Since moving out of the dorms and into Mitaka, I have gained a great friendship with my roommate and friend Chisa. I know that she has been working hard to find a good job, and it's been stressing her out for quite some time. Last Saturday, she informed me she finally got what she was looking for. Of course, I am very happy for her.
The part that makes me sad is her job is paying for her apartment, and requiring she live in that neighborhood. While it's only a mere 30 minutes or so from Mitaka, the company wants her to move there. This is not uncommon in Japan. However, it does make me sad, as I'm losing a very good roommate.
Chisa has always been there to help me out and been a friend in this strange country. She showed me around Kichijoji and Mitaka, pointed me to some great places, and just been generally helpful when I needed help. She's also been a delight to just spend time with. Her complete lack of desire to become Americanized I find refreshing and often times hilarious. I'm sure I'll be hanging out with her a lot after she moves, but there's a big difference between that and a roommate.
Anyways, this kind of left me and my other roommate Nori left in a bit of a pickle. Since Chisa wasn't going to be here, we would have to find another roommate to fill her void. Since I was going to school, I meet more people than my roommates, so I kind of fell into the position of having to find a replacement. I knew someone (an American friend) who was searching for a house, and I called him up on Saturday night, right after finding out that Chisa was moving, and was left with a positive sounding 'maybe', with plans to discuss it more on Monday.
Feeling good, I enjoyed the rest of my weekend, and was relaxed about the whole situation. On Monday we talked, and realized that the time we wanted him to move in and the time he wanted to move in were off by a month and a half, so this might not have worked out. Not really a big deal, as I could find someone else, given time.
This is where the problem came in.
I contacted Chisa and told her what my American friend said, and she told me that my other roommate, Nori, didn't really want to live with a stranger, and was debating on moving out if I couldn't get somebody. As rent is done by months and (I think) we have to give a month's notice, this meant that we would have to tell someone by Febuary 29th, a Friday. Since it was Monday, and we wanted to know by the end of the week, I kind of started to panic. I sent a bizarre rambling Email to my friend explaining I needed to find someone ASAP, and I contacted people who I knew might have been considering moving, maybe. These efforts were fruitless, as I got nowhere.
To make things worse, my roommates contacted the landlord, and they said that they would only allow one non-Japanese person to live here. I've heard that landlords could be racist and xenophobic, but I'd never experienced it. This completely killed the plan for having my friend move in.
After an evening of stressing, I come home and my roommate has some surprisingly good news. She contacted the original tenant in my room, as he may have some paperwork to do because technically, I'm subletting from him. Turns out he lives with (I think) his brother's wife's girlfriend's family for next to nothing in Chiba, which is pretty far out there the opposite direction of Mitaka. He goes to school in Yotsua (where I change trains every day) and works just down the street from here in Mitaka. He's living for next to nothing, but he's getting tired of being out there. When he was told that they were looking for a roommate, he decided that he'd move back in. Since Nori got along with him fine, this is a perfect solution.
So, while I'm losing a good roommate and I'm very sad about that, I'm quite happy that I don't have to move. I really do like Mitaka a lot, and I'm lucky I get to still live here.