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Japanese "Consumers" Scramble To Spend... And Buy Cash Safes In Which To Hide Trillions In Cash

Tyler Durden's picture


Japan's attempt to restimulate the economy through consumer spending (something that has so far failed in the US and everywhere else courtesy of a third consecutive year of global household sector deleveraging) appears to be going horribly wrong. Exhibit A: "Japanese safe maker Eiko Co. says sales jumped more than 40 percent after the March earthquake and tsunami, a sign that consumers will hoard more cash at home and restrain an economic rebound...“The television footage of the tsunami destroying everything in its path must have served as a warning for cash- rich people,” said Tsutomu Ishii, head of sales for the Tokyo- based company. “They have cash at home and they don’t want to leave it without any protection anymore."" If economic recovery is based on spending for cash hoarding devices that the BOJ has done an amazing job. Alas, we are fairly confident not even Keynes has a footnote in any of his theories suggesting that consumers buying up safes, mattresses, socks or other cash storage devices is in any way stimulative of GDP. Alas, the bottom line (and as we have been claiming since the beginning of May) is that the BOJ will have no choice but to step in yet again to take the place of Japan's consumers who are not only disenchanted with stock returns, but now have to worry about natural disasters. "Households aren’t ready to help the economy by spending" said Hiroshi Miyazaki, chief economist at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.

From Bloomberg:

The March 11 disaster that left more than 23,000 people dead or missing may discourage spending as households stick to “tansu yokin,” the centuries-old Japanese practice of keeping mattress money. While output is bouncing back, weak demand may slow an economic recovery as officials struggle to boost consumer spending after decades of deflation.

“It’s absolutely essential for Japan to get people to spend,” said Robert Feldman, head of Japan economic research at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo. “Weakness in consumer spending is one of the reasons for the economy contracting -- it’s crucial for the government and the Bank of Japan to work together properly to end deflation.”

Consumer spending slid 0.6 percent in the three months through March as Japan entered a recession according to the textbook definition, two straight quarters of contraction. The Bank of Japan will conclude a policy meeting today after the International Monetary Fund called for it to boost asset purchases to “guard against deflation risks

Millions in paper money destroyed:

In the devastated northeastern Tohoku region, safes recovered since the data have indicated the scale of tansu yokin. In Ishinomaki, a stricken city, about 700 are stored at a police station, officer Yoshiaki Fukushima said. Officials there have reports of another 750 missing, claimed to contain an average of about one million yen each.

"I was stunned by the amount of cash I was seeing,” said Fukushima, who found as much as 70 million yen ($870,000) in one of the boxes. In another case, he couldn’t get the bills out because they were swollen with water.

At least 500 are at a police station in Kesennuma city, and one contained as much as 40 million yen in cash, said Hiroki Sato, a local police commissioner.

In 2008, the central bank estimated tansu yokin at about 30 trillion yen and Hideo Kumano, chief economist at the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo, said the amount may now be in a range from 20 trillion yen to 45 trillion yen.

This is why every central bank fears the toxic spiral of deflation more than anything:

“The country is in deflation so even if you leave money under the mattress, you are still earning,” said Morgan Stanley’s Feldman. “It’s a relatively attractive asset. You have to protect it but it’s not too hard.”

Average monthly household spending dropped 8.5 percent in the past decade in nominal terms, according to the statistics bureau

There is no chance monetary authorities have a hope in Fukushima of reversing century old habits:

Poor returns on stocks -- the Nikkei 225 is down more than 30 percent in the past five years -- discourage investing, while low interest rates limit the lure of bank saving accounts. At the Bank of Japan, Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s policy board has kept the benchmark between zero and 0.1 percent since October.

And here is the kicker- Japanese households have $10 trillion in cash and deposits!

Japanese households had 55 percent of their 1,489 trillion yen of
financial assets in cash or deposits at the end of last year, about four
times the proportion in the U.S., according to the Bank of Japan.

