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Introduce yourself — who are you, where are you and what do you do?


#1

Let’s introduce ourselves!

Some standard questions to get the ball rolling, answer any or none of them, make up your own or do a little dance etc.

  • What’s your name?
  • What area do you live in?
  • How long have you been in Japan?
  • Why did you come to Tokyo?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What’s your top Tokyo tip for newbies?
  • Do you like natto?
  • [insert your own question here]

Welcome to Tokyo Cheapo Community
#2

As for mrkirkland:

My name is Chris, I’m the co-founder of Tokyo Cheapo and founder of ArtWeb.com. I’ve been tech/internet business type since around the time of 56K modems.

I live near Shibuya, and have been in Japan on and off for about 10 years. I first came here on holiday, but after about 5 days I decided I’d stay, so I cancelled my return flight home and figured things out from there.

For fun, I used to do a lot of stunts like this, play and record music, martial arts, kite surfing and dancing. In more recent years I’ve doing a lot of travelling, hiking and photoshopping laser cats.

And my Tokyo newbie tip: I’d recommend getting a bicycle and living somewhere central.


#3

Hey folks,
I’m Adriana, editor for the Cheapo sites (Tokyo, Japan, London) and professional translator (French/Italian-English).

I recently moved back to Canada after two years of living happily in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro ward, which, by the way, is an excellent area to live in. Here are a few reasons why: 1. Ikebukuro Station is one of the city’s key transport hubs, making it a central location that allows you to move around the city pretty easily, while avoiding the high rent costs of living in areas such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, etc. 2. It’s home to multiple world-famous ramen shops 3. It’s just all around convenient in terms of shopping, eating and entertainment.

When I’m off the grind, I:
-Am a huge comedy nerd (the Tokyo scene is pretty good!)

  • Make my own clothes (Sewing Circle in Jiyugoaka is a great atelier to do work—or start lessons [in English] if you’re a beginner wanting to learn)
    -Read too much. Some of my favourite authors are Jacqueline Susann, Junot Diaz, Nora Ephron (among a long list of others).
    -Grow my own veggies every summer
    -Listen to ratchet music (guilty pleasure)

One of my cheapo tips would be to take a stroll through the smaller streets and alleys of your neighbourhood—you’ll stumble across small veggie/fruit stands that offer the same produce for a fraction of the price you’d find at the bigger grocery stores.


#4

I’m Greg, Tokyo Cheapo co-founder.

I’ve been in Japan (Kanagawa then Tokyo) for 16 years. For fun, I hunt and consume craft beer - especially ones that I can source in Japan. I also like to explore Tokyo, looking for interesting new places and experiences to post on Tokyo Cheapo.

My top tips are on the website :slight_smile: I’m particularly a fan of “1 coin pizza” - ridiculously good neapolitan style pizza for 500yen or less.

I respect the natto - we don’t get on though.


#5

My name is Grigoris and I live in Asakusa. I first came to Japan in the summer of 2009; it took me all of a couple of hours to realize that this is not a place you “see” in a few days/weeks so I moved here two years later. For the first couple of years I lived in Kanagawa and then moved to Tokyo -hopefully this is where I’ll stay. “This” here doesn’t only mean “Tokyo” it also means “Asakusa” or, at worst, some other area in the region usually called “sitamachi”, i.e. old downtown -there’s a micro-culture here which is completely different from most people’s idea of Tokyo.

My job for the best part of the last 30 years has been writing and translating -mostly stuff about the Internet industry and the martial arts. Recently some of the pictures I shoot have become decent enough to allow me to do some part-time photography work for the media I’m working with. I also occasionally teach Greek (unlikely as it might seem, there are Japanese interested in learning it). Outside work I practice classic martial arts and zazen and try to get involved with as much Edo-period culture as possible.

What else? Oh, yes: I’m a recovering Greek.


#6

Hi everyone. This is David and I have been visiting Japan since 2005 and recently moved permanently to Tokyo last year. I provide photos and occasionally write a few words for Tokyo Cheapo in between attending Japanese language school and working for a start-up.

