Free number 1:
When you walk around town in Japan, particularly places near train stations, there are people handing out "pocket tissues".
The tissue packets are all about the same size, just small enough to place in your "pocket"... Why are people handing out free tissues? It has nothing to do with it being the time of year for hay fever (I have a terrible runny nose right now because of, not hay, but cedar pollen...)The tissue bags all have advertisements on them.
the Mickey Mouse is for an Insurance Company (I wonder what Mickey thinks about that!)
the one in the middle is for a gym
the one on the top right is for a dating service (!?)
and the two on the bottom are for a mobile phone company...
(It seems that the handing out of pocket tissues with ads on them started sometime during the late 1960s in Japan. A man got the idea from matchboxes...)
Although the tissues aren't as rough as they used to be, they are still not the super soft kind.
However, having them stashed in your purse can be very handy!
(The dating service types can be kind of embarrassing depending on who you are with when you decide to blow your nose...)
Free number 2:
Warning: If you have Numerophobia (a fear of numbers) then you may not want to read this...
The Japanese government decided earlier this year to hand out cash benefits to EVERY Japanese person... ¥12,000 per person (about US$122 or Australian $175).
This is supposed to help "the people" out during these difficult economic times.
So, I'm thinking...I'm not a Japanese citizen but I pay all the various taxes...
My husband (who usually takes a million years...to..do...anything...was unusually quick at finding out if I get a piece of this "handout" too.
IF you are a "registered alien" like me, (registered by February 2nd of this year).
However, we have no idea when we get to receive this cash benefit. Smaller towns with small populations have started handing them out at the local city and ward offices. The city I live in is rather large with 461,932 people (includes the 6,559 registered foreigners) so it is expected to take awhile.
The forecasted amount the government has to prepare for this benefit is two trillion yen (US$20,384,242,980 or Australian $29,296,234,011). Well, not really prepare...it is tax payer money after all...
The interesting thing is that along with the above forecast, the government has also released the following numbers: 82,500,000,000 yen...
(US$840,850,022 or Australian $1,208,469,652)
The amount of money it will take to actually distribute the money. You know, envelopes, receipts, stamps...pens...overtime...
I hope this cash benefit handout thingy works. I do have an opinion on this but I'd rather not explicate ;-)
However, if all else fails, there's always...
...photo taken today at the mall in Sanomiya, Kobe.