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zombiekelly
December 22nd, 2012, 18:16
Hi, another newbie who received an Interac offer here. :) I've been reading this site for a while and it's been very helpful, so I figured I could try asking a question.

For various reasons, I don't really want a Leopalace apartment. They look nice but no thanks. From what I've been able to dig up, it's not impossible to find your own place. But what I want to know is, how long are you stuck with Leopalace if you decide to take it? I've heard 6 months from people on forums and the whole year from the recruiter. It might be the case that I have to take Leopalace until I can find my own, but I don't want to start looking only to find I won't be able to do it for so many months.

(This is all assuming I'm not sent to the super inaka; I did mention to the recruiter that I grew up in a town of 5k people...)

stephiiStephii
December 23rd, 2012, 08:01
if nobody who knows for sure answers, try checking the Interac site, the FAQ section is pretty decent. if it's not mentioned there, email the office in Tokyo.. except they won't be around to answer immediately T_T but maybe you'll get lucky! :)

cosmiccircus
December 23rd, 2012, 08:13
Zombiekelly - I was thinking of asking the exact same question here XD I really don't want to live in Leopalace if I can help it, but getting an apartment on your own is reeeeally difficult unless you have blood relatives in Japan >__< I've heard that Interac can try to help us arrange a place, but I'm not sure if they would be willing to sign the contract as a guarantor. Although... I'm sure there are A LOT of placements out in the inaka where there aren't any Leopalaces, so they must be arranging other apartments somehow, right? O.o

stephiiStephii
December 23rd, 2012, 08:19
our recruiter told us that if there isn't a Leopalace establishment in your area then they will help you with another apt... but only if Leopalace isn't a suitable option. otherwise you're on your own

zombiekelly
December 23rd, 2012, 08:45
There's conflicting information out there. I've asked on other boards and they've said the older/noisier places will take foreigners, and I don't care about having to pay key money. The thing is some say Interac will act as guarantor and some say they won't.

I plan to be there for around 2 years and want my own place. I've looked into it and the only thing I haven't been able to find a lot of info on is how long Interac makes you sign for the Leopalace.

gakumonman
December 23rd, 2012, 10:44
If you're expecting to find something comparable to an American apartment ANYWHERE in Japan, especially one that will rent to a young foreigner with no rental history in Japan, you're just going to find yourself very frustrated and be grateful for a Leopalace set up for you by Interac. For someone who has lived in Japan before and stayed in a shared house, the Leopalaces look pretty sweet to me!!! When it comes to living space in Japan, it's probably the first and most extreme cases of culture shock, especially for an American suburbanite, so just "gaman" dude.

akanemukade
December 23rd, 2012, 14:11
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zombiekelly
December 23rd, 2012, 14:59
I don't care about the size of the apartment, I already live in a shoebox by some freight train tracks here in the US. What I'm really looking for is somewhere that will let me keep a pet so I can eventually get one. I read some posts from a guy on JET who had to pay for the JET place as well as his own place when he brought his kitties, so if I have to do the same for a few overlapping months, so be it. I'm planning on being in Japan more than a single contract as it is and I don't have that much debt in the US.

I guess a good question to ask would be if Interac gives you as hard of a time as AEON does when it comes to housing. A classmate of mine worked for them and they gave her a very hard time when she got married and didn't want their shoebox anymore.

gakumonman
December 23rd, 2012, 15:31
Ok fair enough, I cant speak towards owning a pet in Japan, but not to be a dream squasher or anything but, working as an ALT is not the most stable form of employment in Japan, even if you're the best teacher in Interac's portfolio, there's still the chance that your BoE won't renew their contract with Interac and you'll have to move again and deal with finding a place that will take your cat all over again. I'm just saying maybe you should feel things out before making pet ownership a priority for your new life in Japan.

zombiekelly
December 23rd, 2012, 19:20
I don't want to be an ALT forever, obviously, but I'm a big animal person and whole heartedly believe in the stress relieving power of animals.

My kanji isn't as good as it should be, but from snooping on Leopalace's Japanese website, they have pet friendly buildings in most of their prefectures. Maybe I could twist some arms for one of those.

