People warned me that Tokyo is expensive, so I went prepared, but to be honest, it wasn’t. With the exchange rate the way it is at the moment (British £ – Japanese Yen), it means most things are cheaper than in the UK – a really good meal for two, with beer or wine (for me, not Jess, she’s only 15… although she looks older and was offered alcohol in almost every restaurant we went to) can be had for as little as £15, even less without the booze. Visits to museums and galleries were generally around 1000 Yen for two, which is about £6. Something we did discover, halfway through our visit, is that taxis are also very cheap – we got a ride across town, which took nearly an hour, it was a great way to see the city and it only cost £15. Taxis charge per kilometre, nothing else, so even if you get stuck in traffic, the meter stays where it is.
Something I really liked about Japan is that you never tip, it’s considered to be an insult if you do. I’m not keen on the whole tipping culture, I find it all very awkward, especially if the service you received wasn’t particularly good… which is ironic, because in Japan the service is always excellent.
One word of warning – be careful what size drinks you order. In a lot of restaurants beer is served in S, M, L and XL sizes, never the actual amount – whatever you order will be brought to your table without question. So, one particular lunchtime I was feeling thirsty, and as usual, I got Jess to order the meals and drinks, she got an orange juice and then pointed at the XL glass of beer on the menu… less than a minute later the orange juice and a massive two and a half litre pitcher of strong Japanese lager arrived at our table. I don’t remember much else of the afternoon.
All the images here were made using my trusty Olympus MjuII 35mm compact and various film (Fuji Superia 400/800 and Kodak Gold 400, mainly). Processed and scanned at UK Film Lab.