I know every bit counts, but…

One thousand sixty and THREE

I realize in this hard economy that “every little bit counts” and that there are people in this world who really do need to pinch every penny. I know being thrifty is important, and that we can’t overlook small expenses.

However! I have to say I was a little surprised to see this sign at the 7-Eleven near where I live. I mean, it’s not just one thousand and sixty yen per hour to work the overnight shift (10p to 8a), oh no. You will be paid a whole one thousand sixty THREE yen an hour. Now . . . → Read More: I know every bit counts, but…

The Tax Man Cometh

I’m not one to typically complain much about taxes. I don’t like them (who does?), but they’re a necessary evil. Governments, by their very nature, are not money-making enterprises. In fact, they don’t make money at all (we even have laws to prevent them from competing in the market and making money). Look at the US post office and tell me that any corporation would keep that train wreck alive. But if you really think about it, we get a pretty sweet deal from the government. I pay a small stipend of my earnings and they subsidize schooling, provide . . . → Read More: The Tax Man Cometh

Let’s Read Jason!’s (junk) Mail – Friday

Yep, it’s so far away from last Friday that–if I chose to wait another day or so–I could still technically be right on ‘Friday’ and just a week late. Sorry about that; working abroad (and in Japan) puts certain requirements on you. If asked whether you like working early mornings or late nights and your answer isn’t an enthusiastic “BOTH!!!“, you may not want to work in Japan. Yep yep.

I went to volunteer as an English teacher on Saturday, which was fun, and then had to renew my driver’s license on Sunday, which was not fun. But all the same, I’m glad to have a valid license for another 3 years!  Otherwise, I’ve just been busy with work and narrowing down schools to go to for translator certification. So many choices.. I have some appointments for counseling sessions later this week. Wish me luck!

But now, let’s finish this up, shall we?

Let’s Read Jason!’s (junk) Mail

Friday Edition

Continue reading Let’s Read Jason!’s (junk) Mail – Friday

Let’s Read Jason!’s (junk) Mail – Monday

I may not be teaching English in Japan anymore and spend my days at a desk, but my life still ends up being rather eventful. As I said earlier, I get a lot of junk mail. I’m sure it’s all a part of city (and apartment) life, but I still find the sheer breadth and quantity of the advertisements fascinating, so I decided to do you all the favor (?) and document all the inane junk I get over the week so we can all share in the joy of the random stuff that ends up in my mail box. So, without further ado…

Let’s Read Jason!’s (junk) Mail

Monday Edition

And trust me, we’re starting off strong.

Continue reading Let’s Read Jason!’s (junk) Mail – Monday

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas, Happy Jason’s Birthday, Happy New Year, and all that jazz. It’s been a long and eventful past few weeks with my sister being in town, which is why I haven’t been writing as of late. It’s the first time I’ve spent any significant time with my sister in over 3 years, so it seemed kinda important to just spend as much quality time as possible.

Highlights include making an outrageously gaudy cake for my birthday, eating food that is undoubtedly bad for me, and–best of all–TRAIN MUSEUM!!!!!!

TRAIN MUSEUUUUUUUUM

If you can’t identify what’s absolutely awesome about train museums, then I feel bad for you. This also means that I apparently feel bad for about 90% of the world, since I can’t imagine a lot of people are thrilled by train museums. But hey, that’s your loss.

It goes without saying that there was a lot that happened and I have lots to pontificate and ramble on about, but we’ll do that later. Right now, I wanna talk about the events of today. I want to talk about my good ol’ buddy, The Financial Planner!

After having put him off for nearly a month (he’s persistent; I’ll give him that), I finally gave in for a “Financial Advisory Meeting” during my lunch break. I, unfortunately, am endlessly curious and have little else to do during that time, so I figured I’d give it a shot and see what the big sell is.

Let’s see how it went, shall we?

Continue reading Happy New Year!

I’d put my money on…

Well, wouldn’t you know it? On my lunch break again, but don’t really have anything in particular I want to do. Usually I’ll read a book or walk around downtown, but it’s kinda cold today. Reading is good and fun when you’re not battling to keep your eyes open, so sadly that’s not gonna work either.

I discovered today that there are actually several refrigerators on my floor, which is good since it keeps my yogurt/lunch/whatever nice and cold without having to scan my stupid RF ID badge just to enter the break room (and then scan again to . . . → Read More: I’d put my money on…

Putting it all together

In my previous entries, I told you about the suspicious e-mail I got from ‘Yuki’, and talked in depth about how her site worked to lure people in. Today we’re gonna finish up the series and describe what it is they hope to do once you’ve joined the site, and how it basically works. But first, a summary!

