The Tokyo Cheapo Manifesto

‘Polite’, ‘clean’, ‘tasty’, ‘pleasant’ and ‘safe’ aren’t words that fit together nicely with ‘cheap’.  You’re probably expecting words like ‘nasty’, ‘seedy’, ‘dangerous’, ‘dirty’ and ‘low quality’ – but that’s the beauty of being a ‘cheapo’ in Tokyo.  Lots of Japanese businesses have figured out how to offer their goods and services on the cheap without sacrificing the levels of quality and service that Japanese consumers have come to expect.  Moreover, as everyone knows, Japan’s economic star doesn’t shine quite as brightly as it once did and people are no longer willing to hand over loads of cash just for the hell of it.  Don’t be fooled by novel reports of hideously expensive square watermelons or beer fed Matsuzaka beef – these are the rare exception.  With deflation and stagnant incomes, people have been looking for new ways to stretch their pay check for the last 10 years.  This doesn’t just mean you can get stuff that’s ‘cheap for Tokyo’, there is plenty here that is CHEAPER than virtually anywhere else.  How about 100yen ($US1.20) for a beer at a restaurant? Or 190yen for a sit down breakfast?

So if you live in Japan, there’s a good chance you already know a few places like this.  So who exactly is Tokyo Cheapo for?  Well, in the best traditions of all new sites like this, we plan to have something for everyone.  If you’re visiting Tokyo, hopefully pretty much everything will be new and useful.  If you’re staying for longer or living here we’ll have genuinely useful stuff for you too.  We’ll be writing about a few quite specific areas and inviting contributions from others with expertise.  For example, we’ll be looking at topics like cheap ways of doing business or saving on bank fees. Also, as much as we think we know what we’re talking about, there’s always someone out there who knows more so hopefully it will be a chance to share some knowledge.

Just to be straight up with our readers, we’re hoping to make some money out of this site for the considerable time we’ll be putting in to creating useful content.  This also means we’ll eventually be able to offer some kind of reward to contributors and hopefully start a snowball effect of good content.  One thing we won’t do is put in advertorial content or otherwise compromise editorial content.

We welcome feedback either direct or through the comments and we’ll try not to censor or restrict the conversation unless you’re being defamatory or otherwise being an arsehole.

The Cheapos

Greg Lane

Chris Kirkland

Greg has been been searching for a cheaper way of doing things in and around Tokyo for more than 12 years. Greg's qualification for being a cheapo include walking up to an hour across Tokyo to save on the 160 yen subway fare and still having clothes in his dresser from 1998. When not searching for the izakaya with the cheapest beer in Japan, he develops web sites.