Monday, 21 June 2010

Money talks, money talks. Dirty cash i want you..

Wow that last post was pure frustration wasn't it? Let's move swiftly on.

My camera is out of action due to having a bent USB cable which I will replace sometime after pay day. So I can't bring you any photos of my new bike "Unit 1" or any of the new snaz I've shot.

This post is going to be about Japanese trade secrets, probably useless if you're not in Japan or thinking of coming here but here we go. I won't lie when I say that money goes very quickly over here. Even for someone like me who doesn't go out drinking often and doesn't go shopping at all. Even compared to living on your own in the UK i find Japan leeches your money even more, alot of this has to do with my concept of Yen, meaning that my mind hasn't really adjusted to the fact that Y1,000 is actually doesn't stretch that far here. I mean if you go to the corner shop and buy lunch and a coffee you're looking at a grand. Another way Tokyo zaps the monies is travel. Back home I would walk everywhere or be lucky enough to be given a ride, but here you take the train everywhere and everyday. From Nakano to my work (40mins and 1 change) costs me Y1,000 return, so Y20,000 a month (around £150) which is a BIG chunk out of my pay packet. And I would have gone on paying this unless I was told by my co-worker to get a monthly pass. Now I've never heard of these before, they weren't mentioned in any of the guidebooks and even people who have lived here for years didn't mention them. They're called commuter passes and you can buy them from special JR ticket machienes, you have to input your details and it will give you a paper ticket (or update your Suica train pass) to last you a month. You pick which route you take on what lines and it will give you a mega discount bonus for a month. Instead of paying Y20,000 on av. a month the commuter pass charges me Y13,300. A whopping saving there already! Also if you decide "Hey I'd like to go to one of the stops along my route" at anytime of the month then the card will not charge you anymore, so I can explore any of the 13 stops along my route for free. The Japanese seem reluctant to advertise this fact but I'm telling you now if you use the same route on a regular basis YOU NEED ONE OF THESE.

Another good idea is to keep an eye on Craigslist. Sometimes in the job sections are random one off jobs for foreigners they you just have to send an email to apply for. They are a good way to make some extra money and can be extremly fun. I applied to dance on a music video for Team JyunJyou

I spent a Saturday in a club in Shibuya with a bunch of other people being filmed dancing to a concert. Super fun, met some great people and got paid! You have to keep an eye out for these oppotunities right?

Another money spinner is food. Eating out alot can drain your money hella fast although places like Matsuya (you order what you want from a ticket booth and hand it to the servers) offer plates of food for Y290. If you enjoy eating the same food most nights a week then this is pretty cheap. Ramen bars offer up huge bowls of nutritious broth for Y1,000 and these will keep you full all day. Bento-ya means you can pick whatever you like for your box lunch so you can keep it cheap but these still work out slightly pricey and convinient store bento's are hardly worth what you pay for them (and they make me feel sick) . Supermarkets are favourite because I love to cook but the goods can really range in price, also I find cooking for one person quite hard as all my vegetables, fish and meat don't get used up in a week so I have to get creative with how I can combine them all for my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also RICE! Buy in bulk! You can pick up a big bag for Y2,000 (5kg lasts me 6 week for lunch and dinner). Even with supermarkets I find you have to shop around though, some supermarkets will charge Y168 for spinche whereas my local will charge Y88, so it really is worth it to explore. Also try and find some markets where sushi and sashimi are so much cheaper.

If you have any more money making/saving ideas lemme know!

1 comment:

  1. sorry I didn't know about the commuter pass thingies either! I've been here 5 years but I live in the countryside where we don't have trains! (>_<;)