FW-66 -- Frugal 'Puchi Cerebu'

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, August 2, 2005 Issue No. 66
+++ INDEX

- What's New (Frugal 'Puchi Cerebu')
- Frugal Friends: (Looking Good, Cheaply, in Chiba)
- Frugal Tips (Japanese Homestyle Cooking in English)
- Credits

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+++ WHAT'S NEW (Frugal 'Puchi Cerebu')

Dear Frugal Readers,

What is a 'puchi cerebu'? It's a bit of a buzzword, really,
that you might have heard on the Japanese media recently.
"Puchi" means "little" or "mini"(like "puchi bakansuu" for a
"mini-vacation," or "puchi ritaiyaa" for a "mini-retirement),
while 'cerebu' is the katakana-ized version of "celebrity."
In short, the phrase means something like a "mini-celebrity,"
and is usually used to describe mindful splurges by otherwise
frugal people on things that make them happy - or make them
feel like a "miniature celebrity."

I am a firm believer in frugality with a purpose - if you're just
scrimping and saving with no joy or end goal in mind, then you
probably will either: 1) be miserable, or 2) won't be frugal for very
long. Even people forced into frugality through unfortunate
circumstances such as a lost job, sudden illness, or other
factors should leave a wee bit of room in their budgets for an
occaisonal treat. In Japan, all the dismal, gray concrete, small living
spaces, and culture shock can really bear down on you
sometimes, and I find these treats, or 'gohobi,' particularly
important. Thus - today's suggestion of a few bargain (relatively)
"puchi cerebu" experiences.

What are some suggestions? Well, deluxe city hotels offer some
great deals during the Obon week, when most guests and
business travellers head for the hills. Weekend stays are, of
course, quite expensive, but mid-week deals are a real steal.
For example, the Cerulean Tower Tokyo Hotel (that immense
40F skyscraper south of Shibuya Station) offers a number of
packages, including a 'Mid-Summer 10-Day Deal' of 10,000
yen per person for a non-smoking, 'city-view' twin room from
August 6-16th. Given that the average room price is 19,735 yen
per person, this is almost a 50% discount! (Prices vary by day.)
Interested in other luxury hotel steals/deals? Check out
www.ikyu.com (Japanese only).

If you're looking for a slightly different 'celebrity' option, why not
try a facial or pedicure (for ladies)? Dashing Diva Salon in Tokyo
has monthly 'nail parties,' costing 10,000 yen for a luxury peidcure,
manicure, massage, and drinks, all sponsored by Being a Broad.
The next is on August 6th (email info@being-a-broad.com for more
information).

Men, in case I've lost your attention, why not consider a full- or
half-day rental of a luxury car? One unique service in Tokyo
(30,000 or 15,000 yen/month) offers members special pricing
on half or full-day rentals on a number of luxury automobiles,
including a new BMW 320 (E90) for 10,800 yen for 12-hours,
or an Alpha Romeo GTV for 10,800 yen/day (weekday special).
They'll even drive the car to your home or a nearby railway station
for 2,000 yen! Interested? Visit http://www.spacewin.jp/ for the
"Kaiinsei Gaisha Club" (Import Car Exclusive Membership Club).
Unfortunately, the website is in Japanese only.

Now, the 'puchi cerebu' experience is not for every cheapskate -
some frugal folk are, rightly, uncomfortable spending money on
things they view as frivolous. People like this would be better off
saving their money! But, if you are a Frugalite with expensive
tastes at heart, then the 'puchi cerebu' experience is probably
right up your alley.

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

========== Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo ===
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================================================

+++ FRUGAL FRIENDS (Looking Good, Cheaply, in Chiba: J-Cool) ++++

Welcome to a new section on Frugal Watch: Frugal Friends! In this
corner, we introduce foreign-owned or foreigner-friendly businesses and
services around Japan. If you know of a Frugal Friend-worthy business,
or would like to introduce your own business to our nearly 1,000 readers,
email Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch@japaninc.com)!

**** J-Cool (http://www.j-cool-japan.com/) ***********
Longtime Frugal Japan/Frugal Watch supporter Shaney Crawford
recommends this hidden jewel of a hair salon in Tsukuba, a
university town in Ibaraki with a large number of foreign residents.
Shaney swears by Kubota-san's excellent service and reasonable
prices, and told us a bit more about J-Cool.

"The shop is called J-Cool and it is owned by Masaru Kubota.
Masaru has studied in both the US and Japan and opened his
shop with the express purpose of catering to the foreign population
in Tsukuba. He can speak in English and he is working on training
his staff to speak English too. He has experience dealing with a
variety of hair types and styles."

Finding a reliable barber/hair stylist in Japan that doesn't cost an
arm and a leg is something I view as a necessity to a happy
long-term stay in Japan. Interested? Check out the website
(designed by Shaney) at: http://www.j-cool-japan.com/

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---------------------------------------------------

+++ FRUGAL TIPS (Japanese Homestyle Cooking in English)
From a recent FrugalJapan YahooGroups post:

"Cooking at home is more frugal than going out...
Cooking indigenous foods is more frugal than cooking imported ones...

Cooking Japanese foods homestyle with Yasuko-san's recipes is a
good way to go!

http://www.nsknet.or.jp/~tomi-yasu/index_e.html

"Yasuko-san's Home Cooking" features illustrated recipes organized by
category, and information on ingredients and condiments.
A useful and pretty site."
(ES, #2698)
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+++ ABOUT US

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

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