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I also agree with Steve: Japan is not as expensive as people say.

I lived there 7 years, and here's are some tricks:

  • Learn a bit of the language, it will
help you in the cheaper, local restaurants
  • Learn to love more than sushi, there's lots of affordable Japanese food and it's quite reasonable
  • Live outside the main city center; I had a sweet apartment about a 5 minute bike ride from downtown and it was 1/2 of what I pay in a suburb of silicon valley
  • Go to the grocery store; again, lots of affordable food
  • There's tons of affordable entertainment: karaoke bars, sight seeing, local clubs / bars. Most of these will only cost you about $10 entrance
  • Here are some other things that make it affordable
    • You can easily get beer for a couple of bucks in an izakaya, or other small restaurant (not to mention the vending machines)
    • Get a bicycle; it's totally a bike-friendly place
    • Go clothes shopping on the side streets; japan is the land of fashion, even their "cheap" stuff is way cooler than what I find in the U.S.
    • No tipping! This brings the price of a restaurant right back in line with places like the U.S. or U.K.

    That being said, if you stay in the best hotels, only take the shinkansen, taxis and and sushi, yeah man, Japan can be crazy expensive.

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