* * * * * * * * 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, October 31, 2004 Issue No. 31
(Sorry for the slight delay - technical problems!)
- What's new
- Weekly Bargain Roundup
- Frugal tips
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========= Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - November Seminar =========
This November, Kaori Sasaki, CEO & President of ewoman Inc & President
of UNICUL International, will present ewoman's Secret of Success. Don't
miss this great opportunity to hear from one of Japan's leading
entrepreneurs. For more information please visit the EA-Tokyo website.
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 2nd 7:00 pm
Location: City Club of Tokyo - Maple Room (Canadian Embassy Complex)
+++ WHAT'S NEW
Dear Frugal Readers,
Happy Halloween! The 31st edition of Frugal Watch on October 31st -- how
fitting is that? As the weather gets colder and the seasons change, you
might be remembering something that you forgot during the pleasant breezes
of summer: how very cold Japanese houses can be in the winter! Wood-built
houses and apartments are especially susceptible to drafts.
Most people deal with the situation by simple turning up the heater, but
there are a few frugal tricks you can use to reduce your heating bill,
and stay toasty warm. Heather Fukase, Frugal Encyclopedia contributor
extraordinaire, has compiled a few hints for Japan's unique 'spot heating'
1)Hot carpet (electric carpet)
If your living room floor is wood or linoleum, placing a mat, towels, rugs
or newspapers between the floor and the hot carpet will provide insulation
and stop heat loss.
2) Fan-forced heater
When selecting a stove look for one with a low-energy mode (sho-ene or
jaku unten). If you don't have small children or animals that may get
burnt, a kerosene-only heater uses no electricity at all, relying instead
on radiant energy. As with an air-conditioning unit, keeping the
thermostat at 22 degrees centigrade will help keep running costs down.
3) Kotatsu (Japanese low table with heat lamp, covered by large coverlet)
Thick equals warm. Changing the futon coverlet for your kotatsu
(kakebuton) from a 3cm-thick one to a 10cm-thick one will save you around
20% energy. If you don't have a 10cm-thick you can double up with two
thinner ones. With a thick mat under the kotatsu (shikibuton) and a thick
futon on top large enough to stop cold air getting in around the edges you
will find that once you use the electric heater to warm the kotatsu you
can turn it off and stay warm for quite some time.
Whichever method you use to heat your house, you can make a big difference
in your heating costs by ensuring that no drafts are getting in and using
thick blinds or curtains on the windows. 10% of heat is lost through
windows so if you don't mind how it looks a layer of clear bubble wrap
fixed to the inside of the window is a good DIY double-glazing trick.
For more information on reducing your energy costs, read the rest of
Heather's article featured on Frugal Japan's Frugal Encyclopedia!
(http://www.frugaljapan.com/encyclopedia/energy.html) Stay warm, folks!
Wendy J. Imura
+++ WEEKLY BARGAIN ROUNDUP ++++
Are you shivering at your PC while reading this too? Well, so are we!
Frugal Watch is in the market for some handy desk heaters, and here is
what we found!
Delonghi Compact Heater HTM02 8,715 yen
Delonghi is a trusted brand for unit heaters in Japan and overseas,
and the product reviews for this inexpensive but powerful heater are good.
While small, the heater does a good job warming up areas around to the
size of 2-3 tatami mats (8-10m2), and is apparently perfect for
under the desk, in the toilet, or in the bathroom. Priced nicely at 25%
off the list price, you also get a 1,000-yen gift certificate to
Amazon.co.jp, as part of a 15-20% 'cash back' program for their home and
kitchen store. When you add in train fare and the pain of carrying a box
home, ordering from Amazon is probably actually cheaper.
NEOT Heat Unit Hot Carpet 1-Jyo KM-10JLU 6,279 yen
I suffer from cold feet under my desk, and also around my legs. Some
'senpai' have suggested a small, 1-jyo or 1.5-jyo (tatami mat size)
hot carpet. The NEOT is the smallest, cheapest hot carpet I could find.
The 1-jyo size is approximately 3.3m2, or big enough for under your
desk. You can also use it under your bum for TV watching, I'm sure.
This product also qualitfies for a 700-yen Amazon gift certificate.
Infared Halogen Foot Heater 10,000 yen
Whether this could be called frugal or not is debatable, but it does
seem like the perfect solution to cold feet. An infared halogen heater
is encased in a wire-mesh box, topped with rather nicely stained wood.
Click the link above -- you've got to see it to believe it. Only in Japan?
Probably. Comes in double or single sizes. It does, however, look perfect
for a desk.
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+++ FRUGAL TIPS
For those of you worried about the folks in Niigata, here is some
information on how you can send relief supplies for free
shipping. Please note that old underwear and blankets are not accepted.
The post office will send emergency relief packages to Niigata for
free if you send them to the Nagaoka City Hall at:
Sawai-machi, 2-Chome 1-1
Saigai Taisaku Honbu
(Ed. note: Actually there are about 15 locations you can send to,
e.g., the Red Cross location in Niigata. See this post office
homepage (Japanese only) for other addresses:
(1) How and What to send:
Items other than cash and which do not require special handling (no
cool items or fragile items)
** Cash can be sent to other locations-- again, see this HP for
Relief Items (clothing, blankets)
Daily amenities (diapers, alcohol spray, towels, saran wrap,
** Must be packed in a "small package (KOTSUTSU YUUBIN BUTSU)" sized
box. Again, no special handling (no cool storage, etc.)
** Please pack only new items and one type of item in each box
(e.g., a box of drinking water, OR a box of food, OR a box of daily
amenities-- do not mix them together)
** Please refrain from sending the following:
- Used underwear or used blankets (even laundered)
- Fresh or perishable foods (no onigiri, etc.)
** Please mark as KYUUENJO YOU ("For Emergency Relief")
** Please label contents CLEARLY on outside of package
** Sender may not request specific distribution of goods
(as in sending to a specific person, village or group.)
** Items may not be sent to gain profit.
** Packages to individuals are not eligible for this service.
The free shipping is only until Nov. 24.
Subscribers: 460 as of October 31, 2004
+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Wendy J. Imura (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Edited by: JI
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