It's in an older building that had some of its rooms recently renovated. It's in a great location for us transportation-wise and the rent is dirt-cheap for two reasons: the building is quite old and both rooms (living and bedroom) are tatami rooms.
That's right, having linoleum or some other kind of hard "Western-style" flooring is so in demand these days that old-fashioned rooms with more than one tatami space are sold cheaper, when they exist at all. All the rooms next to us on our floor have had the tatami ripped out and replaced with hard flooring in the living room space.
I'm not sure why; perhaps Japanese people think flooring is easier to clean or is a better fit for comfortable Western furniture like chairs, desks, and sofas, but I'm completely in love with tatami now. It smells great when the sun hits it, it's easy to keep clean (spills wipe up fine if you get to them quickly before liquids "sink in" to the tatami weave), it's comfortable to lie and sit on, and we can use futon bedding, which I now find more comfortable than any mattress.
Life on the floor: our low table where we eat and use our laptops. I like coming home from a rough day and being able to just stretch out on the floor or recline after eating (may not be the best habit if you want to lose weight).
The sliding shoji doors that divide our bedroom from the living room, made of wood and paper. They are not light, sound, or air-proof at all but do allow for more privacy than a studio apartment. A patch is in the shape of a flower.
Our ceiling: I really love this dark ceiling with something like natural-looking branches supporting it. Our apartment came unfurnished (like most Japanese apartments) so we had to buy and install the light fixtures ourselves.
The frosted glass and wood door that separates the living room from the kitchen: it's probably pretty dated but it works well in keeping the room warm during the winter. In the summer it's always open to allow for air circulation.
...and the fairytale of lovely straight simple lines and natural textures comes to an end in the kitchen and bathroom! I find the interiors of most Japanese houses and apartments to be very functional and even industrial-looking. Most families don't seem to care and don't spend much money or effort to make beautiful kitchens or bath spaces like Americans often do. Priorities are different I guess!
Bare pipes on our taps
Very functional bath. If we wanted a high-tech Japanese tub that fills up, maintains temperature, and sings to you when it's ready all with the press of a button, we'd have to install it ourselves.
Our veranda where our washing machine lives. Like most Japanese households we don't have a dryer and air-dry our clothes, on the veranda or indoors, depending on the weather.
Aside from the large amount of tatami, our apartment is pretty typical of what you'll find here. Honestly I find the practical and uninspired interiors of houses with harsh fluorescent lighting (even in bedrooms, ugh!) rather depressing most of the time, so I was so happy to find our place with some beauty and calming touches in the tatami rooms. I'm saddened to learn tatami aren't popular in Japan anymore and are giving way to plain functional Western-style rooms. Thanks to my husband who stuck out an annoying house-hunt, we can enjoy this pleasant little space as a refuge of visual quiet and beauty.