* * * * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of how to be frugal in the world's most expensive country
to live (unless you read this!), written and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.

First issue, Sunday, 13th March, 2004 Issue No. 001


- What's new
- Frugal news
- Frugal tips
- Frugal Q&A
- Credits

Stay Competitive -- RELOCATE

How does a company cut costs without slashing its workforce?
If it operates in Tokyo -- the world's MOST expensive city -- relocating
parts of its operations can save money fast.

Wakayama offers a software development division, cheaper offices, lower
personnel costs and subsidies and support from the prefectural government.
To find out more, visit:



Welcome to Frugal Watch!

First, what is Frugal Watch? A brand-new newsletter from the fine staff at
Japan Inc, designed to bring you a wealth of information on frugality,
simple living, personal finance, and frugal tips designed for people
living in Japan, or those with an interest in the country.

As your hostess, and the author of Frugal Watch, please allow me to
introduce myself. My name is Wendy Jonas Imura, and I'm a long term
resident of Japan. Currently, I work as a translator and interpreter at
one of Japan's major financial institutions. This pays the bills, but my
real passion is frugality: reading about it, teaching others about it, and
trying to live it.

I haven't always been this way - I'm a latecomer to the frugal lifestyle.
In my past life as a spendthrift, I had high credit card debt,
non-existent financial planning skills, and a deadly shopping habit.
However, in the last several years, I've learned a lot about saving money
and using it wisely in Japan. I'm looking forward to sharing some of this
information with you, and learning from you as well.

People often have a negative image of frugality. Words like "cheapskate",
"sacrifice", "pinching pennies," or "poor" often come to mind. But being
frugal doesn't have to mean any of these things. To me, being frugal is
simply being a good steward of the financial resources we are given.

I'm excited to get started with Frugal Watch, and can't well it to learn
more from you all as well. Please forward any questions, frugal tips, or
comments, or suggestions for articles to frugalwatch@japaninc.com! Thanks
so much, and look forward to a new issue every week.

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

================ DOMAIN NAMES REGISTRATION ===================
Doing business online? Want to personalize your email address?
It does not cost a lot to get your own dot.com...

Domains-Japan.com offers very affordable web domain registration,
and a whole range of very competitive related services such as
hosting, webmail, email, URL forwarding, DNS, easy transfers etc.
.com/net/org .us .info .biz .uk .ca .cc .tv .ws .tm .de and more...
Registrations start at $12.95 per year.



Its tax time in Japan again! If you have been in Japan for the entire
calendar year (Jan 1-Dec 31st 2003, in this case), have your "tax home"
here, and meet one of the following requirements, you might have to file a
tax return (kakutei shinkoku):

1) you have income from two or more sources,
2) you have profits from a side business of Y200,000 or more,
4) you have real estate income (rental or sold),
5) you made a profit from the sale of certain investments (stocks, bonds,
certain funds, etc.)

You do NOT need to file a tax return if your tax is deducted directly from
your salary each month under the withholding tax system (most employed
people fall in this category).

You could be eligible for a tax refund in certain cases, such as if you
quit or were fired from your job in 2003 and are still unemployed, if the
self-funded portion of your medical expenses on National Health was higher
than Y100,000 or more, if you purchased a home with a housing loan, or if
you were victim of robbery, theft, natural disasters, or embezzlement.

How do you file a tax return? Either complete a form in Japan and return
it to your local tax office, or visit the local tax office consultation
window (kakutei shinkoku madoguchi) which should run at the tax offices in
various localities around Japan until Monday, March 15th. The tax
consultation windows allow you to consult with a tax office
representative, who essentially fill out your form for you. Accountants
are often on call for advice. March 15, coincidentally, is the final day
to pay taxes you owe.

>>-------------<< ADVERTISEMENT >>------------------<

There is still time to contact Temple University Japan
for entry into its top-ranked Executive MBA program.
But you must hurry, classes begin in May.

Applications are due April 1. The Financial Times ranks
Temple as one of the top EMBA programs in the world.

For more information, please call: 0120-86-1026,
Or e-mail: business@tuj.ac.jp
Web: www.tuj.ac.jp/emba



Here are some Frugal Tips for moving season, which is rapidly approaching
in Japan.

* Don't Move in March/April!*

Did you know that almost 70% of all moves in Japan take place in March and
April? This is because company transfers, the new school year, and the
start date for freshman company hires are all around this time.
Consequently, rental agencies, moving companies, and shippers are all
swamped, and are much less likely to give you a bargain. Try, if possible,
to schedule moves during the dead season of late summer or winter. You
might find that realtors have a larger stock of apartments for rent, which
can increase their motivation to give you a deal.

* Tips for a Successful Move-in/Move Out*

1. When looking for a new home, always take along a camera for shots to
help you remember the positive and negative (including
damage) points of the potential places.

2. When you've decided and before you move in, make sure that you take
photos or videos of the entire place -- not just pre-existing damage. If
possible, use a camera that imprints the date. Make a list of damaged

3. On the "damage" list, note the details (damage, fix date, costs,
etc.) of anything that is repaired by either the landlord or yourself.

4. When moving out, do not fail to make another photo survey of the entire
place, as in you did when moving in.

5. Note any damage you're leaving behind, adding it to your list.

6. IMPORTANT: On move-out day, make sure to have present at least one
bilingual Japanese person who is "on your side." Walk with this person
through the entire place as you take notes for your damage list.


In this section, I will attempt to answer any questions you might have
about frugal living in Japan. I'll research, ask questions, and search
relentlessly - until I find an answer for you. I'm looking forward to your
questions, so please contact: editors@frugalwatch.japaninc.com with any
questions, specific situations, or requests for advice, and I'll do my
best to help you!

Interested in all-things-frugal in Japan - in real time? Join the Frugal
Japan e-list at YahooGroups for Japan's only "all-frugal, all-the-time"
network of like-minded folk. Send a blank email to
frugaljapan-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to subscribe.

>>------------------<< ADVERTISEMENT >>----------------<

PMP-Japan provides enterprise-wide program and project management
consulting and training services. Our core competencies are IT and
Business Process Improvement. We help our clients achieve quicker
time-to-market and increased shareholder value by creating project
success. We guarantee an increase in our client's project success rate.

Level 9, AIG Building, 1-1-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
Voice: 81-3-5288-5126, Fax: 81-3-5288-5353
URL : http://www.pmp-japan.com




Written by: Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch@japaninc.com)

SIGN UP: Send a blank email to: join-frugal_watch@lyris.lincmedia.co.jp

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor to editors@japaninc.com.

For more information on advertising in this newsletter,
Contact ads@japaninc.com.

Copyright 2004 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.

============ J@pan Inc is worth every penny! =============
Don't forget you can get deeper analysis on Japan's
Emerging New Economy from the monthly edition of J@pan
Inc. 1-year subscription JPY5,600(Japan). It's so cost
effective you can even get your company to pay for it!
Go to: www.japaninc.net/mag/subs.html for details.