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Tokyo falls to world's 4th most expensive city for expats: survey

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Will be more interesting to see where Tokyo ranks in a year from now?

“The annual survey ranks 209 cities based on comparative cost of expenses: housing, transportation, food & entertainment, with NYC used as a baseline comparison & currency movements measured against the U.S.$.” -

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Who really cares?

2 ( +17 / -15 )

Who cares???? This isn't even news. I bet not one single person cares. Back to mu covid bunker I go.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

I wonder if, the Credit Card Companies have a different view upon things - now, that would be interesting to see ?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Money is relative. Tokyo is very cheap if you know where to go.

27 ( +31 / -4 )

The annual survey ranks 209 cities based on the comparative cost of expenses, including housing, transportation, food and entertainment, with New York City used as a baseline comparison and currency movements measured against the U.S. dollar.

I never understood how they calculated the expenses in these surveys. What does "enterainment" mean? Going to the movies is pretty much as expensive as it is in any big european capital now. Going out drinking with your friends is way, way cheaper than in London or Paris. Concerts are indeed very expensive...unless you like indie music, where tickets are pretty cheap. Food? If you're trying to eat steak everyday, of course you're gonna burn a hole in your pockets, but making gyoza, udon, nabe or most japanese dishes at home is extremely cheap. I think the title of the list should maybe read "Most expensive cities in the world for expatriates incapable of adapting their lifestyle."

22 ( +25 / -3 )

These surveys are generated based on those who want to live as if they are living "back home". So if you want to live in Azabu with a western kitchen and western appliances and rooms then it is going to be expensive.

Right now we find we can live here as cheap or cheaper than if we were in the U.S.

28 ( +31 / -3 )

Falling from a expensive list is a good thing. But is probably cause by Beirut which is having a very hard time right now after that blast from last year.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

These surveys are generated based on those who want to live as if they are living "back home". So if you want to live in Azabu with a western kitchen and western appliances and rooms then it is going to be expensive.

Yup! Well said!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat topped the list"

And who doesn't dream of working for Barclays or Morgan Stanley in Ashgabat? It is interesting that you can drive into Iran from Ashgabat in about an hour. You'll never be able to drive to another country from Tokyo in one hour.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

You'll never be able to drive to another country from Tokyo in one hour.

You'll never be able to drive to another country from any city in Australia either. Or Hawaii.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Never say never. We just don't have the technology yet. But someday you'll be able to make these drives in an hour.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Alan Harrisson

Tokyo is very cheap if you know where to go.

I 100% agree!

Even in Ginza, there are some nice, cheap and hidden places.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The company that came up with this nonsense is just seeking for notice. The survey is as useless as those best dresser awards, best ikumen papa, or best couples here in Japan.

Someday will still part wit thousands of dollars to seek the consulting service of this company. Genius. doing a survey of cities they have never been to.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

And who doesn't dream of working for Barclays or Morgan Stanley in Ashgabat?

You might be surprised at the international companies who set up shop in such countries. Oil companies, mining companies, transportation companies, auto makers, they run the gamut. I had a job that took me to some real garden spots that were either high cost, or high crime (Port Morseby for example) or both. If you are a company looking to relocate from say Beijing or maybe Shanghai cost of living for your employees affects retention and recruitment.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think I would very much enjoy living in the Japanese countryside but the language is a huge barrier to overcome.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"You'll never be able to drive to another country from any city in Australia either. Or Hawaii."

Or:

New Zealand

Taiwan

The Phillippines

Indonesia

Sri-Lanka

Seychelles

Madagascar

Zanzibar

Cuba

Iceland

Nauru

Tuvalu

Kiribati

St Kitts

And I am getting tired of this.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

I think they are talking about the cost of living in "expat communities", where everyone speaks English, including all the staff at restaurants and stores etc. And you want to a place that is as big and luxurious as what you have back in the home country. Well, the expense of Tokyo depends on where you live. There are lots of cheap neighborhoods, even here in Shinjuku. But few people speak English.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

As a avid traveller having visited 81 Country's at the time of writing and now confined to Mumbai and home due to " COVID 19" travel lockdown surprised about N0 1 ranking of costliest city.Hope to visit someday but the million dollar question is when will the hospitality and travel Industry open up ? Had visited Tokyo in 1995 when it was the N01 costliest city in the World.Still in the top 5 in 2021.Ahoy !

