[Shinjuku] Menya Musashi, best Tsukemen in Shinjuku

January 19th, 2016

Tokyo is known for its variety of different ramens which embarrassingly, I’ve yet to try many. among the ones that I would love to try are the ice cream ramen, the Michelin one star ramen and the blue soup ramen. but other than ramen, I have a love for something else which is difficult to find outside of Japan. and that’s something called the Tsukemen. Tsukemen are noodles that are normally thick like udon but with a ramen texture, and is served separately with the soup so every bite will seem like the first bite. no more soggy ramen! (I guess because I eat pretty slowly too hahahaha. you’re really supposed to finish your ramen under 10 minutes until the taste changes.)

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so I was touring a friend around and he wanted to eat ramen. so I searched a little and stumbled across this place called Menya Musashi, which is apparently the best ramen shop in Shinjuku.

IMG_5160 copy there weren’t many seats but it was definitely very well decorated and it also has a very nice ambiance compared with the usual ramen shops. when we entered the place, it was pretty empty but as we sat down, the people working nearby started pouring in as it was 12 and not even 10 minutes later, there was a very long line. glad I went there a tad bit earlier =X.

IMG_5162 copy although I searched for ramen, it seemed like this place was famous for its Tsukemen and boy, this was the best Tsukemen I’ve ever had so far (note that I hadn’t had many hahahhaha). what I loved about this shop was also because of their chili sauce which I forgot to take a picture of. it seems like some kind of Yuzu chili where it was a little bitter, sour and spicy. the texture of the noodles though.. was amazing. the thickness of the noodles were just right for me and the soup was absolutely delicious.

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my friend got himself the shop’s most famous ramen and was very satisfied with it!

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Japanese eggs. hard on the outside, soft on the inside.

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oh hello!

if you’re dropping by Shinjuku, this ramen place is highly recommended!

HOWEVER, this place is kind of on the pricier side. normal ramen range from 600-800yen while the ones here was around 900-1300yen.

as for the way to get there, just google for Menya Musashi on google maps and you’ll find it ;).

[Kichijoji] Autumn in Japan

December 10th, 2015

so apparently, Kichijoji is one of the best places to live in Tokyo. according to many of my Japanese friends at least! and I also heard that many celebrities live here! hence, although this is not down-town Tokyo, the rent here’s crazy I heard. well, I can kind of see how this place is so popular since.. it has a lot of good food, a lot of hipster cafe’s/shops, and a huge, beautiful park; Inokashira park.

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where you’d see many people jogging or strolling around. and the best of all? it looks absolutely beautiful during Autumn. hence there are loads of (old) people taking pictures of birds, autumn leaves and even animals since there’s a zoo there! I heard the zoo’s just meh. =X. and I think there’s a shrine at the back of the lake too!

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just look at this picture! this picture was taken with my phone so.. you can tell how beautiful it ACTUALLY was!

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and there was this hipster hut in the middle of nowhere (in the park) selling coffee, beer and wine.

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oh hello =D. such a beautiful arch no?

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weird looking candid but I love the background colours!

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vin chaud! or.. hot wine. I think they mixed it with cinnamon and a lot of sugar because it tasted pretty sweet. but unlike other places, this vin chaud was pretty strong and I kind of got tipsy mid-day hahaha. but it was like the best drink to warm me up during that cold afternoon. =D!

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romantic boat ride for only 700yen!

 

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you can either ride on the normal boat or these “bicycle boats” which I heard is pretty tiring hahaha.

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=D.

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and in the middle of nowhere again, a mysterious Thai restaurant! somewhere I really want to go T_T. but I have too little time in Tokyo to be eating Thai food here =S.

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and since I went on a Saturday, there were quite a few street performers but this guy was my personal favourite! he could do things from paper cutting to other traditional tricks! it was like watching a street show from 100 years ago =3.

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but I thought this was the best of all because.. he balanced a spinning top at the TIP of his sword! isn’t that crazy?! and he has been keeping his cheerful attitude since like.. 2 hours before. and he kept going with different tricks. super interesting ^^.

 

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the model student picture pose! with a cup of wine =X.

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so if you’re looking for a place to date or go autumn leaves sight-seeing, then Kichijoji will be the place!

