Friday, March 9, 2007

The Most Expensive Cities

It's kind of an established preconception that Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world, but that isn't exactly right. I've always felt that certainly prices in Tokyo are on the expensive side, but when I went to the Scandinavian countries and UK a little while ago I thought I can go broke in a month. I barely paid for accommodation and yet I couldn't keep myself from spending a great amount of money, not shopping bags full of favorites but to eat and to get around. Prices in those countries are crazy from an outsider's point of view.

Today there was a news of an annual report of the most expensive cities in the world announced by EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit). First place was defending champion Oslo (Norway), followed by Paris (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), London (UK) and finally Tokyo coming in 5th place and Osaka as well as Kobe in 6th.
The ranking to me seems very natural, or at least not surprising at all. Well, I didn't really think that things in Paris is more expensive than Tokyo.

So that you can see what the prices are like in this city, I'll list some examples for your comparison.

- a can of soda or tea (350ml)... Y100-Y120 (approximately US$1)
- a bottle of the above drinks (500ml)... Y150
- a can of beer (350ml)... Y230
- lunch set... Y600-Y1,000 (more or less. depending on how much you eat)
- when you go out for a drink and dinner with your friends... Y2,500-Y3,500 per person
- rent... Y100,000 (but this one really varies. some are like Y20,000 and some others are much higher)
- train ticket... Y130 (base fare for JR lines)
- bus... Y200 or Y210 (usually flat rate)
- taxi... Y660 for the first 2km
- a cup of coffee in a cafe Y250-Y300
- cell phone bills... a minumim of somewhat Y3,000
- a volume of novel... Y500
- CDs (Japanese artists)... single Y1,000+, album Y3,000+

What else...? These aren't too bad. I would say they (transportation especially) are affordable, friendly prices as compared to, say, the London tube tickets.
Perhaps below are the factors that are raising the "expensive" feeling of the city.

- clothes... a college student (guys and girls) for example spends something like Y20,000 - Y50,000 on fashion and beauty goods each month
- haircut... the mode hair dressers (where most if not all of the young people get their trendy hair-styling) take about Y4,000-Y6,000 for shampoo&cut, Y10,000 for normal perm, twice as much for straigtening perm and digital perm, Y12,000-Y1,5000 for coloring (dye) so on so forth.
- movies... Y1,500 for students, Y1,800 for adults, Y1,000 for ladies every Wednesday
- live music concerts (arena scale) ... around Y8,000 or more

Hanging out with friends, not just plain hanging out but hanging out looking nice can cost you a bit of money in Tokyo. Actually, a good lot of college students spend most of their income on hanging out with friends and buying daily clothing, which in case of Tokyo, is pretty fashionable. FYI an average college student earns somewhere between Y50,000-Y100,000 per month. Or rather, the average wage is about Y900 at jobs like convenience stores, cafes, etc. etc. and students work 3-4 days a week, about 4-6 hours a day.

So that's as much a college student earns and spends in a month. Of course, some have extraordinarily high income through different ways and means, and some with passion in a certain field spend a whole lot more.
Now that I've written them out visually, I kind of doubt if it's really affordable being a Tokyoite like I thought it to be. But then, I'm not really claiming that it is a savings-friendly city. All I meant to say was that it's not that extremely bad at least not the way it is imagined in the minds of those who have never spend time here, and it's not. What do you make out of these numbers?

Today's update on
Japan Mode: two contents, actually. One is the preview for webmanga CharmyRop chapter 12. The illustration looks a little different from the previous ones, I mean, the colors and atmosphere it has. Then I also posted new stuff for the cherry blossom forecast this season. The Met Office announced specific dates for the blossoming forecast, quite detailed in fact. So that's there too.

1 comment:

blogsurfer said...

I'd love to visit one of those cities too. I just can't. I'll be fine touring on my own country for now. You might want to visit this site to see more very expensive real estate ever. Thank you.

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