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think I would very much enjoy living in the Japanese countryside but the language is a huge barrier to overcome.

Thanks to its practically inexistant grammar, I think japanese is pretty easy compared to our european languages. Anybody can get to the JLPT N3 with a couple of years of study. Above that it does get a bit harder, but I still think it's easier for us to learn japanese than for a japanese person to learn russian or french.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Every time I go back to visit family in my home city I am shocked at the costs.

Well below the top 100 but just going out to get the cheapest meal that is not McD will cost what I would spend in 3 better meals in Tokyo.

Rules and regulations have made eating out even the most simple low end eat in our take out over priced for what you get.

Tokyo's high end restaurant are way high in price but the everyday places are still far better in price and quality.

Groceries is a toss up, fruit far cheaper back home, vegetables about the same, meat beef is far cheaper but chicken breast is about 1/4 the price here in Japan pork about the same,

The big differences come in things like rent, home prices.

But again long term things change.

Rent is more expensive in Tokyo but renters insurance is about 5 times cheaper, mortgages are cheaper in Tokyo and property tax in Japan is a joke about 1/10th of what a similar priced house would cost in my home town.

Owning a car is in theory more expensive in Tokyo especially if you have to rent a parking space.

But the yearly insurance full coverage for my car in Tokyo is about $ 500 in my home country that same coverage would be $1,500 to $2,000 a year.( Using $ US for this purpose).

All and all Tokyo outside the Gaijin zones or rich areas if far cheaper especially if one considers the ease of public transportation which makes living basically anywhere in Tokyo practical to commute daily without a car.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I think NYC is still the costliest. The tax and tip are sky Hugh. The tip begins at 18% and above on top of the tax which is even higher in Chicago.

I would rather go to Japan where you already include everything in your food tab. Or in Europe. I get the sense of how much I am spending.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think the definition of expat is critical.

If you are moving every 3-4 years and have a family with small children 1) you do not have enough time to adapt to local life style and 2) you need to have a basic culture consistant a home (we have read quite a lot of books and attended workshops on that matter).

For instance at home we eat and behave like in Europe, then of course food is really expensive (e.g. cheeses, meet, ...) and speaking French is mandatory (while my kids much prefer English). Outside of the home everyone does what he likes or wants to experience. So we end up to a kind of hybrid life style.

Housing is critical too, if we have a 200sqm house in Europe, why should we accept to live in a remote 100sqm apartment where nobody speaks English and without specialised groceries in western food.

Schooling then is a no brainer, it is a must to attend international schools, which allows an as smooth as possible transition at every move (which is still always tough anyway). This again impact on the area of living, which are generally very expensive.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Jsapc

well said!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I lived there for 15 years and never felt it was expensive, not compared to where I have lived (NZ, Aus, UK).

Food in Tokyo is cheap, clothes etc. are cheap, accommodation is relatively cheap (though very small).

What is expensive in Tokyo!?!?!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These surveys compare apples to apples.

living in the center of the city, private school, top level restaurants, luxury car, club membership, etc.

in that case, yes, Tokyo is expensive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“Expats”, and by this I mean the executives who get sent by a company to live and work in a foreign country at a branch office etc., as opposed to us “normals” who live a “local” lifestyle, have huge incomes, incredible benefit packages, and are housed in places that normal people could never afford or even see the insides of.

I have seen a couple of these places when invited for a dinner by a newly installed VP from a foreign partner company. They are obscenely large and outrageously expensive. One VP I met “had to justify” (and did so successfully) that the JPY 2MM/ month condo he wanted to be put up in was standard pricing for Tokyo. And the companies pay.

