money

$100 chocolate toothpaste? Gucci eraser? 7 ridiculously expensive items from around the world

$100 chocolate toothpaste? Gucci eraser? 7 ridiculously expensive items from around the world

 

Here at RocketNews24 we love finding “The Most Expensive (Thing) Ever” and have even been known to see it as something of a challenge. Our eyes light up whenever we see an advert or – more likely, press release – for “World’s Most Expensive (household item that’s usually quite cheap)”.

But brands also love to come up with their own insanely high-end products in the hope of gaining a superlative world title. Whether it’s encrusting something entirely with diamonds, or coating it in gold dust, we can’t help but feel they’re doing it on purpose, just to get our attention (and column inches). Today we bring you seven products from Japan and around the world that you didn’t even know you wanted … until now!

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Unknown person leaves thousands in cash and gift certificates in dozens of mailboxes in Japan

Unknown person leaves thousands in cash and gift certificates in dozens of mailboxes in Japan

What if you found an unmarked envelope full of money in your mailbox? Would you keep it?

On March 20 and 21, exactly 30 households were faced with this very dilemma as an unknown person deposited a total of 760,000 yen (US$7,420) in the mailboxes of an apartment complex in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture. The largest sum found in a single mailbox was 137,000 yen (US$1,339). Just 10 days earlier, mysterious envelopes were deposited at an additional 30 homes in Kawasaki City, 486 km (300 mi) away. This time, the envelopes contained gift certificates with monetary values ranging from 5,000 yen (US$48) to tens of thousands of yen (hundreds of US dollars).

If this sounds like easy money to you, you might be surprised to learn what half of the residents chose to do with the cash.

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Japan’s vending machines are no match for counterfeit coins

Japan’s vending machines are no match for counterfeit coins

Counterfeit coins and bills are hard to make and with the advancement of technology, hard to pass for genuine money. Store clerks are armed with a variety of techniques, from special pens to knowledge of watermark placement, making it even more difficult for those looking for undeserved cash to score big.

However, with the proliferation of vending machines across Japan and the circulation of a high-value 500 yen (US$5) coin, counterfeiters have a perfect mark for cashing in their fake coins, as a recent photo on Twitter confirms.

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“I will never forget again”: Nagasaki man gets back the cash he left at an ATM

“I will never forget again”: Nagasaki man gets back the cash he left at an ATM

What happens when you withdraw a ton of cash from an ATM in the middle of the city, only to walk away and realize later that you forgot to stick it in your wallet? Apparently nothing, if you happen to live in Nagasaki City. Earlier this week a Nagasaki native experienced the above situation, and was ecstatic to find the money untouched when he returned later. The killer part of everything? Wait until you hear his profession.

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Chinese millionaire offers small fortune to rent a girlfriend for the Lunar New Year, fails miserably

Chinese millionaire offers small fortune to rent a girlfriend for the Lunar New Year, fails miserably

The Chinese Lunar New Year is less than a week away. Indisputably the biggest event of the year for the Chinese, it is a time when families reunite to celebrate the start of a new year. It is crunch time for Chinese around the world as they get busy preparing for the big day; filling refrigerators with food, preparing hongbao (red envelopes with money in them), and for some, finding the perfect “other half” to introduce to their expectant family.

A wealthy young man has recently offered to pay 1,000,000 Chinese yuan (around US$165,300) to rent a “girlfriend” for a week to accompany him on his trip back to his hometown for the annual celebrations. But even his stacks of cash didn’t seem to help.

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Otoshidama: How kids in Japan get rich once a year

Otoshidama: How kids in Japan get rich once a year

With Christmas being just a regular day and the exchanging of gifts something of a rarity, we often feel that kids in Japan are missing out somewhat. Of course, not every Westerner is fortunate enough to know the joy of waking up on December 25 and finding presents–brought by a benevolent bearded man, no less–under the Christmas tree or at the foot of their bed, but those who are would most likely agree that it’s a pretty spectacular feeling for a kid to have.

But while the rest of the world is coming to realise that the toys they asked for aren’t quite as cool as they’d expected and dreading going back to school or work, kids in Japan are making out like bandits and getting not presents but cold, hard cash on New Year’s Day in the form of otoshidama.

