Live, Learn, and Grow: The Joys of a Share House

At long last, New Year's Eve is finally here.

As friends and family gather, happily awaiting the stroke of midnight, it's a time to celebrate a new year and the possibilities that lay before us. It's also a time to reflect on the year that will soon fade into memory. Setting new goals and meeting those near forgotten, all the while taking to heart the lessons life teach from day to day.

Tokyo Sharehouse has also had its fair share of changes as we continue expanding, bringing more share houses together under one roof. With a successful site renewal, this has definitely been a year of great changes for us.

We're constantly posting house reviews and event reports here on the site, but there are still those who wonder, "all the houses look great, but are people really having that much fun living in a share house?" And so, as we reflect on the passing year, we'd like to share with our readers an interview with two residents from Share Designer's College Tama Plaza.

Although it was very sudden, they were more than happy to sit down and talk with us about us. Don't take our word for it, read on and see for yourself the joys of share house living!


As mentioned in a previous house review, this is a very unique share house that will be open only for three years. With antique furniture in the living room, and a kitchen with professional grade stove burners and even a brick oven, this is a share house with creativity in spades.

Here is the first of our two interviewees, Aya Imai. (occupation: performer; age: 26; hometown: Akita Prefecture)


The opportunity to meet people from so many walks of life is a sure way to personal growth.

Aya currently works in the city aspiring to be a great performer . A lover of designing and painting, she's had a hand in the share house's outside appearance as she helped to paint it. No matter the question, she answered earnestly and always with a smile.

Despite her ambitions and hobbies, you'd be surprised to know she has history working with a well known IT company and has written a picture book for children. She is hardworking and multifaceted to say the least.

So Aya, why did you choose to live in a share house?

I moved to Tokyo for college, and I'd always been on my own. After graduating, I lived together with a friend for a short while, and not only did it me save money, but I realized how nice it was to have someone else in the house. It turned out living with someone else wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, so when I started searching for a share house, I found this one was opening soon. When I came to visit, I heard about how the house will only be open for three years, and how we were free to decorate and the house as we please. The idea of a house made for artists, musicians, or just anyone who likes to create sounded really interesting, so I decided to move in.

Now that you've experience share house life, how wold you describe it?

Aya In a word, fun. Since moving in, I've come to realize that a house is more than just that place you go to sleep. Now I look forward to getting home from work, and in retrospect, I feel lucky to be here.

What do you think makes living in a share house so fun?

Aya I'd have to say its all the people in the house. There are 60 people living here, so it's always quite lively. There's always someone different in the living room when you get home, and likewise, there's always something different to talk about. Everyone's so unique and interesting, it never gets old for me.
There are events at the share house for every season, like fireworks and picnics in the summer.

On occasion there are English and Italian lessons courtesy of residents from overseas.

Aside from just being fun, has living in a share house been of benefit to you in terms of your job or day to day living?

Aya Since I've taken up acting, being able to talk with people from so many backgrounds is very insightful. I guess you could say I'm sort of a people-watcher. To be a good actor, I have to be able to take on any number of roles or personalities, and being in contact with so many people, taking note of their personalities and different ways of thinking, I think it will make me a better actress.

The entrance painted by residents is a perfect example of this ever-changing house.

No corner of the house is left untouched by the creative influence of the people who live here.

With everything done by hand, it gives the house a certain charm that's beyond description.


With so many people and varying ways of thinking, does it ever lead to conflict?

Aya I'd be lying if I said there were never any quarrels. You cant' always do things they way you want when you're living with others. Having said that, it really impresses me how rather than letting things blow out of proportion, people here always try to talk things out and find a way to compromise.

So I guess it really comes down to whether or not you can get along with others in a share house?


I suppose, but that's true for anywhere you go in life.

You make a good point. So, looking back on the year, have you had any profound experiences?

Aya One in particular stands out the most. In September, the manager got married, and so we took it upon ourselves to throw him a surprise party. We rehearsed songs, made decorations, and even baked a cake. It was amazing to see what we could accomplish when everyone worked together.

Is there anything you're looking forward to in the new year?

Aya I plan to expand my horizons, and take another step toward achieving my dream. Having met such wonderful people here at the share house, I'm also looking forward to another big event with everyone.


Living in such a great share house, I'm sure it won't be long before she reaches her goals for the year.