So these are not normal places to live. The food they eat is not normal. The drivers they have to take their kids to International school is not normal. The expense account they receive is not normal. There is nothing normal about an “expat life” abroad. Which in the end makes this annual report pretty much worthless for normal people.

Because if you live a normal life in Tokyo it really is very affordable. And I agree with the other posters, food here is so much cheaper than in, say, NA, where every time I go back I am shocked at the cost of a restaurant meal. Even groceries here are cheaper than in Canadian supermarkets.

I wonder how the 99% in Ashgabat actually live? Probably like the 99% in any other city around the world.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why does it say that Tokyo "falls" to fourth place? "Falls" implies a worsening condition. But for Tokyo and its foreign residents, isn't this good news? Isn't it good that Tokyo is becoming less expensive for expats than other cities are?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I used to know many people living as "expats" and Canadian embassy workers.

They were nearly all clueless of the reality of living in Tokyo, apartments with all North American appliances the giant refrigerator, full size 4 burner stove with full size oven, often complaining that they only have one spare room which they have to use as both a home office ( personal use not work) and guest bedroom, (poor dears (sarcasm alert)).

What made the Embassy people stand out more was most had language training long before coming to Japan and spoke better Japanese than I did but almost never left the Gaijin zones, shopped almost exclusively at international supermarkets where the same broccoli as the local market or vegetable store is 2 to 3 times more expensive. A 1 kg pack of frozen brussel sprouts at Gyomu super or Hanamasa imported from the same country is less than half the price than these international supermarkets and there are both these places within a short distance from these international supermarkets

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Expats living standards is at a CEO level ?

Most of those foreign companies expats have appartements rental cost more expensive than my wage, though I am over the average here.

You expats pay for not commuting in central Tokyo and keep your own standards, but for some, the company pays.

Good for expats anyway if they can have a luxury lifestyle

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Expats”, and by this I mean the executives who get sent by a company to live and work in a foreign country at a branch office etc., as opposed to us “normals” who live a “local” lifestyle, have huge incomes, incredible benefit packages, and are housed in places that normal people could never afford or even see the insides of.

Yes. I’d just add there is a lower class of expat. I was transferred here and lived in a nice-ish area of Tokyo with subsidized rent. Quite a lot of expats but a world away from the Goldman or JP Morgan types. The vast majority of the people transferred in my company stay for about 2 or 3 years and don’t bother learning Japanese to a decent level. I’ve stayed much longer ( getting out in Autumn ) and got to a decent level of Japanese.

Still, I’d say living in those expat areas is the best way to live in Tokyo even if you speak Japanese. The Japanese locals living in those areas tend to be more used to foreigners. I lived in a Tokyo satellite for a few years and while the place we had was very spacious and new, the area had nothing like the fun, openness and community of my first place.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When you look to the prices of fruits here, or even the electronics, you wonder why Tokyo isn't by far nr1 on the list...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Housing is critical too, if we have a 200sqm house in Europe, why should we accept to live in a remote 100sqm apartment where nobody speaks English and without specialised groceries in western food.

In Rome, do as the Romans do.

If you are ready to move, why do you want to keep all your comfort with you.

100sqm is not remote, it is a luxury condo in Tokyo, 70sqm is an average, also in remote places, where even it can be considered large

Privileges d’expats.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Good for expats anyway if they can have a luxury lifestyle

The problem with that is a problem world wide.

When a non "expat" (using short stay executive as baseline expat) goes to rent an apartment, the assumption is "Expat" has money and expense account to burn!

So many places only have (at least in Tokyo) 2 types of apartments for foreigners, cheap places for singles like English teachers ( not meat as any insult but just based on salary options) the other choice it the "Expat" luxury or not even luxury but over priced because the idea is Foreigners looking for large family size apartments are all expats with money.

