money

Why does the fifty yen coin have a hole? And other fun facts about Japanese coins

A fun way to get a perspective on another country’s history and culture is by looking at the currency used. The materials and design that go into making them can say a lot about what a country holds dear.

So, why don’t we take a quick look through the modern coins used in Japan and learn a little about why they look the way they do and some other tidbits along the way such as what happens when you microwave a one-yen coin and why you shouldn’t do it.

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Living Wallet: The high-tech/creepy solution to your money spending problems

We understand it’s hard to save money. With so many cool Gundam theme cakes and Sailor Moon accessories around, who wouldn’t be trying to empty their coin purses and pocketbooks to exchange their hard earned cash for awesome novelty goods. Sometimes, our spending gets a little out of control and we have to save a little, employing various tactics to try and see an increase in the bank account.

But what if your wallet started inching away, undulating like some sort of deranged caterpillar in hopes you forgo your next splurge. And what if you ignored the weirdness of the movement, picked up said wallet, and it started screaming at you? No, we’re not making this up. One company in Japan hopes to curb your spending with a “living wallet.”

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Starbucks: More expensive in China than Japan or America, but why?

It’s safe to say that no one you see at Starbucks is there because they want to stretch their java-buying budget. With locations in more than 60 countries (and seemingly every branch in the Tokyo area at maximum capacity every day between 3 and 7 p.m., the Seattle-based chain must be doing something right, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel a bit surprised at the prices they charge.

But the next time you’re sitting in a Starbucks in Japan or America, pretending to sip from an empty mug because you’re not quite ready to disconnect from the free wi-fi but don’t feel like laying out the cash for another cup, consider yourself lucky. You’d be paying a lot more for your latte if you were at a Starbucks in China.

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NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

Naotake Odake, former managing director of the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) and once director of the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, spent years of his professional life traveling to cities across the globe in order to promote Tokyo as a worthwhile tourist destination. In his travels, he noticed a trait shared by all the major cities: they each had a unique and well-recognized landmark embodying the history and culture of the land. According to Odake, a structure of this sort is vital to bolstering a spirit of pride in any given population. Unfortunately for Tokyo, he believes that this sort of historical landmark is something that Japan’s capital city severely lacks. What he has against Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo Skytree, I’m really not sure. But, it is for this reason that Odake has taken the lead as the chairman of a non-profit organization which hopes to rebuild the Edo Castle’s innermost tower. “In order to present Tokyo as a proud tourist city, we need something like Edo Castle,” he says. But will the payoff really outweigh the costs?

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10 surprising lifestyle habits of Japanese savers: Why are men who throw things out good with money?

An online survey was recently carried out on 100 Japanese men in their 30s with an annual salary of 6 million yen (US$61,000) or less who have nevertheless managed to amass more than their annual income in savings, and the results were really quite surprising. The men’s answers seem to overturn the common wisdom on how to save money, resulting in a list of characteristics that natural savers share.

I always imagined thrifty types would hang on to all their old junk in case it came in handy, but for some reason, the men who have proved themselves to be great at saving money also tend to excel at throwing things away and… reading maps.

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Counterfeit cash: Chinese ATMs distributing bootleg bucks?

Of the many things that China is known for, one of them is most certainly bootlegging. Sometimes it works to our smalltime benefit by introducing us to almost familiar films and imitation iPhones, but only trouble can be bought when China’s system begins circulating bootleg bills.

Recently, counterfeit money in China has reached a point where not only are people being fooled by fake cash, money-checking machines are too, as Chinese ATMs appear to be distributing bogus bills to honest civilians.

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Bonus time! Japanese workers surveyed on their summer bonuses

In Japan, summer and winter mean bonus time, which is kind of like getting Christmas twice a year. Japanese workers often use the extra money to take a well-deserved vacation or to buy something big they’ve had their eyes on for a while.

R25, a website focused on business professionals and their lifestyle, conducted a survey with 300 businessmen to find out about last year’s bonuses. Let’s see what they discovered! Read More

Is 800 Million Yen Really Enough to Take a Bath In?

Not too long ago, Mr. Sato was thumbing through a magazine when he came across an ad for something. On the page he could see a man sitting in a bath tub filled with cash.  “Boy, he sure looks happy” Mr. Sato thought as he put down the magazine.

That image lingered in the back of his mind until the announcement of Loto 7’s biggest jackpot ever, 800 million yen (US$8.5M). Then it dawned on him. He could win the grand prize and realize his new dream of bathing in money.

“Winning the jackpot once should be no problem,” he thought to himself “but it’d be a little harder to win twice if I need that much to fill a tub.”

He had to be sure that 800 million yen was enough before he’d be foolish enough to play the lottery.

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I’ll Take a Red Potion and a Bag of Deku Nuts: The Zelda Banknotes We Wish were Real

Ever the video game fans, we have to admit that there were a couple of gasps and squeals of delight this morning at the RocketNews24 office when we first caught sight of these The Legend of Zelda-themed banknotes designed by deviantART member Ash. With 1, 5, 10 and 20 rupee notes featuring characters from the series and printed in colours faithful to the game’s gem-shaped currency, we’re positively dying for Nintendo to adopt the idea and make these things official Club Nintendo freebies.

