Hello from Australia

Please introduce yourself
LeeB
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Hello from Australia

Postby LeeB » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:19 am

I used to follow the old board, posted a few times, and once in a while read the posts here. I don't remember the name I posted under on the old board.

I lived in Japan for a period of 10 years in Nagoya. Prior to that I had a stint as a graduate exchange student way back in 1980 and numerous trips to Japan as well.

Australia is now our home and all thoughts of living in Japan have unfortunately evaporated :cry: :cry: :cry:

Instead we are looking forward to making a number of trips to Japan as our health and finances allow.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Hello from Australia

Postby Zasso Nouka » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:10 am

Welcome to Japan Simple Life LeeB,

It's great that you could find your way here from CLJ, we're always happy to see old friends here. Sounds like you've been in and out of Japan for quite a while and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.

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Re: Hello from Australia

Postby gonbechan » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:25 am

Hi and welcome LeeB
Wonderful that you could join.
Australia doesn't seem like a horrible place to end up in though.

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Re: Hello from Australia

Postby LeeB » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:39 pm

Hi gonbechan,

Australia has lots of good points, but the country has changed a lot over he past 20 years or so. It isn't the same country I moved to way back then. It could do a lot better. If you want a nice quite place to live, not do much, and have enough income or savings then it is a good place.

Good points:

1. Among western countries it is still pretty safe although we suffer from the usual number of break ins, robberies, and car thefts. Car jackings have increased quite a bit over the recent past. Gangs and drug use has increased markedly. There are now lots of areas that one should not walk around alone at night.

2. The medical system here is pretty good overall and reasonable for most things. However, when you have a problem that isn't life threatening and don't have private insurance there can be huge wait times to see a specialist or have an operation in a public hospital. Emergency room wait times are ridiculous.

Private hospitals and specialists are very expensive and dental care is not covered under the national health system. Dentists in Japan are 'cheap as chips' compared to Australia.

3. Once you reach retirement age the system is generally pretty good and if you can manage your financial situation you can actually be better off under retirement than working full time. The key is to be able work the system to your advantage. (No doubt it will change before I get to that age!!)

Some bad points:

Costs

The country has become a nightmare as far as costs are concerned. The first is housing. The median price of a house In Melbourne is now over A$850,000 (72,000,000 Yen) with most areas near the Melbourne CBD being well over A$1 million and the nicer places A$2 or $3 million. Interest rates on house loans are around 4.5%. (Japan is less than 1%.)

Housing is becoming 'Japanese size'. Townhouses are sold with blocks of land around 300 square meters or less and houses on 'big blocks' in real estate ads are around 400 square meters!!

The cost of living is high and prices here for many things are really ridiculous. For example, the price of electricity is now around 40 cents (34 yen) per kWh and the daily supply charge is around $A1.40 (119 yen). Ten years ago the price was 15 cents and the supply charge was A$50 for three months. Compare than to Japan where I believe the basic plan is still around 500 yen per month which includes 10 or 11 kWh. The price of water has gone up 2 1/2 times in ten years and natural gas has more than doubled. Real estate taxes have doubled in ten years as well and on and on.......

Bananas are more expensive here than Japan with the price at A$3.49 a kilogram (300 yen) in the store today. The cheapest eggs are A$3.00 a dozen. However, milk is a real bargain at A$1.00 for a liter. That milk tastes like cardboard though. Better quality milk is around twice that price and actually tastes like milk, There is also limited selection of many products here as well. Japan has more brands of milk, better quality and taste.

If you have a dog it will cost you around A$75 to get a license for a year. More if it isn't de-sexed.

Eating a meal at a decent restaurant will set you back a fortune and well, the quality compared to most Japanese places stinks. Service is bad as well. For those of you that like to eat at Micky D's, a medium Big Mac meal will set you back A$10 or so. Unlike Japan there really isn't that much variation here in restaurants.

Japan is a paradise when it comes to eating out.

Hotel costs? Japan is still a bargain. Try and find anything like the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Australia at similar prices. The cheapest no tell motel will be around A$80 to A$100 a night - fleas and cockroaches included in the price.


Transport

Public transport here in Melbourne is pathetic at best and can be best described as third world. If it gets too hot (35C) the trains run late or are cancelled, if it gets too windy the trains run late or are cancelled, if it rains too much the same thing, it a leaf falls on tracks well.......... The system is overcrowded and uses antiquated switching which is always breaking down. Delays of one hour or more are quite common.

The contract for the trains actually specifies that if a train arrives or departs within 4 minutes and 59 seconds of the scheduled arrival time then it is 'on time'.

Roads are just as bad as public transport. The population of Melbourne has increased from around 3 million or so when we moved here to around 5 million. The number of cars have exploded with few new roads built to take care of the increase. One accident on the main freeway out in the east and there will be traffic jams for 15 or 20 kilometers.

For example, on Monday I was driving back from a doctor's appointment in town and the freeway into town was backed up for 15 kilometers and this was around noon. Evidently it was an accident. It took the kid over an hour to drive 15 kilometers. It seems that it happens at least once a week.

Peak hour traffic is horrendous with it taking over an hour or more to drive 30 kilometers.

As a result of the huge influx of people and many of the being immigrants there are a lot of people who shouldn't be driving. Too many accidents and crazy drivers now.

Education

Well, it isn't as bad as in the USA, but it has been getting worse and worse over the years. Quite expensive for private junior and senior high school. Universities have become nothing more than a business catering to the foreign dollar. Some faculties are now made up of 40% or more foreign students. Guess the high tuition pays the professor's salaries.

Taxes

Australia is and has always been a high tax country. A 10% sales tax was added after we moved here. Income tax rates have come down, but are still too high for most people. (Retired people though have got it made!!!)

Changes to the income tax system have eliminated may of the deductions used by low income people and changes to the retirement system have also been for the worse. You have to be very careful to structure your income and assets or you will be hurt bad.


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