This is not exclusive to Japan all over the world, I have know "locals" that are not From the country they live in and it is obvious by how they look, go to rent places and be told they are 2, 3, 4 times the actual going rate despite these people being paid local wages.

Overpaying by expats and their companies often drive up prices for non expat packages foreigners and even drive out locals from certain areas.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Beirut came in third, up 42 positions due to economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon's largest financial crisis and a massive port explosion in Beirut in 2020.

I am a bit suspicious about the methodology of a survey in which a city literally getting blown up causes it to skyrocket to near the top of the rankings.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I suppose the irony here is that if you had an expat package but could live like a Tokyo local, regular food, regular apartment, local schools, etc. you could save a fortune, easily one million yen every month. Assuming that the money saved by doing so was yours to keep. Invest it well and you could retire in five years. In other cities, London, New York, Sydney probably, this is not an option. Living costs as an ordinary local will still be very high.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tokyo Best city of the World !!..

Money is relative. Tokyo is very cheap if you know where to go.

1000 % Right !!..

Instead of complain about the city, use the common sense and look for nice and cheap places, there are a lot to search and find in Tokyo !!..

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

JsapcToday  07:14 am JST

I never understood how they calculated the expenses in these surveys

because of poor level of education

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Instead of complain about the city, use the common sense and look for nice and cheap places, there are a lot to search and find in Tokyo !!..

True to a point, sport. Accommodation can be a different matter. Some of the cheaper places to live in Tokyo look like they could be brought down with a decent kick rather than a demolition ball. Wouldn’t fancy being in one of those if the big one hits.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Most expensive cities in the world for expatriates incapable of adapting their lifestyle.

That's literally what this is.

I have seen a couple of these places when invited for a dinner by a newly installed VP from a foreign partner company. 

There some people like this still, but it's getting fewer and fewer in the last 10 years. This is especially true for Tokyo -- these people pay 60% income tax, when they would pay at most 16% in Singapore or HK with no capital gains tax. Even their 2M per month condo building would not have an outdoor pool and very limited options for entertainment for their children. It's crazy for them to accept a Tokyo assignment over one of those other places.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think I would very much enjoy living in the Japanese countryside but the language is a huge barrier to overcome.

Not really any more. Also pretty easy to find a friendly young lady girlfriend to take care of you. I guess this list might factor un the massive amount you might pay for private security which you just don't need in Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Its all relative..... Food, fruits and vegetables used to be cheap on Okinawa until they built the hotels and the tourists came, now they cost more than Tokyo. Like other posters pointed out, you can still find bargains from small stores and farmers markets, if you know where to go. There are two levels of housing, those rented to the US military and rent subsidized, which cost 4-6K USD for around 2000sq feet. These accommodations are usually controlled by specialized housing agencies. Don't get me wrong, anyone with the coin can rent them, just way overpriced. The rest of the housing agencies rent to the local population and the prices are much more reasonable, depending on area and the magic ocean view caveat.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Jsapc

Respectfully I don't know if you were being serious or sarcastic.

Most Westerner know the Roman Alphabet, even the Cyrillic alphabet has 30 to 33 letters once these learned being able to at least read and pronunciate the words whether Roman or Cyrillic is quite simple in most cases.

Expats short or long term to learn Japanese is far more complicated.

51 katakana, 51 Hiragana, plus a minimum of 600 Kanji for which nothing is simple as they have 2 ways of pronunciation something as simple as 大手町 we living here know that is pronounced Otemachi but then the 町 is more often pronounced "Cho".

Plenty of other unwritten rules apply if it was so simple then people could do like most immigrants in North America do with English pick it up as one lives here, but that is extremely rare and without formal schooling either once here or before arriving, Japanese is far from simple.

Even if one does learn Japanese before getting here navigating the rules written and unwritten ( for which there are a lot) just trying to rent a place becomes a challenge, then once you find a place there are more unwritten rules especially in large "mansions" more if renting a house, most the Japanese already have an idea about but expats would be clueless.

