During our last trip to Japan, we were invited to stay with locals in a share-house to get a unique perspective on what it is like to live in Tokyo.
The best way to travel is, as my friend Dewi, the host of Eye Indonesia, always says, "through the eyes of the local." An increasingly popular lodging option for extended stays in Japan are share-houses. Share-houses are basically rental houses in which two or more unrelated people share the space, the expenses, and the experiences of living together. There is often a mix of locals and foreigners living at these share-houses, and social interactions between residents and guests are definitely encouraged.
The share-house we stayed at had several residents living there which I now consider life-long friends. On the day we arrived, there was a dumpling party going on in celebration of Setsubun. The next night our hosts invited us out to a nearby izakaya where, to our hosts' delight, we were presented with one food challenge after another. These types of experiences would have been impossible to have if we were not hanging with the people.