Life in Jakarta vs Life in Tokyo: Which One is Better?

Hello lovelies! Remember my poll in last post? I shared it in instagram story, and the most voted one is 'Life in Jakarta vs Life in Tokyo: Which One is Better?' so here I am, writing this post for you. Before I started, I will warn you that this is based on my own preferences and experiences, your opinion might differ.

This post will be super long with minimal pictures.

Are you sure you're not turning back? OK let's start!

1. Entertainment
in Jakarta
As capital city, Jakarta is just like your typical metropolitan city; it has almost everything you can think of; department store, shopping malls, skyscrapers, museums, big stadiums, clubs, and all those things. Jakarta is great, yes, specially now that the previous governor was trying hard to make Jakarta as good as other metropolitan city. I could only heard and read about all the development from online news since I lived in Tokyo back then. A lot of small park were built, the river got cleaned up, and finally they put a stop to shopping mall expansion. It was a great news for me, because let's be honest here, I am sick of the shopping mall where almost everyone go to every weekends (or even weekdays).

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We have a lot of nice shopping malls, like Grand Indonesia, Plaza Indonesia, Pondok Indah Mall, Central Park Mal, etc. They scattered everywhere, so you can easily spot one near your neighborhood. Most malls got everything you might want; cinema, restaurant, electronic store, clothing store, shoes store, accessories store, cellphone provider service office, cafes, groceries store, bubble tea stand, and furniture store; all in one building (and some even have hotel and apartment attached to it). How convenient! But so boring. It's as if it's the only place you go to get entertained.

Other than shopping malls, we do have places we can hang out with our loved one, like PIK and Senopati which have so many restaurant, bar, and cafe you can choose from. There's fishing area around PIK too, but since I'm not into fishing, I never checked this place out. Other than that, we do have small parks built in Ahok era, but I'm not sure we can do picnic or relaxing there.

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We also have museums too, but it's clearly not the preferred destination for most of the citizen to spend the weekend. Some newer museum or art space are also great and it's a good start to develop more.

As for clubs, it's in the least of my list for a place to have fun, so I don't know much about that. And the fact that I hate to be in a small places with a lot of strangers and blaring music, I never get what's the fun on visiting such place.

in Tokyo
Well Tokyo also has some big shopping malls, but most of them are located around Tokyo, Roppongi, and Ginza. Other areas like Shibuya or Shinjuku also has smaller departement store where you can also hop from one building to another. Beside shopping malls and department store, Tokyo also has shopping district like Takeshita dori and cat street in Harajuku, Shimo-Kitazawa, Ameyokocho in Ueno, Hibiya Shopping Street, and much more. The idea is basically an area to shop and relax (since they also have cafes and restaurants), but they made it like neighborhood so you can actually stroll along the road leisurely. If I have a good amount of time, I prefer to go there rather than to department store or shopping mall. LOL

Other than shopping district and malls, Tokyo has a lot of park where you can do a lot of activity like picnic, flower viewing, jogging, cycling, sleeping, hangout, play music, taking pictures, walk your dog; you name it. It's one of my favorite place to go in the weekend (either alone or with friends). Most of the park also located near the restaurant district or department store district so it's really convenient. Some of my favorite park are Yoyogi Park (literally beside Meiji Jingu and across Harajuku), Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, and Naka Meguro (OK, this is not park or graden, but this is my most favorite place for Sakura viewing, and it's near Daikanyama too).

Other things to look out are the museums and art exhibition. I also realized that most of the museums are actually places for exhibition, so they regularly change the inside. It's a great idea to only have several building (since they don't have much land left) but focused on bringing different art, knowledge, and history to keep people's interest. They fact that most of them are for limited time, it's also one of the appeal for people to hurry up and visit the museum. With all the frequent change and diversity in choices, it's also one of my favorite to spend my weekend or holiday.

And well, Tokyo also has plenty of clubs. I've been to one, and it's quite the good experience just because I went with my girls, but if someone offers me to go the second time, I will have to reject. It's just not my type of having fun (well the alcohol is fun, but since Tokyo has a lot of bar that offer all you can drink, I prefer that one).

My other favorite is karaoke. If I missed the last train, my friends and I usually go to karaoke place, pay for 2 hours and we got free hours until the first train starts. Or you can go to internet cafe, they have shower room and private room where you can spend the night browsing or reading manga.

2. Transportation & Traffic

In Jakarta
The public transportation is getting better, with the transjakarta and the online car & motorcycle service, but the main transportation for middle class to upper class is still private car. I don't know about others, but my parents didn't allow me to ride motorcycle, take kopaja/metromini (kinda like local bus & mini bus), and sometimes taxi is also a no because it's too dangerous (with the pick pocket and harassment, and the possible kidnapping and all that shit). So yeah, let just say I'm blessed with private car and driver, but thanks to the traffic, I hate going out unless necessary.

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I used transjakarta back in university, but I really hate the way people didn't let people to go out first before they push around to get inside the bus. Man, the bus is not going to leave you behind. The other problem was the uncertain schedule, you can get stuck queuing for 30 minutes to 1 hour in rush hour without a single bus passing by. LOL..... it was 5-8 years ago tho' not sure about that now.