Luckily, the safe scramble trend has not yet gone global, at least according to a cursory Google Trends search of "cash safe"

On the other hand, in non-Japanese countries, for many it is the true currencies of gold and silver that have already replaced the allure of paper cash. Nonetheless, if the chart above begins demonstrating a material pick up, then the world's central banks may just as well close up shop.

As for Japan - good luck.


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Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:30 | 1368347 stant
stant's picture

mason jar federal is popular here too

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 18:06 | 1369146 trav7777
trav7777's picture

yen POG seems to suggest these people ain't that bright

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:31 | 1368351 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

What the half life of radioactive currency?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:02 | 1368517 UGrev
UGrev's picture

doesn't matter. It's being spent too fast to get any long term exposure from.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 22:49 | 1369809 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

that's certainly not the thrust of the story above.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:29 | 1368354 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Hoard that money of arbitrary quantity!  Yeah!!!

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:36 | 1368363 Cdad
Cdad's picture

And as Fukushima may or may not go critical yet again utterly destroying the parts of the country's economy that are not already destroyed, the grim picture is further enhanced by this story of terrified Japanese people hoarding cash, likely out of fear that they know their government is lying to them...and they are f'd...

...but any minute now Doug Kass is going to reconsider his call about Japan being a "generational buying opportunity."  Holding my breath...

And also, scientists are, any minute now, going to confirm that there are, indeed, not only unicorns...but flying unicorns...and the government is harvesting unicorndew as the new clean energy source of our future.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:48 | 1368463 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

hoarding cash or pm's?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:34 | 1368566 MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture


Only a FOOL would keep US dollars. As an example, the Federal Reserve ADMITS to wanting to devalue by 2% annually (2% inflation). As such, this means you lose over 21% in 10 years and you lose over 44% in US dollar value in only 20 years.

In just over 20 years the US DOLLAR PRODUCT LOSES FIFTY PERCENT of its buying power due to the Federal Reserve's desire to devalue by 2% annually.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:17 | 1368807 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Ummm....try reading the fucking article, you geniuses.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:22 | 1368839 Hacked Economy
Hacked Economy's picture

Go to, and you'll see that the actual (well, government-posted, anyway) inflation rate has averaged 3.5% over the past 40 years, not just 2%.  That gives a compounded currency devaluation of 75%!

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:23 | 1368829 Hacked Economy
Hacked Economy's picture

80% PMs, 20% FRN cash.  Need to have some cash on hand in case of a sudden bank run, ATM shutdown, bank holiday, or such.  Back in 1994 immediately following the Northridge Earthquake here in SoCal, nearly everything was shut down for three or four days.  Cash was king for any stores that chose (or were able to be) open for the first couple of days.

But if the S truly does HTF one day, then I can always use the cash as addtional toilet paper.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:32 | 1368365 Cassandra Syndrome
Cassandra Syndrome's picture

M0 Bitchez

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:32 | 1368372 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Sounds like Bank of Mattress didn't hold up so well in the deluge.

I'm not sure a safe is much better if kept in the house. But an ammo box lightly buried in the backyard with a small pile of bricks on it might have some advantages.


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:45 | 1368421 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Gold coins stored in a length of pvc (capped and hidden) can't be beat.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:51 | 1368464 Frank N. Beans
Frank N. Beans's picture

what's your address?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:26 | 1368837 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:23 | 1368845 Hacked Economy
Hacked Economy's picture

+1600!  ROTFL!!

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:54 | 1368494 TheTmfreak
TheTmfreak's picture

I read a interesting article on survival blog about this. It was a guy's personal experience with doing this out in a public forest.

Turns out after the first good rain all of his pvc pipes came bursting out of the ground. Hopefully you've prepared for this.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 18:56 | 1369252 knukles
knukles's picture

Now that's one worthwhile survival blog, discussing burrying Krugerrands in PVC piping somewhere far, far away from the madding crowd in a fucking public forest.
Like Central Park.
Or say, the Kalahari Game Preserve.

Holy shit!
No wonder there's an paplpable level of anxiety out there.

