win a week of free accommodation at one of our awesome student communities in the centre of the city, as well as economy air fare tickets to and from Tokyo.

 

All you have to do is refer the most people to join our student accommodation (on at least a 6 month contract) by December, 31st, 2018! This means you have one month left! If you have any questions about rooms or other details, we have brochures on the first floor (that you can hand out to your friends) or you are always more then welcome to come down to the first floor to ask us any questions!

 

So what do you have to look forward to in Melbourne? Below are some top suggestions of things you can do and visit while you’re there!

 

1. Check out the amazing street art that can be found all over the city.

 

2. Visit an amazing marketplace and try some mouthwatering Australian food while basking in the beauty of the historic architecture.

 

3. View the skyline of Melbourne through a morning hot air balloon adventure.

 

 

So these are just a handful of the potential adventures you could have in Melbourne…but there’s also so much more you can do! Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity and change to gift your friend with the wonderful present of joining us in the Hakusan House community! (P.S. you can even bring that friend to Australia if you win!)

 

Good luck ☆彡

Autumn Sightings in Tokyo

Since the end of November the leaves in Tokyo have finally begun changing color! Be sure to head out and enjoy some of this beautiful autumn foliage around the Tokyo area before it gets too cold and the stunning leaves disappear. Listed below are some of the best spots to check out!

 

Meiji Jingu Gaien

This is one of the most famous places to see autumn colours in Tokyo. It’s a beautiful street lined with yellow trees at peak season, which is typically the end of November and early December.

HOW TO GET THERE: Head to Aoyama-Itchome Station on the Ginza Subway Line or Hanzomon Subway Line and go out of Aoyama Dori Street Exit.

 

Shinjuku National Garden (Shinjuku Gyoen)

Shinjuku National Garden is breathtaking all-year around, and fall is no exception! You really must check this place out whether you’re here for the fall colours or not. It’s also really close to Shinjuku, so you can explore loads more of Tokyo afterwards!

HOW TO GET THERE: Head to Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line and take Exit 2 (5-minute walk from here), or use Shinjuku Station and use the JR South Exit (10-minute walk from here).

 

Koishikawa Korakuen

This garden is right next to Tokyo Dome and SO CLOSE to Hakusan House! It’s an absolute must for all of our residents. The leaves here turn blissfully red and orange, matching the vermilion wooden bridge and other Japanese teien garden details!

HOW TO GET THERE:  Head to JR Iidabashi Station on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Tozai Subway Line, Yurakucho Subway Line, Namboku Subway, or Oedo Subway Line (5-10 minute walk from there), or use Korakuen Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line or Namboku Subway Line (10-minute walk from there).

If you’re a Hakusan House resident, it’s just a 20-minute stroll away!

 

Mount Takao

This one is a bit further from the city center, but definitely worth the effort! If you’re looking for a nice heartwarming walk, take a day off and visit Mt. Takao, one of Tokyo’s best-known mountains. They have various trails suited to a range of walkers that are ranked in terms of difficulty – so no worries if you’re not usually the athletic type, you can enjoy it even if you’re not a fan of exercising (like me!)

HOW TO GET THERE: Head to Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station and you’ll find it well signposted.

 

 

Remember: the fall leaves quickly come and go so make sure you can squeeze some time in your busy schedule to check them out before it’s too late!

Avoiding the stress of apartment hunting in Tokyo

The process of moving to Japan and living here full time can be quite difficult to grasp ahead of your arrival. It can be a long and expensive journey with many challenging rules to work around and hidden costs. However, it doesn’t have to be like that! In this blog post I’ll lay out what it’s usually like to rent an apartment in Japan, and what Uninest Student Residences has to offer instead.

 

What does renting an apartment in Japan usually look like?

In Japan, most apartments require you to pay a lot of different fees ahead of moving in, such as:

 

Key Money (non-refundable “gift” to the landlord paid at the start of your contract, usually equivalent of one month’s rent)

Guarantors Fee (usually equivalent of one month’s rent)

Deposit (non-refundable, usually equivalent of one month’s rent)

Agency Fee (depends on the company you use)

Maintenance Fee (for the building)

Property Insurance

 

So essentially what this means is that it costs a few hundred thousand Japanese yen (or a few thousand USD) upfront when moving into any apartment in Japan. In addition to all of this, you need at least two forms of ID; such as a passport, student card, visa etc. You will also be required to possess a Japanese phone number and have an emergency contact person within Japan. For a study abroad student, or any Japanese non-national in general, meeting all of these requirements can be quite difficult.

 

However, there is good news! Uninest Student Residences has a student dorm near Hakusan Station that doesn’t require any of the usual moving in fees associated with all other Japanese apartments. With Uninest, the moving process is simple:

 

NO Key Money

NO Guarantor Fees or emergency contact in Japanese required

NO Agency Fee

A refundable deposit

All inclusive rent fees, so NO need to pay for maintenance, insurance, Wi-Fi or any other utilities

 

When you first move in here, all you need to pay is your first month’s rent, an administration fee of 25,000 JPY, and a REFUNDABLE deposit equivalent to your first month’s rent. From someone who’s lived in Japan as a student for 3 years, this is a pretty great deal. Any questions and all paperwork can be done in either Japanese or English, which is also super helpful for those out there who struggle with kanji (like myself). It just makes everything so much easier. Also, when paying your rent, you have the choice of using a credit card or doing it by bank transfer, whichever you please. You can even choose to pay your rent all upfront or monthly – whatever you like!

