Tag Archives: money

Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

A rather rough overview originally compiled in advance of friends coming to Okayama for wedding. Re-purposed in slightly more general terms for logistical convenience as needed.

See also: “Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan,” “Japanese Culture and Language Primer” and other resources in this archive including video guides. 

Japan Ramble Primer

Japan can be intimidating, even for seasoned travellers. You arrive to massive sticker shock, tiny octopi in soup, and 30 kinds of hot canned coffee (which all taste moreorless the same) in ubiquitous vending machines. 

Japan is a long country with 80% mountains – covering several climates, from frosty Hokkaido in the north, to tropical Kyushu giving adventurous folks much opportunity to head to the outer provinces for exploration of the heady scenery of this varied archipelago. With some planning, politeness and persistence, combined with a little zen, you can find big adventures.

Indeed, it is easy to get lost in the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka – crowded with skyscrapers and twisted alleys, piled high with screaming neon clubs pumping techno, reggae or karaoke and shops piled with futuristic technological gadgets that won’t make it to North America for another decade – but, far away from the expensive hotels and talking toilets of the huge Pacific metropolis, you may find yourself soaking in alpine hot springs on a starry night, drinking sake with strangers crammed into a mountain hut after a backcountry dinner of rice, seaweed, miso and green tea.

Continue reading Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

Primer: Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan

A rather rough overview originally compiled in advance of friends coming to Okayama for wedding. Re-purposed in slightly more general terms for logistical convenience as needed.

See also: “Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography“, “Japanese Culture and Language Primer” and other resources in this archive including video guides. 

Getting to Okayama, Japan

Airport

Best to fly to Kansai (KIX) Osaka airport. This schmancy modern airport is located on a human-made island in the middle of the bay and includes 2 hotels, like 100+ restaurants, post office, an airplane viewing platform and importantly, a train station.

The hotels (the full-service Nikko Hotel & business-single-pod-style First Cabin) are super useful if you arrive exhausted from the long flight (usually about 14 hours from N.A. west coast). A short trip from the airport’s island by shuttle bus brings you to loads of other hotels. This airport village also has loads of shopping for buying treats on your way home.

Of course, the are other airports, specifically Tokyo (massive international hub Narita NRT or sometimes Haneda HND which is usually used for domestic flights) and the new Centrail/Chubu/Nagoya (NGO) airport. While you might save a few dollars on the flight, you’ll have a longer (more expensive) train journey to reach Okayama which is the destination for the shindig.

Fly direct to Okayama (OKJ) via the charmingly convenient and cute Momotaro Airport. If you fly to Haneda or Narita (Tokyo) mentioned above, you can transfer and fly right here.  Sometimes this requires an airport shuttle between Narita (mostly international) and Haneda (more domestic).  There is a bus service from Momotaro to downtown Okayama too.

Note: there is a huge service difference for the long-haul flights from North America. My personal experience is to fly an Asian-based airline, i.e.: Japan (ANA *fave, JAL), Korean (Korean or Asiana), Taiwan (EVA), HK (Cathay Pacific) or Singapore if coming from YVR, SFO, LAX, etc. If coming from other Asian destinations, well you are usually all good. I have experienced much less enjoyment from US-based airlines and China mainland airlines often have low prices but check the reviews and adjust against your comfort levels.

Consider tracking flight options/prices with Skyscanner with a price alert or same with Google Flights and try Hopper (app) to see when best time to “pull the trigger” on purchasing flight. Flying from Vancouver? Check out YVRdeals.

Continue reading Primer: Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan

Collection: Currency (variety, expired), vol. 4

Austrian-Hungarian: 1 Krone (1916). Overprinted in black color "Deutschösterreich" (front)
Austrian-Hungarian: 1 Krone (1916). Overprinted in black color “Deutschösterreich” (front)

Once upon a time… humans moved away from bartering things and services on an ad hoc basis and came up with a default transaction medium which became known as money. First coins (well, maybe something before, likely made of clay) denominated by an arbitrary, yet commonly agreed-upon, value – often made of metals which were deemed to be rare/shiny/valuable.

Then after (perhaps admitting the arcane value of metals and needing something handier to tote around) eventually created paper bank notes – first with value attached to aforementioned shiny metals, then again arbitrarily assigned a transactional value by central banks and governments.

