So, Yeah, I Did It, I Bought A Piece Of Japan

To: Crecente
From: Ashcraft
RE: April Fools + Internet = Crap

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After months and months of effort, I'm happy to report, I'm finally buying a home. It hasn't been easy.

It's certainly not that difficult for foreigners to buy homes here. Working for a Japanese company helps. Having a "normal" job does as well. Since neither is the case for me (you blog?), it's been an uphill climb trying to get my home loan approved. Lots of banks wouldn't even process my papers, simply saying "no thanks".

The bank that actually approved my loan turned me down for the same loan three months earlier. I replied about a month ago, but instead of having the real estate agent file the papers, I went to the bank myself and filed them.

Then, I explained what I did, what Kotaku was, etc. My father-in-law was a tremendous help, even going as far as giving the bank a DVD copy of my appearance on Japanese TV in hopes of it vouching for something.

Guess it didn't hurt, perhaps made a favorable impression, because the bank ended up approving the loan. Really appreciate how Mrs. Bashcraft forged ahead — even when it looked like we'd never be able to buy a house here.

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When I first moved to Japan, I overpaid for a rundown apartment in a slum neighborhood. The apartment was "for foreigners", and my rent was twice what normal folks around me were paying — I didn't find this out until I long moved out. (This was a while ago, but I also wasn't able to get a video store rental card because I didn't have a home phone number at the time! The rationale was that if I didn't have a home phone number, the video store couldn't call me at home about late videos. How's that for logic!)

My current apartment, which I've lived in for the past seven years or so, isn't even rented in my name as the apartment company was worried I would stop paying my rent and escape to America so asked that my wife signed the rental agreement. My wife, at the time, did not work, mind you.

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Times change. Even in the time I've lived in Japan, I feel that the country has opened up. Or rather, continues to open up, offering more to those from the outside who live here.

What's more, buying and renting are different. While I wouldn't go as far as saying foreigners are discriminated from when buying a house (I don't think they are), it's necessary to have a permanent residence visa and getting that took some time as well. Once you have one, it's easier to purchase. Also, if you work for a Japanese company (the more famous, the better), then things should be smooth sailing.

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Anyway, this month is going to get crazy busy. We have to put Mini-Bash in a new school (we've been looking around), we need to get things like a proper dinning table and have to pack and move. We're very excited. The place we're moving into is quite large. It's a bit out of the city in a beautiful part of Osaka. Very green, lots of mountains. Good place to raise a family and settle down. Finally.

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DISCUSSION

Congratulations to the Ashcraft family!

One of my colleagues did a lot of traveling, he ended up in Canada for studies and lived in a cheap apartment building where most of his neighbors were Japanese. He had so much fun with them he decided to give Japan a try next. Learned Japanese in a hurry and moved straight there, without going back to homeland. That caused him a lot of problems, but he still managed to stay a few years there. Met someone, got married, eventually divorced, and moved back to Belgium. He was practically buddy with the Belgian ambassador by then.

When I read about your experience in Japan, and hear about my colleague's experience, It feels like both of you went through a few "special treatments for foreigners", but once you put that aside, the Land of the Rising Sun seems like an awfully rich and gratifying place to be.

I was telling my colleague about the book you wrote, and regarding the chapter on Purikura machines, he instantly pulled out his wallet and showed me some old ragged sticker-pictures of him and his Japanese friends.

I hope someday I get to experience that. Now that I think about it, moving from Canada to Belgium was (IS) a big life-changing adventure for me, only the culture clash isn't as extreme :)

I guess that's enough chatter for one comment.

Thanks for sharing this with us Bash!