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Study in Kyoto. How to avoid initial loneliness, the stress of living together and social alienation

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

And so you have finally decided to throw yourself into this fantastic experience of living in a country so much dreamed of but so different from your own. Don’t worry, it will be a success, but as you will have understood since the day you discovered who Santa Claus really is, not all that glitters is gold.

Japan is different from any other country in many ways and one of them is the social aspect. Integrating with the locals takes time and some say that you never quite manage it. Spontaneous human relationships not dictated by work or family circumstances are practically non-existent and soon, after the initial euphoria of the various irrashaimasee, sumimasen, arigatogozaimasu and interminable bows, the alienation of the foreigner begins to set in. But don’t despair, the good news is that all around you there are many people in the same situation as you who can’t wait to share their emotions with you, not least of all the Japanese who are a little more open-minded and who will light up as soon as you give them a smile. The frustrating thing is that if you have just come to Kyoto and you are going to stay there for a limited period of time (3-6 or 12 months) it will take you longer to understand these dynamics and to struggle alone under your kotatsu filling yourself with junk food than you will spend with your new friends!

The scenario that will present itself to you until recently was composed of two choices.

1) You are a student or a remote worker and in order to save some money you have decided to take a share house in the outskirts of the city. Bravo! Good choice to avoid social alienation and loneliness. Too bad that this choice has consequences that you will soon realize. The share house is often in a non central location! If you want to go out for leisure or to attend classes you will have to take one or two trains if you are lucky with a considerable expenditure of time and money. Living together is good if it is sparing. We are social animals but we are also extremely sensitive and moody. We find it hard to share the same roof with our family who share the same manners and education with us, try to imagine living close together with people whose customs and habits are totally different from yours. Of course, chatting with them will enrich you, but sharing their kitchen and bathroom won’t, personally in the long run it has only made me a more intolerant person, but maybe this is old age!

2) So, in order to avoid the stress of living together, you have decided to dip into your savings and get an apartment on your own. Bravo! Once you have managed to disentangle yourself from the cost of renting, the initial cost, the cost of the agency, the extra insurance cost, the one-time cost X, the guarantor cost, etc., you will also have to deal with unforeseen expenses that you had not considered, all caught up in the excitement of your new adventure! No, I have taken an apartment! Of course, are you sure that sheets, mattress pad and towels are included in the price or are not rented? Would you like to have a pasta dish? Do you have a pan? Yes? And are the colander and scales in the apartment? I could go on for hours but I prefer not to. So you have avoided the stress of living together to make room for the stress of “I’m going to live alone and have to start all over again”. Well, after the first month in which you have set up your apartment perfectly, you can finally enjoy your longed-for solitude! That’s right, solitude! Probably the apartment you have taken is not even in a central area and you have no way to meet new people and here you are, you too have fallen into social alienation.

Yes, but then how to do it? Where should I go to fully optimize my study or work experience in Kyoto?

Option number 3. Groliving Kyoto. An option that didn’t exist until 2021 and was created to allow people like you to have the best possible experience in Kyoto without any stress. 5 mini apartments in the city center with everything you need in a youthful context within a building with a common room to chase away the loneliness with other students or remote workers like you and a rooftop that will make your night chats even more magical.

Groliving is a project created by two former digital nomads and language students abroad for digital nomads and language students abroad.

GroLiving (pronounced “grow living”) brings coliving to the next level. No more initial loneliness, no more stress of living together and social alienation. Is a new hybrid space in downtow for travelers of all kinds.


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