Someone asked me about the cost of things here. Before coming to Japan, we’d heard that the cost of living is pretty high. Obviously, I have no experience with housing costs, but I do know that it’s wildly expensive to live in Tokyo & I would imagine it’s the same in Yokohama, since that’s the second biggest city in Japan. I don’t know about anywhere else though. When it comes to grocery shopping, I would say it’s compareable to what we know. Some things are cheaper, but imports obviously cost more. I recently looked at peanut butter & the organic was actually cheaper than the other option because the organic was a Japanese brand. There’s a brand here called I TopValue and they are basically the equivalent to Simple Truth at Fred Meyer, where they’re the generic version & they have a hand in tons of products & I have discovered a handful or organic things they sell, so they’ve been helpful. So, when I leave the grocery stores here, I find myelf asking, “Where did that money go? I only have two bags but I spent more than $50?” but that’s something I’m used to asking myself in Port Orchard also. That being said, Washington has one of the worst cost of living situations in America so maybe that’s why the prices here don’t shock me. I don’t know.
When you go out to eat, it can depend on what you’re eating. There are steakhouses and whatnot that can add up, or if you eat somewhere that serves non-Japanese fare such as tacos, your taco might cost more than what you’re used to. However, most the time when we go out for food, we spend way less than what we would spend back home. Alibaba’s delicious Egyptian sandwiches are only 700 Yen, meaning they are less than $7USD and they are delicious and decent portions. Most of the curry dishes I’ve ordered are well under $10USD. Whenever we go out back home, we are lucky to leave a restaurant with a check for under $50 but we rarely come close to that here. When we get fried rice, sometimes we also drinks and still walk away spending less than $25USD for both people. Beer can be a little costly but mixed drinks are super cheap.
Moving on from that.
Something that I find a little interesting but in a good way is the lack of tolerance the government has regarding their employees behavior while in Japan. As I’ve said before, shop owners and employees clean outside their businesses when they open, & they really have their work cut out for them on the weekends. All these drunk, wild sailors wander the streets here on Friday & Saturday nights, so on weekend mornings, there are usually empty bottles, cigrette butts, etc. Obviouly, there’s no way to know who left those things so not much can be done about that specifically. However, the Navy always has on duty sailors, dressed in uniforms, to deter the off duty sailors from getting too rowdy and are just there to keep things in line. We can see some of the party action from our hotel room & we’ve definitely witnessed a couple of occasions where an on-duty sailor had to put a drunk one in his place. Occasionally, I’ve seen the military police parked outside too. When I walk the local streets in the evenings, there are usually several groups of them spread throughout the street our hotel is on & through the Honch. The shipyard also cares to maintain a strong relationship with Yokosuka, so a lack of respect for the locals is not tolerated. Apparently a co-worker of Rob’s got into a pretty heated confrontation with a hotel employee. Long story short, Rob’s co-worker is no longer here in Japan and probably won’t be allowed to return for quite some time. It’s extreme but we’re the outsiders so they shouldn’t have to put up with our bad attitudes or behavior.
I brought all these crafty things to do but haven’t actually done a thing with any of them. I thought I was going to have a more challenging time keeping myself entertained but then I decided I should be out in Japan and not in our hotel room. I can learn to use my sewing machine when I get home… I’m on a limited time in Japan.
I haven’t been to a Tully’s in Washington in quite some time but Tully’s is extremely popular here. I can think of three Tully’s locations all within a 10 minute of our hotel room (and I can only think of one Starbucks) & many more locations in addition to those three. The Tully’s locations here are far more impressive than any I remember seeing! They offer the standard coffee & pastries but they have an extensive menu beyond that, selling everything from pasta to pancakes to hot dogs to flatbreads.