I was in Tokyo for more than 2 weeks in January, and I was shocked at the prices. I expected Tokyo to be much more expensive than Singapore (C'mon it's Tokyo we're talking about
), but except for taxis, almost everything for daily living was cheaper than or comparable to Singapore
Food prices were about 60 - 70% of Singapore prices for the same quality and quantity in full-service restaurants. Actually, if you want to get technical about it, for the same quality
, you'd probably have to pay 200% more in Singapore. The quality of food in Tokyo that I had was consistently superb, whether from a hole in the wall or a restaurant in Shinjuku, and the service was equally excellent in all the places. None of that f*ed up attitude you get from the 'service'
staff at restaurants in Singapore.
I am sure there are lousy places to eat in Tokyo too, but luckily, I never came across any, despite eating western, indian, korean, thai, and plenty of authentic (!) Japanese food from a wide spectrum of eateries.
The Indian and thai was heavily Japanized, so the taste was slightly different from the 'authentic' stuff, but still the quality was damn good. In any case, Singapore is not in the same league as Tokyo
when it comes to food.
Shopping, except for the really high-end stuff in places like Ginza, is actually cheaper than Singapore for groceries, electronics, clothes and accessories, cosmetics, general health products etc. Eg. I bought a pair of decent Shure headphones from BIC Camera in Shinjuku for < 60% of the Singapore price!!. Even in Mistukoshi in Ginza, I did not keel over from sticker shock; the prices, although high, for the luxury items, actually seemed quite reasonable
compared to Singapore.
Accommodation was taken care of by the office, so I am not sure how hotel prices compare to Singapore, but after speaking with some Japanese colleagues, I believe even the housing rentals are comparable to or slightly cheaper than Singapore if you don't mind a 20 min train commute (similar to Jurong East <--> CBD) to Tokyo.
And Japan is just such a bloody awesome place, that even if it cost the same (or a bit more) than Singapore, you wouldn't mind it. You never get the feeling that you are always overpaying and getting ripped off like you do for almost everything in Singapore* eg. $20 for an inedible f*ing burnt dough frisbee that tries to pass itself off as a pizza in pastamania.
* Except for cheap Indian food in LI. I do agree that Komala Vilas and Ananda Bhavan is reaonably cheap and of good quality for a quick Indian veg meal.There is no equivalent for Indian food in Tokyo. But then again, these are not in the 'fine dining' category by any stretch of the imagination.
Also, I was more interested in eating real japanese food in tokyo than Indian food, so never missed it for a moment.