So, no.  I'm not prepared to worry or even consider that one.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 23:53 | 1369922 chindit13
chindit13's picture

Turns out after the first good rain all of his pvc pipes came bursting out of the ground

Some people swear by metal detectors.  I use Leprechauns.

Wed, 06/15/2011 - 13:10 | 1371627 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

Leprechauns = elementales.

I am told they will tell you where metals are for a small offering of candy and other sweet goodies.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:21 | 1368597 10 Euro Münze
10 Euro Münze's picture

I don't know if this is relevant to PVC plumbing pipe...

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:01 | 1368752 Gunther
Gunther's picture

make sure that they are not easily detectable by high-performance metal detectors.

I have no idea if their claims are correct, but to hide my stuff i would assume that the performance of such a detector is real.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:30 | 1368861 Hacked Economy
Hacked Economy's picture

That's why you use a good Schedule 80 PVC pipe and bury it so the top is at least 18 inches deep.  Then you put a big rock over it and plant some native bushes.  The rock will discourage metal-detecting from overhead, and the smaller roots from the bushes won't bother the PVC like a tree's roots might.

I read an article in which the author did exactly this, and buried a properly prepared gun with ammo.  He recently dug it back up after 15 years, with absolutely no effects to the pipe or its contents.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 18:17 | 1369167 Hi Ho Silver
Hi Ho Silver's picture

18"?  If you're not deeper than 40' one of my detectors will find it. Surface rocks don't stop me, but shotguns do.

Wed, 06/15/2011 - 01:49 | 1370082 Hacked Economy
Hacked Economy's picture

Don't worry...I'm covered with 'ol Winchester.  Just please come all the way through my window so the po-po will file it away as a legit-defense case.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 20:06 | 1369373 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

It is real.  Makes finding guns and gold no laughing matter...  Mass densitometry technology is very acute and wide ranging (seeing through an entire home).

Basic hand wands can alert on safes concealed in walls, coin collections, etc. for robbers turning a house. Buried, not so much.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 22:59 | 1369823 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

but can the hiding place be beaten out of you.  even if not it's an unpleasant experience.  i appreciate all who hold the precious wherever but between the former and the 1933 precedent, i'm going with the miners, of however little use beyond the thunderdome.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:37 | 1368375 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Fukushima was a terrorist attack...

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:39 | 1368408 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

they have a few bits of a lead but still seems like they are avoiding reality...  does anyone really think Japan was enriching plutonium for Iran?


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:05 | 1368521 Popo
Popo's picture

Uh... dude there's massive structural damage to infrastructure, and Fujita released dozens of photos already.

Furthermore you assert that a nuke at the bottom of the Japan trench would (of course, duh!) create a tsunami.  As if that's an easy task with an utterly predictable outcome.

Thirdly,  Japan wasn't offering to enrich uranium for Iran anywhere near weapons grade.   Come on.   The most NNP-active nation in the world was certainly not about to risk proliferation.   If you were paying attention, you'd know that we WANT external enrichment for Iran.  (And so does Israel).  What we don't want is internal enrichment capability in Iran.

Fourthly,  your images which supposedly "prove" no earthquake damage are idiotic.   They show nothing.   Thousands of photos already exist, but yours are tiny thumbnails from security cams which you claim to provide adequate proof?  They show nothing at all.

Serious tinfoil.



Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:10 | 1368546 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

1. None of it is mine, so drop the you and your nonsense.

2. I don't know what you're saying with respect to the nuke in the trench.

3. If YOU were paying attention, you would have seen that is exactly what the links state: Japan was enriching for Iran with US approval. Christ you're an imbecile.

4. I'm open to this. Link up some post-earthquake, pre-tsunami damage photos. Throw in a few of past earthquakes too, so we can see how much more severe this 9.0 was.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:09 | 1368784 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

While I don't doubt something like this isn't possible (except for the idea that seismic data can be globally suppressed), some of his facts are easily refutable.

