October 1, 2018
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another TL;DR video. We had planned doing a video about the cost of living in Japan for a while now, and we’ve been gathering info. Since we had a big typhoon coming our way and we had to stack up, we figured this was the best time for us to go and get some shots of a Japanese supermarket, so we can share with you some of the prices.
We mentioned a bunch of prices in our video, but we missed out on some more, in case you’re interested. Namely, we missed out on a bunch of produce, whose prices we find vary throughout the year. We have a favourite box of tomatoes that we get called something like Amera, I think, and when we get them during Cherry Blossom season they’re 1500yen per box, for roughly 20 medium sized tomatoes or so. Right now, they’re 3000yen a box. We won’t be getting them now. But if you’re here in Japan during Cherry Blossom Season those tomatoes are the best tomatoes we’ve ever had in our lives, no joke. Tomatoes in general are expensive. We get Mini/Cherry Tomatoes at 248yen for a small box of roughly 10. All of the tomatoes we can find are usually at around this cost. Sometimes we make Zucchini noodles, but only at select times of the year, because right now they cost 298yen each, though we’ve seen them go as low as 120 yen at different parts of the year. I just don’t remember when it’s Zucchini season! We just go to the supermarket and hope for the best. Otherwise, I remember Brocolli in Canada costing $1 per head, and I wish we had those prices here, as right now they’re going for 248yen each. Uggh.
Let me tell you, though, that paying this much for produce has definitely changed the bad habit we used to have of buying lots of veggies and then half of them rotting in the fridge. No more. Now we buy what we know we’re going to use and we use it upppppp. Higher produce prices plus smaller fridge space results in more calculated shopping decisions, I’ve found.
One thing I will say, though, is that the produce we eat here is the best we’ve ever had. Just the best. I remember even recently, in our last trip to Canada, going to the supermarket and seeing a sign for “Premium Bananas” that were dirt cheap, profoundly abundant, and all dark green. It was terrible! A lot of the tomatoes we had from our supermarkets in Toronto were a lot cheaper, but just tasted like water mush, with barely any flavour. But eat one of those Amera tomatoes I mentioned above and you feel it in the back of your eyeballs with every bite. Produce is really expensive here in Japan, I’ll admit, but it’s also of a quality that I’ve never encountered elsewhere. And this is just at the basic supermarkets.
I don’t know what farmers markets are like in Japan. We want to know. We found one that’s in Shibuya on the weekends, but we just read about it online. We’ll go one day and see what those are like. I know farmers markets are fairly popular in other parts of the world. We loved strolling through them in LA and Rome and Toronto. I hope we feel the same in Shibuya when we finally go.
If you’re not into produce as much as we are, frozen meals are pretty interesting here. They don’t have microwave dinners like Hungry Jack, but they have remade stuff. You can get a small pizza for 265 yen, or a frozen lasagna for 640yen. We’ve never had any of those so we can’t say what they’re like, but we have tried the frozen rice at 490yen for a 450g bag, and it’s…well you can see in the bonus video. We also really like their frozen nuggies at 290y for a 280g bag. They’re great in the oven. So tender and yummy.
So, the question is…is this expensive? We’ve been away from North America for so long that I’m not sure our points of reference are valid anymore. Maybe produce costs have spiked worldwide. I’d love to see how your prices compare.
Otherwise, we’re doing better than we were last week. When Spudgy passed, it felt like we’d be broken forever. But we’re doing better every day, and we’re remembering Spudgy without feeling as much pain. We’re remembering him fondly and smiling, though we still randomly shed a tear on some days, especially when we see some great art of him, or when we see people wearing his new shirts. Day by day we’re getting better and laughing more, and we had fun filming this video, which was something we weren’t sure we’d be able to do. On that note, if you’re in the mood for some extra giggles, we’ve got bloopers below!