Austrian-Hungarian: 1 Krone (1916) (back)
Austrian-Hungarian: 1 Krone (1916) (back)

To me, this is neither here nor there, i really don’t have an opinion about the “importance” of money. Indeed, if you value such “wealth” so much, go forth and acquire in exchange for your time, talents or conniving – or simply create your own currency, print it and rally folks to desire it as a means of exchange. This is commonly done in form of community notes, “virtual” currencies (often managed by Blockchain tech), or even various commercial operations making notes, coupons or points systems.

My point in sharing this is: Very often, these banknotes – both contemporary or deprecated – are lovely specimens of design art and printing technology (granted the reason is usually to thwart counterfeit versions polluting the general population’s trust in the monetary system). I very much enjoy the loveliness of printing “things on substrates” – the values to me are non-important (aside when i need to purchase eggs and bacon) but rather the artistic-ness and the totems decided by a society to represent their culture/country (often historical figures of various repute, significant events, important buildings or cultural motifs) are a source of endless curiosity. Additionally, the stories the bills imbue, often soaked quite literally into the fibres, as well as the journey the note took to your hand or pocket and/or the travel one undertook to acquire… are what sparks my interest.

Reichsbanknote (Republic Treasury Notes) - 100 Mark, circa 1920 (front)
Reichsbanknote (Republic Treasury Notes) – 100 Mark, circa 1920 (front)

As such, i gather these notes, photograph for the historical record and my own amusement and, evidently, to share with you.

What follow is Volume Four of several in an on-going series – this one featuring currencies no longer in circulation for one reason or another including some which are vagaries of war-time provisional governments or otherwise difficult to identify exact origins. Also Nicaragua.

Reichsbanknote (Republic Treasury Notes) - 100 Mark, circa 1920 (back)
Reichsbanknote (Republic Treasury Notes) – 100 Mark, circa 1920 (back)

Continue reading Collection: Currency (variety, expired), vol. 4

Collection: Currency (variety, expired), vol. 3

Canada: 1 Dollar (featuring Queen Elizabeth 2 of UK) thanks to Pvt. Ben Rees CF
Canada: 1 Dollar (featuring Queen Elizabeth 2 of UK) front – thanks to Pvt. Ben Rees CF

Once upon a time… humans moved away from bartering things and services on an ad hoc basis and came up with a default transaction medium which became known as money. First coins (well, maybe something before, likely made of clay) denominated by an arbitrary, yet commonly agreed-upon, value – often made of metals which were deemed to be rare/shiny/valuable.

Vietnam: 1000 Dong (front)
Vietnam: 1000 Dong, ca. 1988 (front)

Then after (perhaps admitting the arcane value of metals and needing something handier to tote around) eventually created paper bank notes – first with value attached to aforementioned shiny metals, then again arbitrarily assigned a transactional value by central banks and governments.

Vietnam: 1000 Dong (back)
Vietnam: 1000 Dong ca. 1988 (back)

To me, this is neither here nor there, i really don’t have an opinion about the “importance” of money. Indeed, if you value such “wealth” so much, go forth and acquire in exchange for your time, talents or conniving – or simply create your own currency, print it and rally folks to desire it as a means of exchange. This is commonly done in form of community notes, “virtual” currencies (often managed by Blockchain tech), or even various commercial operations making notes, coupons or points systems.

My point in sharing this is: Very often, these banknotes – both contemporary or deprecated – are lovely specimens of design art and printing technology (granted the reason is usually to thwart counterfeit versions polluting the general population’s trust in the monetary system). I very much enjoy the loveliness of printing “things on substrates” – the values to me are non-important (aside when i need to purchase eggs and bacon) but rather the artistic-ness and the totems decided by a society to represent their culture/country (often historical figures of various repute, significant events, important buildings or cultural motifs) are a source of endless curiosity. Additionally, the stories the bills imbue, often soaked quite literally into the fibres, as well as the journey the note took to your hand or pocket and/or the travel one undertook to acquire… are what sparks my interest.

As such, i gather these notes, photograph for the historical record and my own amusement and, evidently, to share with you.

What follow is Volume Three of several in an on-going series – this one featuring currencies no longer in circulation for one reason or another including Canada, Vietnam, Estonia (i think), and Trinadad and Tobago.

