Japan on a budget - week 7/8: Sapporo -> Tokyo

We've got a double budget week, a gross injury, and jobs to report! I couldn't be bothered to do a budget update last week (and didn't have anything nice to say). We left Sapporo and headed to Tokyo for a couple of weeks, where we have some big city errands to run and shopping to do. Warren finished his (hopefully final) indexing exam in Sapporo so that's a load off of his mind. We got medical stuff sent in on our never-ending job application, and finally heard back. Warren smashed his leg. It's been quite the ride!

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Our goal: $50 per day total, including transportation, accommodation, visas, and bills back home. For two people.

In every budget update I will add a prorated estimate of our bills back home (loans, phone plan, etc. which may vary slightly by month), to include in our $50/day travel budget. I am not including travel insurance -- this would add about $5.75 per day to our total.
  • Days: 14
  • Location: Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan
  • 2-Weekly spending: $600.50
  • Avg. spending per day: $42.90
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $46.10
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $49.27 
These guys were making everyone laugh. Love that air plant goatee!

So what are our living expenses in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan this week? 
  • Conversion rate: 108 Japanese Yen (jpy)=$1.00 USD
  • Accommodation: $329.70
    • Over the past two weeks, we spent ten nights in Sapporo at our place that we had for one month. My only real complaint is that there isn't a sunny spot to enjoy coffee (not surprising as Japan is usually cloudy, and Sapporo is usually cold). Warren's main complaint is not having a real chair and desk to work. Oh, and sorting trash, but that's all of Japan.
    • In Tokyo, we wrangled a deal for under $25 a night for a room. It's in the Kita area in northern Tokyo. It's upscale, quiet but still busy, and our room is right by the Arakawa River (we can see the levee). Getting into central parts of Tokyo is a 15 minute walk and 30 minute train ride, for about $2.30. Considering how cheap the room is, it's a great place to stay! We are sharing a bathroom and kitchen but there are only a few people staying here, so it's mostly ours. The only real sign of other people is their stuff in the fridge. Oh, and we can open the windows to have a sunny cup of coffee, and there's a desk and two chair options for Warren!
  • Food and drinks: $220.28
    • We almost only ate at home (supermarket food, sometimes pre-prepared) because Japan is just above our normal budget. We did eat lots of rice and vegetables, in addition to the normal sushi dinners!
Crush Jelly, Creamy Sauce 
    • Remember: Google Translate CANNOT help you unless you have the three Japanese alphabets on your phone or you can draw all the characters. Japanese is just too complicated. Buy a book.

  • Transportation: $18.52
    • We took an airport limousine bus to Chitose Airport, then flew JetStar back to Tokyo. The costs of these were included in our weekly budget a month ago so it's all paid! Otherwise, we took the train to our housing (both added 1000jpy or about $9.25 to our metro cards) and mostly walked in Tokyo, or used those topped-up cards.
Streetside purple and black flowers in Sapporo
    • For a few days, Warren hasn't gone anywhere because he literally ran into a wooden post. He smashed his shin so hard that he couldn't walk a couple of days, but it's healing up. Comment below if you want gnarly wound pix.
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $32
    • Most Sapporo entertainment was free flowers: the 2018 Sapporo Flower Carpet plus the Flower Festival in Odori Park.  
The Sapporo Flower Carpet is in place for a few days every June.

You can view it from a platform and walk around the row of designs.
Its made of colored sand, petals, and stems.
The kiddos love the details!
The Sapporo Flower Festival is in Odori Park every year and is composed of lots of small designed gardens, set up for about a month. This one says Sapporo and has two wooden beers clanking :)
Japanese attention to detail really makes it worth checking out.
    • Since Apple throttled iPhone performance on older models, they've made the battery replacement of my 6s only $29 through the end of 2018 ($32 after tax). I've had my phone for years so I took advantage of the local Apple store and spent the afternoon getting a new battery.
    • We sent more and more faxes and one of us FINALLY got approved (other one should be soon): we are going to Antarctica! We will be doing four-five months (October-February, the Antarctic summer) at McMurdo Station, working in the kitchen. Warren will be a production cook and I will be a dining steward, which is basically a dishwasher. It's not glamorous, but it's Antarctica!!! This is why we are wrapping up our travels to be back in America before deployment.

Sapporo was a nice town, but the rainy weather, cost of Japan, and polite-but-withdrawn social aspect made it a bad place to make friends or be outgoing. My recommendation for a trip to Sapporo is to have a lot planned, a loose budget, and maybe a local guide! I would still love to come back in the winter and see the beautiful parks and mountains covered in snow, and go skiing just outside the city center. Surprisingly, it is not cheaper than Tokyo, so don't expect a budget getaway!


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