The myth is that the cost of living in Japan is ridiculously high and that apples cost the equivalent of 50 USD each. If you did fancy buying a 50 USD apple then there are places which do indeed sell em at that price. But the fact is that most media are not going to cover stories of apples that are reasonably priced.
If however you are hearing from a friend that their trip to Japan cost a bomb then its probably because they were spending time in a hotel and eating at out all the time at touristy places.
Been living in Japan for 12 years now and after visiting Europe and the US a few times in between, I feel that its much cheaper to live in Japan. This depends on *how* you spend yer hard earned dosh and *where* you spend it.
A few things to keep the cost of living low - shopping wisely at the 100 Yen Shop, Ikea, Kakaku.com for electronics and setting up a Sole Proprietorship (I need to update that post a wee bit) will save you a load of cash. Another thing to help keep costs low is to shop at Costco - a supermarket that sells groceries, apparel and electronics at wholesale prices.
There are currently 9 Costco's dotted across Japan - Tamasakai, Amagasaki, Hisayama, Makuhari, Kanazawa Seaside, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Iruma and Shinmisato. You can see the locations of each warehouse on this page. 3 more are due to open in 2011 - Maebashi in Gunma, Kyoto and Zama in Kanagawa.
Today we are going to take a look at what its like inside their Kawsaki warehouse.
神奈川県 川崎市 川崎区 池上新町3-1-4
When I first came to Japan I got a shock as to how small the table cereal was which lasted only two poxy servings! The ones at Costco however are like the ones I remember back in the UK - huge. Here you can get 3 huge boxes for 938 yen. Local supermarkets will only do half the size of 1 box for about 400 yen.