I originally put this post about living in Japan cheaply on my other blog ESLinsider. Here is the post…
How I am living cheaply in Japan
I just moved to Fukuoka, Japan about 5 days ago. I have wanted to live here for quite a long time. Finally, I made it. One of the things that kept me out of Japan was the fact that I thought it was so expensive.
I think that is what most people think, right?
Well, I think it can be, but it’s not that expensive for me as at the moment I would say that I am paying about $7-800 a month to live here.
I am living in what is called a sharehouse. I basically share a kitchen and bathroom with 8 other people and have my own room. That costs about 30,000 Yen a month plus 12,000 for utilities which is about $380.
I saw other places in Japan that were close to that price, but without a long term visa most places won’t rent to you. Many also want you to have a Japanese friend to act as a guarantor. There can also be a lot of fees: like a cleaning fee, key money, guarantor fee, deposits, and you sign a contract for a year.
I had to pay a deposit of 30,000, but only signed a contract for 6 months.
It’s pretty wimpy construction, but it’s alright for now.
If you are interested you can find these online by searching:
(insert city name here) sharehouse
Some things seem a little cheaper and others not so much. Eggs are less than $2, milk is also less than $2 a litre, vegetables vary, The only thing I noticed that was a bit more expensive that I usually eat was sweet potatoes. They were like a few dollars more expensive for a lesser quantity.
I haven’t seen much of a selection for cheese which was expected as that was the same in other places I lived in Asia.
I am estimating that my bills will be similar to before in San Fran or maybe a little less.
I have been making a lot of soups with miso or soba noodles.
I got this great bike so my transportation is free. I paid 6,800 Yen for this bike. I have been using it quite a bit as most things I need to get to are far. It’s about 7 kilometers to jiu-jitsu and a similar amount or more to get to the center of Fukuoka (Tenjin or Hakata).
I feel pretty excited to have found some lessons that are nearly free. The city government has a volunteer program at different government buildings throughout the city. These classes are like a $1 a class or $5 a month or maybe $10 for 6 months of lessons (usually one day a week), but there are classes everyday of the week in different locations.
At this point I am trying to match up my schedule so I can take the classes near or around the same time that I do jiu-jitsu.
They are cheaper than in the States. The cost at the place where I am planning on going to is 10,800 a month which is about $100.
How long will I stay in Fukuoka?
As of right now I am on a tourist visa. I can stay here for 3 months and then I have to leave. I will probably just take a short trip to Busan, Korea where I used to live and come back for another 3 months.
Then I will have to decide if I want to stay in Japan for longer. If I do want to stay in Japan for longer then I will probably need to change my visa status. To do that I would need a different visa. Some of the ideas I have are:
- Apply for a cultural visa
- Find a job teaching English in Japan
The cultural visa is more appealing to me as I may be able to get that by studying judo, but I have not found anywhere to do that in Fukuoka. You’d think it would be easy to do, but not so.
There are lots of places for jiu-jitsu in Fukuoka, but the “BJJ” community on Reddit doesn’t think I could since “Brazilian” jiu-jitsu and Japanese jiu-jitsu are considered a bit different. Brazilian jiu-jitsu evolved from Japanese jiu-jitsu and emphasizes grappling on the ground and competition.
But I am still planning on asking my teacher about it after I have been training there a while.
As far as teaching English goes I have sort of been there and done that in China, Korea and Taiwan. Lately ESLinsider has been doing well and I have been able to live off of it. However, if something changes then I may need to get a job or perhaps a part time job that would give me a visa.