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Crashing Japan - Pop Japan Travel: Day 1


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Ergzay



Joined: 04 Apr 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:08 am Reply with quote
Wow, must I say this is a great new strip. Very Happy
I've alwasy wanted to go to japan.

First post!
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MeggieMay



Joined: 08 Jun 2004
Posts: 602

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:50 am Reply with quote
It's always a good reminder that check cards and ATM's are not always available in other countries and you should check on the situation if possible before you go. As well, you can still run into problems trying to use check cards in the the U.S., though it has gotten a whole lot better the last few years finding stores that take them and/or ATMs that are open and safe to use 24/7. However, you're still risking it IMO at many conventions if you depend on them because the ones closest to the convention sites often run out of money over the weekend and aren't re-stocked until Monday (or Tuesday if it's a Holiday). [However, around 15 years ago if you came into the U.S. with a check card from another country you could run into major problems. I know that one from experience - I helped look after a fan from Australia who was over for a visit during that time frame and we couldn't find a ATM that would take her check/debit card anywhere Confused ].

Which brings me to a question - what about Travelers checks/cheques? Any idea on how hard they are to use in Japan? Personally I've found it very problematic to use Travelers checks here in the U.S. since the mid '90's. My late mother always swore by them and use to make me buy them if I was going on a trip but the last time I really bought any for a trip (about five years ago) I spent half the convention I was at trying to find someone to cash them for me (ended up using the ATM instead) Mad.
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WEKS



Joined: 19 Nov 2004
Posts: 82
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:25 am Reply with quote
Awesome column! Very Happy
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kusanagi-sama



Joined: 22 Aug 2004
Posts: 1689
Location: Wichita Falls, TX

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:58 am Reply with quote
Quote:
In 1995, the credit card industry in the State of California made $110 million worth of transactions. Comparatively, in 2000, the credit card industry in Japan did 30 trillion yen worth of transactions, by the end of 2005 this amount is expected to grow to 40 trillion yen. With 1 quarter as many inhabitants, California does 3 times as much credit card transactions.


This doesn't quite make sense as 40 trillion yen is about 357 billion dollars, so how does California do 3 times as many credit card transactions and in '95 only did $110 million dollars worth of transactions?
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 8663
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:01 am Reply with quote
kusanagi-sama wrote:

This doesn't quite make sense as 40 trillion yen is about 357 billion dollars, so how does California do 3 times as many credit card transactions and in '95 only did $110 million dollars worth of transactions?


That part was written a long time ago, and I can't find the source (kick me for not listing it), so I've removed it.

I'm not sure if I got my conversion wrong, or if I wrote down trillion instead of billion, or...

-t
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SuperOnizuka



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 421
Location: When I look At the World- New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:08 am Reply with quote
And I always thought that credit cards were welcomed there...

The other tour guide didn't like the fact that Kikue-san changed the tour itnerary? But it was so much more efficient doing what she did.
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SpringFaery



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:33 am Reply with quote
I think this is new, but when I was over there, I could use my US debit card at any post office ATM to withdraw cash. There was probably a fee and I think there was a limit as to how much you could withdraw in a day, but it was much easier to find a post office ATM than an international one.

As for traveller's cheques, most post offices (as long as they're big enough) and all banks will exchange them for you. However, I think those are only open business hours Monday through Friday, so you're screwed on the weekends.
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mako



Joined: 14 Jun 2005
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:25 pm Reply with quote
Although I'm a Japanese native, I always find this kind of article interesting. I guess I'm always curious about how foreign people think of Japan.

This article was especially interesting to me because my husband and I went to Kyoto and visited the same places this past winter. Although this was his third trip to Japan, we had never done serious sight seeing before. So we decided to stay there longer this time and do some sight seeing. We went to see Kabuki and visited the Ghibli museum in Tokyo. When we were in Kyoto, we took a one day bus tour to visit temples and shrines.

Anyway, I wanted to tell people how we prepare the money when we go to Japan so that this may help those who are planning a visit to Japan. Our average stay there is 8-10 days and we usually take 30,000-50,000 yen in cash (about US$270-450 with the current exchange rate) and about $1,500-2,000 in travelers check. This is because, as the article suggests, many places still do their businesses only in cash. We try using credit cards whenever we can so that we can keep the cash for those places that don't take credit cards.

