The 100: One House, One Family
This year (2019) in June, a new kind of modern share house opened its door in Kashiwa. I immediately went over there to check it out. I took a good look at the premises, checked out the common area, as well as the rooms. I interviewed the owner Hiraoka-san (CEO of Kizunato), had a chat with one of the residents, and think I got a pretty good overall feeling for the lifestyle pursued by the residents. If you look for a unique location, to fully enjoy your stay in Japan, please continue reading. The 100 people share house “#hash196” focuses on cooking and dining together and encourages everyone to try and cook foods from different cultures. Foreigners and Japanese living together under one roof, sharing cultures, creating an environment for international communication, and paving the way into a new and open future.
#hash196, what does it mean?
“We decided on a hashtag for our logo because we wanted to connect peoples passions. My passion might become some else’s passion, someone else’s passion might become my passion. We want people living in this house to find new passions and to connect through them.” Hiraoka-san
Japan recognizes 196 official countries in the world, 196 different cultures, different food, different people with different personalities. Hash196 is a living space that cherishes connections between people from different backgrounds. One goal is to create as many dishes from all over the world as possible. Even though just one month passed (July 2019) since its opening, the residents of hash196 have already recreated foods from around 30 different countries.
Every other day the residents cook together. The participants share the costs for the groceries, and even if one can’t directly join, maybe because of work, people will gladly put some food aside. I don’t think you’ll ever have to eat a single meal alone anymore if you don’t want to.
An international feeling
One-third of the rooms in the house are specially reserved for foreigners. Out of the 100 possible residents, around 66 spots are open for Japanese, the other 34 are for foreigners only (currently (July 2019) the house has around 40 Japanese and 7 foreign residents). A space to experience different cultures and different languages, a house with an international atmosphere, where everyone can feel welcome.
Not possible in a normal place
At first, I was shown around the entire house. Entering the broad kitchen and dining area, the salty smell of melting cheese entered my nose. A couple of residents gathered in the kitchen cooking some kind of pasta gratin. The dining room alone has enough space for at least 30 people. The kitchen is huge, like a kitchen you would normally find in a restaurant. I was instantaneously jealous. Colors and designs of the many kitchen appliances reflect the overall modern style of the house. The big refrigerator in the corner is for left-overs from parties and cooking events. I was very happy with this zero-waste approach in the style of Japanese “mottainai” culture.
The living area on the other side of the hallway is perfect for residents to gather up, watch a movie together, or just relax on the couch with a good book. The optimal spot for getting drawn into a good conversation, and forgetting about the rest of the world. The next room is the theater room, completely equipped with a projector and a big screen. The acoustic of the room is brilliant, and the guitar in the opposite corner was calling me over. Sadly, I had to withstand the charm of the guitar. I am on duty, not just paying around!
To fully express oneself, #hash196 offers an intimate atelier space for drawing or DIY handcraft works. The painting on the wall shown in the picture below was done by one of the residents. I want an atelier myself, after seeing this.
Using one of the many workstations in the libraryesque office room, you can fully concentrate on your work and studies.
Most of the people might think that only young people or bachelors live in a share house, but in the case of #hash196, this is simply wrong!
“Being able to live in a share house as a married couple, being able to raise a child in a space that feels like home, to expose children to a broad spectrum of values. We try to provide people with the option to do all these things while living together in a big family.” Hiraoka-san
To support a children-raising community in a shared space like #hash196, it comes with a fully equipped playing room for children on the first floor.
What kind of rooms to expect?
The actual rooms are on the 2nd to the 4th floor. The 2nd floor is male and female mixed, to give families enough space. The 3rd floor is exclusively for women and the 4th floor for men. The rooms are divided into two types. Single rooms and dormitory rooms. The single rooms offer a bed, a Japanese style closet, and a refrigerator. The dormitory rooms are cheaper in rent but have to have to be shared with others. Nonetheless, they offer enough privacy for people who enjoy living with minimum belongings or people on the road. You can always close the curtains to your private box and temporarily shut yourself off from your surroundings.
I lived in a share house in Japan together with three others for about 5 years. Using the bathroom, or the toilet was a small fight of its own. I lived on the 1st floor (or basement floor, depending on the definition) and had to get up early in the morning. One of the others also always got up early for work, and he always took his time in the shower, so I knew I might not be able to make it in time for work. Whenever I heard footsteps from the 2nd floor above me, I had to jump out of bed, grab my clothes, rush in and secure the bathroom, before he was able to block it indefinitely.
Talking to a resident of #has196 and asking about the bathroom situation I was reassured that each floor offers enough showers and toilets. The building was once a dormitory for unmarried company workers, and thus offers enough sanitary installations on each floor. Living at #hash196, you don’t need to worry about the bathroom war I had to experience, so just move in with ease.
A new kind of living
“Access to public transportation, the room layout, and having a sunny room are not the criteria by which people decide to move here. Living together with the right people and having a specific lifestyle. Living in a community with the same values is what’s important. It is the people we meet, that change our way of life.” Hiraoka-san
It is not uncommon for people to give up their Tokyo apartments to move into Kashiwa’s #hash196. People who are looking for the "Kizunaya (share houses owned by the same company as #hash196) lifestyle" value more than physical dimensions like cheap rent and good access. A place for people to pursue their passions and dreams, to live together with people who share the same mindset.
Create something with your own hands, strive for improvement as an artist, live an inspired life and manifest your soul in whatever you do. Instead of following a fixed rail through life, people choose to take small roads with a lot of junctions, where discovery is a big part of the journey. Interested in pursuing a colorful life? Maybe the Kizunato lifestyle is for you, and you should give #hash196 a thorough look.
The Kizunato lifestyle has three main points:
- Creating a second family, an atmosphere of safety and trust
- Creating an environment that encourages learning and self-improvement
- Creating connections with people, and experience what can not be experienced alone
Society within a society
#hash196 inspires a life full of creativity. A small society within itself, this share house experience provides an environment where human communication is valued most. But, it doesn’t stop there. The residents reach out to different civic organizations, actively trying to participate in the Kashiwa life, fostering intercultural and international understanding, creating a broader and brighter future for Kashiwa and all of its citizens.
Date of coverage: 30th June 2019
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