Saturday, 28 December 2013

The master plan (part 3)

So I was visiting my best friend Anja in Vienna during Easter. Apart from the drinking and partying we of course found time to discuss my serious concerns about my plan to move to Japan. Speaking of partying, here's a very cool mix of some German DJ we saw in Vienna. It's one of my favorite Deephouse mixes of all times and it's inseperably linked to my year 2013.

Back to Anja. She is a very successful business woman you must know and only being 30, she achieved a lot in her career. More than other women in her age I believe. So when it came to business and work related topics or questions, she was always the best person to talk to and discuss things. In addition to that, we were best friends and shared a lot in the past. I trusted her with everything.

I showed her my Excel sheet and after explaining it and playing with the numbers, we came to the conclusion that I don't have enough money to safely do this. Having talked about financial help in the past, she was offering her help just as you would expect it from a best friend. I came to Vienna to ask her about it actually, but asking a friend for money was the hardest thing I could imagine. That's why I was even more relieved when she wasn't making a big deal out of it. She suggested that I should adjust my sheet to include several other valuables and I was so thankful for her input and even more for her financial help. We didn't know how much and for how long I would need that help, but my finacial planning wasn't at an end yet anyways.The talk with her made me think about my flat situation again. Should I sub-let it or give up my flat completly? Maybe I should get a flatmate for the remaining time and then give it up, hmm.

But no matter what, it was obvious that it was too much of a risk to move to Japan with empty pockets or only a minimum of savings. Not only the school had to be paid in advance but also rent, insurance, train rides and so on. There were lots of upfront payments in the beginning.

Back in Berlin I did the necessary adjustments to my Excel sheet right away and my plan become more realistic and looked a lot better than before, now having the option of Anja's financial help. I came to the following conclusions:

  • I want to become a language student and use the student visa for work. It's the best balance of work and language learning and gives me enough time to find my way around Japan.
  • For that, I need to pay the school upfront (689,700 Yen, at that time around 5,700€)
  • I need at least 3 months of rent plus a 1 month deposit in my pocket to be somewhat safe.
  • I only want Anja's financial help for one year, not more, in order to pay her back in time.
  • For all that, I need around 8,000€ to 10,000€. The lower the better, mainly so the monthly installment isn't such a killer.
  • If Anja helps with only 1 year of monthly installments, I should be more than fine.
  • I need a new flatmate for my remaining time in Berlin. Simply for the additional money.
  • I also need to sell as much valuable stuff as possible.

For some of you, this may sound like a lot of money but for me that wasn't actually much. You can get 8,000€ surprisingly cheap these days and I paid back a lot more than that in the past.

The big question was still: give up the flat, my belongings, basically my life and refuge, or not? Keeping my apartment would allow me to return into my safe harbor if all things go bad but will there be a trustworthy person to rent my apartment eventually? Will the risk of having a stranger in my home even out with the additional income I could get?

I decided it is time to let go. To fully let go. I decided to sell anything of value, only keep my personal stuff and memories but sell everything else. Of course I made a list again for that, a full inventory of things I wanted to sell and an estimated sum of money I could make by selling them. This went straight back into my Excel sheet of course, the more you know, right. Selling things was never my problem. I was an experiend eBay Seller and most of the electronics went there. I also gathered stuff for a flea-market sale and created a very detailed document for all the furniture I had.

Next was the new flatmate. I put up a free online ad at again. It was still saved from a couple of years ago, so I only had to update some pics and change the the description. Right on April 11th, my 33th birthday I published it and waited for the replies. Funny enough, I got quite a lot but most of them were from weirdos and people I wouldn't really trust. I even got into some sort of email fight with some fucker because he couldn't live with my polite way of saying "sorry, not interested". Anyways, this time I wasn't looking for female flatmates only but also for guys. Naturally, I enjoyed the company of women more and thought they are the better flatmates but this time I shouldn't be picky, so a guy would do. And boy, what a guy I got!

So in the end I got a guy from Luxembourg, who had a Doctor in Chinese and spoke German, French, Luxembourgish and of course Chinese. He worked as a translator and tour guide in Berlin. But mainly he drove his own Bicycle-Rikscha and made shitloads of money from the tourists. He was almost never at home and very quiet when he was, so the perfect flatmate actually. He was friendly, laid-back and not too strange. But still a bit strange. A laid-back, friendly kind of strange. Well, I think you catch my drift.

I gave Tokyo Riverside school my thumbs-up and we agreed that I'll start school from October 2013 this year. For that I had to change my flight plans but the costs were luckily covered by the flight insurance I booked as well (I'm such a play-safe guy). My new date of departure was September 25th.

On the next part I will write about the complicated and very Japanese application process and how I spent an awesome last summer in Berlin.