Back in Tokyo

Someone remind me what am I doing in Tokyo again? I was here just 6 months ago!

Anyway, it’s nice to be back though to a country, where they can make anything out of green tea, which so happen to be my favourite drink. This is my little ‘green’ breakfast just the other day:


With World Cup craze at the moment, there’s even bakery that looks a little like a soccer ball:


I am settled into a guesthouse, and perhaps the most shocking part is that I will need to be satisfied with living in a rabbit cage for a while. Space is incredibly scarce here. I can barely take a decent photo of my own bed. Somehow they are able to cram 8 people into one bedroom. This is a shot from the door.


Just a shoe rack right? Well, there’s a bunk bed behind it, and 3 bunk beds (only 1 visible in the photo) to the left, which sleeps a total of 8. There’s even a bathroom in there. All inside the equivalent space of a 1-bedder in Australia. Now THAT is efficient use of space! You would think it’s bad, but it has been fine. There are local Japanese that has been living here for over 1 year!

Having said that, it isn’t cheap to live in Tokyo, that’s for sure! For the last month, I have been used to living on AUD$0.40 water bottles, $2 Pad-Thai noodles, $0.50 train fares, and $25 hotel rooms (yeah.. rooms, not beds). My cost of living has just quadrupled in Tokyo! A ‘bed’ cost $25/day (instead of a room), a decent curry rice cost $7, train fares are at least $1.20 each way. It isn’t excessive compared to Australia, but I could certainly last much longer in Thailand/China!

Trying to get a phone was a rather ‘interesting’ experience. Unlike Thailand and China, where you can get a mobile phone number easily, it is a completely different story in Japan. First, absolutely NO one will sell you a SIM card on its own. Secondly, prepaid option is only available through 2 x major carriers Softbank & AU only. Thirdly, it is ALWAYS sold out! Fourthly, if you are a tourist, you are NOT allowed to buy a phone here AT ALL! All of this makes for terribly frustrating experience. So, after a few days, I finally got the last available pre-paid phone at a Shibuya store:


It is actually quite a functional phone, and includes free-to-air TV, push email right out of the box, as well as your own choice of number. All this for about 13,500 yen (~AUD$180). It may sound cheap, but keep in mind that it is 100% locked to this one Japanese carrier (Softbank) and you cannot use this anywhere else! It will become a pretty expensive alarm clock when I get back to Australia with it 🙁

From the same company, iPhone 4 was just launched on the 24th June here in Japan, with people lined up like crazy for it:


This is the Yodobashi store in Akiba, where there were plenty of demo units available for people to play with. I don’t know what is the big fuss about iPhone 4. Frankly I am happier with my new Japanese ‘ketai’ (mobile), where I could watch TV on it! 🙂

Ahh.. speaking of crowds, you have to love the masses of people moving around Tokyo on a daily basis. I finally got a decent photo of the famous Shibuya crossing where masses of people cross the streets in all directions at once, somehow without any issues:


Plenty of foreigners (including me) with cameras trying to take photos of this crossing! I think the locals are already used to that, and probably wonder why these silly foreigners are taking pictures of a crossing!

Anyway, I haven’t really planned or decided whether I will stay longer here to actually find work, or simply travel around a little bit. I will have to hurry up though, given everyday is costing me money. It’s not a cheap place to bum around!

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