¥¥¥ These Coupons Will Save You Money in Japan ¥¥¥

If you’re planning a trip to Japan or if you’re a long-term resident living in Japan, you can now get a range of coupons that will help you to save plenty of money on your shopping, transportation, eating out and lodging, even if you don’t understand the Japanese language.

In a recent episode of Tokyo Eye on NHK Television, the host Chris Peppler provided information on a variety of different coupons that are really easy to obtain, especially in Tokyo. After viewing this programme, I immediately decided to share this information with my Cherry Blossom Stories Blog readers.

You may already be aware of the fact that in April 2014, the Japanese sales tax increased from 5% to 8%, making daily life in Japan automatically more expensive. Knowing that you can now get coupons to save you money is one way of stretching your precious yen even further.

Below are four different ways of obtaining coupons that can save you thousands of yen.

1. Get coupons inside magazines at the Shibuya Tourist Information Center (located in Shibuya Mark City fourth floor): Information magazines in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean languages with coupons inside for restaurants etc can be found here on the racks next to the information desk.

2. Metro & Grutto Pass: For ¥2,800, you can get two Metro (train) one day passes and a Grutto Pass which is a coupon booklet giving you access to 78 attractions in Tokyo. The savings with this Grutto pass are enormous and it’s valid for two months. The Grutto Pass is available from over 77 locations in Tokyo, including the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, etc.

3. Get online coupons from the Gurunavi website: This website is a great source of information for restaurants in Japan with coupons arranged categorically meaning you can break down your choices depending on where you want to eat, the features at the restaurant, how you wish to pay and whether the restaurant has menus in English. There’s even a Gurunavi Smartphone App so you can print off the coupon or simply show your chosen restaurant the coupon on your phone when you arrive for your discounted meal.

4. Coupons from Japan-related websites such as Tokyo Cheapo and Sunnypages.jp: Visit these websites to obtain coupons and save.

I hope this blog post has helped to save you loads of money while you’re in Japan. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have more information on coupons in Japan so we can help others.

• Please note: The above information provided in this particular blog post was sourced from the TV programme Tokyo Eye on NHK Television.

Why is Life in Tokyo So Good for Expats?

If you’re thinking about living in Tokyo you’re probably filled with excitement but at the same time you might be slightly apprehensive. That’s how I felt just before I left Australia for my first long-term stay in Japan many years ago. I was lucky I’d already made quite a few strong connections thanks to a previous six-week homestay experience, but I knew that after my arrival in Tokyo I would have to find a job, somewhere to live and cope all by myself without any support from my family.

A lot of people send me messages on Twitter or via my website worried about whether they’re going to be okay living in Tokyo. When I reply, I almost always offer reassurance and tell these people they are going to love the experience and they’ll definitely have the time of their lives.

Below are six reasons why I believe Tokyo is a great place for expats:

1. YOU’LL FEEL VERY SAFE IN TOKYO

– Although Japan has had a rough ride since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, it was recently reported that the radiation levels in Tokyo are less than Paris and London.

– I’ve never had anything stolen from me in Japan. You could fall asleep on the train with your bag on your lap and it will most probably still be there when you wake up.

– Crime is at a very low level in Japan. In fact, I’ve never been harmed in Tokyo and I’ve never come across aggressive or passive-aggressive personalities in Japan. Japanese people are renowned for their politeness and I always received the upmost respect from Japanese people when I worked as an English teacher in Tokyo.

– Although I’ve experienced minor earthquakes in Japan, I’ve always been okay and I’ve never been injured during an earthquake. A lot of buildings in Japan are built to resist earthquakes and all I’ve ever felt is a lot of shaking and rattling but this didn’t continue for very long.

2. YOU CAN EARN AND SAVE A LOT OF MONEY:

– The full-time rate for teaching English in Japan varies but the average salary is between ¥250,000 to ¥300,000 per month and even if you’re paying for rent, utilities and food you’ll still have lots of money left over at the end of the month for exploring other parts of Japan, shopping and going out.

3. THE SHOPPING IS JUST AS AMAZING FOR FOREIGNERS AS IT IS FOR JAPANESE PEOPLE:

– I love to shop and Tokyo offers some of the most diverse and exciting shopping experiences in the world for women and men alike. There are a great choice of local and international big brands in Ginza, cute and kawaii fashions in Harajuku, electronics, manga and anime goods in Akihabara, independent boutiques in Daikanyama and Shimokitazawa, shopping and entertainment in Odaiba, bookshops for avid readers in Jinbocho and over sixty vintage and antique shops in Nishi-Ogikubo. You can read my Shopping Guide to Tokyo for more information.

4. YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE ALL THE HEALTHY JAPANESE FOOD:

– I love Japanese food. It’s healthy, delicious and satisfying. I’ll also share a secret with all the girls reading this blog post: There’s a good chance you’re going to lose weight if you live in Japan. The rice dishes, sushi, noodles and light meat dishes are less calorific and a lot lighter on the stomach than the meat and potatoes Westerners typically serve up – this means you’re almost certainly going to lose weight even without dieting!

Japanese good food

5. JAPANESE CULTURE IS CAPTIVATING AND EASY FOR FOREIGNERS TO APPRECIATE:

– The Japanese culture is beautiful, captivating and interesting. Even if you’re from a Christian background, you’ll still appreciate the Zen and Shinto temples and shrines, the beautiful landscapes and the traditional customs like ikebana and tea ceremony as well as the performing arts such as noh, kabuki and bunraku. Modern popular culture in Tokyo will certainly stimulate your senses and you’ll see street fashion on a scale you’ve never seen before.

6. OMOTENASHI WILL BE YOUR REASON FOR WANTING TO STAY IN JAPAN:

Omotenashi is a Japanese word that is difficult to translate into English but I truly believe it is omotenashi which makes Japan so special in just one word. You’ll have to visit Japan to truly understand omotenashi but for me it describes the genuine sincerity you receive in Japan where your every need is foreseen, as well as the kindness and hospitality you’ll surely receive from the Japanese people whether you’re in Tokyo or any other part of Japan. Omotenashi is what makes Japan so wonderful and I think it would have to be the feelings evoked from omotenashi that stir up the desire within me to return to Japan again and again. I’ve been to Japan six times so far and I’m sure I’ll return for at least another six visits. I would recommend everyone to experience Japanese omotenashi in their lifetime. It will live within you even after you’ve left Japan and I’m sure you’ll want to return to Japan in the future just to recapture this special feeling.

japan_bowing

Book Cover for Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories

I’m so pleased to show you the front and back cover for my exciting new book, which will be available in just a few weeks, called Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories. Yoshimi Ohtani has provided a gorgeous illustration to complement the wonderful work by my graphic designer Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics.

I’m sure you’ll appreciate Yoshimi Ohtani’s beautiful image of Mount Fuji on the back cover. As you’re probably aware, this sacred mountain was granted UNESCO cultural World Heritage status in 2013.

Yoshimi Ohtani has also created a stunning image for the front cover. It features a Japanese girl in an elaborate kimono standing next to the Shinkansen Bullet Train – another symbol of Japan that has always been revered on an international scale for its incredible speeds, reliability, comfort and futuristic designs.

When my husband joined me on my most recent trip to Japan he absolutely loved travelling on the Bullet Train from Tokyo to Kyoto and back to the capital again. In fact, it was his favourite experience throughout the whole trip so he really appreciates the image of the Shinkansen on the front cover of my latest book.

Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories will be available as an eBook in just a couple of weeks so please visit my Cherry Blossom Stories Blog again to find out when you can buy a copy of the book. The paperback version will be available later in 2014.

Tokyo Tales Cover

My New Author Page on Facebook

I’ve created a new author page on Facebook. If you’re passionate about finding out more about the Japanese culture and if you enjoy reading literature set in Japan, then I’d really appreciate it if you could take a moment to visit my [Renae Lucas-Hall – Author/Writer/Blogger] Facebook page.

I’d like to thank all my readers for their on-going support and for all the lovely reviews I’ve received from so many of you for my books. Please don’t hesitate to send me a message when you “Like” my Facebook page. I’m always happy to answer any of your questions about my books and my writing and offer advice to anyone who is planning to visit or work in Japan.

My graphic designer Cathy at Avalon Graphics has created a gorgeous cover image for my Facebook page which you can see below.

Optimized-Facebook Cherry Blossom Stories Banner 2

By the way, if you do join me on my Facebook page, you’ll be the first to know about all the new book releases and you’ll also be in the best position to enter any competitions to win free signed copies of my books.