*high quality pictures by Meng Huey*

Fuji Q Highlands

December 7th, 2015

I don’t know if it’s me but I’ve never heard of Fuji Q until friends here told me about it. at first I thought it’s just another small theme park found in every state but.. to my surprise it is a super famous theme park near Fuji Mountain (which means it’s near Tokyo) which is built literally mainly for adults and a fun fact? this theme park holds a few world records for having the fastest, tallest and even a roller coaster with the most spins!

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the weather plays a big role so be sure to pick a less windy day with absolutely no rain. because even when I went, some games were closed for a few hours due to strong wind despite the day being so clear!

CIMG8543 copy so there are several ways going to Fuji Q. one’s by train and another’s by bus. the train will take you around 2 hours and it will cost you over 2,000yen one way. the bus on the other hand, must be booked by somebody who speaks Japanese and it will cost you 6,000yen two ways PLUS the entrance to the theme park which costs 5,200yen. best thing is, it only takes an hour. but the bad thing is.. the “bus stop” is literally located in the middle of nowhere so please do not attempt to go there by yourself if you’re not fluent or at least quite fluent in Japanese. thank goodness, my friends were all Japanese speakers and well, except me. I’m like an absolute beginner T_T. CIMG8551 copy here’s Minseo, my favourite Eonni here <3.CIMG8554 copy

none of them are Japanese but they are all so fluent in Japanese D=. I’m quite jelly I want to speak like them too T_T. I shall practice more!!!
CIMG8564 copy on the way there, we can already see the magnificent Mt. Fuji. it was so spectacular and enormous I cannot imagine it erupting (yes, Fujisan is an active Volcano).CIMG8566 copy

actually, a day before coming here I was googling for pictures of the rides and I can feel food inside my stomach churn while looking at those pictures. and I kept burping air because I felt super sick and scared. those pictures weren’t misleading, but they absolutely look much scarier than they really are.

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I guess my pale face shows how scared I was. I actually really wanted to just walk around and not ride any games. but heck, I paid for the ticket already (there’s an option where you can go in by just buying the entrance fee of 1,000yen and pay as you ride inside, but obviously I had the ‘unlimited’ pass).

CIMG8575 copy super cute shoes!!!

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so er, yay?

CIMG8581 copy but seriously, going there just for Mt. Fuji itself was worth it already. it’s so.. majestic and enormous and you can see it all day while you’re in FujiQ!

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so we went as a group of 10 because it’s more fun that way!

CIMG8586 copy since our Brazilian friend here is 193cm tall, we thought he’d be the perfect selfie stick. and he is! CIMG8591 (2) copy there’s also a skating rink for those who don’t want to ride on any scary rides! well except it was filled with kids =X. there’s quite a number of rides for the younger ones too!CIMG8593 copy

I have no idea what’s written there. hahahaha. but it was outside this really scary looking roller coaster that has an R shape to it. falling at 121degrees. not 90degrees. haha.
CIMG8595 (2) copy world’s steepest free fall!CIMG8596 (2) copy

I just couldn’t take my eyes off Fujisan. even when I was super scared on the ride. I guess what calmed me down the most was Fujisan since I kept telling myself to look at Fujisan instead of where I was.. high up at the highest point of the roller coaster.

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my only picture with Fujisan. hah!

CIMG8604 (2) copy and a ride that shouldn’t be missed by ANYONE, Eejanaika! it’s really fun how they made it seem like it’s a ride for people from the past but my only complain about this ride is that.. it’s too short. it was the scariest too because you don’t get to prepare for “drops” since you don’t know where you’re going as the seats are constantly spinning around.

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holding a record for being a roller coaster with the most spins and also the only 2nd 4th dimension roller coaster ever built in the world!

CIMG8606 (2) copy this was how the building looked like! very simple but it was absolutely fun. because FujiQ is about being weird, quirky and scary instead of all beautiful and not scary like Disneyland haha. even Disneysea wasn’t scary =S.

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spot Fuji!

CIMG8635 (2) copy what single girls do. hahaha.

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if you come here during winter, be sure not to ride on this ride. this is like the spinner except at a very high altitude. it was freezing but the view was spectacular ><. and I got a cold from riding that.

CIMG8646 (2) copy I was in a hurry so I didn’t take much picture of the night view but it was really pretty! I left an hour before the theme park closed and boy the whole illumination thing was really breath taking.

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the “town” area outside the theme park was also very prettily decorated too! except I was in a rush pfft.

