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Stuck in Traffic for 1000 Yen

The truth about cheap highway tolls:

Last weekend we visited my wife’s family in Iwate prefecture 530 km (320 miles) north of Tokyo and paid only 1,700 yen ($17) one-way in tolls, much cheaper than the 10,000 yen that it would have cost on a weekday. The shinkansen (bullet train) would have set the four of us back almost 35,000 yen.

Eco pointless 2: Electric Boogaloo

The eco-point program is now officially underway with the government accepting applications:

Under the Eco-point system, those who buy designated energy-saving appliances between May 15 and March 31 will be eligible for the points, with one Eco-point worth roughly ¥1.

Eikaiwa: 

Car Sharing

Regarding my comments previously made about people giving up their cars in favor of bicycles and car-sharing, here's a clip on Orix's car-sharing business:

Big Social Blows

This is disturbing:

The farm ministry uncovered 879 cases of mislabeled food products last year but only disclosed 110 of them in order to protect the companies responsible, according to documents obtained from the ministry Saturday.

The 879 cases involve companies that were issued warnings or guidance by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry or its regional offices during the year, the documents show. The documents were obtained through an information disclosure request.

Eco Pointless

Here we have the sequel to the 12,000 yen give-away:

The government will give up to 39,000 yen in "eco points" to buyers of eco-friendly home appliances under a new environmental program.

If you think you can use those points to purchase more stuff, just like you would if you were shopping at a major electronics retailer, you'd be mistaken.

Good Consumer, Bad Consumer

As Japan's economy began to meltdown last year, the Japan Times ran a couple of articles detailing how people were coping. One article was about a surge in the sales of bicycles while another noted how more and more people were turning to car-sharing as an alternative to owning a car.

Cycling back in fashion:

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