My Palace Mansion

I’m certainly not the first one who’s noticed that Japanese apartment buildings often have weird English names (I can think of [[Tony László]] in one of the [[Is He Turning Japanese%3F ダーリンは外国人]] books.) In fact, I moved into my very own “Palace Mansion” myself a couple weeks ago. No, really. That’s the name of the place.


A mansion? By Japanese standards, yes.1 A palace? Um… not quite. Take a look—here are some pictures from my move-in.


The apartment has three bedrooms and shared small kitchen/dining room, bath, and toilet. I live here with two other Japanese salary-men who are older than I. We all live pretty busy lives and don’t run into each other much. And, believe it or not, I found it on Tokyo Craigslist.

While it may not resemble a “palace mansion,” it definitely has its perks. For starters, it’s a fifteen-twenty minute walk from my work, which is a great plus in a land of long train commutes. It’s in a quiet, down-to-earth neighborhood—right next to the Children’s Center and a block or two from a old-style shopping district (商店街 shōtengai)—while also one train station away from [[Shinjuku station]], which is a major transit hub.2 There’s a fabulous (and apparently slightly famous) [[ramen]] a couple doors down. And finally, while small, it’s definitely one of the cheapest places I saw.

But let’s back up a moment and let you in on how I got here.

I moved from Taiwan to Japan at the end of June after the end of my Fulbright. 3 While doing the regular job search4 I registered with a search firm with a focus on bilinguals, Robert Walters. I had a great experience with them and ultimately accepted a position introduced to me by them. I started on August first as Online Game Programmer at [[Gameloft]].5

I was weary of blogging about my job search at all during it, but I hope to break the radio silence and start blogging again about my new life here in Tokyo. ^^

  1. マンション (“mansion”) in Japanese actually refers to an apartment complex of at least a certain size. It’s an instance of [[wasei-eigo 和製英語]]—English-sounding words in the Japanese lexicon which, for some reason or another, do not actually exist or mean the same thing in English.

  2. Um, by which I mean, [[Shinjuku station the biggest train station in the world by passenger volume]].

  3. If you’d been following me on Twitter, however, you would have been at least slightly more in touch with my life. :p 

  4. Some of my best resources included ecentral (where I almost took a job, actually), daijob, and enjapan. I also went to a job fair focusing on bilingual (or semi-bilingual) job-seekers: Career Forum (CFN). I should also express my disgust toward recruit, the big household name among job sites, now operated by Yahoo, just as I found it very difficult to use/navigate and seemingly ill-planned-out. [[YMMV]]. 

  5. Speaking of, “the views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.” I should probably add that somewhere… I’ll get on it.