Japanese apartments are typically really small, but this, it’s at least more narrow than anything I’ve seen,» she says, touching both walls with her arms barely outstretched.
Embrace Having Enough
There’s a notion in Japanese culture of «having enough,» and for Australian travel vlogger Emma, she’s been tested to embrace that very concept, living her best life in an 8-square-meter apartment downtown in Japan’s dense capital.
Set over two levels, the apartment’s slender corridor seamlessly links to a kitchen with a glass door at the end that opens onto the balcony.
Tucked away is some modest closet space and a super slimline bathroom.
Confused, when she moved in, she explains, she couldn’t work out where the toilet was, conceding maybe she had to use a public washroom when she needed.
«Get this,» she says, eagerly demonstrating how the sink pulls away to reveal the toilet hiding behind it, «I think they’ve done great with the space.»
Emma herself has had to use some innovative thinking, when it comes to making the most of the room she has, even when the apartment has come fully furnished.
Moving the microwave and toaster oven, stacking them up to the side, for instance, meant she had to apply some sticky pads to the toaster oven’s feet to stop it edging forwards when an earthquake occurred.
She also found a low chair and small foldaway table, so she can drag her computer over her lap and stare out of the balcony window and onto a rainy night in the city. It’s lucky, she says, that in Japan they don’t really sit down at a table, so finding a tiny chair was easy.
Other parts of the Japanese culture has meant Emma’s apartment is a workable space for Tokyo, such as no shoes indoors. Well, there’s not much space to walk around anyway.
And for some reason, says Emma, they value sink space more than bench space in Japan. So, she found a way to slice her vegetables by buying a chopping board big enough to sit over the sink cavity.
Short On Width But You Get A Little Hight
What the place lacks in width and overall floor space, it makes up for in height, which makes it feel less confined.
«I can at least finally stretch in one direction,» she says.
Walking up a ladder to an even smaller level than the one below it, a platform with a duvet serves as Emma’s bed and bedroom, with her soft toys scattered in the corner.
This is where Emma takes solace in the small nook she calls home.
«What animal sleeps out in the open?» She asks rhetorically, explaining that she finds sleeping in a small space «comforting.»
As much as Emma loves her little apartment, there are still things she misses about having more living space, such as dancing or having dinner parties. Sleepovers are challenging.
However, for now Emma is content with where she is, realising that if she had more, she would want even more, never being satisfied with what she has at present.
«It keeps me creative,» she says, and has made the place her own with a few selective belongings. Although, this has meant imposing more «stuff» on the apartment while being concerned with keeping it all out of the way.
Can Still Do Yoga In Tiny Apartment
She’s found ways, however, even keeping a yoga mat positioned to the side, bringing it out into the largest free area of the floor when she wants to practice.
Emma’s tiny apartment sets her back 69,000¥ per month (circa US$630) including WiFi and utilities, which she is quick to point out is «less than I paid in a rural town in Australia.»
Like any other world city, the cost of living in Tokyo can be high and not just in terms of accommodation. But being populated by 9.273 million people in an area that itself is only 622 square kilometers’ big, space is at a premium there.
Emma’s small living is, therefore, in no way unusual and she isn’t keen on spending her time dwelling on the size of her living space.
«I’ve always wanted to live in Japan,» she says, gleaming with positivity, «And I found a way to get here.»