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Goods and services that cost a pound of flesh, a bouquet of flowers, and some deep knee bends

Goods and services that cost a pound of flesh, a bouquet of flowers, and some deep knee bends

Daily life is full of costs that can add up and quietly eat away at your finances without you even noticing. If you take all those subway tokens and cups of coffee and added them up you’d have a nice chunk of change.

Some services are well aware of this fact of life and are offering relief from these nibbles at our wallets in exchange for some healthy or polite habits. Here are five examples from around the world as gathered by Naver Matome.

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Chinese man slaps his cheating girlfriend with money, attacks her “cyber husband” online

Chinese man slaps his cheating girlfriend with money, attacks her “cyber husband” online

Geez, is it just my imagination, or is there an increasing number of people these days who try to solve all problems with money in haste? Seriously, even relationship problems. A 26-year-old woman in China got slapped with a wad of Chinese yuan when her boyfriend found out that she was cheating on him with a “cyber husband” on an online gaming platform. And here I thought such distasteful behavior only existed in melodramatic TV soap operas.

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Bedroom tents helping South Koreans keep warm this winter

Bedroom tents helping South Koreans keep warm this winter

We here at RocketNews24 are no strangers to finding new ways to both keep warm and save a few yen on our heating bill through the harsh winter months, but our friends in South Korea, encouraged by a recent unusually cold spurt, have found an ingenious way to lower their thermostat and stay toasty all night—indoor tents. And the tents are becoming so popular that some retailers are selling out!

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Why does the fifty yen coin have a hole? And other fun facts about Japanese coins

Why does the fifty yen coin have a hole? And other fun facts about Japanese coins

A fun way to get a perspective on another country’s history and culture is by looking at the currency used. The materials and design that go into making them can say a lot about what a country holds dear.

So, why don’t we take a quick look through the modern coins used in Japan and learn a little about why they look the way they do and some other tidbits along the way such as what happens when you microwave a one-yen coin and why you shouldn’t do it.

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Living Wallet: The high-tech/creepy solution to your money spending problems

Living Wallet: The high-tech/creepy solution to your money spending problems

We understand it’s hard to save money. With so many cool Gundam theme cakes and Sailor Moon accessories around, who wouldn’t be trying to empty their coin purses and pocketbooks to exchange their hard earned cash for awesome novelty goods. Sometimes, our spending gets a little out of control and we have to save a little, employing various tactics to try and see an increase in the bank account.

But what if your wallet started inching away, undulating like some sort of deranged caterpillar in hopes you forgo your next splurge. And what if you ignored the weirdness of the movement, picked up said wallet, and it started screaming at you? No, we’re not making this up. One company in Japan hopes to curb your spending with a “living wallet.”

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Starbucks: More expensive in China than Japan or America, but why?

Starbucks: More expensive in China than Japan or America, but why?

It’s safe to say that no one you see at Starbucks is there because they want to stretch their java-buying budget. With locations in more than 60 countries (and seemingly every branch in the Tokyo area at maximum capacity every day between 3 and 7 p.m., the Seattle-based chain must be doing something right, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel a bit surprised at the prices they charge.

But the next time you’re sitting in a Starbucks in Japan or America, pretending to sip from an empty mug because you’re not quite ready to disconnect from the free wi-fi but don’t feel like laying out the cash for another cup, consider yourself lucky. You’d be paying a lot more for your latte if you were at a Starbucks in China.

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NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

Naotake Odake, former managing director of the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) and once director of the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, spent years of his professional life traveling to cities across the globe in order to promote Tokyo as a worthwhile tourist destination. In his travels, he noticed a trait shared by all the major cities: they each had a unique and well-recognized landmark embodying the history and culture of the land. According to Odake, a structure of this sort is vital to bolstering a spirit of pride in any given population. Unfortunately for Tokyo, he believes that this sort of historical landmark is something that Japan’s capital city severely lacks. What he has against Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo Skytree, I’m really not sure. But, it is for this reason that Odake has taken the lead as the chairman of a non-profit organization which hopes to rebuild the Edo Castle’s innermost tower. “In order to present Tokyo as a proud tourist city, we need something like Edo Castle,” he says. But will the payoff really outweigh the costs?

