Tag Archives: Japan

Tsunami – Japan 2011

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa By Katsushika Hokusai

This blog has observed a week of silence in respect for the thousands who lost their lives in the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that hit Sendai and the surrounding area in Japan on the 11th of March 2011.  My thoughts and good wishes to the people of Japan in this terrible time.  My prayers too that the nuclear reactor incident at Fukushima does not become a full blown nuclear disaster.

Japan, perhaps among all nations, are best prepared to face earthquakes and tsunamis but this incident reminds us the limit of our abilities to determine our own fate and our helplessness in the face of such powerful natural forces.

Rubbish in My Head

Today, my mind was full of rubbish.  The cheeky reader will no doubt raise an eyebrow and think to himself/herself that this is nothing new for LGS but you would be wrong cause I was deeper into rubbish than usual.  Specifically, I was trying to find a decent pedal bin to use for throwing  rubbish and wastes in the kitchen.  Of utmost importance, the bin must be ant proof as I am having so many ants in my kitchen that they are fighting turf wars over territory and dropped food scraps.

Anyway, there I was, innocently walking into a shop which sells said pedal bins when it happened!  I will never be the same again.  My jaw dropped like a ton of bricks when I saw the price of the small 10 liter pedal bin.   It was Malaysian Ringgit 490 or USD 159.  That seems rather a lot to spend for a rubbish bin.

I remember when I was traveling, different things were cheap and different things were expensive in different parts of the world.  Some had to due with the lack of supply or the logistics of supply. In Japan, fruits can be costly indeed.  A single banana can cost USD 1.  Even more awe-inspiring, Japanese will pay as much as USD 240 for a melon.  In India, I was surprised to find good quality saris (traditional dress for Indian women) can be very expensive but food and long distance phone calls were very cheap.

I don’t pretend to understand economics but it seems that when demand is low, the price can be high.  When the demand is moderate, then the price usually lowers but when demand is very high than the price goes up again.

A lot of travel blogs like to use the price of a McDonald’s set meal as a way of comparing relative cost of living in different parts of the world.  The rationale being that unfortunately the golden arches is ubiquitous all over the world.  I prefer to use eggs.  Eggs is a more basic unit of comparison especially to help us get our perspective right.

For example, my USD 149 rubbish bin is the same as 1,176 eggs.  Assuming I take two eggs (whether sunny-side up, scrambled or as an omelette), that is about 588 satisfying breakfasts that I could have instead of owning a pedal bin.

So using the Egg Index, here are some of the relative costs of things here in Malaysia.  How about in your neck of the woods?

  • cheap breakfast = 7.2 eggs
  • Big Mac burger  = 11 eggs
  • liter of milk        =  12  eggs
  • bottle of beer    =  30 eggs
  • moderate restaurant meal   =  60 eggs
  • Music CD   = 120 eggs
  • average visit to doctor for minor ailments  = 192 eggs
  • Broadband internet access  = 240 eggs
  • pedal bin (rubbish)    = 1,176 eggs
  • Nintendo Wii console = 4,200 eggs
  • mid range computer  =9,600 eggs