Students create website to help foreigners find houses

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by News Desk (From The Japanese News)

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Students at Meiji University have launched a website that offers assistance to foreigners looking for places to live in Nakano Ward, Tokyo.

Called “Living Together in Nakano,” the site lists real estate agencies where English is spoken and other such services. It was created by a group of about 10 people, including graduating seniors of the School of Global Japanese Studies, which is located on Meiji’s Nakano campus. 

Members of a seminar that studies multicultural coexistence focused on how foreigners look for housing in Japan and the problems they face after moving in, such as rules regarding garbage. 

They conducted an interview survey May and June last year among Nakano real estate agencies and foreign residents. Foreigners reported issues such as being unable to find real estate agencies who could speak English and difficulty securing guarantors, while real estate agencies said they had experienced such problems as foreigners not understanding rules about garbage, loud noise, deposits and key money. 

In September last year, the students organised a meeting where realtors and foreign residents could exchange views. They then started to work on a website they hoped would be useful for about 15,800 foreigners who lived in the ward as of March. 

The site has a Japanese page that describes customs and residential situations overseas, and explains cultural differences. For foreigners, there are explanations about deposits and key money, prohibitions on subletting, etiquette to be observed when moving out, and other aspects of renting in Japan. 

There is also a list of Nakano real estate agencies with various symbols denoting their services, such as the availability of services in different languages. The idea is to make it easy for foreigners to find a real estate agency that meets their needs. 

“More foreigners are coming to Nakano Ward. We hope a lot of people will see our site and it will promote mutual understanding, to make this a nice place to live,” said Ayumi Hirabayashi, a graduating senior who took part in the seminar.