The Japanese YEN is a big bill

by Jeff McNeil

Taking a 2nd look at the currency that we got to take with us, I can’t imagine how big the Japanese wallets are?  These bills are fat!  They are about 50% taller than US Dollars and will not fit in my wallet unless I fold them into smaller portions.  They are also in HUGE demoninations.  If you read the bills they are in teh thousands!  But that doesn’ t mean they are worth that much in USD.  Infact the current excange rates have them at $0.0125 for 1 Yen.  That means 1000 Yen is only $12.50  How crazy is that?  I can buy something for 100,000 Yen and it will only be a $1,200.  Not that I am going to be spending that much money over there on one item, but it makes me wonder how many zeros department stores have to have on hand when prices change.  I should be careful if i go to a Wal-mart over there.  Falling prices really could hurt you if that many numbers where involved.

I am feeling more confident in the plans for Hong Kong and Tokyo now that I have the currency and am getting good with knowing which is which, as well as knowing the current conversion rates.  I feel that things will go smoothly for us once we arrive.  This week will all be about cleaning up the apartment and packing for the trip.  Do you have any suggestions for packing?  Have you been there before, or other Asian countries during the summer?

Hong Kong Dollars are so colorful

by Jeff McNeil

After a short wait in line at my local Citibank branch, I was able to count my crisp new Hong Kong dollar bills.  They are so colorful and vibrant in their new state.  Why is the US dollar not so colorful?  Why must we have such boring money?  “The greenback” as they say is the international currency.  Why must it be so monotone?  One of the HKDs has a plastic window in it.  How cool!

The main concern of mine is how do I know if something is fake or not.  Vendors may give me back fake money and then I am SOL or the rest of the trip.  I know people take travelers checks, which is all well and good, but we have a… get this…. Capital One card.  They do not charge the 3% conversion fee each time that I make a purchase.  That is great for us because the USD is not the currency it once was.  It has depreciated in value during the recession.  I just hope things don’t get worse while we are there.  The HKD is currently worth $0.12 USD.  So 100 HKD is about $13.00.  Is there anything in Hong Kong that you might want?  Let us know and we can put it on a small list of souvenirs to bring back state-side.