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Wednesday, October 05, 2005



Hi there.
Thank you for information. I am suprised to know AB and Claire like Pocari? Sounds like I should export Pocali powder, it would be nice dealing. I can't think Tokyo is expensive city now.

Ah Bjorn! I have never checked the shop, east exit of Ebisu station? I will go there in this week. Thanks!!


Ooops, one posting too much, sorry.

Just one more thing about cereal: I am often ordering stuff from the 'Foreign Buyers Club' (www.fbcusa.com) or buy stuff at the import mini market at Ebisu station (east exit kaisatsuguchi).

Country farm muesli, 1kg 550 Yen
Bran flakes, 500g 572 Yen

Still a bit expensive, but much better than your average supermarket. If anyone has a better supplier, please let me know! :)


For me the biggest drawback of living in Tokyo is the lack of green spaces. I read somwhere that NYC has 10 times more green space per square meter than Tokyo! You have to plan your walking and jogging routes carefully ;)

The biggest advantage? I think I agree with you there. It's also very conveniently located for travelling all over Japan and Asia.


For me the biggest drawback of living in Tokyo is the lack of green spaces. I read somwhere that NYC has 10 times more green space per square meter than Tokyo! You have to plan your walking and jogging routes carefully ;)

Claire (クレア)

I agree with Nicole-san's comment about Tokyo's top 5 things being good and the 5 'bad' things not being all that bad.

The Pocari Sweat Index at Mitsuwa here in Chicago is $9.95 per 5-packet box. I usually load up and buy 10 boxes at the QQ 99円 store in DenDen Town in Osaka (I also drink it diluted by half--1 packet/2 litres of water, otherwise it is too sweet.)

I have never been stopped by Customs; there are far too many people to inspect at O'Hare Airport as multiple 747s and 777s arrive and unload at about the same time. They usually have only 2 or 3 Customs guys for the entire line of Immigration guys. (So, if you don't have to recheck luggage for a continuing flight, don't stand in the line for whatever airline you flew in on...go to the short line!) If you don't have much over the $800 limit or anything to declare, you will just be waved through.

Lunch depends on what you eat and where you go. Fast food or a sit-down meal can range from $4-8 (457~914円); but my colleagues and I never go to McDonalds, so I don't know what the cost for the value meal is. As for dining out, well, that can vary quite widely on what cuisine you want to eat, what class of restaurant you want to eat in, and how much alcohol you want to consume... A popular restaurant reviewer who is on the radio says "expect to spend x~y per couple, including wine, tax and tips". Chicago is somewhat like Osaka--people here love to eat!

You can sleep on the Metra commuter rail trains, but I would not sleep on the CTA subway system. You would likely be robbed. Those are now one-man trains as far as I know, and I don't think there are any transit police any more. Sometimes Chicago Police ride the subways, but not very often. Certain areas of the City of Chicago are safe; others are not, although the overall crime rate has gone down. You just have to know where to go and where not to go.

Cost of housing varies radically and is dependent on type of housing and location. If I were to pay market rent on the townhouse I will be renting in the western suburbs of Chicago (3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, 2 car garage, approximately 102 square metres), it would be about $1400 (159488円).


Hi Mari-san,

Yes, I agree with your Top 5 things about Tokyo (and perhaps Japan as a whole). And the bad things are not THAT bad, either.

I travelled through Fukuoka last year and I really enjoyed my time there. It has a great vibe, so close to the beaches and countryside (and all the great things that Kyushu has to offer). The Kego district reminded me a lot of inner city Sydney - a lot of young creative types living in an older part of the city. If I chose to live in Japan, Fukuoka would definitely be one of my choices!


Hi Mari-san,
Good post! If you ever come to Vancouver, please let me know and I'll take you to some good places here. :) Your friend might be correct in that some products may be more difficult to find here than if you were in Tokyo, but there is always a way to find something if you REALLY need it. Vancouver tends to be more slower-paced and relaxed than the bigger cities in N.America like Toronto or New York but I think that is what makes it attractive to many people as a good place to live (and visit!). I lived near Tokyo while teaching English and I loved it but I'm not sure if I could live there for a long period of time...but it's one of my favourite cities in the world to visit! :)


Wah, your apt is less than US$1000?
In the CITY of San Francisco (where I am stuck, unfortunately), a 1 bedroom apartment like yours runs about US$1200+.

Typical lunch here runs about US$10 or so. Going out for dinner is anywhere from US$20-40. Big Mac Value Meal runs about US$6. The Economist used to have the "Big Mac Index" inside the back cover. It was a humourous but accurate index about purchasing power internationally.

And it's true that western goods are expensive in Tokyo, but Japanese goods are hella expensive here too. A 5-pack box (a box with five packets) of Pocari Sweat powder costs US$12.00 here!!! I've bought boxes of Pocari from chemist shops in Tokyo for Y500!

My last trip to Tokyo, I brought back six boxes. I got funny looks from the Customs people...


I agree Tokyo is an amazingly safe metropolis, although I've only experienced the city as a tourist. The safety level is one of the biggest reasons love Tokyo so much (even though I live in Helsinki, rated one of safest cities in Europe).

Your rent is not as high as I would have imagined for a Tokyo apartment since it has two rooms and a kitchen, but I feel this way just because here in Helsinki the rents aren't that low either. For instance, I pay 460 euros - about 63000 yen - for a single room apartment (28 sq meters - about 17 jo).

Here a normal lunch costs around 6-8 euros (~816-1090 yen). A BigMac-meal is 5,9 euros, ~760 yen. Dining out for 3000 yen sounds like a normal price to me, or at least it would in Helsinki. And yes, we do all think here that Helsinki is way too expensive. :)

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