Just Japan

I was really glad when I learnt that my company covers my transportation costs though it probably isn’t such a big deal since most companies in Japan do.

I get paid in monthly instalments the amount required for a 3-month commuter pass. This means, even if I get a 6- or 12-month commuter pass, which would come up cheaper, I would still get paid the rate for a 3-month pass. This would then translate to additional “income” if you would see it that way.

I’ve never heard of any company that offers this benefit in Singapore, except for management personnels who would get reimbursements for parking and petrol charges only. No reimbursements for taking public transport. Perhaps the government should look at this system and push for companies to offer public transport coverage instead of setting up a million ERP gates and selling two-million dollar COEs. The former will only create congestion elsewhere and do nothing to save the environment, while the latter will only make people who already spent a fortune on their vehicles drive them more, because it makes more sense to use more of what you overpaid. At the same time, it creates a huge societal divide where only the rich can afford vehicles.

The downside of working in Japan is that most companies here have no such thing as “medical leave” in employment contracts. So what happens if you fall sick? You take the day off and they deduct it from your annual leave. It came as a shock for me when I learnt about it recently because back home, medical leave has come to be an entitlement-like benefit. While it is difficult to compare sick leave benefits against covered transportation by financial gains, the pragmatism in my Singaporean blood tells me it’s less costly to live in Japan, a nation known to be expensive.

At the current rate apartments are going for in Singapore, which is around SGD$300,000+ for a 90+sqm unit, one can get at least a semi-detached house outside the big cities (though only around a 80sqm unit within the 23 wards of Tokyo). Since there’s also no such thing as COE here on top of the fact that vehicles are manufactured locally, a fresh graduate can work for 2 years and buy a 1600cc car without taking loans of any kind.

I just need to figure out why it’s cheaper to fly internationally from Tokyo to Singapore than domestically from Tokyo to Fukuoka. Give me some time.

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