SO

a few head ups on what to ride while being there, and I’ll rank them according to the degree of fun-ness haha.

  1. Eejanaika
  2. Fujiyama
  3. Dodonpa
  4. Takabisha

so how are they different? well, I really liked Eejanaika because of its randomness. it was literally thrilling because you don’t know what to expect and you have no time to prepare yourself mentally hence.. it was really super fun. fun fact: eejanaika means “well that wasn’t bad was it?” in some Japanese dialect ^^.

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Fujiyama looked the scariest but it was really not that scary. because the speed was kind of controlled, you won’t feel like you left your heart behind during the drop. however, the few moments before riding it was truly scary because the roller coaster is super tall. like super duper tall.

Dodonpa was just really really really fast at the first few seconds. imagine, it accelerates from 0 to 170+km/hr in 1.5 seconds. and you need to go through a 90 degree slope up and down just to slow down! crazy much? oh, there’s a surprise before that crazy acceleration too ^^.

FUJI-Q-Highland5 then we have Takabisha which was.. very scary at first. you’d go crazy while going up 90 degrees because it escalates SO SLOWLY and you’re literally going to feel super scared. especially when they stop ride (for quite a long while) before the 121degree drop and they DO NOT TELL YOU when they are going to “release”.  

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me and the guy beside me was super scared. but I was just looking downwards while he was.. well gazing in space thinking “I can’t turn back now can I?” another great thing about Fuji Q is that they ALWAYS tell you when and where they’ll take your picture so you can be prepared. except I was too scared to pose. and also, pictures sold there were pretty cheap. around 300-500yen.

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verdict: if you like roller coasters, go there. if you’re like me, you like it but think that it’s too much for you, go there still because you’d be shocked at how much more scarier it looks than it really was. at least that was how I felt!

OH OH OH! not to forget, there’s a very scary 50minute long Haunted Hospital which is ALSO the WORLD’S most terrifying and longest (almost 1km walk. in a haunted house ahem.) haunted house. it was a real hospital and I heard it is super duper scary. even guys freak out. there are even several emergency exits for those who can’t take it any longer. apparently the first 10-15minutes are the most intense ones with “ghosts” chasing you all around. =S. I don’t know, I’ve never been a fan and hence I didn’t go. they only allow 1000-1500 people in daily and the queue for this attraction was really long so I’d say if you want to go there, go there early.

here’s a video of when Big Bang went to FujiQ. pretty hilarious so watch it!

[Ikebukuro] Sailormoon Cafe! at Namja Town

November 12th, 2015

to everyone who knows what Namja is in Korean.. you might have the same first reaction as I did. WHAT? BOY TOWN?

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that’s not the point. the point is. SAILORMOON food!

CIMG7635 copy nobody knows why it’s called the Namja Town but.. it’s filled with cat characters.

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the entrance to the “town” itself costs 500yen and then you will see many stalls selling Sailormoon stuff. I don’t know if I should call it a cafe or not since.. it’s quite an unusual concept. the Sailormoon food are quite overpriced but hey! if you’re a fan.. you get a postcard with it! so it’s worth it!

CIMG7637 copy these macaroons costs a bomb. but I wanted them so bad T_T. Sailormoon macs anyone? there’s one with a jewelry box too T_____T <3. #timeswheniwishimrich    

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and Sailormoon candy!

CIMG7641 copy I forgot to take pictures of the Sailormoon goods but I wanted to buy everything! there were a lot of Namjatown goodies too!

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basically.. the “town” is cool but awkward. maybe because I went there on a weekday.. it was really empty but the place is like.. an amusement park. with really cute stuff all around. super Japanesey.

CIMG7652 copy I mean, it looks really nice!

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you can also buy food from the stalls and eat them at places like these! there are some other small enclosed area which looks really cool. it’s pretty old school so if you’re interested in the old school Japan, this is the place!

CIMG7669 copy they have this Gyoza town inside. at first I thought the prices were reasonable, but the Gyoza’s were really tiny. =S. it tasted good at least. but I felt cheated because I paid so much for so little food T___T. the multicoloured Sailormoon Gyoza’s looked dangerous for consumption too lol.

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so in the end, we got ourselves some drinks. they were really yummy and reasonably priced! plus the postcards were soooooooooooooooo cool <3. I love Sailor Mars!