Canada: 1 Dollar (featuring Queen Elizabeth 2 of UK) back – thanks to Pvt. Ben Rees CF
Canada: 1 Dollar (featuring Queen Elizabeth 2 of UK) back – thanks to Pvt. Ben Rees CF

Continue reading Collection: Currency (variety, expired), vol. 3

Collection: Currency (variety, in action), vol. 2

Sri Lanka: rupee (variety, with Ayurvedic items)
Sri Lanka: Rupee (variety, with Ayurvedic items)

Once upon a time… humans moved away from bartering things and services on an ad hoc basis and came up with a default transaction medium which became known as money. First coins (well, maybe something before, likely made of clay) denominated by an arbitrary, yet commonly agreed-upon, value – often made of metals which were deemed to be rare/shiny/valuable.

Then after (perhaps admitting the arcane value of metals and needing something handier to tote around) eventually created paper bank notes – first with value attached to aforementioned shiny metals, then again arbitrarily assigned a transactional value by central banks and governments.

To me, this is neither here nor there, i really don’t have an opinion about the “importance” of money. Indeed, if you value such “wealth” so much, go forth and acquire in exchange for your time, talents or conniving – or simply create your own currency, print it and rally folks to desire it as a means of exchange. This is commonly done in form of community notes, “virtual” currencies (often managed by Blockchain tech), or even various commercial operations making notes, coupons or points systems.

Thai baht (20) with coins (various)
Thai baht (20) with coins (various)

My point in sharing this is: Very often, these banknotes – both contemporary or deprecated – are lovely specimens of design art and printing technology (granted the reason is usually to thwart counterfeit versions polluting the general population’s trust in the monetary system). I very much enjoy the loveliness of printing “things on substrates” – the values to me are non-important (aside when i need to purchase eggs and bacon) but rather the artistic-ness and the totems decided by a society to represent their culture/country (often historical figures of various repute, significant events, important buildings or cultural motifs) are a source of endless curiosity. Additionally, the stories the bills imbue, often soaked quite literally into the fibres, as well as the journey the note took to your hand or pocket and/or the travel one undertook to acquire… are what sparks my interest.

As such, i gather these notes, photograph for the historical record and my own amusement and, evidently, to share with you.

Thai baht (50) and USA dollar (1) and coins (various) - as shown with key (room 204) and Do Not Disturb sign (used)
Thai baht (50) and USA dollar (1) and coins (various) – as shown with key (room 204) and Do Not Disturb sign (used) – as photographed by Lomo

This is Volume Two of several in an on-going series, this round featuring notes in situ as it were in Sri Lanka, Thailand as well as a variety of banknotes in common use in USA, European Union and Indonesia.

Singapore: Dollar (5, 10, 50 – front)
Singapore: Dollar (5, 10, 50 – front)

Continue reading Collection: Currency (variety, in action), vol. 2

Artifacts (youngtime): Bankbooks

Savings accounts, just for the bankbook…

I wasn’t a lad who obsessed over money by any means but kept a savings account from when I was a wee little dude primarily to receive a cute little notebook (and for a mandated reason for saving i shan’t discuss here). Then I discovered punk rock and removed all the money to buy records…

Here are two examples, one shiny gold and magnificent, the other similar aside from the horizontal layout and displayed in b&w for reasons unknown. There are others somewhere. I still love little notebooks and have little interest in banks (pun ha!).

Live where you feel best…

People should flow across borders *at least* as easily as capital moves between countries.

Live where you feel best for your happiness.

Border and Bullets, we’d be better without both. I know the initial shock and “social safety net” would collapse but we need an era of radical community sufficiency.

Borders are a comical concept really. Based on wars and invented ethnic boundaries we contemporary people had nothing to do with.

Language and culture are easily overcome by motivated folks. Ive worked locally in many countries where i didnt speak the language (at first) and immigrants are generally eager to adapt to cultures and expand by adding their own uniqueness.

One’s personal capital moves more easily than one’s body and is more welcome in other lands. But indeed, inequality is the problem my thought is trying to solve. Let people live where they can contribute. Radical self-sufficiency and community.

Portable access to effective healthcare and community support networks. I think the “modern” construct of countries based on old wars and territorial feuds divve’d up the the “winners” are an outmoded concept. I have no delusions that this is imminent but i am someone who rambles widely and see nothing but the commonality between people everywhere. We need affection and care along with food, shelter, clothing and a means to climb Maslow’s hierarchy towards self-determination and fulfillment. #dreamer

another konsumer channel…

Seems we’ve managed to turn a communications revolution into yet another konsumer channel + celeb cheese propagation medium.