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Nippori is where I lived for basically most of my stay in Tokyo.  It was just by chance that I got to stay here, and not out in Ichigawa in Chiba prefecture.  The room was open so I debated, quickly, and decided to take it.  It turned out great.  The room was very small, but every one room place in Tokyo is.  It was also quite pricey but I actually saved money in the long run.  I chose to stay here because it saved me riding the train all the way to and from Chiba everyday, which it ends up would have cost more (the train isn't that cheap)  I lived in quite an old fashioned neighborhood by Tokyo standards, which I think now, was the best choice.  That meant the noise was at a minimum, and I could sleep at night.  I lived in something foreigners in Japan know well as the 'gaijin house'.  This means "foreigner house", gaijin being the slang, kind of rude way to talk about non-Japanese people in Japan.  It is slang for the term 'gaikokujin', which means "foreigner person".  Why is gaijin, not as polite as saying gaikokujin.. it just is.  It is the feeling when the word is said and the context.  Just like slang words of race in North America are considered very rude.  Anyway it is a thing buried deep in Japanese culture and will not change for a long time.

In foreigner houses, typically a place where only foreigners stay, sometimes Japanese people stay as well.  This may be because it is much cheaper than regular housing (which is true) or because they want to meet foreigners and they feel this is the only way to do it.  Anyway I stayed at a foreigner house because of one thing, money.  It is the only semi-cheap accommodation available in the Tokyo area and other large cities.  It is all mostly semi-short term too.  This can be anywhere from a week to a month minimum, totally depending on  the place.  Some places are absolutely horrible.   No joke.  I shopped around a bit at first and saw some really bad places.  By bad I mean everything from bugs, to loud obnoxious foreigners, to just plain dumpy.  So plan to look around for about three or four days to find a nice one, that has rooms available.  Some are full.  Usually the nicest ones.

Why am I going on and on about foreigner houses, well because before I went I had very limited information on them and anything would have helped.  So this is for anyone who needs it.

The cost is totally dependant on the owner.  Anywhere from 45000yen to 90000yen ( $450 to $900 ) a month for lower end places.  More for better or bigger places.

Make sure to check out a few small things that I read in a book before I looked around, that helped out in the end.  First make sure the caretaker or owner lives in the same building.  This keeps down noise and bad behavior, which you don't want in a small place.  This also keeps it clean, a big plus where cockroaches are rampant  ( that means all of Tokyo )  The other thing to do is ask if they have a washing machine, telephone, place to cook, etc.  I lucked out and they had a washing machine where I lived and it turned out to be the best thing.  It saved me walking all the way too the coin laundry with my stuff and it saved me money, as the price was included in my rent.

If you want to know exactly where I lived, it is called "Fuji-mi Hotel" which means you're supposed to able to see Mount Fuji from there but there was no way.  It was a nice enough place.  It was down the road from the north-west exit of Nippori Station, only a few blocks away.  Very convenient.  It took only about three minutes to walk to the station and less than five minutes to get on a train.

Around my place there were a few places that I went all the time, mostly for food.  My favorite was good fast really cheap, and convenient, it is called "Yoshinoya" and they sell "gyudon" there.  Gyudon is a Japanese (as far as I know) dish that is simple and rather good.  It is basically just rice covered with strips of cooked beef marinated in a special sauce.  The beef is usually mixed with strips of onions too.  There are a few fast food chains that sell "gyudon", another is "Matsuya".  They are all about the same.  Yoshinoya is usually the cheapest though at about 400yen (4 dollars) for a meal.  Pretty good for Tokyo.  And it's surprisingly filling too.  Not something you'll want to eat everyday, but if you're strapped for cash it's great.  The meal comes with "Miso" soup as well.  Another place I went often is the local bakery.  Bakery's in Japan are some of the best I've ever been to.  Why?  I don't know.  They all have really good small desert breads and pastries, and then loaves too.  The only 'but' is that they aren't super cheap.  Expect to pay about close to 150-200yen for one small pastry.  That's about 2 dollars, but most of the time it's really worth it for the quality breads.  In Kobe I always went to a place called "Donq", which is supposed to be like a French bakery I guess.  They had the best selection and quality I think.   Unfortunately there were none in Tokyo.

The local convenience store in Japan is just that, convenient, unlike it's North American counterpart.  There are many convenience stores, actually too many, they have kind of taken over since they started appearing a few years back.  Now there is literally one on every corner.  They carry an incredible selection of items.  Anything from dress shirts, to dinner.  Of course there is an assortment of junk food, but not nearly as much as a North American store.  That means there is more room for real food.  I bought my dinner at the local 7-eleven all the time.  Sad?  Maybe, but the dinners are actually cheap and not half bad.  I got things like curry rice, yakisoba, salads, fruits, just plain rice, and a lot more.  It's no substitute for real cooking but when you have no place to cook, it's a real life saver.  There was also a local market just around the corner from my building.  One of the last few remaining in Tokyo, it was a great place to shop for food.  There was a "bento" - lunch box shop near the end of the road that sold real cooked meals, that weren't too pricey.

The other thing I liked about living there was the view from my window.  Nothing to write home about, but it was nice to see the skyline in the distance, where usually I'd be seeing my neighbor's window, or worse yet, brick wall.  I saw many a beautiful sunset from that window.  At night it was easy to see the Sunshine 60 skyscraper in Ikebukuro from my window with all it's lights.