Food expenses for the study abroad student: especially in Tokyo, Japan

So one thing your estimates expenses for your study abroad trip shows that is off the charts is the cost of food. Mine alone was over $7,000 for the school year. Yah, shoot me in this face. Nearly gave up when I saw that. The GOOD news though, you can cut those expenses doen by a lot if you just follow my tips.

  1. DON’T  go out for every meal of the day. Sure weekends are okay, have a nice lunch with your friends or dinner and so is going out once during the school week, but not EVERYDAY. Food in Japan is costly. Best believe it.
  2. DO make your own food, especially if you place of stay has a kitchen. And if you’re a college student there, best believe that you’re going to become a chef of making pasta (spaghetti). And I’m not going to lie, supermarkets there have a great selection of sauces. So WHY is this going to become your favorite food? Well, because it’s cheap.org. 100 yen (1.20 US about) for the dry pasta and the same price for the same. FYI, even though some of those packets say “for up to two people”, in reality they go for about 4-5 meals. You can stretch it. LOL.
  3. DON’T stick to one grocery store. Truth is, there is probably another grocery store out there that sells the same thing you’re trying to find, but for a better price.
  4. DO pregame before you go to the club. It’s cheaper to buy some vodka in a big bottle and split the price with your friends. Clubbing takes quite a bit of money, for example, to cost to get there and back, an entrance fee, etc., so yah pregame. Unless ladies you’re confident you can get a guy to by you drink(s) then LEGGO.

Top Places to shop: Keep in mind this is for those studying at ICU, but most of these stores are popular all over Japan

  1. 100 yen shop (equivalent to the 99 cents store)
  2. Gourmet City
  3. Don-qi-hote (Kind of like a Walmart)
  4. Seiyu (Walmart)
  5. Itoyokado
  6. Local Shops

All I have to say is be weary of your money. In Japanese terms it may be cheap, but in regards to your currency probably not.

Best of luck to you in Japan!

 

 

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Drinking in Japan: The HUB

ImageI never really drank before I went to Japan because I just never really thought it was something I would do, but living in a foreign country can change that for a person!! I wanted to recommend one of my favorite drinking spots for you guys. It’s called, “The HUB”.

The Hub, from 4-7pm (weekdays), has something very amazing called, “Happy Hour”.  Drinks during that time cost from $3-$5 and even more I believe. But that only depends on what you’re getting. The price is higher for drinks, but it all depends on what you buy.

The style of the HUB is like a pub. It really does have a foreign feel to it. There’s sports on the teli, the whole place is covered in dark wood, flags of different counties, flags and posters of sport teams, and the music is usually varied in different genres. It’s a really chill vibe you get from this place and it’s a great place to hang with friends on a Friday after a test, on the weekend, and with coworkers.

I love the HUB and I totally recommend it. It’s like everywhere, especially in Tokyo: Shibuya, Shinjuku, you name it!! Oh and they have delicious food!!! 

The Cousin in Japan Part 7: Hana Kawa Door

My cousin, friend, and I were invited to go to this jamming place by the guy I met at the club the other night. I didn’t really want to go at first because I’m a shy person!!!! So what if I was interested in him??? No just kidding, I wanted to go secretly but I didn’t want to say yes without the approval of my cousin and friend because my friend came out to hang with us, all the way to our hostel, and we already kind of decided to go clubbing. Therefore I didn’t want to say yes to blue eyes because I already had plans, but my cousin and friend were down to go, so everything worked out.

We drank a bit before leaving. I think I had 2-3 shots, a ½ bottle of whiskey, and a cocktail before leaving. I’m not sure but I was feeling good and was sane. I’m a heavy weight champion what can I say?? Bwahahahahaha!!! But yah, my friend was new to drinking at the time so he got a bit tipsy after one cocktail and when he drinks he begins to speak in Keigo. Keigo is the SUPER polite way of speaking Japanese. It’s only used we speaking to someone of a higher status than you. For example, when you come to restaurant out here, the waiters and waitresses are going to speak to you in Keigo, be you as the customer are in a higher standing than them because they are serving you. It’s also used in boss and subordinate relations and teacher-student relations.

