Meet Lee Reeve: magician, artist and published author. He’s also an award-winning homebrewer and kind of crazy about Yokohama. We caught up with this cheapo for a chat and some insider tips about the best places to visit.
How long have you been in Yokohama and where were you before?
I’ve lived in Yokohama for a total of five years, Zushi for eight. Before that I lived in India. Before that, Pasadena, California.
What brought you to Japan?
I’m still trying to figure that one out, although I do remember many years ago watching Hayao Miyazaki’s “Mononoke Hime” and someone telling me the movie’s setting was based on Yakushima. I was a visitor there for three months, I’ve lived in Japan ever since.
Briefly describe a typical day in your life?
Back in my magazine days it was wake up, write articles, interview people, review restaurants and galleries, visit bars, and then find my way home and back to bed – repeat. These days I keep myself busy with my art school and performing magic from morning until night 5-6 days a week. I also freelance as a writer/editor and do beer consulting for international brewers and breweries interested in Japan. On my days off I usually visit my favourite local eateries and watering holes, and travel whenever I can.
How would you compare Tokyo and Yokohama? What do you like best/least about them?
I try not to compare them. They’re both amazing, mind-boggling, and life-changing cities. But where Tokyo sprawls, is huge and busy, and feels like a place one can easily (or accidentally) get lost in, Yokohama is intimate, relaxed and unhurried, and feels like a city run by communities supported by locals. Everyone knows everyone else here.
What I like best about both of them are the adventures and people you’ll encounter whether you want to or not. What I like least is the lack of respect, common sense and decency you’ll also inevitably encounter.
What are your biggest expenses?
Rent. Taxes. Craft beer.
There are certain times in the year that can make your visit to Tokyo less than idea.
What do you blow out money on (i.e. what’s the fruit of all your cheapo savings)?
Playing cards, dinners out, and making drinks disappear.
What three places in Yokohama would you recommend to someone visiting from Tokyo?
Antenna America (Yoshidamachi) – the best selection and prices of craft beer anywhere in Japan.
Charcoal Grill Green (Bashamichi, Yoshidamachi, or Ishikawacho) – my favourite place to wine and dine in Yokohama.
Full Monty British Pub & Cider House (Fukutomicho) – my home away from home, they carry an unmatched variety of ciders and serve up the best British fare in the country.
Let me know when you plan on visiting, I’ll try stopping by and show you some magic!
And what Cheapo tips do you have for us?
For outrageously authentic (and fantastically priced) Mexican food, visit Cactus Burrito in Kawasaki. Tell them I sent you.
Shop at Yamaya if you regularly stock your fridge and bar with imported alcohol and foods. Always a deal and a bargain find there.
(For photographers) check out the Darkroom International if you haven’t already. Full professional darkroom services and more at more-than-affordable prices.
Do you have a website/social media account for people/stalkers who’d like to find out more about you?
Lee’s Bio: Until the end of 2012, Lee was the Director for the Yokohama Seasider Magazine and an editor/writer for the Japan Beer Times. After leaving, he started an art school and continues to freelance as a writer/editor for magazines and online publications. Lee’s blog, ABREWCADABREW.COM, detailing his exploits in magic and beer, was voted #27 in Barwhiz’s “Top 54 Beer Blogs”.
Eating on a budget? We checked out some of Tokyo's cheapest fast food options—and they didn't disappoint!