CIMG7692 copy here’s the really tiny Gyoza which tasted really good hahahah. I probably need to eat 50 of these if I want to feel full. anyways, that’s all for the Sailormoon place. =X. there were other sections where it’s more like a “theme park” but gaijins like us would probably not know what to do. so just head to the stalls for the Sailormoon food and take a stroll around the really cool “town”. it was really dark and my compact camera didn’t work nicely there so.. ><“. ANYWAYS! the great thing about going there’s because.. THE POKEMON CENTER IS RIGHT BESIDE! CIMG7712 copy I’ve never really watched Pokemon but you do not need to watch Pokemon to love…CIMG7715 copy

PIKACHU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA <3.CIMG7717 copy I love touching Pikachu’s butt. someone get me this pillow please please please <3.

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white Pikachu for Christmas anyone?
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or… for the new years haha.

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but out of all, this was the cutest. the sleeping Pikachu <3.

Halloween and my awesome dorm, ISDAK.

October 25th, 2015

one thing I really love about my exchange here in Japan is actually the dorm. and why you ask? well.. fortunately I was placed in this dorm called the ISDAK. it’s basically like.. a “club” where you need to pay a membership fee. which is totally worth it because they have a lot of cool and fun events from time to time. so far I’ve been here for a month and there are 3 welcome parties, 1 Halloween party and a lot of private floor parties. again, I’ve only been here for ONE MONTH. maybe it’s common in Europe or USA but it is definitely not it in South Korea where we have to RENT a whole apartment/hall just for MT and probably a lot of drinking in bars.

okay so first let me talk about the Halloween party which happened.. yesterday.

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I dressed as a mummy, if you can’t tell. not a post-plastic surgery patient. I’d need a super swollen face for that xD.

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everyone dressed up so well!

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the organizers of the party! they spent the whole afternoon preparing so thank youuuuu!

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here we have Pedro dressed as a CHINESE WOMAN.

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Ada, my favourite dong saeng from HK! shes a vampire with no blood on her lips hahaha.

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the mummy raping the Pikachu HAHAHAH. sorry for spoiling your Pikachu imaginations!

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Ryuta and Manlai! Manlai’s from Mongolia but I thought he’s Japanese at first because he’s superrrrrrr fluent in Japanese. D=. I was drunk when I took this picture *coughs*.

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and we have the tallest guy in ISDAK, Gus! you’ll never guess where he’s from. seriously. nobody could. Brazil.

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they both look Hawaiian hahahaha. Jimmy from Taiwan and the very good looking pretty hafu Japanese hafu German, Roman.

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the super cool costume contest! I participated for the “sexy” contest and won! but the prize was.. seriously not usable. see through pajamas and panties LOL when will I ever get to wear that pfft. and let me show you who I thought had the dopest costume.

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Darth Maul! I kid, it’s Roland from France. he SHAVED his hair just to be Darth Maul. that amount of dedication. respect. okay lets move on to other smaller scale parties.

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so we receive something called the “floor money” where it can be used to buy toilet paper, detergents, TV or.. well.. throw a small scale party. we bring our own drinks to parties normally and it’s really fun as we get to sit down, talk with people.. mainly in Japanese. I’ve been to 3 floor parties so far and I was the only one who didn’t speak Japanese in 2 of them.

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see, out of all these people I am the ONLY one! T_T. okay, to be frank I DO speak a LITTLE Japanese. but it is far from enough to make a normal conversation. most people turn to speak to me when I go out with my German friend  but I always gave the clueless face and they all get surprised when she speaks to them in fluent Japanese. ahhahahaha.

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Ryuta and Jihye! these are the only pictures I have from the 2nd floor party I went and I took none for the 3rd. but it was a beer pong tournament party HAHAHAH. it’s so funny how the organizer, my German classmate, asked people to e-mail him to register to participate in the tournament. xD. it was super fun but I was so drunk I forgot to take any pictures.

there was also a “Kodaira Tour” event. the place I’m living in is called Kodaira. a humble town in Tokyo. which doesn’t resemble Tokyo at all hahahaha. at this event, we were told to go to certain places to take pictures in front of them to get points. and guess what, our team won 2nd! just 1 point away from the 1st team anyways but because we didn’t know being late would cost us points T_T so some people took their sweet time when coming back hahaha. but anyways, check out some of the awesome pictures we took! bare in mind we don’t know each other prior to the event since ISDAK is home to students from 4 different universities~

