Tokyo once again the most expensive city in the world

For some years Japanese cities had lost the “privilege” of being the most expensive in the world thanks to the yen weakness against other currencies. However, the currency fluctuations during recent years have strengthened a lot the yen value; and now Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama and Kobe are respectively the 1st, 4th, 5th and 7th most expensive cities in the world.

These are bad news if you are planning on coming to Japan during the following months, but for those of us that live here (and earn our salary in yen) it’s not a problem at all. In fact, prices in Japan keep going down or are frozen, so for those living here everything seems cheaper and cheaper.

Some years ago a regular meal in a normal restaurant in Tokyo could cost around 1,000 yen; today the price is the same, it hasn’t changed at all for the people living here, but:

-Before: 1,000 yen (162 yen = 1 euro), it was only 6.17 euro for a good meal.

-Now: 1,000 yen (110 yen = 1 euro), are now 9 euro for the same meal!!

Source: Yahoo Finance.


Elevator operator

In some elevators in Japan, mostly in department stores, you still can see people working as elevator operators. They just stay all day in the elevator pressing buttons and making sure that the doors open and close in a timely manner; they also announce the floor number each time the elevator stops and check if everybody can leave or enter the elevator at the desired floor. I don’t know if it’s another one of those Japanese “useless jobs” or not, but it seems like a really tiring and not very rewarding job to do if you work as an elevator operator for years.

I took this video in one of the elevators at a department store in Shinjuku station:


My first Hasselblad photos

I have developed my first photos taken with Sara’s Hasselblad. It’s been a complete failure! From 2 films of 12 photos each, barely 3 photos have come out with decent results. And I think only one of them is “good”. I am going to keep trying to see if I finally get the light right.

Hasselblad first shots
That’s me analyzing the half-format negatives.

First hasselblad shots

First hassie shots

First hassie shots


Big Otosan

For some time, Softbank, the only Japanese carrier that sells the iPhone in Japan, has been giving away cell phone straps of its mascot Otosan. The standard version of the cell phone strap is small (around 5 cm./2 in. long) and could be obtained when you bought new Softbank cell phones two years ago; I have seen quite a few people on the streets with the dog hanging from their cell phone. There is also another version a little bit more special that was released last summer; the new version is 30 cm./12 in. long!!, and can only be obtained by some Softbank clients that pay for certain special promotions. Because they are really big I didn’t expect to find anybody using them, but I was wrong; the other day I found in Shibuya this happy Japanese man showing off his big Otosan attached to his cell phone. It’s true!! The man was walking around Shibuya with the cell phone on his hand and the dog hanging.

Big Otosan

Big Otosan

He probably wanted to imitate and feel like actress Aya Ueto in the Softbank commercial, in where she is talking on the phone with the big dog strap hanging:

So you have an idea of the original size, here is a picture of my Otosan (small version) that I took in a Kyoto temple:

Small Otosan


Cheaper if it's raining

A strategy to attract clients on rainy days by some shops and restaurants in Japan consists on making special offers when it’s raining. This way they attract people that would stay at home because of the weather. For example, in this bar, if one day it’s raining or it has rained they offer clients three options: to extend the “happy hour” one hour more, to get double points if you use the bar points card or a 500 yen discount if you buy an open bar (Nomihodai: 飲み放題). Which option would you choose?

Cheaper if rain

If you have a business that is slow on rainy days, try to apply this idea to see what happens!