On the Neighborhood
I’ve already mentioned that Nishi-Funabashi and Chiba in general reminds me of Cambridge. There’s a moderately paced city vibe about the area, and while it’s close enough to anything you’d want to do, it’s quiet enough and not in the middle of everything. There’s some decent shopping and restaurants, but the night life isn’t much to talk about. You can easily hop a train dowtown to Shinjuku for the good bars and clubs.
The more I think about it, if I were to live in Japan this is the area I would probably want to live in. There are a lot of realty places in this neighborhood, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Part of the upside of not actually being in Tokyo, but close enough so head into it on a lark. 1 bedroom places go from anywhere between $700 to $1200 a month. 2 and 3 bedrooms aren’t that much more, either. Several 2LDKs (2 bedroom living room dining room kitchen) go for about $900 to $1400, and 3Ks or 3LDKs for about $1000 to $1800. If I found a roommate I could live in “Tokyo” (technically it’s Chiba, but on the border of it) for almost half of what I pay in Berkeley. Most of the places listed are near train stations as well, so bonus points for that. I still have no plans for moving here, but it’s something to keep in mind.