Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Note About the MEXT Scholarship Allowance and Grocery Money

I met with a kouhai called Amber last Friday. By the way, I think she's gonna do great in Japan - she's very realistic about her expectations, and she's already fluent and familiar with the country. But a comment she made, and the few days of eating/fattening up that I've been experiencing after, got me thinking.

During my first year of MEXT, there was this period of time where I made several food posts. Like this and this and oh dear, I can't bear to look anymore. At that time, I thought I was being smart and frugal and all that, but well, the truth is, my eating habits were horrible. The food I was cooking was simply not enough, and actually affected my health negatively, prompting an emergency trip home.

And when I moved to Fukuoka, I simply forgot about this, until Amber mentioned it. Apparently, I had scared/made her think the allowance was so little that I had to restrict my food intake. So today's post is to share pictures and information of what I'm actually eating nowadays and reassure everyone that yes, the MEXT allowance is enough.

Eating/Cooking Habits
Since last year, I started cooking school. So nowadays, instead of cooking once a week and living of that, I cook about twice a week, and I cook a lot more. I also eat more vegetables and meat. Plus, there's a Hotto Motto near my station, so I don't have an excuse for skipping meals anymore. Oh, and for lunch times in school, I have a prepaid food card, so the hit to the wallet happens only about once a year. (Each school lunch costs about 340 plus to less than 500 yen, depending on what I choose, and if I add desserts/bottled drinks)

According to my Japanese friends, you should be able to cook healthily and eat enough (for a girl) for under 10,000 yen a month. Since I end up buying omiyage with my groceries, my bills are higher, but I think that's roughly correct. And if you buy rice from Rakuten, or share meat from Costco with friends, your bills will probably go down more.

So yes, please don't worry about food, and don't be as silly as me when it comes to eating habits. Health first guys! (And thanks Amber, for pointing that out)

Recent pictures of meals I cooked (So you know I'm telling the truth)

Nasu tomato spagetti 

Hamburg (with rice, not pictured)

If you need proof it was me who cooked

Mapo doufu

It's um, Green-tea salmon (my friend suggested the recipe), fried mushrooms underneath
and that tofu thing I like (forgot the name argh). With rice, of course. 
I hope this reassures some scholars who may have been worried about the allowance!

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