I know this might get long so before I start I’ll give you a summary so you don’t die of boredom. I’ll talk about what I’m eating, why I’m eating it, how things are different, oatmeal, and 15.7 Yen!
Breakfast in Japan is very different from what I’m used to in America. After arriving here when I ate breakfast it was usually a variety that changes daily. Sometimes it was toast… but huge pieces of bread aka ‘Texas Toast’. Other times it was a bakery breakfast sandwich that tastes more like lunch to me. Sometimes it was rice with mackerel. And sometimes a restaurant style breakfast which includes pancakes, eggs, and some bacon. When I ate breakfast alone and I was on my own I would to end up with some toast or some fruit (as a side note – bananas kick ass!) and some coffee.
What food am I used to in the United States? I would usually whip up some instant oatmeal (I’m a big fan of this), cream of wheat, cereal, or some toast with peanut butter. I usually included 8 oz of orange juice (236 ml) and 20 oz of coffee (591 ml). Albertsons usually had the 10 for $10 deal that included a good selection of cereal, granola bars, or instant oatmeal.
Why don’t I eat that same food here? Long story made short – price and availability. Most people I know don’t eat breakfast so I’m not sure what a common breakfast is in Japan. I haven’t seen oatmeal anywhere except today at Costco. Toast is the really thick Texas Toast style which is tough to eat every day. Juice is expensive. Cereal here is expensive and lacks selection.
What do I eat now? I’ve gone to a lot of grocery stores, bakeries, and the expensive Mister Donut. Now that I’m more familiar with what’s available to me I usually stick to cheap ass corn flakes and a banana or pear. Milk is low fat which is hard for me to drink because I’m used to skim milk in the U.S. but I didn’t have much choice. Bannas are usually 25-50 yen each. I also drink 475 ml of coffee. It does the trick.
Here are some estimated prices for you from what I’ve seen:
7 slices of the thick bread : 200 Yen
1 liter of low fat milk : 175 Yen
Juice : I only remember that I said WTF and don’t remember the price
Cereal : EXPENSIVE! The generic is 100 yen per 100 grams (3.5oz) and the variety I’ve seen is corn flakes, bran flakes, granola, or chocolate rice crisps. The biggest amount I’ve seen has been 300 grams in a box or bag. So 300 Yen for 300 grams (10.5 oz) of generic cereal is a rip off. Even more of a rip off are the name brands that are 150-200 Yen per 100 grams.
What will I start eating next week? Oatmeal with or without raisins, cinnamon, and sugar. 475 ml of coffee. I found a huge thing of Quaker Oatmeal at Costco today! It was 1200 Yen for 9 pounds of oatmeal. Each serving is 1/2 cup (40 grams) and that means there’s about 102 servings. I bought about two fist fulls of raisins for 150 yen and cinnamon for 150 yen and sugar for 100 yen. So that comes to 1600 yen total. I will probably eat this 6 days a week which means it’ll last 17 weeks or 4 months 1 week. The daily estimated cost not including coffee is about 15.7 yen per day. Now that’s a great price! No milk to go bad, no cereal to run out of. Good stuff.