* * * * * * * * 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, September 27, 2005 Issue No. 73
- Frugal Favorites (Back to School)
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+++ FRUGAL FAVORITES (Back to School)
(Note: While Frugal Watch author Wendy Jonas Imura is on
maternity leave, please enjoy a "Blast From the Past" - favorites
from past Frugal Watch issues. Wendy will resume new Frugal
Watch content in late October 2005.)
Dear Frugal Readers,
Maybe it's because I'm originally from the US, but every
September I get a nostalgic "back to school" feeling that
evokes memories of erasers, yellow school buses and
Elmer's Glue. Even though the school year in Japan starts
in April, many private classes and tutors begin in late
September and early October, so now is an excellent
opportunity to check out some good bargains for
One area where many foreigners first want to start is
learning Japanese - a skill both necessary for survival in this
country, and for improving your quality of life. Did you know
that there is a large network of Japanese individuals interested
in providing lessons to foreigners?
There are even special schools and a licensing exam. While
the quality may vary, getting a private teacher (usually
housewives or retired persons with some free time on their hands)
is often a great way to meet people and get individualized
instruction at a good price.
The Tokyo Nihongo Volunteer Network is a good place to start.
The TNVN is a clearinghouse organization of Tokyo-area volunteer
Japanese classes. Its members "share the concept of accepting
and supporting people through language assistance." Some of the
volunteers might be trained as language teachers, but the focus
is not teaching Japanese so much as helping learners acclimate
to daily life in the community. The TNVN recommends attending
a formal Japanese language school if you want to "study Japanese
The TNVN's homepage (http://www.tnvn.jp/indexe.shtml)is fully
bilingual and features a database of local area classrooms. Note
that the English data is from 1999, and in some cases is out of
date. We recommend contacting the group directly, or having a
friend help you access the more readily updated Japanese language
Sometimes a major problem for foreign women in Japan (either
married to Japanese or expat spouses) with small children is finding
time to study Japanese. The Osaka YWCA offers a six-month
series of Japanese classes with child-care provided during the day.
The fee is only 1,000 yen, plus 200 yen per session for child care.
Call 06-6361-0838 for details, and note that the class is limited to
I tried in vain to find a similar class in the Tokyo area: does anyone
know of any?
Learning anything, including Japanese, requires a commitment of
time and resources, but if you look hard enough, you can often
find someone willing to trade Japanese cooking or kimono lessons
for English conversation lessons.
The frugal will find a way! Enjoy learning!
Wendy J. Imura
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Written by: Wendy J. Imura (email@example.com)
Edited by: JI
Copyright 2005 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.