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Today I...splurged, just a bit.

I don't get paid until the 25th of the month, so until I start actually getting yen deposited in my Japanese bank account I have to withdraw yen via the ATMs at various convenience stores until I run out of cash and the cycle repeats. So I've been trying to live frugally: not using my air conditioning, for one, buying the foods that are in-season and on-sale, and generally being pretty cheap. Often times that translates into denying myself things like fruit, yogurt, and the occasional dessert I'd really like to eat. Of course there's so many more up-front costs to living that I wish didn't exist that my bills for the first month or so will likely be higher than I would like but, what's to be done? I'm sort of jealous of the other new hire who is starting at the same time as me because she's living with family and therefore doesn't have to deal with half of these costs.

Having to use cash is, somewhat unfortunately, a problem for me. I know that the usual reasoning is that when people have to use cash they spend less because they can see all the money they're spending. For me it's exactly the opposite: when I use my debit or credit cards, I have a very clear image in my mind of the money draining out of my bank account. In contrast, when I have cash in hand, that money has already been removed from my account and is, therefore, basically "free money" to spend. This is slightly a problem when everything I buy, for the most part, happens in cash.

Anyways, today I splurged a little bit and treated myself to some pretty nice sweets.

This afternoon, after a productive morning of laundry, grocery shopping, and taking my too-sweaty suits to the dry cleaners, I met up with a new friend at Bread, Espresso &, which is a bakery and coffee shop/ cafe in Omotesando. We each got an espresso and chatted for an hour before deciding to order the shop's famous french toast, which is only available after 3pm and, furthermore, in order to get it you must make a reservation in advance. The dumb thing was that even though we had already been sitting in the cafe for an hour, in order to be applicable to get the french toast we had to pay our bill, go outside, write our names down, and wait to be called again for a table. Apparently the line can sometimes be quite intense, but today we waited no more than ten minutes for the table that was right next to our first one...

It was delicious french toast though, so soft and fluffy it was almost like a custard. There was a jar of honey provided that we could drizzle at will and it was the perfect amount of sweet. Conclusion: delicious. And yet, would I wait two hours for it? No.

Then, since I was already in the area and wasn't sure when I'd be able to get back, I walked down the street to Gomaya Kuki, a shop that sells sesame ice cream. For about $5 you get to pick two of their sesame flavors, and even though the ice cream looks like charcoal I promise it's delicious. The sesame is so intense that it feels like you're eating tahini ice cream, or even peanut butter. With a little bit of salt on it? Delicious.

Here are just a few street views of the Omotesando and Shibuya areas as I walked around, once the heat and humidity weren't as bad:

Tiled wall mural that feels very summer-ish.

Some sort of Lipton pop-up cafe that's only open for a month and a half. Who knows what they're selling...I don't usually associate Lipton with high-class products, just the tea we use to make iced tea in the summer. It's not visible in this photo, but there was a significant line out the door so maybe people in Japan know something I don't.

Another festive building mural-thing.

Interesting windows.

Tomorrow I've got my mandatory health exam scheduled for the afternoon, and I'm not allowed to eat in the 8 hours up to my appointment. Since my appointment is at 2pm that basically just means I don't get breakfast or lunch (sob). But I did successfully make rice in my new rice cooker, as well as prepped a bunch of ground beef burritos, so there will be stir fry and rice for dinner and burritos in the near future!

But goodness, I can't wait to get paid/ reimbursed for all my transportation fees. I could REALLY use the cash.


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