One of the facts of my life as a private eikaiwa operator is that, like it or not, I really need to be on top of my finances (more so than I currently am, in fact). Last month I had to go to the city hall in order to get my taxes prepped for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Unfortunately, I lacked a certain item that would have made things much easier — my tsuuchou, or bank book.
The bank book is an ubiquitous thing in Japan. Whenever the locals take cash out of the ATM, for example, they insert the top page of their bank book into the appropriate slot, and the machine prints their current balance as well as a recent history of transactions. I'm used to keeping track of everything in a notebook or in my head, however. This works fine for me, but it makes things hard when I have to show accounting to the tax adjustors. I had enough information on hand, but it would have been faster and easier with the tsuuchou.
Ryoushuusho are another thing I have to watch for. Those are official receipts for items bought in stores, filled out on official forms and stamped. Anything that can be listed as a business deduction needs one of these if that deduction is going to be worth anything. If you want your office/business/school to reimburse you for anything, you'll need one of these on hand as well. It doesn't matter if it's a cab ride or a two-dollar screwdriver, if you paid out of pocket then you need a ryoushuusho. Just today I had to go across town to get one from a book store. I'd bought a large number of children's books at a wagon sale two weeks ago, but forgot to get the official receipt then. Thankfully the manager at the store's main branch was cooperative.
With a new Pokémon generation on the horizon, one thing is for certain. Nintendo could go about releasing info on just one new critter a week and keep the gaming world hanging on its every utterance from now till launch day. Just last weekend another one was announced, and it looks just a little bit familiar.
I hope that it's not named Mewthree. That would just be too much.
Do you like cute retro sprite graphics? Who doesn't? In recent years several games, including the Badman series and Half-Minute Hero, have managed to do quite well with that style. Others have not, but that's not going to keep people from trying. FlyHigh Works is releasing its own retro-styled game for 3DS download next week, and while it's not technically an RPG, it certainly has that quaint Dragon Quest charm to it. Presenting, Majou to Yuusha (Witch & Hero)
The basic plot should be pretty obvious from the video. The titular pair accepted a massive bounty contract for the evil Medusa, only to be soundly thrashed and debilitated. Now the Witch is petrified and the Hero can barely fend for himself. And that's just the start of the game.
It's the job of the Hero to keep the Witch safe, no matter what. If her hit points reach zero, then it's game over. Being a good little meat shield, he'll recover from pretty much anything after a moment or two, but in the midst of battle bad things happen quickly. When monsters are defeated, they drop small amounts of monster blood. If enough of this eldritch ichor is gathered, the witch is temporarily freed of her stony curse, and can zap everything on screen into little charcoal bits.
Majou to Yuusha can be downloaded starting next Thursday, April 16th, for 400 yen. I might just check it out for myself sometime. It looks silly and fun.
Even though Gyrozetter: Wings of Albaros was announced almost a year ago, we've heard remarkably little about it until recently. As the last part of a four-pronged multimedia marketing blitz, it lagged behind the Gyrozetter anime, manga, and arcade game in coverage for a long while. In fact, I can't find any mention of its full title prior to last December, or any good screenshots prior to the week before last (at least, none that weren't actually for the arcade game). So what has Square Enix wrought with this title?
It's a car racing RPG. Yes, it's been done before, but this time the cars are also giant, transforming battle robots.
As far as calculated ploys to separate parents from the contents of their wallets go, it's a pretty good one. Few elementary school boys can resist such a potent combination, so no matter how good (or bad) the actual game is, it's bound to sell well. Seriously, it's got fast cars, big robots, flashy attacks, and apparently really lax enforcement of the legal driving age, since this kid is the protagonist.
This is Yuuki Kudoh, protagonist of the 3DS game. According to Famitsu, this game is set in 2053, forty years after the events of the anime. That doesn't mean that Yuuki and Kakeru (the anime protagonist) won't somehow manage to meet, if that second screenshot towards the top is to be believed.
The story is... well, Famitsu doesn't go into detail on the story. That's not the main feature of the game. Robots and cars, cars and robots; the publicity squad at S-E knows what this game is about. And seeing as how eight different car manufacturers (Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsuoka, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Daihatsu) have all given permission for various models to be used in this game, it's obvious the industry knows what it's about too.
The above models are all limited edition, by the way. They can be got through S-E's internet store or at various brick-and-mortar establishments across Japan. Collectibility rules, as always.
I'm sure I'll be hearing all about this one from my students this summer. It goes on sale June 13th.
I was hoping you could talk a little more about sales tax in Japan, since I'm sure everyone is dying to know. In the US we don't have a federal tax, but each state can have their own and even then it can vary by county. So is there just a set sales tax for all of Japan? Does any of the money go to local government? About what percent is it? Is there anything that's not taxed? How many more readers will this exciting discussion attract?
Here's pretty much all I know on the topic. The majority of taxation in Japan is either via the national income tax or the residential tax. To pay those, first I went to the city hall offices in February with my earning records for the past year. The people at the tax office copied down my financial information, and I should be getting my tax payment stubs in the mail next month. I'll have to pay those at regular intervals (four in all) at my local convenience store. No CPAs or special forms involved at my level of taxation, thankfully.
Sales tax was instituted in 1989, after quite a lot of debate. It began as a 3% tax, then was expanded to a 5% tax in 1997 (4% national, 1% local). It hasn't been increased since then, though there are talks of raising it to 10% next year when the moratorium on tax expansion ends. The tax is applied uniformally over the entire nation, which helps explain that regular pattern to game prices you noted in your last letter to the column. Most products in this country have their prices carefully calculated to keep the final amount esthetically and financially pleasing, I think.
All in all, Japan has a better handle on the organizational side of taxes than the US, in my opinion. On the spending side, well.... That's a common issue wherever you live.