First, he states as a matter-of-fact (without any supporting data), that no earthquakes of significant size happen in the Japan trench. Now, I've been watching ( and have seen hundreds of quakes in the trench since then, many over 6.0. Of course, he used the word significant, so it's a fluid definition. As for the quake damage photos vs. tsunami damage, well, that's another subjective claim based upon proving a negative. I looked myself, and while most photos are of the tsunami (which is not surprising, given its size), within the first page of GIS results, I found an elevated highway in Sendai that fell over on its side that has no tsunami damage. So, pictures do exist.

The most glaring misrepresentation though, is the "missing reactor 3."

Here the author clearly mislabels a photo to demonstrate that the reactor is "gone." The arrow that points to the "top of the concrete" in the drawing is not point to the "same point" as indicated in the photo. Instead the arrow in the photo is pointing to the top of the roofline of the building, not the floor above the reactor. This is easily verified by looking at other photos which show this point to be at the same height as the other buildings (especially #2 which is still intact directly next to #3). So, no, the reactor isn't missing, it's just two levels lower than indicated by the incorrect captioning.

Oh, and the biggest clue that this is BS? The author brings Benjamin Fulford into the mix, who is nothing but a one-man psyop with ties to David Rockefeller.

Now, that said, the plant might still have been sabotaged. If it was though, there is no way it was for the Japan/Iran/Israel story. That would just be the cover for the real goal of depopulation. The idea that there is real conflict between nation states though is every bit as credible as the storylines of professional wrestling.

See, the abstractions known as nations are wholly owned by the banksters already, so there is nothing to gain by setting one against the other, except for the perception it creates in the minds of people.


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:24 | 1368846 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

So, I just went over to Fulford's site. Oh boy, he's got a paywall now!

If anyone needs any more evidence to discredit him, go to the registration page, and take a look around. Have you ever seen a paywall that fails to list the price you are going to pay once you click submit? LOL

I take it then that no one has bothered signing up for his exclusive service. Or at least not anyone that cares about price?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 23:31 | 1369900 chindit13
chindit13's picture

Right or wrong, the quality and credibility of a site is known by the company it keeps.  ZH, which produces some of the most important financial reporting of any media organization, is discredited and more easily dismissable when the batshit crazies take over the dialogue.

Investigator:  Mr. Blankfein, it was reported on Zerohedge that your firm..

Blankfein:  Sir, do you mean the site where people think the Japan quake and tsunami was a terrorist attack?

(laughter ensues)

If you cannot get a handle on your paranoia or abject idiocy, at least try to refrain from posting your drivel so as not to hurt the reputation of Zerohedge.  This battle is tough enough without losing warriors to "friendly fire".

Wed, 06/15/2011 - 00:16 | 1369955 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

An excellent summation of the counterpoints against the article linked. You have undoubtedly upped the ZH street cred by over 9000 internets with your refutation of the presented arguments. Without you, chindit(the little British bitches that couldn't even throw off the japs in Burma), this whole website might have been thrown into disarray. Thank god you came along and so poignantly laid rest to all the concerns raised.

Wed, 06/15/2011 - 00:51 | 1369998 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Sorry, but there's no law (yet!) proscribing where tin-foil beanie wearers can post, let alone wearers of pith helmets!  Besides, ZeroHedge isn't the organization with all the conspiracy theories, the posters are.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:35 | 1368382 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

I don't understand what the problem is..  Japan's gov just has to tax them more and then spend the money anyway they want ...  and if they can't get into those safes then just print more money and spend that anyway they want.. 


we do not have any of those caveman problems in America - you money will be spent or dilluted


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:42 | 1368409 HarryWanqer
HarryWanqer's picture

Great idea!  Taxes only payable in cash!

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:46 | 1368398 Saxxon
Saxxon's picture

In any race or nation - and they occur almost in the same stripes in all 'civilized' nations - aren't economic mandarins like this wonderful.

They look at people as mere feeding sacs with apertures at each end.  Our politicians, too.