12084152_881899485180994_729193341_n copy I had my bike with me because I hurt my leg =X.12084068_881899241847685_1723733597_n copy12083935_881899601847649_2075186111_n copy it means BIG A. BIG in Kanji looks like that!12083754_881899558514320_790324299_n copy

Kungfu pose ahahaha

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it’s a pity how Hitotsubashi isn’t as well known as other Universities like Waseda when getting in to this university is much more difficult and valuable than say, Waseda. many students here end up here because they did not get in to their first choice university. but for me, Hitotsubashi was my first choice haahha. I did a survey on all these universities and found out that the ex-prime minister of Korea graduated from Hitotsubashi! isn’t that amazing? well many students turn out to love this university a lot. the only bad thing is that it’s situated pretty far away from the heart of Tokyo so.. it does feel like I’m living at the countryside. however, I’ve always disliked how people in Tokyo are always in a rush and there are just TOO many people. there are a lot of neighbourhood events here held by the super friendly older folks living here and it’s really pleasant and I love it very very much! I just couldn’t express how awesome this exchange is to me and I really regret to have only applied for one semester. however, I’ve always been super scared of earthquakes and all hence I didn’t want to stay here for such a long time =X. but whatever it is, Japan has been really nice to me so far and I hope I can find time to tell you more about my amazing experience!

there are heaps of homework in this Univ. and after writing this post, it’s time to study. T_T. if you’re not the type who studies hard, maybe… this university may not be a good choice for you. unless you don’t mind failing hahaha.

cost of living in SEOUL

October 14th, 2015

being one of the most expensive places to live in in the world, Seoul is actually quite affordable provided if you do not shop or splurge too much. so let me break down my expenses as a poor student studying in Seoul.

RENT
I pay 350,000won for a tiny room with shared kitchen and bathroom. and it is considered really “cheap”. most university dorms in Seoul costs around this price. for normal rents, it costs around 450,000-700,000won in average. depends on how much comfort you’ll sacrifice for cheap rent. also, for places with key moneys (deposits), the higher deposits you pay, the lower your rent! my other Malaysian friend here pays 500,000won with 5million key money for a one room. pretty big, own kitchen and toilet.

BILLS
included in my rent! if not, bills in the winter can go up to 200,000won if you use the ondol (floor heating system) frequently but it’s normally around 30,000-50,000won in general including gas, water and electricity. most places provide internet, and for those who don’t, I don’t think it will cost too much. probably around 30,000won.

MOBILE PHONE
I am a huge cheapskate because I don’t want to chip out 35,000won to 70,000won a month for a phone with data. it is quite inconvenient at times but I bought a wifi transmitter device for 80,000won (lasts up to 10 hours) and it only costs around 12,000won per month for super fast internet and 10GB worth of data. otherwise, I only spend 5,000won for my sim card. one thing is because I barely call. I use kakaotalk most of the time so..

TRANSPORT
I use around 50,000won per month as I go out pretty often in Seoul. but because I live near my university, I normally take the bus to school and walk back home. and my total expenses would be 300won because my school does not provide free bus like Yonsei. if you live further, you’d spend probably around 60,000-80,000won depending on how often you travel around. since now the base transportation fees raised from 1,050 to 1,250, you’ll have to expect to spend a little more.

FOOD
according to my app, I spend around 150,000won per month on food. it costs around 5-6,000won per meal on average and I normally eat out once per day on a schooling day and I’d cook at home most of the time. for groceries, they didn’t cost too much for me because I try to eat as little as I can when I’m eating at home. I’d normally buy buns for breakfast and eat random stuff for dinner. I have spaghetti really often haha. so I’d say my total budget will be 150,000won for survival. but I have friends who spends 600,000won just for food because they eat a lot. not because they dine out at nice places. BUT, if you dine out at nicer places like Itaewon or Sinsadong, a normal meal will cost around 20,000won. and for me, I only dine in a nice place probably once or twice a month. other than that, it’s because my nice friends visits from abroad and they pamper me to a nice meal =D. well I get pampered even by friends haha. lucky me I guess?

OVERALL
monthly, I spend around 700,000won on average. I am very very thrifty and I definitely live like a pauper. I do a lot of free activities like hiking up the mountain or strolling by Hangang. plus I spend most of my time in the library. but an average student spends around 800,000won to 1,000,000won per month.

hope this helps? =D.