J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
* * * * * * * 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, January 31, 2005 Issue No. 42
- What's new (Places to Donate Used Clothing)
- Weekly Bargain Roundup (Decaffeinated Coffee)
- Frugal tips (Travel to Hakone)
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+++ WHAT'S NEW
Dear Frugal Readers,
With winter still in full force, it might be hard to start
imagining spring coming up. However, pretty soon it will be
housecleaning, moving, and packing time for those getting
job transfers or moving. So it would be a good time to
look at a few organizations in Japan that accept used items.
NOTE that these organizations and addresses change frequently,
and although efforts are made to ensure accuracy, please call
ahead to check if your donation would be welcome.
My top recommendation is Jon Kovach's Family Supply Line. His
organization supports the Tokyo Homeless Project, which delivers
warm clothes and food to Tokyo homeless. Other projects include
weekly food drop-offs at a day care center and aid for African
schools. Jon's website (http://www.kovach-services.com/FSL/index.html)
explains the group's activities and needs. The "Needs/Giving"
page in particular outlines what items can and cannot be accepted.
Top wants are: computers (Pentium 2 or higher, mostly sent to
Third World countries), clothes (some are sold at bazaars for
funds, work and other dressy clothes are given directly to the
homeless), canned goods, camping equipment, and good furniture
and electrical appliances. Ken can arrange a pick up if necessary,
but it's even more of a welcome donation if you can pay the
shipping charges. I've donated to this organization before,
and had a great experience.
Another great place to donate unwanted items in good condition
is local churches or volunteer organizations. These are usually
used for their seasonal charity bazaars. Information at these
bazaars can usually be found on church websites, through local
community groups, or even through local international schools.
Remember, when donating an item, make sure that it is clean,
in working condition, and without any visible stains, tears,
or breaks. Anything that does not meet these conditions should
probably be recycled, reused in a different format, or thrown
out (last resort).
Wendy J. Imura
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+++ BARGAIN ROUNDUP (DECAFFEINATED COFFEE) +++
Among items hard to find in Japan, decaffeinated coffee beans
(or instant) ranks right up there, along with size 25.5
women's shoes or really good Mexican food. However, there are
a few options available both online and off. In order to compare
costs accurately, we'll also calculate cost per gram.
Nestle Taster's Choice Decaffeinated Instant Coffee (1,389 yen)
A BIG container of decaffeinated instant coffee is all I could
find on The Flying Pig.com this week - no beans. A devoted user
says one bottle will last several weeks. At 283 grams, this
coffee is 4.9 yen /gram. (However, you probably will get more
cups per container from instant than whole beans or ground.)
Tengu Natural Foods Breakfast Blend Decaf Beans (1,418 yen)
These organic beans come recommended from a Frugal Japan user.
Run by Alishan Organic Center, Tengu's mail order service will
send the beans directly to your door. At 200 grams, the price
per gram is 7.09 yen. Slightly higher than instant, but a 200
gram bag (if used sparingly) can also last several weeks for
Seattle Express Coffee - Decaffeinated Morning Delight, Ground (735 yen)
We have arrived! Foreign Buyers' Club does it again. This 200g
bag of decaffeinated ground coffee can be ordered in single orders
(not bulk cases), and will arrive to your doorstep in 5-7 days. At
3.65 yen/gram, it is also the cheapest of the three stores surveyed.
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+++ FRUGAL TIPS (TRAVEL TO HAKONE)
Hakone remains a popular, and fun, destination for
both Japanese and foreigners alike. Did you know, however, that
persons with passports from overseas can get a special rate at
one of Hakone's best, oldest hotels?
The Fujiya Hotel Hakone is an old, grand hotel, and was one of
the first Western-style hotels in the area. It has a gorgeous
Japanese garden, onsen, and lovely grounds. You can see the
Anyhow, the hotel has an unadvertised special rate for guests from
overseas. You can only use it on weekdays (SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH
THURSDAY NIGHT), BUT basically it allows you to stay in a large
double-bed size room in their older building (very retro) for the
price of $126 US (translated into yen, i.e. the age of the hotel in
dollars.) That's a per room, not per person, price. Meals are
not included, but seeing as the hotel usually costs $300-$400/room,
I do think this is frugal. I visited the hotel on my first trip
through Japan, and have never forgotten it. And yes, the deal is
still good: I called the hotel to confirm it! Just say you are
a "kaigai kara kita gesuto" (whatever nationality you are),
and ask for the special weekday ("heijitsu") rate.
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+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Wendy J. Imura (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Edited by: JI
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