 

All in all, Uninest makes it super easy for students to move to and live in Tokyo. When comparing it to the standard process for moving into a Japanese apartment, it’s clear just how much simpler living with them is, and that’s not to mention the awesome people who work here. I seriously recommend checking this place out if you’re a student looking for a place to live in Tokyo!

Quick Fun Facts About Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! You may have heard that line a thousand times by now… but do you know these quick fun facts Tokyo? Read more to find out.

1. Tokyo Disneyland was Disney’s first park outside the US.

2. Tokyo Tower was inspired by The Eiffel Tower.

3. “Oshiya” is the official job title for the station attendants whose task it is to literally squeeze people into crowded trains during rush hour (yes, they have an official title specifically for this and are paid to push people!).

4. Vending machines in Tokyo sell not only your classic drinks line up, but also boast canned bread, cigarettes, natto (fermented soybeans), fresh eggs and much more.

5. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest rail station with an average of 3.64 million people passing through daily, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

6. Diplo studied abroad at Temple University Japan.

7. Japan sells extremely expensive premium fruits. For example, 1 melon can set you back 10,000 JPY, the rough equivalent of 100 USD.

8. The number “4” can be read and pronounced the same way as the word for death in Japanese (shi), which is why some buildings, offices, and most hospitals DO NOT have a 4th floor! (Physically they do, but they just skip the numerical values of 4 and go straight from 3 to 5).

9. Tokyo’s Ritz Carlton is home to one of the most expensive suites in the world. It costs about 18,000 USD per night and was designed by Frank Nicholson.

10. Shibuya’s renowned “Scramble Crossing” is rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world. During morning and evening rush hours, over 1000 people cross at any one time.

First Internship in HAKUSAN HOUSE!

My name is Mac MacLean and I’m a student from Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles, California.
I came to Japan to do a internship at the Hakusan House. I spent Monday through Friday completing tasks that the staff at Hakusan House asked me to do. For example some of the tasks were, watering the flowers, distributing linen for residents moving in, and moving information from their current website to a excel spreadsheet. Those are some of the many tasks that I completed while working at the Hakusan House.
When I wasn’t working a 9 am to 5pm schedule at the Hakusan House, I went on many different adventures with my dad. One of my favorites was going to a Tokyo Giants game. It was amazing to see the difference in culture between a Japanese baseball game and a United States baseball game. The fans were passionate for their team which is not as common anymore in the United States.
Now writing this message at the end of my trip, I can say that doing this internship at Hakusan House was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned so many things that I will use when I go into the hospitality business after College. I also want to thank everyone who welcomed me with kindness while at the Hakusan House. I really appreciate it. 

From Tokyo to Seoul: A Guide to Your Weekend Getaway

Though Tokyo is a wonderful city with endless fun-filled activities on hand, cafes to visit, and delicious foods to eat, it is also located close to other exciting Asian cities. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is only a two-hour plane ride away from Tokyo, making it a convenient and easy city to explore from here! Like Tokyo, there are so many awesome things to enjoy in Seoul! It is the hub of k-pop, k-beauty, and cheap spicy korean food. Speaking of which, I have just come back from a summer exchange there. In my opinion, the list that follows is a rundown of the top things to do in this lively city.

Try “bingsu”, Korean-style shaved ice dessert

Do you enjoy shaved ice, or “kakigori” as it’s known in Japan? If so, this is the treat for you. “Bingsu” is the korean version of this style of dessert, and unlike the Japanese kakigori, it is much creamier and often more extravagant in terms of toppings, covered with everything from summer melon to oreos and red beans. Although they are a little pricey, it can actually end up being pretty cheap if you share with your friends! “Korean Dessert Cafe” is a popular dessert chain scattered throughout Seoul that offers seasonally varied bingsu flavors that might be fun to check out.
Visit the “mural village”

There is so much history and culture that you can easily access throughout Seoul. More recently, a group of artists has come together to revamp a little village area located near Hyehwa Station on Line 4, painting beautiful murals across the walls in this part of the city. Although there’s a bit of a hilly walk there, it’s definitely worth it to get some iconic photos and breathtaking views of Seoul. Just be aware that these murals are located in residential areas, so try to keep your voice down and be respectful of the local residents.
Go to animal-themed cafes

Sheep cafes, raccoon cafes, and dog cafes are just some of the fun themed cafes popping up around Seoul at the moment. Although Tokyo has thematic cafes of its own, Seoul has lots of rather unique animal-themed spaces that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. It definitely recommend checking some of them out!
Visit the DMZ

This suggestion might sound rather educational and for those with a special interest, but I found the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, to be really a fascinating and historically insightful place. Located just outside of Seoul, there are daily tours that depart from various locations within Seoul. It is the most heavily guarded border in the world, but here you can learn all about the history and tensions between North and South Korea, while also getting the chance to glimpse across the border. If you’re interested in learning more about the country, this would be the ideal tour to sign up for while you are there.
Eat traditional Korean food

Probably the most obvious suggestion to make, but I seriously recommend trying traditional korean food while in Seoul! Insadong is a popular street located near the Gyeongbokgung Palace that is well known for its traditional korean shops and restaurants. Here you can try classic korean street food, teas, and wander about all kinds of shops. It is worth keeping in mind that Korean food in Korea is extremely spicy! Especially compared to the Korean food you typically get in Japan.
Good luck and enjoy!