I bought my first house in late 2019 after 30 years in Japan, despite being here that long there were plenty of unwritten rule even I was not fully aware of having never been exposed to them in anyway but my Japanese wife did have a good idea about them

Itvis often all these little things one on top of another that makes many expats remain in the so-called foreigners zones.

Things are much easier today with technology to help but just taking a taxi one often still has to somehow know where you are going as often the driver hasn't a clue.

Far to many train stations (especially JR) Still don't have Roman lettering on their wall maps of the lines.

Things are not as simple as you make them out to be.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Didou

In the past 30 years I have not spent more than 4 years at the same place. In countries as various as North America, South America, Europe, Asia... with complete opposite life style and even religions. With all my children born on the road. With my wife not allowed to work due to my working visa. Her propspect to find a job if back to Europe is almost nil. This is not an easy life and I would not call it luxury (then of course you have arrogant expats that I do not mix with BTW).

We need to pay a very special attention to the menthal health of our children, applications in international schools are very complicated and never granted because the company pay. They need to pass exams, do essays, interviews. And if they have vancancies you may have a chance. We normally do this process in 2-3 schools for each moves.

So basically the last 6 months of an assignment and the next 6 ones for the new assignment are just full of stress. Re-creating a network, new job, new doctor, dentist, paediatrician, sport club, ... are very energy consuming. And no relatives or friends to support.

And if there are benefits and incentives granted to the people (families) accepting (and enjoying for us) this is just because very few are mobile and accepting such a kind of life.

At first we did move to two other countries as our own choice and as local. We did learn local language and joined local clubs. No problem with that. But this give us the mobility skills and mindset my new company was looking for, thus...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There is major difference between the top and bottom of the ex-pat pile.

The top levels working for major companies having all expenses paid. Living rent-free in luxury apartments. Paying their membership fees of foreigner clubs. Kids in expensive international schools. Free flights home.

Those who arrived in the country without a job, married to a national and doing everything by themselves.

Lived in Tokyo for my first six months then realised I could never rent/buy the size of apartment I need for my life and work. Minimum of 6DK. Moved out. Best decision for me at least.

Currently living in a modern 6DK next to the sea for less money than a 1 room apartment in Tokyo. Most of the living expenses are also less.

Growing vegetables but this weekend four neighbours giving us bags of vegetables from their plots. Local community bus ¥100. Community taxis ¥200. 10 m between us and the neighbours in wide-open streets.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Open Minded

I cannot see why you would subject your family especially the children to such a life?

My cousins were army brats and the constant moving destroyed their parents marriage and made their lives miserable. Hence why they decided to pick a single place and never move even refusing higher paying jobs just to remain in a stable environment for their children spouses and themselves.

I get moving for work once possibly a few times but like you describe seems far to much to put children through.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Antiquesaving

Our moves have always been decided in common with my wife at the beginning and then including our children (as of about 12 y.o.).

And if you can manage a good balance they can enjoy it. Actually they love it. They have been exposed to many culture and life style, they speak 3 languages fluently. Kept friends all over the world. They will most likely try to have such a life when they will fly by their own. My eldest one is just starting now.

But you have a valid point. I have met so many completely broken families with lost kids, alcoholic spouses, ...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Zichi

My definition of expat is continuous moves.

And these are the ones getting these incentives.

PR are for me immigrants who have decided to live in a new country like the locals, not expats.

But for whatever reasons, westerners are considered or consider themselves as expats when living abroad for their whole life.

I have never heard a Bengladeshi person being called an expat in Indonesia.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Respectfully I don't know if you were being serious or sarcastic.

I am completely serious.

