culture http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8897/all en-US For Amazing, Affordable Vacations, Travel Slowly http://www.wisebread.com/for-amazing-affordable-vacations-travel-slowly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-amazing-affordable-vacations-travel-slowly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-5211295-small.jpg" alt="travel" title="travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many years ago, a friend and I were planning a three-week vacation to South Africa.</p> <p>&quot;Ooh! I'd love to see the gorillas in Rwanda. Ooh! and Victoria Falls (in Zimbabwe) too,&quot; she said enthusiastically of this continent we'd never visited.</p> <p>I pulled out a map. None of those places were remotely near to one another, but they all shared one commonality&nbsp;&mdash; they were all very far from home, and we weren't sure we'd ever get a chance to return to Africa (in general), so we wanted to make the most of the trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-painless-ways-to-save-for-vacation" target="_blank">10 Painless Ways to Save for Vacation</a>)</p> <p>I started to envision our three weeks. In criss-crossing the continent, I saw endless airports, slow bumpy car rides, and unforeseeable delays that would almost certainly happen. I saw the trip passing us by, and I became exhausted just thinking about it.</p> <p>&quot;But, what about South Africa?&quot; I said. &quot;Don't you want to see the country we initially planned on visiting?&quot;</p> <p>We decided that instead of trying to &quot;conquer Africa&quot; in our relatively short trip and doing a mediocre job of seeing everything and nothing, we would focus all our efforts on South Africa alone. Or decision to travel slow was the best decision we could have made.</p> <p>Slow travel is not necessarily about the physics of going slowly from A to B; it's about narrowing your focus and being open to the opportunities that arise. (Forget B....stick with A!) It's cheaper, results in a deeper cultural experience, and ultimately it's more rewarding.</p> <p>Here are a few of my favorite things about slow travel.</p> <h2>Take Your Time</h2> <p>If you're planning a trip to Southeast Asia, you may be tempted to make the most of your long-haul flight and traipse from Thailand to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and beyond &mdash; to and through these closely-knit countries.</p> <p>But racing from one destination to another means you'll be overwhelmed with itineraries, you'll never get a chance to unpack (or do laundry!), and most likely, you'll return from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation" target="_blank">your vacation</a> needing a vacation to recover.</p> <p>Not only that, but years later, you'll likely forget the character and flavor of any one of the countries you visited; it will all be a blur.</p> <p>Under the premise of slow travel, you choose one destination &mdash; and do it well.</p> <h2>Immerse Yourself in Culture</h2> <p>By taking the time to &quot;just be&quot; and enjoy your destination, you'll gain a better sense of the culture and flavor of the country. You'll feel the pace of life, you'll get to visit special weekly markets you didn't know about, and you'll stand a much better chance of making new friends, since you're not always leaving for the next place.</p> <p>Taking this example to extremes, some fellow full-time travel colleagues of mine cited a year-long <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig" target="_blank">house-sitting gig</a> they did in Asia. They drew great inspiration from watching the local farmers plant &mdash; <em>and later harvest </em>&mdash; their crops. They slowly gained recognition from local market-owners and enjoyed local prices. And they made local friends, and were invited to weddings and celebrations &mdash; a cultural boon for any traveler. When they left that country, they really felt they knew it well, and understood some of the (seemingly illogical) cultural practices.</p> <h2>Save Money</h2> <p>The more you're on the move, the more you'll spend. Buses, trains, taxis, and planes all cost money. Plus, the longer you stay in one place, the bigger the discount you'll likely receive on accommodations. (And the more time you have available to dedicate to one place, more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less" target="_blank">free accommodation options</a> will avail themselves).</p> <h2>Boost Your Business or Your Career</h2> <p>Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes the doors of his business to enjoy a one year sabbatical. Although you'd think taking a year off would be business suicide, it has turned out to be quite the opposite. (You can watch <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off.html" target="_blank">his TED talk on the topic</a> here).</p> <p>We don't all have the luxury of following in his footsteps, but he's not the only one to purport the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it" target="_blank">benefits of disconnecting</a> for a time. And if you do have the time and resources, you can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.escape-101.com/" target="_blank">engineer your own sabbatical</a>.</p> <p><img width="600" height="337" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/MuskokaHDR%208.jpg" /></p> <h2>Discover More Through Serendipity</h2> <p>Even if you're on a short vacation, not every day has to be jam-packed with activities. In fact, the less you plan your trip, the more opportunities tend to present themselves.</p> <p>In 2010 I started my European vacation with a one week <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/07/volunteering-at-vaughan-town-in-spain-a-cultural-experience/" target="_blank">volunteer gig in Spain</a> (something anybody can do). I met so many amazing people in that one week, that I spent the next <em>three months</em> enjoying the hospitality of my new friends all over Europe. If you don't have three months to spare, you'll most certainly have some new pen-pals and future offers of places to stay whenever you return. Either way, keep your dance card open.</p> <p>Since then, I often arrive at a destination without any specific plans or trips booked. I have ideas of what I'd like to do, but almost without fail, I learn of better alternatives to my guidebook inspired ideas once my feet are on the ground.</p> <p>The more flexible you are with your plans, the more you can take advantage of opportunities (and friendships) you couldn't have predicted would be available.</p> <h2>Keep It Slow!</h2> <p>Regardless of whether you have a week or two, a month or two, or a year or two, the slower you travel, the more rewarding (and less costly) your travels will be.</p> <p><em>How do you prefer to travel? Fast or slow?