From trendy seasonal frocks to tailored classics, clothes are designed and sized for women with a waist to hip ratio bigger than 1:1 and heights taller than 165 cm. There are even 4 sizes bigger than mine easily found on racks in every shop. I don’t feel like a cow here. I like that.
Pounds spend like dollars or 100 yen, but they are worth twice as much. 1 pound = 208 yen. A 40 pound blouse doesn’t seem too expensive until you double the price. Damn.
Restaurant meals are expensive, too. The cheapest lunch I managed was a toasted cheese panini and a bottle of water at 4 pounds (832 yen). Most lunches set me back 8 pounds at cafes and bistros. Lebanese dinner last night (2 mezze, 1 main, a bottle of wine, tea and sparkling water) was 61 pounds - but it was an exception meal and worth the expense.
Tube fare is 3 pounds (628 yen) for a single ride. It’s 1.50 (314 yen) if you have a pre-paid Oyster card, but that’s still a lot more that Tokyo.
I have been making a casual search for things costing less than 1 pound: small packet of chips, chocolate bars, postage stamps, and not much else. Even a bottle of water is 1.30 (270 yen).
The variety of food in London is wide and includes a lot of things we can’t get in Tokyo: middle eastern, polish, carribean, real tapas. We’re having pierogies for lunch today and I am very happy about that. It makes me see that although there’s a great variety in Tokyo and it’s generally more authentic than what you get in the States, it’s still Japanised in many cases.
BAD: the Tube
Perhaps not bad, but laughable compared to Tokyo’s subways. The Tube staff make frequent announcements in the stations, telling tales of woe on various sections of line. “Serious delays on the Circle line between Great Portland Street and Farrindon due to temporary speed restrictions.” But even funnier, they announce “Good Service” when things are running smoothly. I guess it’s big news.