I remember getting to Japan in early January, arriving at Narita Airport and being greeted by Ian Sensei, one of the trainers at my Eikaiwa. I also remember all of the other trainees getting to the airport around the same time. I met people from Australia, Britain, and America. It kind of felt like an episode of MTV’s The Real World except with more people…twenty-four to be exact. Well, anyway, we were told that we were headed to the training house, where would be staying for the next week or so. However, because the training group was so large, some of us were going to be housed in the “weekly mansion.” Imagine my surprise when they said I was one of the ones who would be staying in the company mansion! I puffed my chest out a bit, because I was feeling half special/half lucky. Then I started to wonder I wonder how many floors it is? I wondered where the jacuzzi and pool would be. I imagined marble flooring, balconies, spiraling staircases, sky-high ceilings, etc.. So we hopped in our ride to the mansion, and when we got to this normal-looking apartment, I thought “Why is the taxi stopping here?” I saw my trainer get out of the car, and I soon came to the sobering realization that this WAS the weekly mansion. No island kitchen? No marble floors? No. In America when you hear the word mansion, it instantly conjures images of the high-life, of celebrities, of over-the-top enormous houses. But in Japan, when I hear mansion, I know that it refers to a type of Japanese apartment.
But what exactly is the difference between a Mansion and an apartment in Japan? Well, I went to Kazusaya yesterday to try to iron out some more details on a new place, and while we were looking, I asked one of the agents what the difference was. Although he was speaking in Japanese, I did catch some of the differences. From what I understand, the biggest difference lies in the building construction. I didn’t catch the exact name of the material, but there is a difference in the types of concrete used to make mansion. As a result, mansion walls are thicker (less sound goes through the walls) and are more stable during earthquakes (that’s what I was told anyway). The apartment that I’m really considering strongly is actually a mansion-type. I don’t think mansions necessarily mean bigger. I have seen some apartments that are larger than some mansions, and vice versa. But at the end of the day, I just want an apartment I can be comfortable in.
If anyone can think of any other differences between apartments and mansions, please leave a comment below; I’d love to hear about it.
Until next time,