*This post is part of a series discussing the experience of living in a shared house in Japan. To view all the posts, click here.
To start, when entering a sharehouse, promptly remove your shoes and neatly place them either in the genkan or in the provided cabinet. If you are unfamiliar with a “genkan,” it is a term in Japanese culture that refers to the traditional entryway or vestibule of a house where shoes are removed before entering the living space. This practice is deeply rooted in cleanliness and respect for the home, and the genkan acts as a designated area for this routine.
Secondly, it’s crucial to separate your garbage into distinct bins. In contrast to the United States, you must separate waste into categories such as burnable (kitchen waste, food scraps, vegetable peelings, leftovers, etc.), non-burnable aluminum, glass, etc.), plastic, cans, and PET bottles (PET refers to plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET).
Thirdly, a communal fee box exists for collective household purchases, including toiletries. In this share house, a monthly contribution of 500 JPY is made by each resident, along with receipts showcasing the items purchased for the household. The system for managing these funds may involve a designated person making bulk purchases or individuals purchasing items as needed. It really depends on the system that is used upon. When I was at Omori 2 sharehouse, we actually did both.
Forth, laundry shouldn’t be done after 8 pm, especially if utilizing an outdoor washing machine, as seen in the Omori2 share house located on the rooftop. This would obviously disturb your neighbors.
Fifth, residents are responsible for their own dishwashing. Mama’s not doing it for you. Each reside is expected to wash their dishes promptly. This expectation is rooted in the cultural norm of self-sufficiency, particularly emphasized in Japanese share houses. But even without the cultural element, it’s the cleanliness aspect that matters to maintain the home, especially when living with others. I had no issues during my time, and the worst that had happened was someone sent a text message on our group chat asking who left a few bowls in the kitchen sink. Soon after, the person cleaned it up. Proper communication is key.
These re just 5 rules that I mentioned, and there are others as well, but this gives you an idea of the rules to keep in mind when living in a share house in Japan.
If you’re keen on residing in any of Borderless Houses’ shared accommodations across Japan, feel free to reach out to them through the the link here.
Once you do, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll send you a free PDF on the 5 things you need be aware of when living in a share house in Japan.