A few days ago, I got an e-mail from someone I didn’t recognize, a-c-a-@docomo.ne.jp. They were e-mailing to let me know that they changed their address. I wasn’t sure who it was, so I followed up. For the next few days, I got an e-mail at 5-6pm every day from ‘Yuki’ (kar-ry.kuq@docomo.ne.jp), who seemed remarkably friendly, even saying she wants to be friends with a total stranger, but never answered any questions. Figuring it was spam, I looked into it and wrote about it. Sure enough, she eventually sent me to her private blog that I need to register to join. That brings us up to now, to finally discuss how the actual money-making process works! You know, in case you want to be a scammer someday.

In case you’re curious as to why I post the address so many times, it’s to make a record in google. Whenever I get a suspicious e-mail, I always Google the address to see if anyone else has mentioned it’s spam, etc. It’s worked so far, and 20 people found the article yesterday searching for the address.

That last leaves us at trying to register to join the blogging website, so we can get access to Yuki’s photos. They had references to all sorts of intriguing pictures that were just out of reach. If only you sign up, they say, you can see all of these and more! Well, hey, sounds like a great deal to me! Let’s sign up, shall we? Continue reading Putting it all together

And Yuki replies!

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, please check out my previous post, Would you like some spam?, for more details.

Anyway, I got another e-mail from our favorite non-existent spam artist (see what I did there? Hilarious, I know).

kar-ry.kuq@docomo.ne.jp

I tried to e-mail my friend again today, but I still can’t get in touch. I don’t even know Nobu’s address. Also, even though I just bought this phone, it seems to be acting up. Just my luck..

However,  I’m really happy to get to know you like this, so I think we can be good friends!

If it’s all right with you, I have a little profile I put together and just updated the photo yesterday. I’d like you to take a look at it.

Also, it’s really embarrassing, but I really want you to see the text on the TOP page. I wonder if you’ll notice what I wrote…?

The address is free–beauty.info/gaga, so please put http:// in front of it and enter it directly into your phone. Ah! I think it’s a cell-phone-only site, so you can only check it out on your phone.

I’m a little nervous since I’m not so cute, but I’ll be waiting for your reply! ^_^

Hmm.. any of that sound familiar? Like, remarkably similar to my predictions? Before we continue with the (pointless) deconstruction, some info for ya:

Why is it cell phone only? Well, as I said earlier, they want to get your money. If I can access it via PC, they need my credit card number. Most people (hopefully) hesitate to give out their credit card. On a cell phone, all I have to do is enter my 4 digit number into a box to authorize them to direct-charge to my phone bill.

What’s with the weird address? Which part? The http being separate is because most cell phone carriers (mine included) caught on to these things, and give me (the user) the ability to block all e-mails with URLs in them (how often do your friends e-mail you a website?). So they need to separate it.

I can’t see the site! ..not a question. But I’ll let it slide. The notice tells you that you can only access that page from a cell phone (it’s probably limited to Japanese phones, at that).

What happens if you follow up? Now that’s a question. Well, if you’re curious what more our fictional Yuki has in store, read on!

Continue reading And Yuki replies!

Would you like some spam?

One thing that you don’t really consider or think about when you live abroad is that pretty much everything is different, including the simplest things that you’d never even think about. Culture reaches further into our daily lives than you’d typically think. For today’s example, we’ve got SPAM and other such junk (or scams).

Having grown up through the 90s, I’m no stranger to the Internet. I’ve had (and still use) an email address since 1997. I’ve been a member of many chat rooms (anyone remember WBS?), chat programs (AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo!, Trillian, Skype), and various message boards (I even ran my own board for 3~ years). What’s the point? Well, you grow up getting all the junk e-mails, scams, and various spam that we’ve all become accustomed to over the years. Basically, I ignore it without even remembering that I’ve seen it, because it’s just like a common background noise for us all now.

But when you move to another country, there are different scams, different ways of trying to get your attention. As a non-native speaker, relatively new to the country, you can’t always sort it out so easily. In the case of Japan, some of the most prevalent spam advertisements utilize the cell phone system. You see, every phone here has an e-mail address associated with it. Unlike texting, as is prevalent in America, in Japan you can give out your e-mail address for your phone to people without giving out your phone number. Pretty convenient, actually. Since cell phones are a daily necessity, there are many hundreds of businesses that thrive off of the cell phone Internet system (which has special types of websites, etc, as well as being able to charge fees directly to your phone bill when you join. I’m sure you can see the problem coming).

Where there are legitimate businesses, there are scams artists. It’s like rain and wetness, income and taxes; you get one, you have the other.

What’s my point? We’re gonna take a look in how a Japanese e-mail scam works!
Continue reading Would you like some spam?

Got my apartment!

How do you spend $5,714.86 in one day and have nothing to show for it? You rent an apartment in Tokyo and furnish it, that’s how! The sad part is that I’m not even done shopping for my apartment, and I still need to ship my boxes from Yamaguchi (they’re at a friend’s house right now, and I need to arrange pick up and CoD shipping; should take a week or so). All the same, we’re still gonna come quite a bit under budget. I just need a bed and tv stand now, along with small things like cups . . . → Read More: Got my apartment!