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For richer or poorer? — What Japanese women really think about money and marriage

It’s an age-old question: Which is more important, love or money? There’s no right answer, and your feelings on the matter could very well change over the years. But really, you don’t want your life to be completely devoid of either, do you? Well, maybe if you’re exceedingly lucky, you have plenty of both and won’t ever have to think about choosing between the two (but I have the feeling that many of us aren’t that lucky). Sure, the Beatles can sing “All You Need Is Love” all they like and we can join along at the top of our voices, but can you really make a relationship, or even more complicated, a marriage work without money?

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Study English, Get $11,000! Softbank to Offer Employees Cash Bonuses Based on English Ability

“Why do I have to study English? I’m never going to use it… there’s no point,” whines at least one Japanese student in any given English class on a daily basis.

Now, thanks to one company’s clever new initiative, instead of the usual spiel about the benefits of English being an “international language,” teachers can tell their students that knuckling down and mastering the language could bag them 1 million yen.

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Crippled Chinese Beggar Miraculously Cured After Given Money 【Photos】

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it’s certainly enough to get a paraplegic beggar up and walking, according to these photos recently shared on Dao Ke Dao.

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Comprising Just 2% of the Global Population, Japanese Pay 18% of the World’s Total Insurance Premiums

The Japanese love their insurance. According to the weekly tabloid Shukan Post, the average household in Japan pays 454,300 yen (approx. US$5,393) a year in life insurance premiums in an effort to feel safe and protect loved ones. Comprising just 2% of the global population, Japan pays 18% of the world’s total insurance premiums, this which works out to average insurance spending of US$3,500 per capita, the highest level in the world.
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Chinese Man Accidentally Invents Cash Magnet, Tunes it up and Turns Pro

With the help of a powerful home-made magnet, a man in Nanjing, China, now spends his days collecting small change dropped in streets, rivers and drains, sometimes amassing enough to pay his daily living expenses.

After accidentally dropping one of his valuable farming tools into a nearby river, Aibao Cheng struck upon the idea of attaching a few magnets from a broken radio to a long pole and fishing around in the water. When he discovered that his quickly assembled device had picked up a small handful of coins after just a few minutes, he wondered what would happen with an even more powerful magnet…

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Japanese Man Arrested for Using Novelty Cash, Clerk Tipped off by Laughing Yukichi

Japanese paper currency is printed with the faces of various prominent figures.  However, rather than past or present leaders, like many countries do, the yen banknotes are decorated with writers and a scientist.

For example, the 10,000 yen (US$124) bill has the likeness of Fukuzawa Yukichi, a highly influential writer during Japan’s transition from the feudal system to modern government.  He is also known to have never smiled in a photograph, which is why when one man attempted to spend a 1,000,000 yen (US$12,400) bill with a picture of a grinning Yukichi, the clerk’s suspicion was aroused.

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Chinese Company Begins Paying All Employees’ Parents $160 a Month

The above symbol (xiào) refers to the concept of “filial piety” which values the respect for one’s parents. It’s a Confucian concept that runs strong in Asian cultures, especially China, which says that it’s the child’s duty to honor the parents by taking care of them in old age and by conducting one’s self properly so as not to bring shame on them.

In China, it’s common practice for workers to send a part of their salary back to their parents who live elsewhere.  Yet despite the country’s soaring economy many families are having trouble making ends meet, so one company decided to send money to their worker’s folks for them.

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Chinese ATM Spits Out Fake Cash, Bank Shrugs and Asks for Proof

A woman in Ningbo, China, is claiming that she received a counterfeit bill among the cash she withdrew from a Chinese bank’s ATM.

After withdrawing 500 Yuan (around 80 US dollars) from the machine, Ms. Oh visited a pharmacy where she attempted to pay for a handful of items with one of the five 100 Yuan notes.

Although she had checked that the amount was there in full when it came out of the machine, Oh had not noticed the fake bill amongst the four other genuine 100 Yuan notes, and handed it over at the pharmacy without thinking anything of it.

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No Voice for the Poor: 77,000 US Dollars Just to Stand for Election in Japan

Want to be the next political leader in Japan? We hope you’ve got deep pockets!

It was revealed by internet-condensing extraordinaire Naver this week that, in order to put themselves forward for election, aspiring political leaders much first make a mandatory deposit of six million yen (77,000 US dollars / 59,000 euros) into the legal system, making Japan the most expensive country in the world to announce one’s candidacy. Read More

Elementary School Child’s Design Chosen For Japanese Commemorative Coin, “Unsophisticated” Drawing Shown No Mercy

Japan’s Ministry of Finance has just announced the chosen designs for coins commemorating the reconstruction efforts for the Great East Japan Earthquake that rocked the northern area of Tohoku on March 11, 2011. 

A premium gold coin with a face value of 10,000 yen (US $127) and a premium silver coin with a face value of 1,000 yen (US $12.75) are schedule to be produced in 2015.  Most are engraved with beautiful symbols of Japan, but does one of them look a little funny to you? Read More

Make Saving Fun With Adorable “Kitty Bank” (Live Cat Required)

Depositing your loose change into a piggy bank can be a fun way to practice frugality, but what if you don’t have a piggy bank to begin with?

Instead of going out and buying one (because that would be unnecessary spending!), why don’t you create your own kitty bank—all you need is a cardboard box, a pair of scissors and a cat!

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