We had a decent New Year Eve, we worked until around 11:30 PM and then headed to the local shrine to ring in the New Year, we got home and went to bed, as we had to be up early on New Years day to do a few deliveries.
We then headed to Costco, I know it sounds funny, but this is a tradition we started way back in 2001, when the first Costco opened here in Tokyo. This year we went to a closer one, a new one in the city of Kawasaki, just South of Tokyo. We got there soon after they opened at 10 AM and did a lot of shopping, as we had not been to Costco in some time........... like since last year!! (really, it has been a couple of months).
While we were there we ran into an old friend of ours, another liquor shop owner that used to be in the same buyers group as us (that we and he have since left) it was really nice to see him again and Emiko and I talked his ear off, well, he did a lot of the talking as well (honestly!!!!)
When we were about to leave, I noticed that the Softbank boutique in Costco (Cell phone carrier) had a good deal on the new iPhone 3GS. They had reduced the rates for the phone a lot so that we only have to pay about $19 a month for the phone including the phone service and the net access up to a certain point, if we go over that point the cost of the net access is limited to about $40, so I think this is also a good deal, not that we use our cell phones for surfing the net, we have computers for that
The big deal was the $100 gift certificate that we got for each phone! and a bonus $30 gift certificate we got for signing up more than one phone. The timing was perfect, Emiko, Erika and Mizuki's 2 year contract are up this month, so we could cancel our old carrier, AU, and move to Softbank and not pay any cancellation fees!
As Erika is moving to Canada in the spring sometime, when she leaves, I'll get her iPhone, as my contract on my phone is up in May, so it works out very well, the girls (all three of them) are really stoked to have new phones, and as we got them for a VERY good price (no money up front) and the $320 in free shopping at Costco (which was just under what we spent today) I think this was a great deal for us. Oh yeah, one more thing, as we were switching from their competition they gave us the first 5 months on all three phones for free!
Five months free is 1920 x 5 = 9,600 yen
Costco Gift card 10,000 yen
Bonus Gift card 1,000 yen
Total savings 20,600 yen
Total cost of each phone, a two year contract, with service is 24 x 1920 yen = 46,080 yen
Total we will pay 46,080 yen minus 20,600 yen = 25,480 yen or about 1062 yen a month, say $10 a month for an iPhone, heck I'm paying more than that for the almost two year old phone I have!
I have no idea how this compares to Canada or the US, but it seemed like a good deal to me. I think they expect to make the money back in net charges, but like I said, the net fee per month is from 1920 yen to 4407 yen, when you reach the 4407 yen limit, you can use the net as much as you like and you still only pay 4407 yen. I think they expect a lot of people to just simple use that 4407 yens worth of net access ??? For us, we don't use our cell phones that way, and I hope it does not change either. One more bonus I just remembered, as we are on an ADSL router from Yahoo, which is affiliated with Softbank, regular phone calls from our house to the Softbank cell phones is at a much reduced rate.
Plus, talking between the family members on the phone is free 24/7 and so is e-mail and texting between other Softbank customers.
I've been playing around with the phones, well as much as my girls will let me, and they look fantastic, I can't wait to get mine
All in all, not a bad way to spend New Years Day!
I hope you all have/had a good day too!