My pot of gold looks like a tin can.
In fact, it is a tin can. It is a big, gold, tin can.
And in this tin can holds my new obsession - ¥500 coins.
¥500 coins, which roughly exchange to about $5, are easy to collect, and even easier to spend. Until you're on a mission to save them, and then they become, again, an obsession.
In the last 9 months, in any circumstance, I will go out of my way to tip the register so that my change includes a ¥500 coin. I constantly carry extra change so that if I find myself in a situation in which the till rings up ¥615, I can pay ¥1115 (and get a ¥500 coin back). I've even gone so far as to pay a ¥2913 bill with ¥3413 (so I can get that ¥500 coin back).
And what do I do with these coins?
When I get them, I pop them into the shiny little tin can container whence they belong.
And what do I do with this container? Well, I save, save, save! The containers, which come in different sizes, when full, can hold between ¥100,000 ($1000) to ¥300,000 ($3000) depending on the size, and are easy to fill when one is diligent.
Which I am.
Now, on one end, this means that every cup of coffee at Starbucks, or every meal at Mc Donald's, or every cup of noodle at the convenience store literally costs twice as much (because as instead of paying just ¥400 or so yen, I keep the other ¥500 as if I've spent it and and put it away).
But, on the converse, I save heaps and heaps of coins, which add up. Which is great. And diligence is key. When I started this last March, I was able to save up ¥95,000 before I went to Europe. And I was incredibly super diligent upon coming back to Japan - between landing in August and leaving for Vietnam, I was able to save ¥70,000.
A pot of gold for me? A piggy bank for grownups?
Yes. And worth every cent. Literally.