Learning kanji is indeed somewhat troublesome, but it is a "simple" matter of memorization. Nothing else. Spend 15 minutes per day writing about 25 kanjis and their pronunciation, and with time and application you will eventually learn them (I know many people don't have either, but we are talking about the difficulty of the languages themselves, not people's circumstances). And it is not very different from learning to write/spell in a language like French, where you have stuff like /au/eau/aux/eaux, actual words that all have the same pronunciation, and other numerous and various homonyms. What is the difference between learning that 日 can be read "ni" and "hi", and learning that "lie" and "lie" have two completely different meanings? Ther's none, you're just used to one and not the other.

But as you say, technology now almost makes this point entirely moot, since google lens can translate pretty much all kanji for you in an instant (which is a shame in my opinion, as it stifles intellectual curiosity). But apart from the dreaded kanji, and keigo to some extent, learning japanese is, again, really a breeze compared to the languages we know and take for granted. If you're not convinced, try to explain pronouns, conjugation and declensions to a Japanese expat living in Berlin. Yes, he will be able to read "bratwurst" on a menu, but creating complete sentences will be extremely difficult for him.

And respectfully, if you've spent over 30 years in Japan and still can't read kanji... You might be doing something wrong? I don't know. I'm a "I'm not a genius and I can do it, so you can too" type of guy.

Even if one does learn Japanese before getting here navigating the rules written and unwritten ( for which there are a lot) just trying to rent a place becomes a challenge, then once you find a place there are more unwritten rules especially in large "mansions" more if renting a house, most the Japanese already have an idea about but expats would be clueless.

That is very true, but that has nothing to do with language :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Open Minded

@Zichi

My definition of expat is continuous moves.

And these are the ones getting these incentives.

PR are for me immigrants who have decided to live in a new country like the locals, not expats.

But for whatever reasons, westerners are considered or consider themselves as expats when living abroad for their whole life.

I have never heard a Bengladeshi person being called an expat in Indonesia.

I agree with you 100%. I have never considered myself to be an ex-pat in this country or any of the others I have lived in. I am a PR for some 20 plus years. This is my home and my life will end here.

Ex-pats are foreigners who stay for a limited time. When it comes to stats it's difficult to know who is and who isn't.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokyo is 4th? Perhaps when calculating in wages. However, when compared to Silicon Valley, California (where I live), Tokyo is inexpensive. But the wages in Silicon Valley are much higher than in Tokyo, so it is all relative.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My definition of expat is continuous moves.

PR are for me immigrants who have decided to live in a new country like the locals, not expats.

Colloquially you're right, but technically those who live abroad from their home country are all expats.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Jsapc

Not sure what your problem with French is but it is quite a simple language especially conjugations verbs, etc...

As for same sounding words as you described each spelling is different for different things and means no different than the plentiful amount of Japanese words pronounced the same with different meanings base on use and "spelling" Hiragana, katakana and Multiple different Kanji that have the same pronunciation but different Kanji and meaning.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Expats short or long term to learn Japanese is far more complicated.

It was never a problem for me. I wanted to know what was going on around me, so I started studying right away. I only knew how to say arigato when I came here, but I spent the time to learn more. Learning kanji wasn't so hard, as even learning a few opened up so many things, and the more I learned, the more I was able to participate in society and take care of myself. Fortunately, I figured out how to do all that before getting married, as my wife didn't have to take on the full burden. Eventually, it led to me being able to open my first business on my own.

I have never had a problem with someone who can't speak/read Japanese who is trying, but when I meet someone who has been here for years and can't read and/or speak, I admit, I have disdain. There are few excuses.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Strangerland

We have a different perspective but I believe we are agreeing each other.

I can read and speak 5 languages (3 good, 2 fair) and within a year in japan I learnt all katakana to be able to read the menu in western restaurants. A bit odd I admit :-)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have never had a problem with someone who can't speak/read Japanese who is trying, but when I meet someone who has been here for years and can't read and/or speak, I admit, I have disdain. There are few excuses.

Depends on how many years you mean. Many of my coworkers who transferred here for a few years didn’t bother. I can get that. The time spent mastering a language which isn’t as useful or widely spoken as other languages could be time better spent.

