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change in Japan and other matters

The smallest bill of currency here is 1000 yen, analogous to a US $10 bill. Coins are 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1 yen in size, and all are in common use. I think coin lockers and laundry machines only take 100 yen, but vending and meal order machines take 10 and up.

Compared to US common practice, note that there are six coin types, vs. four in the US, with a maximum value ratio of 500:1, vs. 25:1.

At first I kept them all in my wallet coin purse, but juggling six unfamiliar coins meant I mostly didn't use them, and they accumulated. My current system is different:

* 500 and 100 yen in the wallet, because they're real money.
* 1 and 5 yen in a pocket, where I can easily whip them out to zero out the 1s digit of a price.
* 10 and 50 yen in another pocket, where with lower priority I can use them to zero out the 10s digit. But if I feel I've taken too long I can skip this step, since 10 yen coins are still spendable without too much pain.

One thing that's easier is that you only have to provide change to a multiple of 10, while US change optimization often goes for a multiple of 25, and you find yourself figuring 43-25.

Back in the US, I might start using the coin purse for quarters, and a pocket for smaller change.


In other news, I visited a 100 yen store. It was not the specialist in 100 yen cheap shit that I expected, and looked more like a full service supermarket.


I still suck at keeping track of compass orientation. Fortunately today was bright and sunny, so my shadow could tell me I was 90 degrees off a proper course for home. Going for a walk on a bright day without my phone or a watch was somewhat foolish, but I had some idea of what time it was.

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