As for the travelers checks, you should bring them in US$ and exchange them there because the exchange rate in Japan is a lot better than the one in the US. The only problem with this is when you are in a tour group, you may not be able to exchange it with cash that easily since you either have to find the time to go to a bank or you have to be staying at a hotel that has a money exchange service desk. But if you are not on a tour, I definitely recommend that you bring travelers checks in US$ and exchange them in Japan. (and if you have flexible schedule all the time, I suggest you don't change the money all together so that if you have some money left, all you have to do is bring the TCs back and depost them into your bank acount so that you don't lose out any money in the currency exchange.)

Oh, of course, you don't really have to bring $1,500-2,000. We do so because we visit Akihabara and get a whole bunch of anime stuff. (we noticed that a lot of stores these days take credit cards, though.)

Sorry that this message got long, but I guess I was excited to read the article and see people's postings. Anime smile
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.Sy



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 1266

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Great column! If I ever go anywhere outside the U.S., I always have to know what I'm eating. Usually I can go with vegetables, tho' I was once able to be persuaded to try snake meat (it was good, tatses like tender chicken). Many places in China also only accept cash, and a lot of people pay large amounts using cash unlike in North America.
Quote:
As Aka-san stated, “Mug someone in Japan, and you’ll be rich.”
Twisted Evil
Quote:
(though both styles of breakfast are more or less equally popular in Japan).
The link there doesn't work in the article.
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Tempest
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:58 pm Reply with quote
.Sy wrote:
The link there doesn't work in the article.


oops, fixed the links.
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The Ramblin' Wreck



Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Posts: 924
Location: Teaching Robot Women How To Love

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:04 pm Reply with quote
Great article.

I'm reading with great intrest because I'm planning a trip to Japan myself next summer with my old college roommates. (Thank god they were Japanese minors and studied abroad there, so I was already warned....)

If there is such an issue with checks and credit cards, do they have a more open policy on Traveler's Checks? I read Mako's remarks (also very helpful), but do stores take them, or are you stuck searching for a bank?
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Aya



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:40 pm Reply with quote
I recently went to Nagoya for ten days (one of the better known cities in Japan ^^) and I brought most of my spending money in the form of traveller's cheques. Big mistake. Only large department stores accepted them where I went (and even then, there are some department stores that have smaller privately owned shops crammed together, in which case they don't accept the traveller's cheques.)

When I showed it to my aunt (who is living in Japan) she said the only places that would be able to cash them that she knew of were the post offices and banks, and by the time I showed them to her it was on a day the bank wasn't open. I'd spent the first 6 days or so travelling back and forth from my grandmother's house so I didn't get to do any shopping. In the last four days, when I was supposed to shop, I found out that I couldn't use them until I cashed them, and those places were closed.

Next time I go to Japan, I'll just bring everything in cash form unless I'm staying there for a considerable amount of time. It's just not worth the security of having the cheques if I can't even spend them when I want to.
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Tempest
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:56 am Reply with quote
It's really a tough call what to do when going to Japan.

You can take a wad of cash, but the risks inherent in that are obvious.

Alternatively you can take your ABM card, but make sure you always have several days worth of spending money on you, because it might take several days before you get a chance to withdraw more cash (Not that hard if you're staying in one place and locate the nearest Post Office ABM).

Or finally, you can go with travellers checks. The right way to handle them will be very similar to handling the ABM card, bring cash with you on the plane, and always have several days worth.

Personally, I hate Traveller's Checks, so next time it'll be Bank Card + Cash + Visa when & where it is accepted (most hotels take credit cards, large department stores take credit cards, Lawsons takes credit cards, very few restaurants take credit cards).

Europe is much easier where, although they are much less frequently used than in North America, credit cards are accepted everywhere. ABM cards work pretty much everywhere too.

I am NEVER taking travellers checks to Europe again. They typically charge you a 3% fee, although some banks only charge 1% and I even found 1 bank that did it for free.

But here's an important point, no matter where you are travelling, if you don't know what works, bring a couple days worth of cash or more...

-t
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Tempest
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:06 am Reply with quote
Minor Update, you can now click on the "think you're stong enough" picture. The Picture it leads you to is completely different though!

-t
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 13050

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:28 am Reply with quote
tempest: By the power of Greyskulll....!
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