My main reason for visiting Japan initially was the automotive culture but even before that I was interested in Japan from watching anime and reading Shogun as a kid. I even attempted to learn Japanese several times as well…

For fun, I like to explore new areas around Tokyo and also try to travel around Japan. Some of my best experiences have been a result of getting lost.

My top tip relates to wi-fi. Free wi-fi is not that common yet in Japan but you can get Free Tourist Wi-Fi passes that get you hot-spot access. The real-tip however is to just find a hotel and hangout near the lobby. This has saved me in many times and not only in Tokyo. Free wi-fi is improving and some restaurants and shops offer real free wi-fi versus the traditional free wi-fi hotspot.

Natto… even the mention of it makes my skin crawl.


#7

Hello everyone!

My name is Takako, Well I was born and raised in Sendai and moved to the States for college, then started to settle down in Tokyo back in late 2014 after working in NY for several years.

I currently run a cafe in the Shinjuku area that called MiseLMA. We serve craft beer and yummy and affordable vegan foods. Looove cooking and eating. Besides those, I do copy writing for freelance, play around with my colleague, Anni the socks cat and create some fun stuff.

My tip is come to my cafe and I will help you to get you around in Tokyo…! haha


#8

Hi! My name is Lily and I’m the community manager to TokyoCheapo. I moved to Japan for an adventure and it’s going pretty well! My life basically involves books, ridiculous amounts of food and going exploring. I’m British and have been here for about 18 months, teaching amongst other things. Come and say hello if you go to our meet-ups or let me know if you have any questions! :slight_smile:


#9

Hi I am Wayne, originally from Australia, I just moved from Hong Kong after working there for 2 years. Came to work in Tokyo as a Big Data expert. I also live in Ho Chi Minh where I have an apartment (which I visit monthly). Currently staying in Kameido. I arrived Sunday 17th April. For fun I like lots of things, Rugby, gym, walking, sake, sashimi, beer, whiskey and meeting new people. What is natto?

Buy a data SIM because you cant use voice!!!


#10

Hi Wayne! I’m in Ho Chi Minh every now and then, great city (except for the air).

Ah, you haven’t popped your natto cherry yet - next time you’re in a supermarket, buy pack and eat it.


#11

Hi! I’m Tiffany, and I’m one of the writers for Tokyo Cheapo and Japan Cheapo. I’ve been living in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro area for nearly three years. I agree with Adriana that Ikebukuro is a lovely place to visit and live in. Tourists tend to skip this area, but I think that it’s worth checking out. It’s got great shopping and entertainment options, and if you like anime and manga, I would definitely recommend visiting Ikebukuro. I once took a visiting group of students to Ikebukuro on their free day, and all of them had different interests (fashion, electronics, anime and manga, etc.), and all of them managed to see and buy what they wanted, so everyone went home happy.

I’m from the Philippines, but I moved to Tokyo for grad school. Last year, I got my MA in media studies, and now I’m working as a copywriter for a marketing communications firm. I enjoy reading, writing, traveling, taking pictures, making crafts, and cooking (really new to it, so I still have a lot to learn, but I like trying to make new dishes, even though they don’t always end up looking good). Also, I collect postcards, and I just got a shuincho (a book for temple seals/stamps), so I might start collecting those, too. Lastly, even though my everyday fashion sense is very ordinary, I like dressing up on occasion, which includes cosplaying and putting on kimono (someday, I’ll learn how to wear one!).

As for my top cheapo tip, visit restaurants at weekdays during lunch time to enjoy cheaper meals. There’s usually a vast difference between the prices of lunch and dinner menus. Although some restaurants do roll out the better stuff at dinner time, in most cases, you can usually still get a signature dish of theirs (or at least one of their better-known dishes) for much cheaper at lunch time. You can get better value for money, too, since lunch sets usually come with something on the side, like a drink and/or dessert.

I have another newbie tip, too! This is more for those who’ll be living in Tokyo for a while, but… if you want to meet new people, Meetup.com is your friend. It may not be that popular with the Japanese, but you can make friends not only with fellow foreigners, but also with Japanese, usually those that are open to befriending foreigners and able to speak at least some English. It’s especially great if you’re a hobby-oriented person!