I wish I’d spent less time studying Japanese and more time improving my Mandarin - a far more widely spoken language. Maybe that’s a reflection of my poor application and laziness, but there are only so many hours in the day.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I promise you Kutchan will be more expensive than Tokyo in 3 - 4 years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There was a time when Luanda the capital of Angola used to come in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world for expats. Without a doubt the need to hire security guards would add to the expenses.

A few years ago I interviewed and got a job offer from a bank who were willing to pay me 3 times what I was earning at that time, and that too in USD. I was tempted but since this particular bank was based in Afghanistan I decided to let go.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can read and speak 5 languages (3 good, 2 fair) and within a year in japan I learnt all katakana to be able to read the menu in western restaurants. A bit odd I admit :-)

Within 6 months in Italy I could read an Italian news paper and in Mexico a Spanish language news paper.

Never took a single class.

Try reading a Japanese news paper only with katakana or Hiragana.

Come on let's stop this nonsense,

It is far simpler to learn reading and writing most Roman Alphabet European languages than Japanese and going around saying it isn't or I did this or that is just trying to act like others are stupid.

My daughter can do 6 languages fluently English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Hangul, Mandarin.

Sound great she learned all but Japanese on her own or at home (French, English and Japanese used daily in our house)

But I do not expect others or myself to be able as she is Savant level Autistic. This is what she can do easily but understanding what we see as simple social norms are extremely difficult for her.

So what I am saying is.

Going on like everyone can do the same is boasting or acting like other are idiots.

Even my Japanese wife, family will say Kanji is not easy to learn or figure out.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Antiquesaving

As I said I am moving frequently, I have left Japan since many years already, no point to follow your recommendations :-)

But I somewhat keep connected with all the places I have lived.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anyone who’s preparing to live in Japan should learn katakana and hiragana before they come here. It’s a simple matter of memorization and will make your life in Japan SO much easier.

Anyone living here more than a month should pick up basic phrases.

Anyone living here more than a year should study enough to have a basic conversation. You shouldn’t rely on English translations in Japan - 9 times out of 10 they either are misleading, don’t include important info, or make absolutely no sense. While they can be hilarious to read, it’s very dangerous to rely on the crappy translations here (including the English on ATMs and such).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This year I have seen two foreign ALTS in the local schools, who to me look like school children too. Never seen any ex-pats. Must all be in the big cities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Never seen any ex-pats. Must all be in the big cities.

Actually the talent market for ex pat professionals is mainly in Tokyo and very tight this past year or so due to coronavirus and travel restrictions. I understand that even if they get a job offer somehow, the COE may not be issued at this time, and of course they cannot visit for interviews.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No way Tokyo is more expensive to live in than NYC.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Not sure what your problem with French is but it is quite a simple language especially conjugations verbs, etc...

I don't have a problem with French, but pretending it's a "simple language" is just ridiculous :)

You're welcome to try to explain to a japanese (or chinese) person the concept of male/female nouns, the extremely numerous grammatical exceptions, and the very concept of subjunctive pluperfect, then ask them if they find it "simple".

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Back on topic please.

They can’t even hold that top 3 ranking. What can Japan do anymore?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The "expats" to whom you refer are temprarily re-assigned foreign businesspeople. The term as it is used is a misnomer, as they have no allegiance to the country in which they reside. Their living costs are covered by their employers, so what it costs them to live on this economy is in now way reflective of what it costs genuine "expats" to do so. When they have naturalized, renounced their birth citizenship, and taken up fulltime residence you may refer to them as "expats". Use the term correctly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I am constantly amazed at how inexpensive real estate is in Tokyo. Apartments/condos in Azabujuban costing under $400k. Incredible bargains.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Food and pharmaceuticals are cheaper in London.

