Friday, May 21, 2010

Moving Poor

The phrase hikoshi-bimbo - 'moving poor' - is often used to describe someone who recently moved into a new (unfurnished) apartment and describes the state of having to fork over six months' of your hard earned wages for the privelege of renting. Essentially, you need a serious amount of cash on-hand before you can even step foot into the realtor's office. Many apartments are 1LDK, meaning one bedroom, bathroom and a living/dining/kitchen space, and all rental real-estate uses this shorthand system to describe units. Before being handed the keys, as a rule, all new renters also have to pay two month's rent (in cash) in advance and on top of that have to give another two month's rent as a security deposit (refundable assuming there is no damage to the apartment). But wait there's more, you also have to give another two month's rent as a gift to the landlord (not refundable) known as reikin or key money. Not done yet, another month's rent is usually due as a finder's fee to the realtor (not refundable) which is considered a small price to pay given the competiveness of the Japanese real-estate market. So that apartment might look good on paper, but it has all sorts of 'hidden' fees.


  1. definitely expensive, I think the apartment we are in now will only return 20% of the deposit, if and when we leave. :(

  2. Japan is an expensive place!