* * * * * * * * 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 (unless you read this!), written
and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.

Regular edition, September 26, 2004 Issue No. 26


- What's new
- Weekly Bargain Roundup
- Frugal tips
- Credits

SIGN UP FOR FREE!: Send a blank email to

=========================== NEWS =======================================
FREE Japan Daily Business Briefs from Nikkei
Stay in touch with the latest news on the industries and
topics of interest to you with News by E-mail.
* Over 60 categories to choose from.
* Daily delivery to your inbox.
* Available in regular and mobile e-mail formats.
Register for your free News by E-mail account today:



Dear Frugal Readers,

Every once in a while, I like to recharge my "frugal batteries" by
reading one of the ubiquitious tip lists or frugal resources in my
library. If you're wondering what these books/websites are, check out
the resource list on the Frugal Japan Web site:


I recently gained a new addition to my resource collection in Japanese:
the monthly Ohanashi Salad newsletter from my organic coop featured a
special "EcoLife" section in September, and I thought I'd share some of
their unique ideas for trash reduction, efficient energy usage and
recycling that I gleaned. Here are a few highlights:

Efficient Energy Use

*"Reducing the amount of 'stuff' in my house has made cleaning easier
and improved air flow. We no longer need to use the air conditioner."

*"One night a week, I have a romantic 'candle night.' We use candles
for reading/dining, and don't use electricity." (Editor's Note: Be
mindful of the potential for fires!)


*"I food process leftover vegetables (excluding onions) into a paste,
and freeze it. The paste can be added to soups or sauces to give it
extra flavor."

*"When making 'nimono' (simmered dishes) or other similar dishes, I take
the pot off the stove when the the dish is about 2/3 cooked, and then
wrap it in a bath towel. The lingering heat cooks the rest of the food,
saving on gas expenses and preventing overcooking."


*"Coffee grounds and tea leaves can be mixed in with potting soil for
extra nutrients."

*"I rip up old telephone books into sections two or three pages thick.
I use these for wiping up leftover oil in frypans. They are also useful
for wiping my hands, lining refrigerator drawers, or wrapping

Some of the above tips may be old news to you, others may be useful.
The resourcefulness of Japanese folks of a certain age never ceases
to suprise me. I did find this final piece of advice from a 30-year-old
housewife quite revealing:

"The most important thing to me is NOT trying to have a more
convenient lifestyle. In other words, not getting too used to too much

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura



This week's Bargain Roundup returns with ... (trumpets please)
frugal gadgets!

Called "setuyaku goods" in Japanese, these frugal gadgets claim
to save you tons of money in water, gas, or electricity bills.
Are the claims true? I can't tell you, but I can introduce
a few interesting looking products.

*The Eco-Watt Electricity Use Measurement Device
Price: Y2,940

This is so cool! The Eco-Watt is a simple device that lets you know
how much electricity you use with your appliances. Simply plug
Eco-Watt into your outlet and plug your appliance into the Eco-Watt.

The EcoWatt will display how many kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricy
your item uses, and will display the cost of that electricity.
(Energy costs are set at Y25 per 1KWh, and the unit is designed for
indoor use with items under 1200Watts.)
The EcoWatt is available from a variety of vendors, but I found it


*The Multi-Function, Water-Saver Shower Head
Cost: Usually Y5,980 - Availble at Rakuten.com for Y2,480

Savings: Approximately Y21,600/year in water and gas costs.
This shower head works by stopping the water, and then releasing
it again, thus improving water pressure -- something that residents
of top-floor condominiums will appreciate, too. Adjustable height
and 360-degree rotation are also two additional features.


*Sanpatsuki Hair Cutter
Cost: MSRP Y15,000 Rakuten Price: Y8,379

Frugal Japan YahooGroups list members apparently love to cut their
own and their family members' hair. This "Flowbee" like clipper
and vacuum-sucker hair cutter might be a helpful tool. The product
advertises easy cleanup and three potential haircuts:
short boys'/mens' cuts, bozu (the skinhead cut popular among
Japanese highschool baseball players), and short girls'/womens'
bob haircuts. Personally, I get a professional
to do the job for me, but for the adventurous at heart,
here is the URL:


>>>>-------------<< ADVERTISEMENT >>------------------<

Interested in all-things-frugal in Japan - in real time?
Join the Frugal Japan e-list at YahooGroups for Japan's
only "all-frugal, all-the-time" network of like-minded
folk. Send a blank email to
frugaljapan-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to subscribe.

Also, check out www.frugaljapan.com, updated monthly!

So you expect me to provide you with a frugal tip after the whole
newsletter is devoted to frugal tips? Okay, I will!

One last tip from the Ohanashi Salad newsletter:

"I realized that, when I'm in a hurry, my activities produce a lot
of waste and use up a lot of electricity. For example: if I'm running
late for work, I'll often drop by the convenience store to grab
breakfast, or use a taxi to get to work instead of the train.
In short: my philosophy for an ecological lifestyle is to make
sure I have plenty of time to get where I'm going, and
to do what I need to do."


Subscribers: 400 as of September 26, 2004


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

SIGN UP: Send a blank email to

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor at frugal-editors@japaninc.com

For more information on advertising in this newsletter:

Copyright 2004 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.