Someone really should have told us "what to know" before house hunting in Japan. While we are not staying in traditional Japanese homes, they still are quite different than in the states. No wall paint. Everything here is white or if you are lucky an off-white cream textured wallpaper. Now you can't really tell that it is wallpaper, but still. Very white. And open floor plans are very rare. No yards. Sometimes a small patch of grass, but that is it. Many times there will be gardens, but they will be flowers and plants.
So we set out Tuesday to look at our first set of houses. Everything thing we saw was not our cup of tea or it was far off the train lines. This is important because you get almost everywhere by train. So the closer to the train the easier your life will be. Let's just say that by the end of the day Tuesday I was ready to stay in NC for 3 years alone.
Tuesday night I actually had a decent night of sleep (have I mentioned that jet lag stinks) and I woke up feeling hopeful. Matt and I set off again with our realtor Yuko and another expat wife and saw some more houses.
We wound up choosing the second house that we saw. It is a 5 minute walk from one train line and a 15 minute walk from another. The "bus" stop for school (if the kids choose to not ride the train) is a five minute walk. Our little "subdivision" consists of five houses plus the landlords property. Two of the families are from the United States (one being Matt's co-worker) and another is from Germany. The house right next to us is empty. There are also almost 10 Caterpillar expats in our area. The "subdivision" is on a private driveway, allowing lots of space for the kids to play. We will be within walking distance from some shopping stores, a few restaurants and a bakery.
The house has four bedrooms, some garden areas (there really is never any grass or yards) and a patio, a remodeled kitchen, all American appliances, and a real laundry room with a sink. There is hardwood floors in all the rooms, however we have asked that the kids rooms have area carpets if possible.
I think we are going to be very happy with our choice. Below are a few pictures. You can also see many more here.
The private drive leading to all the houses.
View down the street going to our house.
Looking from living room to the dining room to the kitchen.
Our front door.
Walkway to our front door.
Patio off my office.
View from master bedroom window.
Part of kitchen. We will be able to put bar stools on the other side of the counter for an eat-in area.