Contract Signed (and Signed and Signed)

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Today I signed all of the contracts and paperwork related to my new residence. It is amazing how much paperwork is required to rent a home in Japan. I have purchased two homes in America and the documents required are about the same. I imagine that purchasing a home here would require a tremendous amount of papersigning time. One interesting difference in Japan is that you need a hoshounin (保証人), which is essentially a co-signer. It doesn’t seem to matter who you are or who the hoshounin is; just that everyone must have someone who trusts them.

In some cases where a person can’t get someone to vouch for them, they may get a hoshouningaisha (保証人会社) to vouch for them. This is a company that provides the service. In the case of the house I am renting, I am required to have both a person and a company vouch for me.

Japanese people are very self-concious and also very slow to admit fault. When I mention the paperwork load to some people they defensively start to explain that certainly a Japanese person in America would be made to jump through hoops. Clearly they missed the point: I was not required to do anything that a Japanese person wouldn’t have had to do. The process is just more complex here. Anyhow, I will have the house available to me from March 21st and the my current apartment is let through the end of March. I have almost no work responsibilities after mid-March, so I should be able to get moved nicely.

I will put the address up for my relatives, friends(, and cyber-stalkers) sometime soon.

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