Moving in with sister
In the second year in Tokyo, I moved in with my sister. My friend, who knew of our rocky relationship, was baffled by my decision. A few months before the move, my sister and I spent New Year’s at our parents’. Both of us were in a good mood. My sister had a successful career as a hostess, though still secretive around parents, and a boyfriend whom she had been seeing for over a year. I had survived the first several months at Waseda, passing all the subjects, though at mediocre grade. And my experience of living in Tokyo alone and working at Kubo had given me a platform of confidence to be equal with my sister. Our communication was upbeat, and we made each other laugh. Moving in together felt like an excellent idea for us, and our parents’ agreement validated our optimism.
I made the first compromise with the location. My school was in the North West of the Yamanote Line (a train line that circles central Tokyo), and my sister’s bar was in the South outside Yamanote Line. My sister finished her work at 2 am, which meant she needed to live in a short taxi-ride distance from the bar. We found a two-bedroom apartment on the top floor of a three-story apartment building in a quiet residential area, a five-minute walk from the nearest station, and a minute from a Seven-Eleven. The neighborhood was well-known, as Princess Masako’s parents’ house was not far from downtown. My commute to school was longer than before. If I had a 9 am class, I had to leave by 8 am, which had become very hard in the past year because of my night-heavy lifestyle.
My sister took the tatami room next to the living room with a closet and a balcony, and I took the carpeted room next to the entrance with no frills. But I agreed to hand my sister 2/3 of my allowance from my parents, even though it was more than half of the total rent plus utility bills combined. My sister insisted that she was paying for groceries and other household items and that even then, she would be paying more than I did. I didn’t mind giving her money because we were family, and I even appreciated she felt responsible for taking care of me.