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Before marriage compelled me to look for nicer living quarters, I lived in a an apartment that was….less than spacious. At first, I ate my meals off the top of my microwave, since it took several months of rearranging my belongings to create enough floor space for a low-lying table.

In the five years I lived in that bunker, I never did figure out a configuration which would allow me to cram a chair into it, but eventually I got used to having an extremely Spartan home. Even still, I don’t think I could manage living in the apartment of one Tokyoite, which measures just under five square meters (54 square feet).

Rent in Tokyo is infamously high, and even the most run-down apartments will cost you at least 40,000 yen (US$388) a month, plus eat into your time with a lengthy trek to the nearest station of 15 minutes or more (and no, there’s no space to park a car outside, unless you want to add roughly another month’s rent). So when we heard of a man paying just 25,000 yen monthly for the privilege of living in the heart of Tokyo, we had to check his pad out for ourselves.

Shockingly, the apartment is located just five minutes from a station on the Yamanote Line, the rail loop that surrounds central Tokyo and also conveniently draws a designating circle around some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. Like many dirt-cheap Japanese apartments, it doesn’t have a bath. This isn’t quite the absolute deal breaker it would be in many other countries, since even though they’re steadily declining in numbers, you can still find a public bathhouse with a little searching in present-day Japan.

So while it may be lacking in certain creature comforts, and less than five square meters makes for an undeniably tight squeeze, this could actually be an incredibly economic, viable residence, provided the resident himself leads an extremely self-disciplined lifestyle.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case here.

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See, the problem is that unless you’re trying to obtain enlightenment by absolving yourself of earthly possessions, those precious few square meters fill up fast. This isn’t helped by the fact that budget Japanese apartments are severely lacking in closet space, meaning that you have to put most things on the floor. And what do you do after you run out of floor space? You do the same thing that architects do in downtown Tokyo: you start building upwards.

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The apartment may not have bathing facilities, but it does at least have a kitchenette. Of course, the lack of space isn’t exactly conducive to whipping up a home-cooked meal, or, apparently, cleaning the sink.

▼ We’re guessing that container of hand soap has never been used.

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With all this stuff crammed into such a small place, you might be wondering where the renter’s sleeping space is. Well, you’re looking at it.

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The man who lives in the apartment sleeps on a futon, the traditional Japanese bedding mats laid out directly on the floor. Ordinarily, you’re supposed to fold up your futon while you’re awake, but obviously stashing it someplace out of the way isn’t really an option here.

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This sarcophagus-like sleeping arrangement is his only currently available choice, as every nook in the apartment is stuffed to bursting. Since rearranging the mess is impossible, we suggested getting rid of some of it.

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For example, we understand some guys think it’s sexy if their girlfriend plays dress up, which we imagine is the reason he bought the lace-trimmed maid outfit hanging in the corner. However, he seems to be overlooking the problem that no girl would ever willingly step foot in this hovel.

▼ Also pictured: a can of cockroach spray, which has almost certainly already seen far more use than that dress ever will.

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Still, despite our gentle encouragement, the tenant rejected the idea that he needs to pare down the towering stacks of manga, magazines, and straight-up porn lying around. After all, where’s the need to, when the apartment is spacious enough to accommodate company as is?

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Honestly, our bigger concern would be the hot water kettle positioned directly above the head of the man when he lies down to sleep. In earthquake-prone Japan, it’s only a matter of time until a tremor upsets the pot and he’s awakened by scalding water pouring over his cheeks and into his eye sockets, but we guess this goes to show that everyone has their own unique set of priorities in life.

▼ By his very actions, this man proves he values print pornography more than the skin covering his own face.

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Photos, video: RocketNews24
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