Public transport is cheaper in most of Europe except the UK.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hong Kong was really expensive when I lived there. But with recent news this may be changing soon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Move out to the country side, it's Cleaner, Spacer, Safer, Greener, Cheaper, Friendlier, and full of nature and it's activities like cycling, surfing, hiking, fishing, skiing, and more.

Who want's to live in Tokyo and its trash, noises, mossy walls, CO2 stinks, camped up, hot and humid, where you get taxed if you fart.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I wonder if I should continue to read this news inside (in one of the various, spacious rooms in my house), or if I should go take my computer out into my 1-acre back lawn and gardens and read it there at a picnic table?

I like to be comfortable as I read all about how much more expensive it is to live in some crappy little 1-room apartment in Tokyo somewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Move out to the country side, it's Cleaner, Spacer, Safer, Greener, Cheaper, Friendlier, and full of nature and it's activities like cycling, surfing, hiking, fishing, skiing, and more.

I agree with you but there are a lot of ignorant weirdos in inaka. This is a fact.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Understanding Expatriates

An expatriate is a migrant worker who is a professional or skilled worker in his or her profession. The worker takes a position outside his/her home country, either independently or as a work assignment scheduled by the employer, which can be a company, university, government, or non-governmental organization.If your employer sends you from your job in its Silicon Valley office to work for an extended period in its Toronto office, you would be considered an expatriate or "expat" after you arrive in Toronto.

Expats usually earn more than they would at home, and more than local employees. In addition to salary, businesses sometimes give their expatriate employees benefits such as relocation assistance and housing allowance.

Living as an expatriate can be exciting and present an excellent opportunity for career advancement and global business exposure, but it can also be an emotionally difficult transition that involves separation from friends and family while adjusting to an unfamiliar culture and work environment. Hence, the reason behind the higher compensation offered to these migrant workers.

"https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/expatriate.asp"

1) Most of the JT "brotherhood" are immigrants, notwithstanding all the protestations to the contrary!

2) Expats stay on average 2-4 years then leave; they don't stay 10-50 like most of you"expats" posting here.

3) Expats are highly skilled professionals; they are not sent abroad and financially supported by their companies to teach Engrish.

4) It reminds me of pot-bellied, drunken Brexiteers in Spain who overwhelmingly voted leave because Spanish immigrants were flooding "their country". Obviously, they as Brits were all "expats" thus very different from the Spanish "rabble".

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I live in a shoe-box, compared to those elsewhere who comment here. I don't mind that much, sure I'd like the space, but... space leads to clutter, and, you can't take it with you when you die, so learning to live with what you need, is, a new experience, and one worthy of following regardless where you are in the World.

Japan, however, is a Safe place to bring up a Family. You don't have to worry about letting your 4 year old walk to School alone, you don't need to worry about your teenager getting involved in some gang warfare, rampant stabbings by weirdos are not prevalent here. And yes, the Locals don't really like Foreigners, and I understand why - given the above, that happens so often elsewhere.

@peeping_tom - yes, you're sort of right with regards to "ex-pats" - though...

"So, what is an expat? In the simplest terms an expat is defined as a person who is living away from their native country or place of birth or nationality, either temporarily or permanently.

citation: What is an expat? - Experts for Expats

Permanent Ex-pats, in Japan, generally also loose their right to a Democratic vote - since they can neither vote within their Home Country, nor in their Country of Permanent Residence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Housing, Accommodation, Utilities, Taxation and computes to work timewise are the main cost of living factors. Eating out everyday can be expensive. learn to cook at home and eat out sometimes.

Clothes, etc. depends on your taste. Want all designer clothes? Of course expensive.

Car? If you don't need one, can save on gasoline costs too.

So, it all adds up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"You'll never be able to drive to another country from any city in Australia either. Or Hawaii."

Or:

Cuba

Expenses are relative and there are some hidden gems in these expensive cities, too. Regarding the above comment, Cuba might be possible since it was possible back in the 50s to link Key West with the mainland. With some man-made islands, I'm sure it is possible to link Cuba with Key West in the future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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