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, December 5, 2004 Issue No. 36

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

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Dear Frugal Readers,

Having just about entirely exhausted the frugal grocery options in my
local area (and on-line), I thought I'd tell you about a new type of
discount grocery store: the "gyomu suupaa," or wholesale supermarket.
A wholesale supermarket is simply a supermarket that stocks its shelves
without using a middleman. They order directly from manufacturers, and
also usually have private brand merchandise as well. The original
wholesale market is, as we all know, Costco. However, while four Costco
outlets do exist in Japan, with others expected to open soon, it can
sometimes be hard for either city dwellers without an automobile, or for
folks in rural Japan, to get to them. The gyomu suupa is a nice backup

There are many chains of gyomu suupa in Japan: A Price, Gyomu Suupa,
Pro's Fadie, and many others. They can be most easily be found by
looking up "gyomu-yo shokuhin suupaa" in the Town Pages (Japan's version
of the Yellow Pages or phone book), or on-line, or simply by asking
around. These stores are also known as restaurant supply stores, and
might feature cleaning supplies, paper plates and napkins, and dishes as
well as cheap food. Most chains have locations mostly in suburban areas.
(Note: Gyomu-yo shokuhin suupaa literally means "professional-use food

Gyomu suupaa offer a consistent 5-10 percent off the manufacturer's
retail price, and also offer larger volume packaging. While daily
specials at your local supermarket might be cheaper occasionally, the
gyomu suupaa are a good place to buy items you use frequently or in
volume, that are hard to find in your local supermarket (such as baking
supplies), or that are for semi-prepared foods. Drinks, bottled water,
coffee, tea, and other supplies tend to be reasonably priced here as well.

Finally, gyomu suupaa are a good place for creative chefs to find
time-saving items, such as frozen foodstuffs for Japanese obentos, soup
mixes, desserts, fried-food starters (fried shrimp with the breading
already on, etc.). If you like to experiment, try buying gyomu suupaa
curry mixes. They are designed specifically to be a little generic, so
that restaurants using them can add their own unique blend of spices to
the mix. In some cases, you might find usually hard-to-find foreign foods
at these supermarkets at very good prices.

In short, gyomu suupaa are a good "in between" stop, positioned
somewhere between your local supermarket for daily items and
Coscto/mail order for specialty items. Note that with such large
packages, you might want to bring a trolly, bags, or hire a taxi
if you are shopping on foot. Enjoy!

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

PS: Here is a link to A-Price, one chain of gyomu suupaa I have
visited the most. They have stores in both Kanto and Kansai.

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This week's Bargain Roundup will be taking a break, as I use this space
to advertise a real need - for male frugal correspondents. As a gal,
most of my frugal friends are women, and thus I have plenty of
information on feminine frugality: cooking, buying children's clothing,
women's shoes, cleaning supplies, and many other topics are well covered.
Check out FrugalJapan.com, and you'll see - the Frugal Tips and Frugal
Encyclopedia topics have a decidedly feminine stamp.

Well, that's all well and good, but I do realize that I am neglecting
half (at least half) of my reader population here. So I'd like to call
on all manly frugalites to help me out. I'm interested in contacting
with two or three male correspondents to both write FrugalJapan.com
content, and send me tips on more manly frugal information. Topics
could include: where to buy PC parts, video games, used cars, MP3s,
gadgets, and other information cheaply, where to buy men's clothes
and shoes cheaply, what are good sports/entertainment buys you've had
recently - you get the idea. The correspondents really don't have to be
men - if you've got good information on the above categories, I don't
care what gender you are!

I do pay for well-researched online content additions to FrugalJapan.com,
so this could be good news for your wallet as well. If you are
interested, drop me an email at wkjonas2001@yahoo.com, including your
name, where you live in Japan, and include a few ideas for
FrugalJapan.com articles. Thanks!
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Visited FrugalJapan.com lately? The sister website to FrugalJapan
YahooGroup is loaded with useful information, including the Frugal
Tips of The Month Treasury, the Frugal Encyclopedia, and other

Check out:

Frugal Shoe Tips (December's Monthly Tips)

Travel: Frugal Flights (November's Monthly Tips)

Travel: Cheap Places to Stay in Japan (October's Monthly Tips)

Looking for some ways to reduce that heating bill? Check out Frugal
Encyclopedia author Heather Fukase's article on how to reduce your
energy bills!

Enjoy, and keep saving those yennies!

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

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