Canticle For Liebowitz is highly recommended; only in our scenario, rather than technology getting scattered to the four winds, it will be this very economic attitude.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:42 | 1368400 falak pema
falak pema's picture

japan investor cum consumer holds the key to his country's future..if he goes consumer crazy and moves out of Japanese will collapse the nippon banking system.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:39 | 1368406 TheTmfreak
TheTmfreak's picture

This is a very interesting article. A lot to digest and think about, (even though there isn't much to it.)


Can we then say that creating a "protect your money at home" business might be a worthwhile venture in the US and elsewhere?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:44 | 1368420 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Sure, sounds great.

Can I have your customer list? Thx.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:45 | 1368446 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

does 'venture' translate to 'scam' only in America?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:47 | 1368460 TheTmfreak
TheTmfreak's picture

Who said anything about fraudulent schemes?

Thats like saying selling people food who are hungry is a scam. They want safes to store their money (rather than at banks). Can you blame them?

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 20:40 | 1369468 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

depends on the food.... Diet Coke?  


and what better scam to sell people safes in America as a tomb for their rotting cash

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:49 | 1368471 TheTmfreak
TheTmfreak's picture

I mean perhaps people will wake up here and start to take a little more responsibility towards protecting their assets rather than having pure faith that somebody else is.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:17 | 1368571 Idiot Savant
Idiot Savant's picture

Can we then say that creating a "protect your money at home" business might be a worthwhile venture in the US and elsewhere?

Negative - multiple surveys suggest that less than 40% of Americans have even six months living expenses in savings. A recent poll suggests that roughly 50% of Americans couldn't come up with two grand in a pinch.

Those that have assets are doing their best to diversify due to ZIRP, BB's relentless printing, and a dysfunctional market. The wealthy already have safes anyway.

Comparing asians (net savers) to iGottabuy Americans is apples to oranges.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:37 | 1368648 TheTmfreak
TheTmfreak's picture

Well I'd say "eventually coming to a US near you" might be reasonable. I'm not trying to say that right this second I'd get a lot of customers.

I'm well aware of the difference between Japanese savers and the US. However, storing at home and storing in banks is a completely different situation.

You're saying "negative" when there is already an extremely healthy (and growing) market for "rainy day" goods, products and services in the US. Try to go buy a safe you actually trust for your stuff. Every safe I have seen has been about the lowest quality possible. That alone would be a decent business.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 23:09 | 1369848 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

really more like comparing apples to codling moth worms.  that sounds harsh even to me.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:40 | 1368412 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

they've been "hoarding cash in Japan for 25 years."  Have they been declaring war all over the place at the same time?  Nope.  Are interest rates about to soar there?  Possibly. Is it "their fault"?  Yes.  Same true in the USA as in Europe?  Probably.  Our fault?  Aboslutely. We've all known the deal since day one:  the government is going to bail out Wall Street.  The question therefore is "who bails out the government then?" (Long, stony silence ensues.)  If we use Japan as an example "the market can and will."   We only need look at the yen to determine it can be done without total catastrophe--ain't pretty looking at it now, tho, i agree.  (How 'bout that yen strength though!!)   I say "can't look at the Bernank without looking at the Pentagon at the same time."  That's at a minimum, yes?  Not even the WSJ will throw NASA under the bus so of course we are not being serious at this point.  There is a crossover point of "guns and butter" of course however.  We had "one of those" in 2008.  I say we are fools if we don't see a repeat this year since "it's not the government's job to look at that stuff" but instead either "promise even more" (and fail to deliver) or "talk austerity" (while giving more of the same.)  Again:  "fin de seicle."   Maintain a solid cash position because--obviously--"no one else does."  Again. 

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:41 | 1368418 Fraud-Esq
Fraud-Esq's picture

Did Tyler's QE2 - European banks theory hold up to scrutiny over the last days??

