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We did some research about living expenses in Japan. And whilst on Skype with our friend Yuki one night, we decided that McDonald’s was our cheapest option for food. True enough, our first meal in Japan, at Ueno Train Station was – 3 McDonald’s meals!
The next morning…
It was more than anything we could ever ask for 🙂
Welcome to Japan, Tokyo – a city of connections
Yuki found us accomodation at her best friend, Yuri’s home
Yuri got us first sharing session at her mother-in-law
Her mother-in-law is chairwoman to a kindergarten association who can introduce us to other kindergartens
Val was walking around with her netbook, trying to detect WiFi. But no, there is no such thing as free WiFi at Starbucks, or McDonald’s or any place for that matter.
A couple of days before we left Singapore, a representative from Singtel Communications had contacted us to meet. It turned out that she was in the same team that sponsored the Singapore female Everest team their satellite internet connection. But because we were leaving soon, and her bosses were not in town, we could only carry out any further discussions via emails. We were very very fortunate in Taiwan, because Luo Papa got his daughter to help us get a datacard and we were online within a week. A week before we left Taiwan for Japan, we contacted SIngtel again, asking if they could tie us with their partners in Japan for internet connection – no replies.
So began our quest on google for “internet connection in Japan”. A list of phone and datacard rental companies came up and we checked out their rental rates:
Data card = ~32,000YEN/month = 96,000YEN for 3 months
Internet cafes charges 300YEN per hour. Cafes that offer free WiFi sells coffee at 400+YEN per cup.
With the kind of budget we are on, the above options were definitely out for us.
We started exploring other services such as BBmobilepoint, livedoor and FON; but their websites are in mostly in Japanese and they had scary reviews from users about setting up and detecting networks etc.
When all options fall flat, we remember how we started literally without a cent; how we eventually set off, when we did not even own a bicycle in the first place! So we wrote letters to all the rental companies we found online, borrowed Yuri’s internet connection at night and sent them off. Now we cross fingers for replies, even if they were to be in Japanese.
Tokyo – Surviving The City
We grabbed the language book at Taiwan’s Duty Free
Yuri bought us the city maps first thing in the morning
Yuki offered to be our guide for the day
To all our blessings big and small
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Tokyo – Touring the streets
Tokyo – a Home tucked in a corner of an alley
We manage to find our way home using the map Yuri drew for us this morning:
Once we got home, we were greeted by strings of Japanese “Welcome home!” by the Maki-family:
Little joys in life
We learnt to notice
with a smile