• Auckland, New Zealand


There has recently been a number of letters by foreigners in Japan telling stories about how they have been rejected as tenants simply because they are foreigners. Most see it as racism. After living almost 13 years in Japan, I moved to New Zealand six months ago. I rented an apartment and had to sign a contract for four months.

My neighbor, a Kiwi, sometimes played incredibly loud music so that a large framed picture on my wall rattled, sometimes at 3 o’clock in the morning. After four months I decided to move — for a number of reasons but including my noisy neighbor. I moved to an apartment where I had to sign up for minimum six months.

Unfortunately, it turned out that my neighbor is a very “sociable” young woman, another Kiwi, who invites three to four friends over about twice a week. Then they shout and laugh on the balcony less than a meter from my single-pane bedroom window on Sunday and Monday nights until 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. They also shout (obscenities) as loud as possible. This in spite of a contract that clearly states no noise after 10 p.m.

After numerous sleepless nights, including three in a row, I complained to my landlord, just to be told that this is “normal” behavior and that I have to live with it. When I argued that it is a breach of our contract, my landlord got furious and told me that I was the troublemaker and was most welcome to leave as soon as my contract expires.

So, I understand Japanese landlords’ rejection of foreigners if they themselves have experienced such “normal” behavior in a foreign country.

joergen jensen

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