Thursday, March 06, 2008


Yesterday the bank/post office/insurance office (an interesting system in Japan because many financial matters are carried out at the post office) paid in full the money we've been putting aside for Leiya for the past 18 years. This is too complicated to explain, but briefly every month I deposited money and the post office guaranteed some insurance coverage (which she never needed) and then at the end of her high school years (in March) they return a large sum of money supposedly to use for college expenses. It is called student insurance and I don't know how much I've put in over the 18 years nor what percent I got back but the point is that yesterday we were handed a lot of money.

Times are changing in Japan and many people use cards and bank transfers but still cash is paid for many things and there is no personal checking system. Although other families may do this differently, Tetsu every month takes his salary out of the bank and hands me an envelope of money to pay the month's living expenses. It used to be each person was handed an envelope of money from his manager at the end of the month but nowadays the salary goes directly to the bank. Since Tetsu takes it out in full, this means that at some time during the month I have a large amount of money in my home that slowly dwindles away throughout the four weeks. This is not that unusual though I am gradually thinking we are pretty old fashioned even in Japan.

Four years ago when Takumi graduated from high school the post office paid back his student insurance money and I remember being floored that the post office people would just walk in my house ask for my family chop and then hand me an envelope of money equivalent to about $9000!!! I'd never seen so much money at one time so we snapped a picture of Takumi and his insurance money. I told him he'd probably never in his life hold so much cash in his hands again!
Leiya's student insurance money has gone back into the bank since she's not around to flaunt it like Takumi. She'll just have to trust me that the money will be used wisely for her benefit!


anne bebbington said...

When I first started work in 1978 in the offices of a paper mill virtually all the workers were paid in cash - now virtually no one is anywhere in the UK unless they are working in the black economy cash in hand to avoid paying tax - how times have changed - my eldest even had to open a bank account at 14 to have her wages for her Saturday job paid into

Shelina said...

$9,000 makes a lovely fan. It seems like a good system to force people to save money for college. Is it technically the kids money or the parents? I'm guessing it is called insurance if the kid doesn't survive, then there's money for burial expenses.

Marilyn R said...

My hubby's check is deposited directly into the checking account. It seems easier to save $$ that way too - if you don't see it you don't spend it (maybe!). What an interseting way Japan has for saving for a child's future!

meggie said...

It does seem incredible that such large sums of money would be given to just have at home! It also indicates that Japan must consider itself an honest country!

The Calico Quilter said...

The personal seal information is fascinating, but what stopped me in my tracks is that you said you don't have personal checks. I find that amazing. In the United States we are almost moving beyond checking. Almost everyone I know has a debit card, and their salary is directly deposited into their bank account, so checks are slowly fading away.