14 July 2012

Diary of an ALT: Living alone in Japan

People in Japan live alone. Families share houses and couples shack up but aside from that most everyone else lives in their own little apartments. It's just how it's done. Back home I would always have gone for a house share. It's cheaper than living alone and it's nice to live with friends and have a bit of company at the end of the day when you get home from work so this living alone malarcky is an entirely new experience for me. There are times when I thoroughly enjoy it and times when I feel like I might go mad and start chatting with the toaster. (On a related note I've noticed I talk to myself far more here which may be a result of spending so much time in my own company. I'm doing it in public far too often though. I'm going to get caught out badly one of these days.) So I've compiled a sort of "positives and negatives of living alone" list. Et voila:

The good:
1) Privacy is nice. Especially if you've spent an entire day surrounded by screaming kids coming home to a quiet space that's all yours is soothing.
2) You can walk around naked without fear of bumping into house mates. And since the weather here is climbing closer to the 30s every day I spend much of my time in the apartment in various states of undress.
3) Everything in the apartment is yours. No one can steal your milk or your bread. You don't have to tolerate someone else's poor taste in decorations or furnishings. You don't have to scream into a pillow when you trip over shoes that someone left in the hallway or clothes that haven't been folded.
4) You can eat like a total pig and there's no one there to judge you. Although after having eaten dinner, a chocolate croissant, 4 mini lemon pancakes, 1 strawberry pastry log and drinking a bottle of red wine all by myself I think it might be better if someone had been here to make me feel guilty about my gluttony.
5) You can act also act like a total pig. For example you can fart real loud without offending anyone. I give this one as an example because I'm a girl and girls don't fart. I'm just saying you could if you wanted to...

The bad:
1) Loneliness :-( It can be a little lonely when you come home to a small, empty apartment every day.  It's nice to sit down with housemates and chat or watch a movie. Sitting in your apartment watching several hours of The Walking Dead alone is a little heartbreaking.
2) Buying food for one can lead to waste when you don't get round to using all of something. And I hate waste!!! Cooking for one also requires freezing portions and eating the same thing many times in a row. Pasta for the third meal running. Woohoo...
3) The responsibilities of the household rest entirely with you. No sharing chores or spliting bills. There's no one to text if you forgot to buy milk and you only have yourself to blame if you forget to pay the electricity bill or you're sitting on the loo and you realise there isn't a scrap of toilet roll in the whole house.

So although it may seem like there are more pros than cons to living alone I, personally, much prefer to live with people I know and love like my friends or family. It's a new experience and I'm sure I'll grow as a person blah blah blah etc. but I'd much rather come home and sit down on the couch, watch some shite tv together and bitch about my day than sit around the apartment alone eating pasta in my delicates watching zombie shows. Privacy by damned. I'd happily choose grumbling over someone else's smelly socks on the floor than losing my mind to loneliess and making friends with my kitchen appliances.

1 comment

  1. Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but this is my second year living alone and I totally talk to myself LOL and I've also accidentally done it in public sometimes too haha I think it's a normal by-product of living alone.


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