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Travel Wisdom

5 Reasons to Save up for Your Next Trip

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To save or to spend – isn’t that the ultimate question?

Many people wrestle with this issue their entire lives, swinging to one and then back to the other – much to their own enjoyment and frustration. It’s never a good idea to spend every bit you make and leave nothing for emergencies or the future (we will all get old at some point!), but it’s equally bad to scrimp and save with no real goal in mind. Life is too short to never to anything fun, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do everything fun all the time. Finding the balance is a fine act that once perfected (or at least attempted) can lead to great overall life satisfaction.

When it comes to travel, the best thing to do is save up to spend. You can use a cash ISA account to plan out your trip well in advance and continue to draw benefits for the future, which is a much better place to put your hard earned money than in that box under your bed.

And here’s why:

 

1. Gives you a Goal – So many people talk about traveling but never do it. Opening an ISA and labeling it something like ‘Trip Fund’ will give the dream a real life form and ensures you actually do the things you set out to do instead of getting distracted – which can often happen.

 

2. Keep Track of Your Money – Some people spend money as fast as they make it, or faster, but if you use online banking you can watch all of your transactions. You can see that you have money coming in on a certain date and that you have money going out on another. It helps take some of the surprises out of your finances by seeing exactly how much you have.

 

3. It’s a Safe Place – The expression ‘safer than a bank’ is meant to mean the ultimate in security, as banks are pretty much the safest places to put your valuables – that’s their job! Having your money at home or in your wallet opens you to the risk of theft by others or impulse spending. The bank can’t prevent you from making foolish purchases but it can keep your money safe so you have the option to!

 

4. Option for New Sources of Cash – Many people who travel these days do so for long periods of time and need to be open to making money as they travel. This is hard to do if you don’t have a bank account to transfer that money into (and keep it safe!) and it allows generous friends or relatives to transfer money to you if you need a little extra help.

 

5. Future Travel! – It’s a bit silly to start thinking about future trips before you even go on the one right ahead of you, but saving money in an account will let you know how much you have to work with for when you get back from your trip, or if you decide to extend your existing one. More options are open to you if you have a large sum to work with, so consider watching your money grow in the bank so you can travel to your heart’s content.

 

 

 

Travel Wisdom

Japanese Notions of Cuisine and Experimentation

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I love Japan (as you can probably tell by my past posts) but to say they have a very conservative view of food and cooking would be very, well, conservative. Some of my favourite food in the whole entire world is synonymous with that group of islands in the Pacific that went from being very poor to very rich in an insanely short period of time. Maybe this explains why some things they have there seem very odd in relation to how wealthy the average Japanese person is – they haven’t really adjusted their traditional culture to their relatively new modern reality.

 

Delicious as it is... it's all wrong by traditional standards!
Delicious as it is… it’s all wrong by traditional standards!

Suggesting to most Japanese people, particularly older individuals that they should try some new seasoning or put a different kind of meat in a stereotypical dish will be met with apprehension or maybe just a nod and smile while they dismiss your foolish notion. Sushi chefs have to train for YEARS before they’re even allowed to cook the rice. Yes, I can appreciate the fine art and value they put in the simplicity of basically their national dish but, like, come on – it’s just uncooked fish, rice and seaweed. The whole reason it is their dish is because it was so cheap!

 

Well, was.

 

I remember the first time I went to an izakaya (restaurant bar with a more chill vibe) and saw chicken tendons and gristle on the menu… for a not so cheap price. I wondered ‘who would ever order this trip?’, only to have every Japanese person at the table order it – and some tripe. Did it taste amazing and my snobby western palette needed some altering? No… it was just as you would expect it. In fact, the chicken tendons were deep friend and my friends proceeded to suck the batter off and spit out the inedible part. Well, at least they got something from western society right.

 

Why put this on a menu alongside more edible food? More than likely, as I found out from a friend of mine who is a tour guide in Japan and knows an insane amount about Japanese culture and history (and who is Japanese, I might add), it dates back to when people would have to eat all parts of the food for the nutrition because they were so poor. The reason it persists is because some people have developed a taste for it over the years… but mostly it’s because it’s really hard to get rid of certain staples from Japanese restaurants, as people would have a fit over the change. Interesting!

 

So much love for izakayas
So much love for izakayas

 

This isn’t something unique to Japan but it does hit you a little more in the face when you’re here – this deference to the past. Even as more exotic flavours and dishes invade the Japanese restaurant scene, their traditional dishes remain un-influenced and many prefer it this way. Native Japanese will go out for spaghetti or grab a kebab, sampling all variety of different food and love the difference, but when it comes to their national dishes, there is very little tolerance for experimentation. Some may find this frustrating, but this visitor finds it intriguing and a part of what makes Japan such an amazing place.