Konnichiwayuki
December 24th, 2012, 01:54
I am right there with you Kelly :kaos_mamies_oui: I had been wondering the same thing about apartments for the exact same reason xD. I didn't think Leopalaces allowed any pets, then again, I haven't heard of this certain buildings allowing pets rule. Hopefully someone else can shed some more light on this. Though, I have seen a few ALT's (in the jvlog community) with pet turtles that live in Leopalaces)

zombiekelly
December 25th, 2012, 04:59
If you look at the pictures on the website, certain models (the ones with the stair loft) advertise a pet door between the kitchen and leash hooks near the window.

TAmember2003
December 25th, 2012, 10:19
this is interesting...
I was just gonna get a leopalace that I get stuck with for the first time and after the year, if i want to stay longer I was gonna look into getting my own place... maybe a roommate, (fellow ALT) and all... if its in the same place.

Konnichiwayuki
December 26th, 2012, 01:52
You're right! I just saw that little doggie door and the dog lying in the middle of the apartment. I liked the little dog hook for the leashes outside the apartment :kaosotnpnkynezu:.

Also, Merry Christmas to all :kaos_kms_m-xmas: :kaos_kms_ml-xmas:

Yarantoikenbai
December 28th, 2012, 23:44
Interac will sort your apartment for you if you request it. The following is my experience with Interac.

You will have NO say in anything regarding your apartment. They will put you somewhere that's relatively close to your assigned schools, and that's it. If there are no Leo Palaces, you'll get a typical Japanese apartment. I wanted a more urban placement in general, and I got a rural city and my apartment is on the outskirts of that city, about 30 minutes cycling to the centre of town. Essentially, my Leo Palace is sandwiched between two rice paddies and a mountain. Be prepared for some disappointment, especially if you're angling for a pet friendly apartment.

In my city, Leo Palace is pretty uniform: one room with a desk, mini table, raised bed thing and a wardrobe; a tiny kitchenette, bathroom, toilet and laundry area. For one person they're very liveable, but cold in winter and hot in summer (insulation, Japan...insulation.) If you want to go and do your own thing with housing, which I will be doing if forced to stay in my city for another year, be prepared for the huge upfront costs, and the difficulty of finding people and companies that will rent to foreigners. You'll need about 6 months rent (key money, deposit, finder's fee for the estate agent, other silly fees, and usually 2 months rent paid up front) and a lot of patience!

That said, Leo Palace isn't too bad. They're small, but if you keep busy with friends and other activities, you won't spend too much time in it anyway. The most important thing I would suggest is warm clothes for winter. I don't live in a cold place, it's rarely below freezing, but my apartment is positively Baltic. Sweaters, slippers, socks and other cosy things are the best!

If you want to move out of LeoPalace, you're better waiting for 6 months in order to get your deposit back. Technically you CAN move before then, but it's more trouble than it's worth. You'll be going to a new country, meeting new people, getting settled in at work and working out what to do with yourself and money is a problem. I arrived in August 2012. My first FULL paycheque was on 30 November. I was paid 20,000 yen on 30 Sept for my training, and about 80,000 yen on 31 October for September's work less the initial set up costs for my apartment. Depending on your current financial standing, you may not have the money to get out of a LP before 6 months.

Also, remember that you may not like your placement! It's easy to say "I'll be there for 2 years" but you may really want to move, you may find another more suitable job, and Interac may lose the contract, thus leaving you without a job.

Edit: Regarding pets; turtles, goldfish, etc. are usually OK. Bigger animals like dogs, cats are the ones that cause concern. Public Service Announcement: PLEASE remember that a pet is for LIFE! Consider in advance how much it may cost you to take your buddy with you if/when you go home. Will there be a quarantine, or a bill? Buying an extra ticket for a pet isn't cheap. Japan is not well known for its kindness to animals. There may well be an adoption centre somewhere in a larger city, but in the smaller backwaters, they often do not exist and unwanted pets are thrown out onto the streets and left to fend for themselves. Please don't add to the problem.

stephiiStephii
December 29th, 2012, 01:46
that's a really awesome reply, thanks so much for the insight Yarantoikenbai

TAmember2003
December 29th, 2012, 02:54
Yes it is! I have a cat and was thinking about taking it, but decided against it... He is kinda old, and he doesn't do car rides very well... Pus the summer being to hot... I don't know how the air cons work but I don't think I would want to leave it on all day...

zombiekelly
December 30th, 2012, 17:24
Worst case scenario I find a man who likes pets.

