* * * * * * * * 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, November 14, 2004 Issue No. 33

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

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========================ICA Event ==============================
ICA Nov 18 Event
PRESENTER: Philip Parker: CEO of P.J. Parker & Co.
TOPIC: Opportunities for Foreign Vendors in the Japanese
Telecommunications Market
RSVP required
Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday, Nov 18, 2004
Time: 6:30 Doors open, sit down dinner included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members),
Open to all - Location is Foreign Correspondents'
Club http://www.fccj.or.jp/static/aboutus/map.php

====================== Pygmalion by G.B. Shaw ========================
The International Theatre Company London's 20th performance in Japan
features a classic comedy about the transformation of a flower girl
into a society lady. This original version of My Fair Lady promises
an evening of great entertainment. Public performances in Kyoto, Nov 9
and Tokyo, Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. Please see
for details
on the venues. The production is supported by
the British Council and sponsored by Ashley Associates

Dear Frugal Readers,

Ever come to the end of your pay period and realize you have less than
10,000 yen to live on for a week? It happens a lot in Japan, even if you're
the author of a Frugal E-zine! In our case, we had a large tax bill, several
business trips, and other items that required payment up front this month.
As a result, our cash flow (ie, how much money is left in the main bank
account) is lower than I'd like it to be. While I've come a long way from
searching under couch cushions for 10yen coins and charging my groceries (yes,
I have done both), I'm still not happy about this.

Luckily, we have savings and a plan for dealing with times like this, but
if you don't -- how can you avoid scraping the bottom of the proverbial money
barrel, as it were. Here are two helpful hints I've found:

*Practically speaking, you'll do best if you arrange to pay all of your
bills or obligations as soon after your salary is paid as possible. That way,
there are fewer surprises toward the end of the month. In Japan, most
companies pay salary around the 20th or 25th of the month, while rent,
utilities, and other bills are usually due by the end of the month or
first of the next month. If you arrange for automatic withdrawal, be sure
to write down the date of the withdrawal on your calendar -- not having
enough cash in your bank account will result in a negative tick on your
credit rating. Likewise, if you are paying back student loans or send money
home regularly, set a date each month close to your payday to do the sending.

*If you're like most people, many of your major expenses over the year
(plane tickets home, auto insurance payments, tax bills, etc.) can be
predicted. If you know you want to plan a trip home in December, or a vacation
in Thailand during April, start saving money for your tickets several
months ahead of time. A 120,000-yen ticket can be a budget-busting expense all
at once, but divided into three months of 40,000 yen, it's much easier. I have
several bank accounts for this purpose, and transfer a set amount in at the
beginning of each month for my projected large expenses.

Finally, keeping daily track of your expenses using a Japanese household
accounts book (called a 'kakeibo') is a great way to both study the language
and get a handle on how much you are spending. I'll discuss how to do this
another week, but for the time being a little planning will probably help
you avoid another barrel-scraping kind of month.

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

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This week's Bargain Roundup is seasonal again -- this time, just in time
for Thanksgiving. To non-Americans, my apologies. As a yearly Thanksgiving
chef, I've cooked for anywhere from 10 to 35 people, most often in
Japan. In fact, I even broke my convection oven last year with a too-big
turkey! (a true story) Needless to say, I'll be looking for a reasonably
priced, yet yummy, bird to fill our needs, plus the traditional side dishes.
After years of cooking in Japan, here are my top choices.

Jenny-O Frozen Turkey (10-12 lbs, or 5.1kg) 4,280 yen
Foreign Buyer's Club (www.fbcusa.com)
FBC has, consistently, the widest range of turkey sizes available.
Plus, they ship anywhere in Japan, and I've yet to fail to have their
birds turn out well. The 10-12 lb. size is the maximum I've found that
will fit in a Japanese convection oven (it measures approx 31x21x16cm).
The bird arrives frozen, and should be defrosted in cool water the day
before you intend to cook it. I recommend Reynold's Oven Bags
(available at most Kinokuniya grocery stores) for a moist yet lovely
brown finish to the meat. Plus, no worries about basting, brining, or

FBC Fall Special Thanksgiving Pack (1 set) 1,830 yen
Call: 078-857-9001/ Fax: 078-857-9005
One of the best bargains in terms of side dishes available, the Thanksgiving
Pack includes all of the hard-to-find ingredients for traditional thanksgiving
dishes. This includes pumpkin paste, evaporated milk, and all spices for
pumpkin pie, stuffing mix, and jellied cranberry sauce. All for a very good
price. A must have!

Costco Wholesale Fresh-Baked Dinner Rolls 719 yen
Cooking for a crowd? The best place for dinner rolls, in volume, I've found
is Costco. The Flying Pig stocks many Costco bakery items, including these
poppy seed rolls. The website notes "Expiry date two days after shipping,
but they should be fine for a week." My expeirence says that yes, the rolls
do last a long time, but you probably should toast them a few days later.

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A winter tip from a frugal mom on the Frugal Japan list:
"Just wanted to share my discovery today that if you cut off the toes
of a pair of old wool tights, you've got perfect winter pants for
baby! The top (waist of the tights) covers his chest and they're
real soft and warm (and he shouldn't outgrow them anytime soon).
I've also read that wool is good as a diaper cover as it absorbs

I'm so pleased that I could recycle my tights and I've gotten so many
comments on baby's nice new pants today! :-)"

Keep warm!

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

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