FW-70 -- Kuru-Kuru Plaza: A New Type of Recycling Center

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, September 6, 2005 Issue No. 70

- What's New (Kuru-Kuru Plaza: A New Type of Recycling Center)
- Frugal Friends: ("Tokyo Day Tripper" Emily Dixon)
- Frugal Tips (Tips on Sending Things Within Japan)
- Credits

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Language: English
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+++ WHAT'S NEW (Kuru-Kuru Plaza: A New Type of Recycling Center)

Dear Frugal Readers,

While enjoying dinner at a friends' apartment last night, I
complimented them on their nice coffee table. With a grin,
they let me know that it was a salvage from their neighbor's
"sodai gomi" pile. Then they let me in on a little secret:
"In fact, all the furniture you see in our house is recycled."
How did they manage that? There're very few reliable
recycling shops in our area of suburban Osaka. That's when
they told me about Kuru Kuru Plaza - a type of recycling
center that is definitely worthy of mention.

Kuru Kuru Plaza is the official name for the Suita City
Resource Recycle Center. The Center's stated goals are: "to
promote reducing garbage, recycling, and reusing by developing
bicycle/household goods repair and advice [sic], citizen
studios for making recycled goods, clothing remodeling,
etc. classes, lectures, events, and research events by
citizen researchers."

The facility features a "giving and receiving corner," where
things no longer used in a household but still useful(books,
clothing, other items) can be brought in and taken home by
people who have a need for them. The center is open daily
from 9:30-4:30, and visitors are limited to ten "takeaway
items" each. The corner appears to be very well used:
in 2004 alone, some 131,213 items were brought in, while
113,881 items were taken home. Crafts (postcards, clothing,
etc.) made from recycled items are sold at the studio where
they are made. Abandoned bicycles are refurbished on-site
and sold by lottery (closed auction system) on the 16th of
every month.

Finally, every year the center holds a large fair where
refurbished bicycles and furniture are sold by the same
lottery system. Old or unwanted furniture is brought to the
center, cleaned, stripped, and revarnished, and then put up
for auction. My friends reported that a large crowd of
Japanese and foreign visitors attended the auction, and they
(as well as many others) walked away with beautiful,
high-quality furniture for a fraction of what it might have
cost otherwise. The next Kuru Kuru Plaza fair will be held
in October 2005.

(See http://www.gcn-osaka.jp/recycle/rg01-03-01.html for
information in English, call for information on the date of
the latest fair.)

Don't live near Osaka? Don't despair - there are a number of
these facilities of various types throughout Japan. I compiled
a partial list of links to those in major metropolitan areas
below. Most welcome the participation of local citizens. If
you want to search on your own, ask your local city government
about a nearby "shigen saisei sentaa" (resource renewal center),
"riisaikuru senntaa" (recycle center), or "shimin risaikuru
center" (local recycling center). Regrettably, most websites
are currently in Japanese only.

Hakodate Recycle Center (refurbished bikes, furniture sold)
Niigata Eco Plaza
*Offers small refurbishing workshop, recycle shop, and
furniture corner
Tokyo Adachi-Ku Recycle Center
Funabashi-shi Saisei Center
*Nice looking used furniture mart, baby/children's
clothing center
Kamakura Recycle Suishin Kaigi
*Sponsors flea market 5x a year, also offers classes.
Nagoya City Recycling Promotion Center
*Offers refurbished bicycles, furniture fairs, recycle shop
Mino, Osaka Recycle Center/Citizen Workshops

As both a place to locate cheap, high-quality furniture and
goods, as well as a place to get rid of unwanted items, these
centers are worth checking out!

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

PS: The above list is by no means complete. The facilities
go by different names in different localities, and some
private companies or recycling plants also use the katakana
name "riisaikuru sentaa," so be careful in your search.

============== ICA Event - Sept 15 ============
Presenter: Daniel Lintz, Director of Corporate
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Topic: Security Threats in Japan: Changing Attitudes,
the Legal Framework, & Credit Card Industry Countermeasures

RSVP Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday, Sept 15, 2005
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

+++ FRUGAL FRIENDS ("Tokyo Day Tripper" Emily Dixon)

Welcome to a new section on Frugal Watch: Frugal Friends!
In this corner, we introduce foreign-owned or foreigner-friendly
businesses and services around Japan. If you know of a Frugal
Friend-worthy business, or would like to introduce your own
business to our 1,000+ readers, email Wendy J. Imura

**** Tokyo Day Tripper (www.tokyodaytripper.com) **
Having family visit Japan soon? Ever interested in exploring a
new part of Tokyo, but at a loss as to where/how to go? Tokyo
resident Emily Dixon offers a unique solution to your problems:
Tokyo Day Tripper! Featuring "fun, unique and original programs
exploring Tokyo's best-kept secrets," this service might be
just want you were looking for.

Emily's tours include a full-day tour of Kamakura's secret
temple gardens, a "We Love Cafes" tour of Tokyo's trendy
Shimokitazawa district, a "Girl's Day Out" with a pedicure or
back/shoulder massage at a local salon and delicious lunch,
an afternoon kimono party (with the chance to try on and be
photographed in a real kimono!), or a tour of Tokyo's famous
Tsukiji fish market. Prices range from 4,000 to 29,000 yen
(including bullet train tickets). While not as cheap as
struggling around with a Lonely Planet map on your own,
Emily's unique perspective on Tokyo and full-service, small
group tours are certain to make for a memorable experience.

Interested? Contact Emily at info@tokyodaytripper.com to
register for your tour. She can also be reached at
090-3916-9435 (8am - 10pm) or 81-3-3481-1788 outside of
Japan. Her well-designed homepage (www.tokyodaytripper.com)
offers details on all the tours, prices, and also options
for individualized tour packages. Check it out!

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+++ FRUGAL TIPS (Tips on Sending Things Within Japan)
Bought something from an email list or friend? Need to send
something to someone cash-on-delivery? Check out the following
tips from Tell and Sell Japan about some little-explored, and
little-explained, post office savings options in Japan.


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

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