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10 surprising lifestyle habits of Japanese savers: Why are men who throw things out good with money?

10 surprising lifestyle habits of Japanese savers: Why are men who throw things out good with money?

An online survey was recently carried out on 100 Japanese men in their 30s with an annual salary of 6 million yen (US$61,000) or less who have nevertheless managed to amass more than their annual income in savings, and the results were really quite surprising. The men’s answers seem to overturn the common wisdom on how to save money, resulting in a list of characteristics that natural savers share.

I always imagined thrifty types would hang on to all their old junk in case it came in handy, but for some reason, the men who have proved themselves to be great at saving money also tend to excel at throwing things away and… reading maps.

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Counterfeit cash: Chinese ATMs distributing bootleg bucks?

Counterfeit cash: Chinese ATMs distributing bootleg bucks?

Of the many things that China is known for, one of them is most certainly bootlegging. Sometimes it works to our smalltime benefit by introducing us to almost familiar films and imitation iPhones, but only trouble can be bought when China’s system begins circulating bootleg bills.

Recently, counterfeit money in China has reached a point where not only are people being fooled by fake cash, money-checking machines are too, as Chinese ATMs appear to be distributing bogus bills to honest civilians.

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Bonus time! Japanese workers surveyed on their summer bonuses

Bonus time! Japanese workers surveyed on their summer bonuses

In Japan, summer and winter mean bonus time, which is kind of like getting Christmas twice a year. Japanese workers often use the extra money to take a well-deserved vacation or to buy something big they’ve had their eyes on for a while.

R25, a website focused on business professionals and their lifestyle, conducted a survey with 300 businessmen to find out about last year’s bonuses. Let’s see what they discovered! Read More

Is 800 Million Yen Really Enough to Take a Bath In?

Is 800 Million Yen Really Enough to Take a Bath In?

Not too long ago, Mr. Sato was thumbing through a magazine when he came across an ad for something. On the page he could see a man sitting in a bath tub filled with cash.  “Boy, he sure looks happy” Mr. Sato thought as he put down the magazine.

That image lingered in the back of his mind until the announcement of Loto 7’s biggest jackpot ever, 800 million yen (US$8.5M). Then it dawned on him. He could win the grand prize and realize his new dream of bathing in money.

“Winning the jackpot once should be no problem,” he thought to himself “but it’d be a little harder to win twice if I need that much to fill a tub.”

He had to be sure that 800 million yen was enough before he’d be foolish enough to play the lottery.

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I’ll Take a Red Potion and a Bag of Deku Nuts: The Zelda Banknotes We Wish were Real

I’ll Take a Red Potion and a Bag of Deku Nuts: The Zelda Banknotes We Wish were Real

Ever the video game fans, we have to admit that there were a couple of gasps and squeals of delight this morning at the RocketNews24 office when we first caught sight of these The Legend of Zelda-themed banknotes designed by deviantART member Ash. With 1, 5, 10 and 20 rupee notes featuring characters from the series and printed in colours faithful to the game’s gem-shaped currency, we’re positively dying for Nintendo to adopt the idea and make these things official Club Nintendo freebies.

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For richer or poorer? — What Japanese women really think about money and marriage

For richer or poorer? — What Japanese women really think about money and marriage

It’s an age-old question: Which is more important, love or money? There’s no right answer, and your feelings on the matter could very well change over the years. But really, you don’t want your life to be completely devoid of either, do you? Well, maybe if you’re exceedingly lucky, you have plenty of both and won’t ever have to think about choosing between the two (but I have the feeling that many of us aren’t that lucky). Sure, the Beatles can sing “All You Need Is Love” all they like and we can join along at the top of our voices, but can you really make a relationship, or even more complicated, a marriage work without money?

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Study English, Get $11,000! Softbank to Offer Employees Cash Bonuses Based on English Ability

Study English, Get $11,000! Softbank to Offer Employees Cash Bonuses Based on English Ability

“Why do I have to study English? I’m never going to use it… there’s no point,” whines at least one Japanese student in any given English class on a daily basis.

Now, thanks to one company’s clever new initiative, instead of the usual spiel about the benefits of English being an “international language,” teachers can tell their students that knuckling down and mastering the language could bag them 1 million yen.

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