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Norm Nakamura, a Canadian-born YouTuber based in Japan, has posted a series of videos proving that, with the right design, apartments in unideal locations could be livable. In his first video, which now has over 25 million views on TikTok, he takes the audience on a tour of a small apartment built directly underneath one of Tokyo’s railway lines.
Outside it’s clean and sunny, as opposed to the dark areas typically associated with the underside of train tracks and bridges.
Inside, it’s equally spotless and airy, thanks to the room’s minimalist aesthetic and abundance of natural light. As for space, there’s plenty of room — enough to have a kitchen, a washer and dryer, a bathroom with a small tub, a loft, and a desk wide enough to fit three people.
It’s hard to believe that a place so cozy is actually located under a rail line.
But it gets even smaller. In his second video, Nakamura features an apartment with a tinier living area, only able to fit a regular-sized desk and a fridge. He can perhaps even touch both ends of the room by stretching his arms out. Still, the place comes with a respectable bathroom and loft bed.
According to Nakamura, the apartments are actually quiet, despite tons of steel and machinery running above all around the clock. “There’s actually a train passing overhead right now, [but] I can barely hear it,” he said.
And finally, a tour of the tiniest of the apartments. In his final video of the series, Nakamura shows a room no bigger than a parking space. It features a mini fridge, a desk, some shelves, and a bed. Most impressive is that it has a surprisingly spacious private bathroom, whereas its counterparts in cities like New York would have none.
The apartments are so nice, everyone in the comment section was envious of Tokyo’s small-but-livable accommodations. “Yes, all three would be perfect. I could see myself in all three,” one user said, while another added: “This is bigger than my London studio.”
Others noted the best feature: “Proximity to nearest station: 0 km.”
One comment echoed what most of us felt: “I think I wanna live in Japan now.”