Thx in advance

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:41 | 1368425 j0nx
j0nx's picture

Dead culture. What else is there to say other than they are all on borrowed time now. Of course the same thing could be said for all of us when you get down to it.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:57 | 1368493 HappyWarrior
HappyWarrior's picture

Hencho en Los Estados Unidos y esta bien:

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:14 | 1368554 camoes
camoes's picture

If they left their money at the banks instead of home they would still have it. it's wrong in my opinion to keep paper money (or pm's) at home, unless you believe banks will fail and govt won't guarantee your savings account. If your house burns down or any other natural disaster or some robs your home you take a double whammy. If you're really paranoid about bank runs, just diversify your cash holdings abroad...

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:37 | 1368649 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Sound advice, reasonably stated.

Who let in the crazy guy?  ;)

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:42 | 1368928 camoes
camoes's picture

and don't keep guns at home, chances are someone that LIVES at the house ends up shot are more likely that being used against an outsider assailant. If it's readliy available, kids or stupid untrained grown-ups may end up playing with it. If it's not readily available it's useless in case of a surprise robbery and the robber may end up taking the gun anyways. ok now I'll get flamed ;-)


PS: I love gold and silver (but invest only in paper and mining stocks), plz don't flame me


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 18:37 | 1369208 andybev01
andybev01's picture

I only junked you for begging to not be flamed, I agree with your statements for the most part.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 19:32 | 1369330 Kevin... Who su...
Kevin... Who suffers from Cassandras curse's picture

When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.  The sad part about what you just said is, "your not prepaired for anything".

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 19:37 | 1369332 Kevin... Who su...
Kevin... Who suffers from Cassandras curse's picture

When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.  The sad part about what you just said is, "your not prepaired for anything".

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 20:47 | 1369476 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture


JFC...Camoes, repeat out loud in public places: " I am so fucking We Todd did" over and over again. Turn in your userid, your brain has been fucking revoked for lack of use. You make single cell organisms seem sentient you moron. Put your package in your microwave on high for at least the time it takes to make a bag of Orville Red'nNeckers popcorn please. Wouldn't want to spread any more of this stupidity around...


Thu, 06/16/2011 - 23:13 | 1376581 Nage42
Nage42's picture

Have you read the article about French banks limiting withdrawls to 1,500 Euro per week?

Scary stuff mate.


Just like you don't leave your gold sitting on top of the coffee table, or it gets stolen; you don't leave your guns just in the damn closet, or you get shot by your own gun.

Security: the right people have access, you have access when you need it, and when you access it the damn thing works/is-no-corrupted.

Fireproof safe for the gold, gun-locker for the guns... duh.







Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:44 | 1368557 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Japan has been walking dead for decades now. 

They've adopted the sport of the nation that dropped 2 atomic bombs on them as their own.

 Beef was non-existant in their diet. Now? HUGE. 

Those two little points and a million others in between (except for the 'places of interest" most Japanese cities are horrendous examples of American style, Cube, butt-ugly box architecture.

It goes on and on. Really sad, but this once proud people, serfs to the Americans for the last 50 years, are done for.

plus,their businesses ran onborrowed capital. Profit was hated. Literally. Only borrowing companies could "succeed". Talk about a system bound to fail.


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:43 | 1368691 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

I think they just went with the money, for a while. Probably this will not become a meaningful period of their history, in the end.

I've been saying since the earthquake that Japan is done, industrially. But what is going to happen now is they will show us the way back to a simpler way of living, within ones means, and with the least impact on the earth. They have no literal choice given their insular status. They also need to get back to some serious baby-making or else they might eventually have to become Korean. Again.

Americans would be lucky to be able to make such a transition or anything even close. We have a lot of guns, a lot of cars, and a lot of people with "exceptionalist" entitlement mentalities. Not a good mix. Most my age saw the Rodney King riots play out on the nightly news, so we know things can go straight to hell very quickly.

Japan will vanish from the media like an old Hollywood starlet, to fade away into that quiet night of forgetfulness. Not so 'Mericans; we'll be splashing each others blood across the pages of history for a generation.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:25 | 1368854 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Cougar, I agree with the essence of your post. Well made points all.

I'd add a couple of observations.

One, interesting that Japan was "given", for their role in the game, leadership in mass manufacturing (gross) and trends (subtle). So they got to warp people's mind with silly shit like Mario, packman, Hello Kitty, pokemon....on and on and on...

