* * * * * * * * 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.

Regular edition, Sunday, July 4th, 2004 Issue No. 015


- What's new
- Frugal news
- Frugal tips
- Credits

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========================== EVENT =====================================
ICA July 15 Event - Red Hat, Enterprise Linux

PRESENTER: Ken Koike - Director, North Asia Channel Sales and
Development - Red Hat
TOPIC: The state of Linux from the Enterprise IT standpoint

RSVP required, complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday, July 15
Time: 6:30 Doors open, sit down dinner included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members), Open to all
Foreign Correspondents' Club



Dear Frugal Readers,

While I may appear to be the expert on all-things-frugal in Japan (ha!),
there are some areas where my lack of experience fails me. Childraising
and family-related areas unfortunately fall into this category --
I have no children of my own yet.

However, giving birth and raising a child as a foreigner in Japan
presents its own unique challenges and joys. One of the Frugal Japan
Community members has been nice enough to compile some advice for
frugal moms-to-be in Japan.

Here is a teaser:

"Having a baby in Japan can, but doesn't have to be, expensive.
With a little research you can find many and varied ways to be frugal
and have fun with children from the very earliest age."

It all starts before your baby is even born. When you register your
pregnancy at city hall (for those enrolled in National Health, you must
register to get free prenatal care), ask about parenting classes
(ryoshin gakkyu). Many places run free classes for mums (and dads) to
be, covering the basics of pregnancy health, labor and caring for a
newborn. These classes are quite popular and you may have
to go on a list to attend one, so it's best to enquire early. English
classes are also available in Tokyo for a higher fee. See the following
Web site for options:

When stocking up on baby goods, ask about point cards. Akachan
Honpo (Japan's largest baby discount store) has a member's card with
a point system. They will send you out catalogues with specials and
campaigns. I'm sure many other stores have similar systems.

An even more frugal option is recycle shops. In addition to general
recycle shops like "Hard Off," there are specialized children's recycle
shops selling new (secondhand but unused) and used clothes, toys and
other goods at a fraction of the retail price. They are a goldmine:
with clothing from Y50, and slings and carry packs from Y500, you can
outfit your baby very frugally indeed. And when your little
one has outgrown the baby bath or highchair, you can sell it back
to the shop and free up space in your house."

All very useful and practical information that is sure to be helpful
to those who are already parents, or who might be expecting. Check out
www.frugaljapan.com in the near future for this and other useful
articles on frugal childraising, frugal tips and more!

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

==================== ECONOMIST CONFERENCE ============================
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-> Bargains Galore as Japan's July Sales Begin!

If you've ever window-shopped longingly in Japan's glorious department
stores but felt the prices to high to be worth your while, then July
might be a great time to shop. In case you weren't aware, Japan's major
retailers, especially department stores, hold annual sales twice yearly
when almost all of their merchandise is dramatically reduced: once in
January, and again in July.

January is a great time, obviously, to stock up on this season's winter
clothes, which are still useful for a few more months, while July sales
a wonderful opportunity to purchase summer clothing. Most upscale brands
and boutiques (including favorites like Beams, Agnes B, and others) also
have their own seasonal sales, which are again a good time to splurge.
The upper floors of department stores have great deals on high-quality
towels, sheets and bedding, dishware and Japanese pottery and
lacquerware gift sets during these months as well.

The truly frugal know that paying for a few high-quality, well made
items is often cheaper than buying a larger volume of cheaper but poorly
made goods in the long run. Classic, well-made items last season after
season, while cheaper, trendy clothing often passes out of style without
much use.

In my own closet, it's the well-made suits, nice brand bag and good
shoes (re-soled as necessary) that get worn or used year after year,
while the cheaper stuff is recycled fairly quickly.

"Penny-wise and pound foolish," anyone?

============================= EVENT ==================================
G-MAC's "2nd Annual BPM/BPO Forum 2004"
Date: July 13
Location: Aoyama Diamond Hall

This one day forum provides a better understanding of implementing
various BPM/BPO projects thru keynotes, dedicated breakout tracks, and
case studies.

Also, leading solution providers will be presenting free Workshop
sessions providing education and information on the latest technological
advancements, proven best of breed solutions and trends in Business
Process Management & Business process Outsourcing.

Conference Fees --- FREE of charge to the first 30 registrants of the
Japan Inc news letter. Pls. refer to this when registering.
Tel 81-3-5805-6070, email: info@gmacjapan.com www.gmacjapan.com

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Also, check out www.frugaljapan.com, updated monthly!



Feel like taking a nice summer drive in Japan? Well, if you've been
residing in Japan longer than a year, you may not have heard that your
International Driver's License is no longer valid, regardless of your
visa status.

The recent (over two years ago, actually) rule changes have meant that
many foreign residents have had to troop down to their local Testing
Center to either change over their license or acquire a Japanese
license from the start, depending on nationality. Check out this
issue of Tsukuba's Alien Times for information about the changes in
the law, nationality issues and links to information on how to change
over your driver's license:


One FrugalJapan members had this useful tip for frugally passing the
driving test:

"If you want to pass the test in the fewest number of tries, arrange
for at least one lesson at a driving school. You should be able to
arrange for a one-time "help me pass the test" class for about
5000 yen.

There are often driving schools located near the licensing center and
they are the most likely to offer this kind of service. This lesson will
not only help you acquire the skills to pass the test, but will also
let you say that you have taken driving lessons. This will come in
handy if the tester asks you if you have taken any lessons -- answering
in the affirmative seems to put you in higher standing."
(Taken from the Frugal Japan YahooGroups list, July 2, 2004.)

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

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