Yarantoikenbai
December 31st, 2012, 00:07
@TAmember2003

Usually your air conditioning unit is one of the "stick on wall" types; rather inefficient and not particularly cheap. It's definitely not something you want to leave on all day, the costs would be astronomical. Again, Japanese places aren't usually insulated very well, so the moment you turn off your heating/air conditioning, you will notice a change in temperature very quickly. It's not the best environment for a kitty, but you could freeze a bowl of water and leave it out for him/her during the day, so it would be cold for a while :)

@stephii, you're welcome! I'm more than happy to help out if anyone has any concerns or questions. It's a big move, and I was very nervous about it myself, it's nice to have any reassurance.

akanemukade
January 2nd, 2013, 16:24
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stephiiStephii
January 3rd, 2013, 22:13
Geez :| Akanemukade that sounds tough. Are you planning to stick it out, or move once you can?

akanemukade
January 7th, 2013, 14:45
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gakumonman
January 7th, 2013, 16:29
I'm just sticking it out until the end of my contract. It's really not that bad. It's small, but it suits my needs, though there are better ones out there. Like Yara said, it's easier to just put up with a LeoPalace rather than finding a place on your own if this is your first time moving to Japan and you don't speak the language.You, and others should take you own words to heart; "it suits my needs", I mean are you entertaining your spouses boss for dinner parties, planning a family, converting the garage into a den? When I lived in Japan I was more concerned about the cheapest way to get and stay in Kyoto during Golden week or plane tickets to Thailand during summer break, my closet size room in a shared house was good enough as long as the heat worked in the winter and had ac in the summer. If you're so worried about housing and want to experience Japan just stay in your parents house in your home country and read manga and watch anime...get over it!!!To a foreigner Japan shouldn't be about a stylish 3LDK with a pet salon, it's an interesting country with lots to do and see and you want to turn it into an episode of an HGTV reality show...so lame...

Gizmotech
January 7th, 2013, 19:22
Gakumonman, I agree in principal. When you first get here, just live in where they give you. If after a year you feel like expanding your place because you're not going anywhere for a while, that's also fine.

Not every foreigner has gone to Japan w/ the express intent on leaving the country and making their stay there some type of "experience"

PoseidonCubed
January 7th, 2013, 23:49
Our little LeoBoxes are small, chilly in the winter and perhaps not quite the best bargain among living spaces in Japan, but. The layouts tend to vary, and some are noticeably newer. Mine's more recent, with a loft area over the kitchen. The #1 thing I'd recommend investing in before you move in is a decent futon/mattress and pillow. :)

I've visited some JET's in the area, a few of whom basically have entire three-bedroom houses to themselves (paying much less rent as well!). First instinct is to be jealous, but I honestly don't know what I'd do with all that extra space. Between school, travel and going out on weekends, I'm not often in my apartment for extended periods, so the LeoPalace has been more than good enough for my needs as well. I'm quite conveniently placed and am glad that Interac took care of all the details and paperwork...it was one less thing to worry about while being jetlagged and moving to a new country for job training.

Pick up an item or two here or there, hang a few pictures and its not hard to make it feel like "home."

akanemukade
January 8th, 2013, 17:12
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cosmiccircus
January 9th, 2013, 11:28
I think there are different factors that apply to different people... If you are someone that does not speak the language, and are only planning on staying in Japan for a year, then LeoPalace is a great option. The apartments are really small, but they come almost completely furnished (totally unheard of for most normal Japanese apartments), and they're month to month leases, for the most part, AND you don't have to worry about a guarantor, or finding a place that will rent to you without one.

On the other hand, if you are fluent (or at least conversational) and you intend to stay in Japan for at least a few years, LeoPalace does not seem like the best option in my opinion. Because they're convenient and furnished, the rent is a lot more expensive for what you're actually getting. Personally, I'd rather get a cheaper, unfurnished, normal apartment and buy the furniture and appliances, as I'm planning on being in Japan for an extended period of time. Whether or not that option will be available to me from the get-go, I'll have to wait and see once I get my placement :/ Worse comes to worst, I go with the LeoPalace or whatever Interac gives me and look for another place once I'm settled. Does anyone else have an experience like this?

