* * * * * * * * 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 19, 2004 Issue No. 25


- What's new
- Special Discount for Frgual Watch Readers!
- Frugal tips
- Credits

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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 'extracirricular learning.'

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 large network of Japanese
individuals interested in providing Japanese lessons to foreigners?
There's 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,
and "share the concept of accepting and supporting people through language
assistance. Some of the volunteers might be trained as language teachers,
however, the nature of activity is not to teach Japanese, but to help
learners' daily life in the community by offering informaion and helping to
solve problems." The TNVN recommends attending a formal Japanese language
school if you want to "study Japanese efficiently."

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is from 1999, and in some cases is out of date.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 database (http://www.tnvn.jp/data/index.cgi).

Sometimes a major problem for foreign women in Japan (either married to
Japanese or ex-pat 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 next class series starts
on September 30th, from 10:30-12:00 AM on Thursdays.

The fee is only Y1000, plus Y200 per session for child care. Call 06-6361-
0838 for details, and note that the class is limited to eight participants.
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 lessons: English conversation for Japanese cooking, British
tea making for kimono lessons.

The frugal will find a way! Enjoy learning!

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura



This week, the Weekly Bargain Roundup will be taking a break as we
bring you the first (hopefully in a series) of special offers for
Frugal Watch readers. This week, in tune with the theme of
learning, we present Tokyo Coach's 'Careering Ahead' workshop.

Read the description below, and if you like what you see, contact

careeringahead@tokyocoach.com. Mention that you're a Frugal Watch
reader, and Tokyo Coach will give you a Y1,000 discount on admission.

Can't beat that! (PS: We recommmend Tokyo Coach's services for
affordable and helpful coaching.)

Careering Ahead!

Are you stuck in a professional rut? At a decision-making point
in your life? Or just feeling the need for some professional
assessment and development?

Take part in a one-day career skills workshop and start
"careering ahead"!

Learn strategies to get results, improve your performance, and
land that long-awaited promotion.

Themes include:
* Evaluating your career,
* Taking risks to promote growth,
* Communication skills that get results,
* Maximizing your career potential
* Handling tough situations

Date: Saturday Oct 23rd, 10 am to 4:30 pm
Place: Waseda Hoshien Seminar House
Registration Fee: Y13,500 including lunch
(Y12,500 with Frugal Watch discount!)
To register: e-mail careeringahead@tokyocoach.com)

For further information, email or call

Paula Sugawara Tel/Fax: 0422-51-9283

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It should go without saying, but...

*Check the price before you agree to purchase an item or service!
I got skunked out of Y21,000 in removal fees for a large PC last
week, simply because I neglected to ask the removal company (a truck
with a driver) how much the service was beforehand. While admittedly
convenient, any number of options, including the large trash
collection and paying the fee, would have been cheaper
than this.

I simply thought that (as common sense should dictate) the pick-up
of a PC monitor, hard drive, printer, keyboard, and mouse (plus box)
would be only around Y5,000-Y6,000. And it appears my common sense
was wrong. (Has this happened to anyone in Japan before?)

So, in short -- ask before you buy or agree to a service. You might
save yourself the kind of nasty surprise I got.


Subscribers: 387 as of September 19, 2004


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

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