In Tokyo
Train-walk-train-walk was my routine, and occasionally I took bus and taxi. Their most complicated train (and metro) map can get you everywhere you want, even to the outskirt of Tokyo. Yes, sure the sexual harassment issue is still there, but since I never experience any of that, I can't say anything bad. Well, unless you're unlucky enough to find puke on the train floor thanks to the drunkard. LOL~ The only time I hate train is the last train (weekend and weekdays are the same to me). Other than that? The constant suicide attempt is also frustating for me specially if it's at rush hour.

3. Safety

In Jakarta
If you read carefully, I stated the possible crime that might happen, but it's not all. If you're following the political situation and discrimination issues in Indonesia, you will surely know how it's not safe for chinese descendant and female; specially if you're the combination of those two (and let's not bother with religion differences since it will make a book out of it). And thanks to that, most chinese descendant parents usually work real hard to at least provide safety for their kids in the shape of car. One car for one kid, and if you have 3 kids you probably have 4-5 cars (then go back to the traffic issues). Most of parents won't let their baby girl to go out at night, your curfew is 8pm sharp even if you're already past 22 y.o). Believe me, it's still happen to me unless I go out around 6pm then my curfew is 10pm (maybe my parents are one of the extreme one).

And then there's also clothes restriction. The fact that you will get harassment in the name of cat-calling even you wear hijab tells it all. Think hundreds to wear shorts and tank top unless you drive a car. Try to steel your mind with all the whisper around you and their hard stare when you just passing by with your a bit-too-much-style (typically happen outside shopping mall and club I think?). Always remember to put an eye to your belongings like wallet and cellphone. Once you drop your money, prepare to let it go or think that you never have the money from the very beginning.

In Tokyo
Let just say, I enjoy the safety to the fullest. I will not say that I'm the typical good girl when I lived in Tokyo. No. I went out late, I came back after midnight, sometimes I missed the last train, I partied, I drank, I wore any kind of clothes that I love, and I traveled alone. But in all those years, never once I got my money stolen or lost my phone.

It's so safe that I left my phone on the restaurant table and go to the toilet when I eat alone. I left my stuff in the train once and just report it to the lost and found office and they will check it for me. I lost my train card once, and the police actually called my school so I could go and take it from the police station. I could walk around wearing shorts and sleeveless top and no one spare me a glance. And the fact that I live alone, there's no curfew and this nervous feeling when I came home alone after 9pm even if I wear shorts and tank top. It was that liberating. One thing I missed so much when I came back to Jakarta.

4. Mentality

in Jakarta
One good point is, we can have as many helpers as we want, no need to clean our shit ourselves. You can work from morning to night and still come home to clean house and warm homemade food. But it's getting out of hand outside the house. Even in restaurant and cinema, you can just leave your eaten food on the table. 'What? We paid for it!' is one of the common excuse people used. Need to throw something? Feel free to throw everywhere, there's people who sweep the street, they got paid from our tax anyway. Don't like someone? Just go and leave harsh comment in their social media. They don't deserve the high confidence and self-worth anyway. Well, yeah, the mentality, the negativity. It's everywhere.

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in Tokyo
No helpers, no driver unless you're that rich. After you eat, go put your tray at the return section yourself. Need to throw trash? Pay attention to the label on the trashbin. No trashbin in sight? put your trash inside your pocket man!

5. The working culture

in Jakarta
In some field, of course you need to work long-long hours; like architect or surgeon for example; and some also need you to work overtime. But not to the point of reaching midnight. We don't have the drinking culture, so it's pretty normal to go back home early and eat with your family (well unless you're single and came from different city). We're free to actually resign and go look for another job that might interest us more (with better salary and benefit).

in Tokyo
OK, I never work full time in Tokyo, but based on my part-time job and stories from my friends, the working culture in Tokyo is a bit strict. Costumer is the king, so yeah, when you got a shitty costumer you just need to kill him in your head and keep saying 'sumimasen'. Some traditional company don't pay your overtime hour, even if they're quite big company. The seniority is still ongoing, specially in the cross-rank relationship (boss and subordinate). Once you got accepted in one company, it's unlikely for Japanese to resign and look for another job (go back to the seniority and their loyal character). And let's not forget about their drinking culture, you will find a lot of salaryman go drinking even in weekdays with their superior, business partner, or even colleagues.


There are a lot more I want to write, but I think the most important point are there and it's too long already. So let's see which one is better.

Let be honest, both city are convenient and full of life. Both has their own positive and negative side. I found Tokyo to be liberating and safe, even though I have to do housework by myself and manage my money myself. As for Jakarta, since I live with my parents, I don't need to do housework because we have helpers and driver, so it makes everything nicer. BUT! Even though I love how I don't need to do housework, I found it suffocating to live in Jakarta. Mostly because of the negative mentality and the constant fear of my safety.
So for now, if I don't count the working culture, I prefer to live in Tokyo.
That's sum up my comparison. ;)
Next post will be the second most voted; 'How to: be more positive'
See you again in next post! *kiss*


Anastasia Goenawan

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