FW-88 -- Buy Recycled: Good for the Planet and Your Wallet

* * * * * * * * 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, February 13, 2006 Issue No. 88

- Buy Recycled: Good for the Planet and Your Wallet
- Credits

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Yen Mortgages for Women

The Yen mortgage seminar is back with a twist
offering a Japanese-speaking lifestyle seminar
by Resona Bank to Japanese women or foreign
female PR holders.

Date: Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006
Time: 6:30pm (Doors open at 5:30pm)
Venue: The FCC, Yurakucho Denki Bldg., 20F
Cost: FREE! (RSVP required by Feb 24)
For complete details(Japanese only), please go to:

*** Buy Recycled: Good for the Planet and Your Wallet ***

Dear Frugal Readers,

Here at Frugal Watch I've written a lot about how to recycle
your stuff in Japan, be it freecycling, donating, or even
selling online. What I haven't done, however, is talk about
buying recycled items: be it clothing, books, or electronics.

Buying recycled (or used, in real English!) items is actually
quite popular among Japanese, with 84.2% of a recent Fuji
Sankei Living newspaper poll respondents saying they had
purchased used items in the past. The most commonly bought
used items were: books, clothing, children's clothing, CDs/
DVDs, and cars.

For used books, the mother of all shops is, of course,
Book Off. This mega-chain has over 900 stores (500 franchises),
and sells the bulk of Japan's used books. They will buy your
used books (sorry, Japanese books only!) and pick them up from
your house if necessary. Their stores are also a great place to
browse (what better place to pick up cheap cookbooks, magazines,
maps, or even novels to study Japanese?), and they even offer
CDs and DVDs at some locations now. For foreign used books,
in addition to the old favorite Good Day Books in Ebisu
(http://www.gooddaybooks.com/), an online option is available in
the form of http://www.infinitybooksjapan.com (formerly Caravan Books).
They also offer book purchase and credit services.

Used clothing in gaijin adult sizes can be rather hard to
find at the average Japanese "recycle shop" (and do you really want
what they have to offer?), but used children's clothes are usually
a good bargain. A good time to shop is "moving season" (usually
March in Japan, right before corporate transfers and the new school
year starts), and also during "koromogae," which means to change clothes
from one season to another. People usually empty their closets around
April/May or October/November, to coincide with the seasonal change.
Many towns and cities have one or two used children's clothing stores,
sometimes in a larger mall or complex. You can search online (enter
the Japanese "kodomo fuku risaikuru" in Google, along with your city
name) for the location, or choose one of the many online retailers.
Many will also accept clothes for sale.

Finally, electronics! In particular, PCs. Although new PCs are
getting cheaper and cheaper these days, there is still a vibrant
market for used PCs in Japan. The largest retailer of used PCs
in Japan is Sofmap, which sells more used PCs than new. Most of
its PCs are less than two years old, including some very new
models released just a season go. Looking for a simple laptop
to do email, word processing, Internet surfing, and a few other
basic applications? Sofmap offers a Japanese brand 800Mh, 256MB,
15GB hard drive with a CD-ROM drive and Windows already installed
for 47,800 yen. A 2.93GHz, 512MB, 300G hard drive Valuestar with a
huge 17" monitor and DVD multi-drive and TV tuner (i.e. a "multi-
media PC you can use as a TV and DVD player as well) is only
143,800 yen. You can add a 3-year warranty for used PCs as well for
7,500 yen. Check out http://www.sofmap.com for more information!

When you shop smart, "recycled" goods can be quite a bargain

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

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

Copyright 2005 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.