Welcome back to my little world that is called “Hannatopia”.
I guess I didn’t realise how moving abroad would absorb my life so much. I have been so busy! A kind of busy I have never experienced before. I lived in a hotel, had to find an apartment, lived with a friend for a while, found an apartment, moved in, got furniture, decided on the interior, arranged internet, got insurances and more adult-like stuff… This was literally the first weekend in a month and ten days that I had to myself, without any obligations. I finally have some time to just sit comfortably on my new sofa and write. So let me catch you up on this fine Sunday night what my life has been like since moving to Tokyo. I have been very active on Instagram so I will guide you through this month, using my Insta posts as reference.
This was the first picture I took since being back in Japan (like literally the first), and so happy it was a good one. I arrived at Haneda airport and was lucky that an awesome friend was able to pick me up and help me with my luggage. He helped all the way to my hotel and on the way, when transferring stations, I looked up and suddenly saw Tokyo Tower! So amazing that the first landmark I saw since arriving was Tokyo Tower. Loved it.
I stayed at this hotel for about a week. This was also my first week at my new job, and I naively thought I would be able to juggle my jet lag, meeting up with friends, getting started at work and finding an apartment all in this first week. So as you could assume, this did not happen. I did meet up with a few friends, started at work and kind of got over my jet lag, but my real estate agent could only meet with me at the end of the week, which was also the last day I could stay at the hotel.
So at least in the first week, I was able to (kind of) relax and enjoy my stay at the amazing hotel The Knot Tokyo in Shinjuku. This hotel was so chic and modern, as the interior gave me the right vibe and the rooms were quite big for Tokyo. But the best part was definitely the breakfast buffet! They had a whole bunch of options like fresh fruit, veggies, granola and cornflakes, great coffee and delicious freshly baked bread. I enjoyed every little bit of this breakfast for the whole week I was there.
My first weekend in Japan was immediately a long one. Japan has at least one national holiday a month (usually on a Monday), which means that these weekends last three days! As I would meet my real estate agent on Sunday, I still had the Saturday to myself. I could have been smart and stayed in my room and relaxed as my body was exhausted from the jet lag, but my mind and heart definitely wanted to go explore. And that is what I did. I made an epic walk from my hotel in Shinjuku to Harajuku and Omotesando, visited the Meiji Shrine, went window shopping at Tokyu Plaza and had a soy matcha latte at my favourite Starbucks in the world. These were all places that I knew really well and were close to my heart. On my Instagram I called it a “Nostalgia Walk”.
On Sunday and Monday I met up with the real estate agent to go search for apartments. For obvious privacy reasons, I did not document this. These two days were long and exhausting. I had never done anything like this before and was very overwhelmed with everything I had to take into account when looking for a new place. But in the end, we found our dream apartment! It is quite far from the city centre, but it’s big for Tokyo standards and for a very decent price. My boyfriend was still in Belgium at this time and followed along the apartment hunt via video chat.
Even though we found an apartment, the process of actually moving into the place proved quite difficult. I will write more on this topic in the future. It took about two weeks and a half to end the negotiations, meetings and contract signings.
Meanwhile, my stay at the hotel ended and I lived at a friend’s place until I was able to move. I will be forever grateful that I could stay there. It was a huge relief not having to look for another hotel or Airbnb.
The next week my boyfriend arrived! It felt so good to be reunited! Even though I was never really alone up to this point, and it had only been two weeks since we had seen each other, I really missed that dude. Luckily, he had some time to relax to get over his jet lag while I went to work.
Fast forward a little bit later, we finally got to move into our apartment! We already went to Ikea and Nitori beforehand and ordered a few things to arrive on the day we would move in. Up until last week, our week nights and weekends were filled with more trips to Ikea, going to Loft and Tokyu Hands for house supplies, shopping at Muji for bedsheets, getting lamps for every room, etc.
At this point, we can officially call this apartment our home. There is still a lot of stuff that needs to be done, and currently we do use the cardboard box in which the sofa arrived as a table, but everything is slowly but surely coming together.
If you made it through all this text, thank you so much for keeping up with me! This was a summary of how I am getting installed in Japan and I hope you enjoyed it! I have a lot of ideas for future posts so stay tuned!