Two, Japan had become a hide-bound, calcified society, their western way totally alien to them. Why do you think they drink so much? So they cannot bounce back to the old ways anyway. Something has cracked. I have direct and recent Japanese business experience.

The American hair trigger on violence is actually far lighter than Europe. I've seen so much anger on British, German and French streets. Crazy aggression on display constantly. The US is mushed out, chubbed out, TVd out, lazboyed out, pizzaed out, meated out....Eurofolks are leaner, meaner and much more ready to scuffle for real.

I can see American's getting trigger happy around their homes. I see a sub-urban ghetto mentality settling. People will do armed patrols. Explosion in racism, police heavy had started when I left in 06.


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 17:27 | 1369047 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Appreciate the on-the-ground reporting. I'm always worried about Europe, they have a 1000 year history of self-inflicted atrocity. Some habits are hard to set aside.

Yeah, if things get a little hot the US will legalize pot and that will end the revolution, won't it? Maybe it's just as well.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 18:11 | 1369163 trav7777
trav7777's picture

You saw the Rodney riots but you weren't watching them, were you?

Otherwise you'd have seen who is always rioting

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 19:33 | 1369331 Meatier Shower
Meatier Shower's picture

How can you blame professional victims?

They do it so well!

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 23:28 | 1369888 chindit13
chindit13's picture

A little consistency might be in order.

Japanese society has many good points, but it never was a paradise.  They share many, most or more of the frailties any other society possesses, though sometimes they dress it up and make it look to be something noble (samurai are just a better dressed version of the Crypts and the Blood).

They always drank a lot.  Beef might be important to you, but whales are important to other people in the world.  It's a matter of culture.

Japanese built their society on sameness, which is but a short step to racism.  They also installed a few "betters" such as shoguns or emperors, afforded them semi-divine status, and accepted whatever these betters threw at them.  How is that different from the elite in the US or anywhere else?  Among the masses, great pride was taken in being exactly like everyone else, and any deviation was considered a "deviation".  At best "deviants" were "iijimei" 'd or "murahachibu" 'd.  At worst, they were slaughtered (Koreans, Ainu, Borakumin).  At times they took their "ethnic and cultural superiority" on the road (Nanjing), something which continues to haunt them, particularly when the Rightists like Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro dismiss (what the Chinese know all too well as reality) as a "fabrication".

Japan always had a choice.  To call them "serfs to the Americans for fifty years" is to say they are children and shows a lack of respect to a people you claim were once proud.  Everything Japan has done has been with eyes wide open and of their own free will.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:16 | 1368583 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

come on natural disasters and spending go hand in hand. except when its time for the blubbermints to spend on repairing, and jailing the corrupt pepeople that not only lied about the severity of the problem, but continue to sweep radiactive dust under the rug. same crap happened here in AmeriKa with every recent disaster.


happeniong again with the victims of the tornadoes..FEMA turned down claims becasue there wasnt enough damage. This was said to people who's house is gone; destroyed by a twister

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:26 | 1368601 insidious
insidious's picture

It’s absolutely essential for Japan to get people to spend,” said Robert Feldman, head of Japan economic research at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo. “Weakness in consumer spending is one of the reasons for the economy contracting -- it’s crucial for the government and the Bank of Japan to work together properly to end deflation.”

I am sick of hearing advice that all we need to do is to get people to spend and everything will be OK. Spend on what? Stuff? Any stuff? Stuff we don't need? Junk? Stuff we can easily do without? Spend your savings on stuff you don't need? Borrow money to buy things you can't afford to pay cash for?

What ever happened to "live responsibly"? Where you can, and for what you really need or want, choose quaility and plan on taking care of it and keeping it for a long time? Do NOT buy junk. Save your money and invest it wisely (if that's possible anymore). Explore aspects of life that provide a lot of joy and meaning that don't cost money (or at least don't require a lot of money).

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:46 | 1368703 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

But if you do that then the terrorists win.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:13 | 1368806 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Live responsibly?

