Selective Hearing’s Japan Trip Planning Guide Part 2 – Finances

In the first part of this series we discussed finding valid reasons to get you to Japan.  Hopefully all of you have found a solid reason for doing so. Now comes the hard part, financing your trip.

Unfortunately we are not in the Star Trek fueled utopia of instant transportation or holodecks. Nope, we still old school and that means you have to pay some serious cash to get to the land of the rising sun. So how exactly does one save up for an adventure like this?  I have heard many people moan, whine and bitch about the fact that they’re desperate to go to Japan but can’t afford it.

That is never true. You can afford to go to Japan. Instead of complaining about not having money you should look at where you’re spending it.  Write down what you buy each day and see what you come up with. It may be surprising to see just how much money you piss away through random purchases.

This type of frugal thinking is foreign to idol fans that have the hoarder mentality that states that if you don’t buy everything you’re not a true supporter or a real fan. But think about it. Do you really NEED all the items that you are bidding on e-Bay or Yahoo Auctions? Can you live without the countless photo cards and expensive import magazines?

Is it absolutely necessary to buy every version of a single even if there is no significant difference other than the covers? Are you going to be a failure as a fan if you don’t own every single tour item regardless of how insignificant it may be?

Wouldn’t it be better to actually go to Japan to buy that shit yourself in person instead of sitting in front of a computer crying about the oshi towel you got screwed out of? I have seen this scenario way too many times to count during my time in this fan culture.

My advice to those of you who are hooked on getting goods:

Go cold turkey and take the money you would have spent on idol goods and put it in a savings account.

You may become irritable with jealousy as your friends blow their wad and proudly display their gets. You might even experience painful physical withdrawal but you’ll be better off in the long term planning of your trip.

For example, for my recent trip I managed to save approximately $500/month up from the time the concert was announced until my mid August departure date. Could I have used that money for other things? Of course. There’s some production software and sound banks I’ve had my eye on. I have a huge backlog of wishlisted House tracks for my DJ sets waiting to be bought and I could always use the cash as a backup in case (God forbid) of emergency.

But I diligently put my money aside for the greater good of going to Japan. Eyes on the prize as the saying goes. Did it suck that I couldn’t go out and do a lot of stuff? Absolutely. Luckily I had a lot of idol related programs and concerts from various free sources to keep me entertained during my self-imposed exile.

Now that there are plans to go back next year I have upped the ante by having a certain amount of money taken of my pay check and put into a limited access savings account in addition to the $500 I save every month.

Suffice it to say, my budget is tight.

The point of this lecture is that you need to sacrifice a little bit in order to gain a lot. If you can’t even manage to do that for a few months then perhaps you lack the testicular/ovarian fortitude to really go through with this and you should just stop the process of planning your trip now.

Are you still with me?

Good. Because next time we’ll get down to booking your flight, hotel(s) and calculating how much spending money you’re going to need to survive out in the wilderness.

About Greg 1009 Articles
Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.