DandeLion
January 25th, 2013, 10:00
Here to post my 2 cents as a Interac employee.

I will go ahead and note that I have not read much of the previous posts. I have been with Interac 2 years, going on 3, and I first had a Leopalace apartment. You are allowed to get out of your contract with it after 6 months.

I left mine at 8 months.

It is pretty difficult to get a place in Japan if you are not here yet. Also it is made a little extra difficult with the tenant being a foreigner. You have to have a person/company to back you up and say that no this person is not a homicidal maniac that will be using your room for evil illegal organ theft. Kind of like credit scores in the US (you have a harder time getting a place if you have no credit).
Back to Leopalace, normally you would be able to leave Leopalace at anytime, one month, two, or what have you. That is what my Japanese friend told me. However, my understanding is that when you sign it and the 6 month limitation is actually with Interac. That Interac signs the apartment in your honor and has the actual contract with Leopalace, and that when you come and sign the contract it is actually with Interac and you are acting as a subletter.
This can be entirely wrong, but this is the way it was explained to me some time after I got here.

Hope this helps in some way.

TAmember2003
January 25th, 2013, 10:08
So does interac help you if you want to find another apartment?
Not in the finding process, but if you find one and the renter needs all that stuff you mentioned?

I guess im asking what did you have to go through to get your apartment outside of leopalace?

DandeLion
January 25th, 2013, 10:13
Yeah they they had no problem supporting me with a new apartment. But they won't find it for you... I mean, they might in some cases - one guy I know had Interac help him, but I haven't heard of it happening too often.

TAmember2003
January 25th, 2013, 10:15
good info... I know (think, lol) I wont like the size of the leopalace, but i have accepted it for the first year im there. (if i only have to wait six months, cool.)

zombiekelly
January 25th, 2013, 10:17
What about moving from one Leopalace to another? My recruiter mentioned a sort of "club fee" that you pay and wouldn't need to pay again if they transferred you. Is that an Interac thing or a Leo thing?

DandeLion
January 25th, 2013, 10:20
the size of mine really wasnt too bad. I have been in a few of my Japanese friends apartments and actually mine was bigger than most (seriously).
Remember they mostly live in one-rooms, so my one-room was clearly bigger, but the multi room apartments were obviously bigger...

The thing I hated more about the Leopalace was the lack of kitchen space, the IH stove top and no porch.

DandeLion
January 25th, 2013, 10:23
As far as transferring Leopalaces...I am not really sure why you would want to! haha!

It is actually pretty over priced, but that is the price of easy I guess. I paid 55000yen a month for mine. But the advantage is all the furnishings. There is a guy who was at my orientation who has a spacious one room for 35000yen a month, but no furniture. I have no idea where or how he found it but its a great deal.
I actually have no idea if the transferring fee you are talking about exists or not, but knowing Leopalace, I would actually assume that it is possible.

zombiekelly
January 25th, 2013, 11:09
It's not that I truly desire to live in a Leopalace, I just want one of those pet friendly ones they advertise.

DandeLion
January 25th, 2013, 11:56
wow. You might have a hard time finding one of those. I have never even heard of them. Though I am now wondering if they are what is called the Lions Mansion (affiliated with Leopalace - it is like the family version of it). Also they will be more expensive.

zombiekelly
January 25th, 2013, 12:05
I've been looking into this for a while. If you go on the website and pick the options you are looking for, one says "pet allowed". And it's a different kanji than that "pets negotiable" you find on regular apartment websites. Rent doesn't seem that much more expensive, but I can make it happen.

TAmember2003
January 25th, 2013, 12:42
i was thinking about bringing my pet over, but I decided against it because the pet allowed area is soooo small (just from leopalace), but I also started thinking about the pet...
no central air and leaving the aircon on ALL day seems like it could run the bill up...
is there a setting were you can have it turn off after a certain temp is hit? or is it just on a timer?
I really dont know how they work.

notjim
January 25th, 2013, 13:29
Alot more than just the apartment to think about for a pet, there's also the quarantine, vaccines, etc etc.

But, in the Leo Palace's I've lived in the AC is set on an automatic 3 hour timer, you cannot have the AC (or heat) on for longer than that without manually turning it on again. Some people have been able to get around this with a universal remote, but that hasn't worked for me.