I know I made a “Housing In Japan” post in the past, but in this one I’ll be explaining important terms, conversions, and general information for housing searching.
Here’s a Tokyo apartment I was looking at. I’m not packing my bags anytime soon, but I wanted to see what the average going rate was.
First of all, the description was just “2K”. 2K? What? Does that mean???? I was expecting something like “2BR+1B” or something.
So I went searching for the meaning behind the housing acronyms:
any number coming before an acronym is basically the number of bedrooms (or free rooms, whatever you’d wanna put in there).
K. After I read it, I was like, “oh. duh.” K stands for….drumroll everyone….Kitchen. So an apartment advertised as “2K” means there’s a bathroom, two bedrooms, and a Kitchen.
DK. This one means that the Kitchen ALSO comes with a Dining Room!!!! They’re rarely separated by walls, so think of it as kind of a big kitchen. Sorta. There’s usually one of those bar things in the kitchen and then a separate space for a table.
LDK. Ooh, this one gets fancy. This one means Living Room, Dining Room, AND Kitchen! None of these are separated by walls, and it’s definitely of the more spacious variety.
R. Uh, yeah, this just stands for Room, as in number + R = rooms in the apartment. If you live in a 1R, it is literally one room. It’s basically the equivalent of a studio apartment, except the bathroom usually doesn’t have a divider/door.
SLDK. Now this must be high living. This one comes with a “Storage Room”, hence the “S” . Sizes vary, it could be simply a walk in closet or big enough to be a spare bedroom.
J. J stands for -jo, as in tatami mat measurement, which is explained below. A room being advertised as “6J” means the room is the size of 6 tatami mats.
Otherwise, if you can read the characters, you can see it comes with a closet, genkan (entrance for your shoes), and a balcony.
Now for the sizing. If you’re a bumbling American like me, you probably weren’t raised with the metric system. Fun math fact for conversion: 1 inch = 2.54 cm. So then you can do the math on your own if you’re into that thing. I’m not, so conversion calculators for me.
In the picture above, the bedrooms are marked “4″ and “6″, but not 4 sq. meters or 6 sq. meters. Although most apartments won’t have tatami mats, it’s still a standard unit of measurement in housing. So, the average size of a tatami mat is 1.62 sq. meters. So, doing the math here (I’m pretty sure you’d multiply the size of the tatami mat by the number of mats), the room with 6 tatami mats would be 10.08 sq. meters. But how the heck does that help me if I’m unfamiliar with the metric system??? So converting this to feet, it would be 108 sq. feet. The header says the whole thing is 28.28 sq. meters, which would be 304 sq. feet.
Either way, I have no idea how much area square feet takes up, but looking at Google Images it looks about the size of a standard dorm room for one, so probably quite small to an American.
But this particular apartment is a super good deal. It’s $900 a month in the heart of Shinjuku, one minute away from the train station. So pretty much a steal.
Lastly, let me explain the difference between “apartment” and “mansion”, アパート and マンショ (apato and manshon), respectively. An apato is an apartment in a building that’s 2 stories or less. Manshon’s are 3 stories or more (highrise building). Just because something is called a manshon doesn’t mean it’s fancy. It’s just the terms. The apartment above is a manshon (a “royal mansion”, specifically).
Hope this was helpful, you might need it someday. ;-)
If you’ve ever read a shoujo manga, or watched a romantic anime, you’ve probably seen kabe-don. It’s the doki-doki moment when a guy slams his hand/foot against a wall by the girl to confess his feelings. My explanations suck, so I’ve included a photo for your reference.
The word comes from かべ (wall) and どん (the sound it makes). Frankly, I have no idea where this part of Japanese culture came from, but it’s hilarious. I read an article that says the feeling of experiencing kabe-don is “exhilarating” plus, it makes guys look tough! Woo!
If you can find ‘em, there are some REALLY hilarious kabe-don Japanese vines out there. I’ll leave you with this one for now.