Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Loan Application Round 2: SUCCESS

Mizuho Bank called yesterday and announced the good news.
My loan has been pre-approved. :) And it took only 2 days.

For all the paper work, the pre-approval result was given to me rather informally.
The rep called me and told me and just said my application was approved.
No special certificated or a copy of my application with a big "Approved" stamp.

My theory is that since I already applied once, it was faster the second time around.

So typically, this is where I call my real estate agent and get him to set up a meeting with the land owner for the Land contract (Baibai Keyaku) as soon as possible.
But I'm taking off for Fukuoka tomorrow as it is Golden Week.
So this will have to wait until May 8th.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mono Gallery Art Show

My wife will be displaying her works at Mono Gallery which is a little gallery not far from Tokyu Department store:

For anyone looking for a Ceramics studio in Kichijoji, we recommend Musashino Tougei.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hara Donuts

This is the place to get healthy donuts in Kichi. It's a chain that originates from Kobe but is totally into the alternative healthy chic food that is so en vogue in Kichijoji.

This place always has a queue on the weekends but it's well worth it.

Read here for an English translation of their website.

The donuts are fried right on site as opposed to carted in on a truck and the constant demand means you're almost guaranteed to have a moist juicy donuts that has substance. Not those Krispy Kreme sugary airy things.

Organic doesn't have to mean boring. Definitely lots to choose from about ~150 yen a piece.

Once you're done you can grab a Cafe au Lait at their cafe that is adjoined. Tasty coffee but a little overpriced.

Donuts, Coffee and green space for the kids to run around.
10 minute walk from Kichijoji Station on Nakamichi-Dori.
Here's a map: and related article.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Loan Application Round 2

I went to the bank today with all my papers. I had everything in order but unfortunately the sample home that was estimated is about 15% smaller than I originally intend to build. Therefore I need my architect to draw up another sample closer to the desired size (~150 square meters) as well as get a new Build Cost estimate based on this new plan.

Here's hoping I can get this pre-approved loan application in by Thursday. Fingers crossed.

So if you're wondering what are all the papers you need here's a quick rundown:

- Certificate of Registered Domicile: (Toroku Genpyo Kisai Jiko Shomeisho) This is the closest thing to a family registry for a foreigner in Japan. You need the form which shows all family members and needs to be less than 1 month old.

- Certificate of Employment: Get this from your employer.

- Certificate of Earnings : (Gensen choshuyou) for the past 3 years. You need to show your past earnings. It helps if you can provide a letter from your employer on your current salary.

- Estimate of Costs : For Land, Building, Architect, Old Building Disposal.

- Land and Building documents: Real estate agent should provide all this :registration from city (less than 1 month old) , official land measurements, Real Estate Listing showing Desired Price, Desired Home Plan.

- Proof of Car Loan Re-payment: In my case, they will lend more if I prove that I don't have outstanding debts.

I hope this goes through because I don't know if I have the stamina to go through all this again :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ocharaka Tea House

Ocharaka is a quaint little tea house cafe towards the end of Nakamichi Dori.

It's stylish, eclectic, traditional and international all into one.
It has flair yet brings the village to the city.

My favourites are the Mont-Blanc dessert and the Hoji Milk Tea sprinkled with black pepper. (Yes Black pepper but ever so subtle.)

If you lucky enough to get the tatami seat you can browse through some of Stephane's (the owner) French cartoon collection.

Though casual in fashion, the service is impeccably traditional in its respect to customers.

Merci Stephane!!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Score Cards and Maps

I'm a huge fan of using Google to keep track of the places I've visited.
I created below using Google maps and dropped some pins on the candidate lots.
You can save these pins by logging in and creating an entry in "My Maps"
Drawing a 1 kilometer radius circle helps me visualize the desirable locations and visually estimate time to the train station.

I must have visited over 15 lots in the past few months and though notes help, I keep a weighted score card based on 7 major categories from which I derive a general score. Anything over 80% is worth a good long seirous look. However, I also note in red the categories which are deal-breakers.

This helps me remain somewhat objective, but I'm not kidding myself here. There are certain intangibles which don't simply fit into a neat little formula. I could have gone over the top with the amount of categories but chose to keep it simple so it would only take 2 minutes after a short lot visit to fill out.

Let me know what you think by posting a comment here.
Please share what works for you.

Here's a link below. (I've removed the full addresses)

Land Score Card Link