Just to show you how much my life has changed after moving to Tokyo, let me just add comments to my list of things I like about Kagoshima in another blog. Disclaimer: This is just based on 5 weeks of living in Tokyo and may change the longer I stay here.
Kagoshima: If you draw a straight line from my apartment to my place of work, that line would measure only about two kilometers.
Tokyo: Now, if you draw a straight line from my new apartment to my new place of work, that line would measure around 5 kilometers. 3 kilometers more but not so bad if we’re talking about Tokyo standards.
Kagoshima: My place of work, even if it is only on the 6th floor, has a very good view of the city, a good view of the volcano, the surrounding hills and the bay. It is only about 100 meters from Kagoshima Bay (Kinko Bay).
Tokyo: My new place of work, now on the 30th floor, has a very good view of the city, a good view of Shinjuku skyscrapers and Shinjuku (or is it Shibuya) park. On a clear day, we should also be able to see Mt. Fuji but I still haven’t seen it after almost five weeks there. I think it’s on the other side. I should check that side more often.
Kagoshima: Most of my Filipino friends (students) live within two kilometers from my apartment. Some even live within 100 meters. It pays getting an apartment that is just a stone’s throw away from the university.
Tokyo: Most of my Filipino friends (non-students) live miles and miles away from my apartment and it would most likely take an hour to visit some of them. I do have a friend, who lives near my place (around 600 meters) and another friend, who works in the building right in front of my apartment. He only works there so that doesn’t count. I know of no universities near my place.
Kagoshima: I seldom need to take public transportation to reach my destination. All the major destinations in the city are at most 30 minutes away by bicycle or 10 minutes away on my trusty scooter.
Tokyo: I always need to take public transportation to reach most of my destinations. Maybe if I get a bicycle (and later on, a scooter), things would be different but for now, the train is the way to go. Even when visiting Ginza, which is just 2 kilometers away, I take the train.
Kagoshima: My relatively new 30-square-meter-apartment costs only about 50,000 yen a month and my parking costs only about 10,000 yen a month. Compared to similarly configured apartments in Japan’s bigger cities, this is very cheap.
Tokyo: My relatively new 40-square-meter apartment costs more than thrice my Kagoshima apartment. I already sold my car so I never have to pay parking costs. If I didn’t, I’d be paying about 50,000 yen which is incidentally the price I used to pay for my Kagoshima apartment. Compared to similarly configured apartments in Japan’s other cities (or even in the Tokyo suburbs), this is very expensive.
Kagoshima: Kagoshima Chuo Station, the main station of the city and the second hub of the city (next to Tenmonkan), is also roughly 2 kilometers from my apartment. Tenmonkan is about 3 kilometers away.
Tokyo: Tokyo Station, arguably the main station of the metropolis, is roughly 2 kilometers from my apartment. Ginza is also about 2 kilometers away… Akihabara 3 kilometers… Ueno 5 kilometers… Roppongi 5 kilometers… Shinjuku 9 kilometers. Wait… why am I giving away these numbers? Anyone who has minimal geometric skills would be able to determine my location just from these numbers. Oh well, come and get me!
Kagoshima: On a car, it takes about 30 minutes to get away from the city to enjoy the clean air and the greenery of the countryside.
Tokyo: On foot, it takes about 3 minutes to walk from my apartment to Sumida River to enjoy the clean air *cough* and the clean waters *ugh* of the river. Kidding aside, that small park on the riverbanks called “Shinkawa Park” is one of my favorite places here. It’s got a wonderful view of the river and some of Tokyo’s most exclusive condominiums.
Kagoshima: I got 12Mbps always-on-internet-connection. Not necessarily the fastest available in the market but more than enough to surf the web, check my emails and watch streaming videos.
Tokyo: I upgraded to as-fast-as-you-can-get-fiber-optic-always-on-internet-connection, which is supposed to be ultra-fast but in reality, I can’t really tell the difference between my old 12Mbps connection and my new fiber-optic connection. Oh well.
Kagoshima: I can afford to play at least six hours of tennis every week. Two hours on Wednesdays, two hours on Saturdays and two hours on Sundays. That doesn’t include the regular badminton and pingpong sessions with the Filipinos.
Tokyo: I have zero tennis… zero exercise. The most exercise I can get, if you could even call it an exercise, is my daily walk to and from the train stations. I have yet to find tennis, badminton or pingpong friends but I definitely found a lot of drinking friends. My new and improved drinking habits, combined with my unstoppable appetite, could definitely spell disaster come my next health check.
All in all, Tokyo is not as bad as I was expecting it to be. I am actually liking it here although I may need to watch my expenses. People here can live it cheap if they choose to, but they can also live it lavishly, if they want to.
I am still in the process of determining the right balance, that’s best suited for me.
Wish me luck.