Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Ex-pat Guide to Living in Tokyo

**Will add to this as I think of things**

Get an international drivers license before coming to Japan, even if you don't plan on buying a car.
We wish we would have done this!  There are Times+ rentals all over Tokyo that you can rent by the hour.  It would have been super convenient to use these for trips to Costco, Ikea, or just a random outing to the mountains, etc.

Get a PASMO/Suica card right away.  Train fares can be complicated to figure out.

Cell Phones: Docomo is more expensive, but has way better coverage (like Verizon).  Softbank is cheaper, more English speaking staff, but has crappy coverage (like AT&T).

Appliances to bring: crock pot, mixer, hair dryers, curling irons, computers, TVs **Anything with a third prong will need an adapter.

Appliances not to bring: rice cooker, popcorn popper, waffle iron, iron, microwave, printer (unless you bring all the ink with you).

Food to Bring: favorite spices, cake mixes, brownie mixes, cooking spray, soup mixes, .  Other items like cereal, peanut butter, oatmeal, etc. can be purchased at Costco or National (international market) but will be pretty pricey.

Bring all medicine & favorite toiletries!  Japanese over-the-counter medicines are really weak and allergies are horrible here, especially in the Spring.  Pack lots of your favorite allergy and cold medicines. Tylenol too.  Also, they don't have deodorant I like in Japan..so I pack all of my favorite personal items (toothpaste) I am used to.

Settling In? Where to shop:
Ikea - shuttle from Denenchofu Station
Nitori - closest one to us was in Odaiba
Craiglist - look for Sayonnara sales
Tokyo Freecycle - lots of people moving and giving things away for free
Daiso and other 100 yen shops

Shop online and have things delivered:
theflyingpig.com (Costco items - may seem expensive at first, but think about all of the money you're saving by not having a car!)
iherb.com (baby food, baking items, vitamins, etc. $4 flat rate shipping)

Are your kids cute?  Get into modeling!
It's fun and you get to explore random parts of Tokyo.  We use Sugar & Spice Modeling Agency.

Disney Sea is was better than Tokyo Disneyland.  Also - season pass NOT worth it.  You have to go at least 13 times to cover the cost of admission.

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