Yah but he kept speaking in Keigo and no one understood what he was talking about. I’m proficient in Japanese, but NOT when using honorifics (polite forms). It’s very difficult for me. But yah, it was funny. Nolan ended up going home that night, but my cousin and I still went to the Jamming place with them. It was called, “Hana Kawa Door”.

HANA KAWA DOOR

This place gets popping from Thursday-Sat I believe. I don’t remember what day we went though. But they usually have live music playing and performances from various underground artists and Djs, has a bar, and just lots of chill people there. It was kind of like a hippie fest lol.

The reason why I recommend this place is because I performed there with blue eyes. He played the guitar, I sang, mind you with the band still playing behind us. It was just such a cool experience for me because I love music and I love to sing. Hana Kawa Door made me get out of my shell to the max. It was a beautiful night. Also his brothers rapped, which was so cool, and the owner of the bar, her name is “Mimi” remembered me when I returned a couple of months later. She only met me once, so for her to remember me made me really happy. Both times I went there were good times.

If you plan to go, please email her to ask what’s going on that night because I did go there out of the blue one more time but there was no one there, only the bartender lol.

http://www.hanakawadoor.com/

THIS VIDEO IS FROM TWO MONTHS AFTER MY CUZO CAME :]

The Cousin in Japan Part 5: Sakura and Ginza

Even though most of the palace grounds were closed when she came, I think something that needs to be highly highlighted during our time there was the cherry blossoms. In Japanese they call it “sakura”, which means “cherry blossoms”. The sakura in Japan bloom at different times depending on where one is in Japan and when my cousin was visiting, not many of them were blooming, but the one’s in the palace were beautiful.

I think we ended up going to Ginza that day, which is like the Beverly Hills of Tokyo. There’s nothing but expensive shops and expensive looking folks, walking around in their business suits and brand named clothing, Coach and Prada bags. Man…every time I went to that city I felt poor. But people, people, people, money isn’t everything. Believe me. AND IF you make it everything you are only setting yourself up for unhappiness.  That’s just my opinion though. ;]

Because it was colder than the North Pole we ended up just going to McDonalds and staying there for the whole time. So basically we went all the way to Ginza to relax in McDonalds. It was a waste of money but we had a lot of good laughs, which in the end is way more important than any amount of money.

Hotel Toyo in Osaka, Thoughts…

Okay! So let’s talk about the place we stayed in Osaka!! It’s called Hotel Toyo. Now for a single room the price we paid for it was off the charts. But man soon as we entered the building, shivers. It literally looked like a scene out of a horror movie, the hallways that is, nope wait, so did the showers and toilets too. Girls and guys share the same toilets as in there is not isn’t a bathroom for guys and one for girls, we share the same thing and other than the door to your stall, there’s no door to the bathroom. There’s just a curtain that divides you from the hallways.

My story.

First morning there, I woke up and went to brush my teeth in the bathroom. A I was brushing my teeth, this guy came and went straight to the urinal to go and pee. FYI, the urinals don’t have walls to block it, so it’s basically him peeing nonchalantly beside me. AS I BRUSHED my teeth! Man I booked that shizz.

My scared and I were too afraid to sleep to sleep in our rooms by ourselves so she brought her futon into my room and we slept together lol. My other friend wanted to come in too, but there was no space. I was going to make space for her but she refused. (:[)

Let’s see, my friend’s Iphone got jacked in the common area. I know that this might surprise you, people stealing in Japan, but don’t worry. It’s because most of the people there were foreigners. I say this because Japan’s crime rate is very low and unlike other countries, when you leave your wallet in a shopping center, most likely it will be there when you come back. Or the owners of that place will find a way to get it back to you.

No coolers, and it was a HOT ass summer, let me tell you that. If you plan to stay at this hotel, get the AC rooms, there only like two or three dollars more. Yah, I’m cheap. I’m a cheap college student!!! Sue me!!! Actually don’t, I don’t have money to afford a lawyer, well I could always get probono haha.

The other foreigners were really cool by the way, ended up getting to know one from Australia really well. We hung out with her a day going to Umeda sky building. Also, met another girl from Seoul, South Korea. Hopefully she comes back to Japan while I’m here so we can go out to karaoke like I promised. I LOVE YOU FACEBOOK!!