Why, that idea died back when everyone was told by TPTB that "we must support the economy."

Up until then, the economy supported us.

Keynesianism, the gift that keeps on giving (or taking, depending on your perspective).

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:45 | 1368947 camoes
camoes's picture

Junk is relative. Can't live without my Blackberry and Diesel jeans, but I drive a 2001 car, cause I don't care about having a nice brand new car. My precious may be junk to you and vice versa.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 17:38 | 1369082 oldman
oldman's picture


What is this "live responsibly" business? Where do you think you are? What century are we in? Who on this blog do you think, cares about such an esoteric concept?

Seriously, if each of us had any capacity for taking care of ourselves, we wouldn't be the aggressive egomaniacs that we are. This is not a place for ethics---it is a place for egos.

I say this with complete respect for each of us.


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 17:41 | 1369087 oldman
oldman's picture

my dear insidi:

What is this "live responsibly" business? Where do you think you are? What century are we in? Who on this blog do you think, cares about such an esoteric concept?

Seriously, if each of us had any capacity for taking care of ourselves, we wouldn't be the aggressive egomaniacs that we are. This is not a place for ethics---it is a place for egos.

I say this with complete respect for each of us.


Tue, 06/14/2011 - 23:47 | 1369916 chindit13
chindit13's picture

All good in theory, but I fear we need "make work" to keep as many of the 7 billion as possible gainfully employed.  If we didn't buy junk and stuff we don't need, 1.3 billion Chinese would still be mired in poverty.  Unless we toss out the Massey Ferguson's and go back to having a thousand people on a farm do the work one machine can do, a lot of us have no reason to be.  Perhaps I've viewed it all wrong, but I think the only thing that kept us ahead of Malthus was that we developed a fondness for useless junk.  I hope I'm wrong, but absent a return to the pre-Industrial Revolution way of life, I don't think there's a place for one and all.

I think I need Mako back here to set me straight.  Are you hiding behind another moniker, Mako?


Wed, 06/15/2011 - 01:02 | 1370012 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

The surface of a planet is NOT the correct place for an expanding technological civilization.  Expand your mind a bit...

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:26 | 1368604 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

ADT scrambles to have door hangers printed in Japanese.

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:46 | 1368700 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

lead lined safes

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:51 | 1368951 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

They are also scrambling to buy gold:

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 17:01 | 1369000 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

It is possible that the safe company has drawn the wrong conclusions for the wrong reasons.  We saw some of the wreckage of the tsunamis on TV, they were saturated with coverage, what strikes you is the personal items, photos, jewelery, papers, strewn everywhere.  If you are going to be killed in a flood like that and your house destroyed or found under a fishing factory would you not want to know those things were safe for those loved ones that survived you?  Or maybe you survive it and eventually your safe is one of the hundreds found in the debris and muck.  Who knows, not being Japanese I wonder if their policies are void unless original copies presented or some such.  There could be a hundred reasons why safe sales are up, and even if hoarding cash has anything to do with it the conclusion that they intend to starve the economy is not necessarilyvalid reasoning.  I think that they see the slow, Katrinaesque, movement by the government to get aid to stricken regions and just feel like in an emergency they have to be prepared to be on their own for several months, hence a safe.  Also, their crowded wooden construction is famous for going up in vast conflagrations in which little is left, but a well made insulated safe would be. 

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 17:48 | 1369111 Eireann go Brach
Eireann go Brach's picture

And I bet there is a equally strong correlation between folks buying safes and not paying their mortgages in the US!

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 20:52 | 1369489 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Screw the safes, they need to build their new houses around this:  Remember these? Now they can hide their PM's and valuables and when the next alarms start sounding, just hop in and close the hatch. If you end up out at sea, just pop the hatch and enjoy the cruise. 

Tue, 06/14/2011 - 21:58 | 1369658 digalert
digalert's picture

That's funny, imagine those evil serfs apparently don't trust bankster/government fraudulent institutions? And they're sitting on trillions! Fuk the banksters

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