* * * * * * * * 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 25, 2004 Issue No. 018
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- What's new
- Frugal Bargain Roundup!
- Frugal tips
============================= EA ======================================
Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - August 3 Seminar
Featured Speaker: Rick Roa
Title: "Taking the Next Step"
Don't miss EA-Tokyo's August 3 seminar featuring veteran Tokyo
entrepreneur, Rick Roa. Rick will be sharing stories and advice taken
from 35+ years of doing business in Japan. Many of Rick's successes
have come from challenging the norms, and as his presentation title
states, he is always "Taking the Next Step."
+++ WHAT'S NEW
Dear Frugal Readers,
While standing in line last week before a last minute dash to
get shinkansen tickets at a JR Midori Madoguchi ticket window,
a brightly colored pamphlet caught my eye: "The Seishun Juhachi
Kippu season has started again!" With some relief, I knew I'd found
the week's Frugal Watch topic.
The Seishun Juhachi Kippu is Japan's original bargain ticket, and
it's something everyone should try (or think about trying) at least
once. The name translates roughly as "youthful 18 ticket," but
anyone of any age can use it, including foreign tourists, Japanese
nationals and foreign residents.
The deal is simple, as the Japan-Guide Web site explains:
"Five days of unlimited, nationwide travel on local and rapid JR
(Japan Railways) trains for only 11,500 Yen, or 2,300 Yen per day!"
It is only on sale for three periods of the year during school
The next sale period runs from July 1 through August 31, and the
tickets are valid from July 20 through September 10.
The ticket is best suited for folks with some time on their hands,
as (again from the Japan Guide) "the ticket is valid only on local
trains (futsudensha/kakuekiteisha) and rapid trains (kaisoku). It
cannot be used on express (kyuko), limited express (tokkyu) and
bullet trains (shinkansen)."
Some overnight trains can be used. For example, it takes about nine
hours to reach Kyoto from Tokyo (and typically one to four transfers)
using only local and rapid trains, versus three hours via the bullet
train. There is, however, at least a Y5000 savings in price for that
one trip, still leaving four days left to travel.
The ticket is transferrable and non-personal -- meaning you could use
the ticket for five days straight, or you and four friends could use
it for one day if you are all travelling together.
Interested? Check out http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2362.html, which
is Japan-Guide.com's in-depth guide to Seishun Juhachi Kippu travel.
The site even offers sample itineraries to destinations such as
Sapporo (in two days!) or Aomori. While not for the impatient or
faint of heart, the Seishun Juhachi Kippu offers a fun and frugal
way to get around Japan at a decidedly slower pace.
Wendy J. Imura
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+++ FRUGAL BARGAIN ROUNDUP!
(Today's theme: Tools for Teachers)
* Ohm A3 Size TLH-32C Laminator
Eminently practical! Produces durable teaching materials, recipes,
information sheets, hall passes, et cetera. Only Y11,945 through
www.theflyingpig.com. Laminating film also available on sale.
* Sandylion Disney Princess Stickers -- 1000
Disney characters aimed at 3-year-olds in the US are, oddly,
popular among the high school female set here. 1000 stickers for
Y1,573; enough to last several years or through five games of Fruit
Basket. Features the famous Disney Princesses, from theflyingpig.com.
* Ghirardelli Premium Double Chocolate Brownie Mix -- 4 Pouches
Admit it: You bribe your students with food. This double chocolate
brownie mix is not only yummy, but it can also be made in your four-
function toaster/microwave/oven/flying saucer box. The 2.5 kg weight
will make tons of brownies, but will hopefully not be transferred to
your hips. Guaranteed to last for months at Y1,214.
*All Bargain Roundup bargains were found courtesy of
www.theflyingpig.com, bringing Costco goods at great prices to
those living far away.
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+++ FRUGAL TIPS
Tokyo Pools: Getting there Frugally
Yes. It's hot. Very. Very. Very. Hot.
As you stare longingly at the underused elementary school pool
in your neighborhood, you might be happy to know that there are
some *splashing* water parks near Tokyo. Here I'll introduce
two that might not cost an arm and leg, plus one tip for getting
even cheaper pool tickets.
*The 'Seaside Pool' at the Funenokagakukan (Museum of Marine Science)
is a lovely, 200m-round seaside pool, plus additional pools. Located
at the Yurikamome Line Fune-no-Kagakukan station. Usually Y1,800 for
adults, but only Y1,600 per adult and Y800 per child when this
online coupon is printed out (scroll to bottom of the screen).
*Rainbow Pool at Showa Kinen Park
360m-round pool, plus 8 other pools, open July 17 through September
12. Only a 3-minute walk from JR Ome Line Nishi-tachikawa station.
Cost is Y2,250 for adults, Y1200 ages 6-15, and Y300 for children
under 3, however pre-sold tickets carry a roughly Y400 discount,
and the "Sunset" (after 2 PM) tickets are Y1,100, Y600, and Y150
My final tip: Check your local kinken shop for discounted tickets
to local suburban amusement parks and attractions. I've bought Tobu
Zoo tickets for Y500 a piece (usually Y1700), and see Toshimaen Pool
tickets (usually Y3,800) for Y1,800. These tickets are not very
"liquid" (i.e., they don't change hands much), so the shops discount
them a fair amount.
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