#12

I just Googled Natto. Noooo!!! I would never eat it as soybeans are a dangerous health item; bad for your kidneys and liver.


#13

Hi! My name is Hannah and I absolutely heart Tokyo Cheapo. I live on the western edge of Tokyo near Fussa and moved here August of 2015. I am a classically trained chef & pastry chef, so my hobby is all things food every waking moment of the day. I teach personal one on one cooking classes and you can look me up on Facebook / Yokota Cooking School. I don’t travel anywhere in the country without Google maps and a stop at a Lawson’s for some onigiri and other fun snacks. Natto is not my first choice, but I have mad respect for it.


#14

Hi, I don’t live in Japan (unfortunately). But it’s my favourite country in the world. I’m self learning Japanese at the moment and hope to visit Tokyo again very soon.


#15

Hello everyone, I’m Vickie! Nice to meet you all.
I’m currently living in Kawasaki and I’ve been here for a year. I moved to Japan because I visited in 2014, and I enjoyed it so much I thought I could probably live here. :slight_smile:

I love the Tokyo Cheapo website, and it proved to be an invaluable resource when I visited as a tourist, and also now that I live here.

My hobbies are photography, baking, reading and thrift shopping!

I think my top tip would be to have a day of aimless wandering. I love picking somewhere I’ve never been and going there to walk around and take in the sights. I always end up discovering something interesting, a hidden temple or beautiful park for example.


#16

Hello there~! :heart: I’m Alice.

I will be visiting Japan (primarily Tokyo) for the first time in a few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed the various articles on the website while planning my trip, and I’m hoping that the community will be another way to gather more information for this and future trips.


#17

Hi Everybody,

My name’s Pascal and I live in St Etienne, France.
Nice to meet you all.

I do not live in Japan but discovered the country 3 years ago: We had always wanted to visit Japan (my wife and I) and as a birthday present for our daughter, we decided to give it a go.

and of course … we loved it ! We did the “basic-tourist” tour (Tokyo - Kyoto - Hiroshima) … and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back the next year… and guess what? we’re coming back this year too !

We like to discover things, blend in as much as possible (even though it can be very hard for us foreigners to “disappear” in the crowd) try everything we can ( I did try natto and it almost killed my sense of taste !) …

My daughter is a huge manga fan and I read some myself sometimes.

By the way, we have a shi-tsu whose name is Garywhite and we love the site ! thanks for all the tips.


#18

Hello new friends!
My name is Susan Levine & I’m so glad I found your website. I love it & refer to it often. I am coming to Japan for the second time this coming August, traveling with my son (30 yrs old). He & I were in Tokyo 16 years ago, on our way to Seoul. We didn’t have much time in Tokyo & can’t wait to return in the summer. We will be staying in 2 different Air B & B places. One in Shibuya & one in Kyoto. We are big foodies & watch the Tokyo food blogs all the time. Do you have any suggestions off the beaten path to eat? I heard some places have “tourist prices”, higher then for the locals. Is that true?


#19

Hi Susan, glad to hear you like our site!

I’ve never seen inflated tourist pricing in restaurants. However some people dislike the “otoshi” custom in izakaya restaurants, that is when you are automatically given a small dish at the start of your meal and charged ~500yen.

For off the beaten path recommendations, the good old “tatty and full of locals” rule of thumb works well in Tokyo (as it does all over Asia). Basically you cant go wrong with Japanese style eateries that are well worn and well visited.

The fancier looking places are usually great too, but not always as good value.


#20

Hello. I’m Brian and I’m from New York city but I’m currently living in Ebisu with my husband. We’re big fans of Tokyo Cheapo and occasionally blog about our own travel tips and airline point strategies over at point fu. We’re both learning Japanese (trying for JLPT 4 next!) and I’ve been tweeting words I’m learning simply from living here and generally making a fool of myself trying to speak :slight_smile: Maybe it’ll be of use to some of you: Japanese I needed. We love to cook and are big fans of the Ebisu farmers market. Would love to have a cooking night with some folks here!