Next up with have Naohiro Yoshida (occupation: artist, creator; age: 24; hometown: Toyama Prefecture)

When people of varying ages and backgrounds come together, the possibilities are endless.

Whether it's designing clothes, drawing sketches, or painting masterpieces, if it's creative Naohira Yoshida is sure to be involved. Although he claims to be shy, when the conversation turns to her craft, he reveals a tenacity that can't be matched, well versed in the historical and cultural backgrounds of art. Always inspired by the sense of possibility he feels here, he eagerly awaits the chance to display her creativity.

So Naohira, why did you decide to move into a share house?

Naohira To be honest, the thought of living in a share house never crossed my mind before moving to Tokyo. Sure you can save money living in a share house, but in the end I never thought it would be worth it. But it just so happened that I made friends with a few people who live here, and when I dropped by to pay them a visit I was blown away. The layout of the house was really nice, and everyone was so fun and interesting. There were people chatting in the living room in other languages too. It made me really excited, and I thought maybe living here would give me a new outlook on life, so I moved in.

Now that you've spent some time here, how do you like it?


It's hard to put into words, but as time goes on, people really seem to open up after coming here, and I've rediscovered the value of communication. I also never thought I'd actually look forward to getting home, but now I can honestly say I do.

Aya actually said the same thing. What do you think makes living in a share house so appealing?


Hmmm... well, if you're always hanging around people who are into all the exact same things as you, it can get a bit dull sometimes don't you think? Here in the share house, ages range anywhere from 18 to 60, and occupations are just as varied with musicians, artists, photographers, and even furniture workers. The people who come to visit are also rarely the same, so you have the chance to meet lots of interesting people you'd normally never see. It's an experience you can't really find anywhere else.


We managed to get a quick peek at Naohira's room.

Residents are free to decorate their rooms in any way they please, and he's really taken advantage of it.

has living in a share house been of benefit to you in terms of your job or day to day living?


I'm a fairly shy person and tend to keep to myself, but I feel grateful to live in a place with the presence of others. Also, although I devote a lot of time to my creative work, living here has made me realize that it's not enough to simply create art to satisfy myself. Art should be something that contributes to society, something that motivates people and bring them together. The ability to understand other industries and make connections is also very important, and I think living here puts me in an ideal position to do just that.

Have you found any drawbacks to living in a share house?


I was pretty nervous when first moving in, but I can't think of any downsides to living here. By no means am I trying to advertise for share housing, since anything can happen. But if something should happen, I think its just a matter of staying positive and finding a way to overcome any problems that arise.

That's certainly a great way to look at it.

Naohira I think living here has just had a positive impact on me.

Looking back on the year, have you had any profound experiences?

Naohira I have a feeling Aya said the same thing, but it'd have to be the surprise wedding celebration a few months ago. It was really amazing how everyone pulled together and it was a great success. Everything from the planning committee to the cooks, singers, and performers, it was an unforgettable experience.

What part did you play in the event?

Naohira I love clothes, so I was fashion coordinator.

I didn't realize you design clothes as well. That's quite impressive.

Naohira There are so many people here with so many talents, when everyone's together I think we can pull off just about anything.

The staff's wedding celebration is definitely one event residents will never forget.

Here's Naohira, reflecting on the year in her room.

So, what are you looking forward to in the coming year.


Of course, I look forward to creating new artwork this year, but I'd really like to do more remodeling of the house with other residents. This share house is only open for three years, and now there are only two left. I'm sure everyone will be busy, trying to meet their own goals, but living in this share house is a truly unique experience, and I plan to share it with anyone I can.


This share house lends itself to unique experiences, and I'm certain a fun and exciting year awaits all who live here.


And there you have it, straight from the source. Living in a share house is definitely a good way to relieve your wallet, but the share in share house is what makes the experience worthwhile. Of course, whether or not you socialize in the house is up to you. If you wanted, you can simply live in a share house for the sake of convenience. But the bonds formed with others in a share house are what lead to memorable stories and life changing experiences. Today's interviews have made that abundantly clear.



It is through the influence and understanding of others that we better ourselves and change our ways of thinking. This is why a share house has everything you need to live, learn, and grow.

We here at Tokyo Sharehouse wish you a happy new year, and hope you all have another great year of possibilities and experiences.


/Author: Moriyama, Photography: Hiramatsu, Translator: Paul