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-amazing-affordable-vacations-travel-slowly">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-worst-travel-values">The 7 Worst Travel Values</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Travel and Money: Using Your Credit Card on the Road</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling">The 14 Best Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-thing-in-your-wallet-is-almost-useless-today">Why This Thing in Your Wallet Is Almost Useless Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel culture slow travel travel planning vacation Thu, 13 Jun 2013 10:36:33 +0000 Nora Dunn 978032 at http://www.wisebread.com Cultural Considerations in Negotiations http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cultural-considerations-in-negotiations <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/cultural-considerations-in-negotiations-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/cultural-consideratio...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/cultural-considerations-in-negotiations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008663150XSmall.jpg" alt="Negotiation" title="Negotiation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="173" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How you handle a negotiation is, in part, a result of your cultural background. In some cultures, every bit of a contract is up for negotiation, while in others even a little negotiation can be taken as insult. It's crucial for small business owners to have an idea of the cultural factors affecting a negotiation going in, whether or not you're doing business internationally. If you're based in New York City, for instance, you can easily work with <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">customers</a> and vendors from a dozen different cultural backgrounds who have brought their ideas of how a negotiation should be handled along as they've started businesses just down the road from your own.</p> <h3>The Learning Curve</h3> <p>Barbara Schwark owns Clear Intentions, an international people development firm. She was born and raised in Germany, operates her business in the U.S. and has done business in many different companies.</p> <blockquote>In Germany, not much is negotiated. People feel uncomfortable with it. You will know what you get ahead of time so that you can decide...In the U.S, many things are negotiable. In Israel, everything is negotiable.</blockquote> <p>When you're dealing with clients with varying cultural background, as Schwark routinely does, it is crucial to get an idea of the culture you're dealing with before you walk into a negotiation. While it is not always possible to get an in-depth understanding of the individual you're dealing with before you actually meet him or her, you can often get some sense of the culture controlling the business as a whole. Taking culture into consideration is just another necessary step to planning for a negotiation. Schwark suggests:</p> <blockquote>It is important to get to know the other culture. If it is another country it is good to do some research and maybe even practice. Germans are direct, Israelis are even more direct. Germans view Americans as superficial and American view Germans as controlling.</blockquote> <p>While these considerations may seem like simple stereotypes, they can significantly affect how you handle a negotiation.</p> <h3>Finding a Cultural Baseline</h3> <p>The information necessary to conduct a negotiation can be different for each negotiation. However, taking the steps to learn more about how those businesses you work with on a regular basis operate can give you a baseline to start from, especially with companies from similar cultural backgrounds. Rochelle Kopp is the managing principal of Japan Intercultural consulting and advises her clients on conducting negotiations across cultures. Kopp suggests that the first step is to learn as much about the culture you're dealing with as possible. If necessary, she also suggests bringing in help that specializes in cross-culture negotiations.</p> <blockquote>If possible, bring in a cultural expert for a consultation &mdash; someone who has in-depth knowledge of the culture you will be working with. Such an expert can be an invaluable resource. If that&rsquo;s not possible or practical, I recommend the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814480667?ie=UTF8&tag=wisbre03-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0814480667"><em>How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone Anywhere in the World</em></a> by Frank Acuff, as a great general reference on cross-cultural negotiation.</blockquote> <p>In general, taking a more careful approach to negotiation can be important when you're dealing with a cultural background even a little different. Kopp says:</p> <blockquote>One needs to be prepared for the fact that what seems "normal" for you will not necessarily be "normal" for the person from another culture. And negotiating gambits that work in your own culture could fall flat when working cross-culturally.</blockquote> <p>She also points out that you may be negotiating with someone who is not entirely fluent in English and suggests speaking carefully and avoiding idioms.</p> <p>It can take time to become an effective negotiator in just one culture, so don't be surprised if it takes time to learn how to effectively create a win-win situation with someone of a very different cultural background. But learning to negotiate across cultural barriers can be done, if you're prepared to dedicate yourself.</p> <p>Kopp's own experiences have helped her cultivate her knowledge of different countries and how to negotiate with businesses based abroad:</p> <blockquote>Very early in my career, when I was first learning how to work with Japanese, there was a delay in working out the details or something I was setting up with a Japanese organization. I responded in a way that had worked well for me in the U.S., by getting all huffy and puffy and loud. I soon realized that that approach was not getting me anywhere with the Japanese, and after I toned things down we were able to work things out and get the project details settled. Looking back on it, I cringe at how bossy I was, but I was just being the 'squeaky wheel that gets the grease' which is an effective strategy in the U.S. I now know that in Japan, the squeaky wheel gets ignored, and a more understated approach works better.</blockquote> <h3>Take Advantage of Your Own Cultural Experience</h3> <p>It's important to be sensitive to a vendor or a customer's cultural concerns when it comes to negotiation &mdash; but you may be able to use your own experiences to your advantage. Schwarck recently visited Germany and put her American-style negotiating skills to work.</p> <blockquote>This summer, when I went back to Germany to visit my family, I decided to try negotiating in a local shoe store. The assumption in German is that it is impossible to negotiate in a store. Well, I bought three pairs of shoes and only one of them was one sale. I asked the person to give us an additional 10 percent off the shoes. Since I was not attached to her answer (a key to being successful) she said "yes." We saved about $30.</blockquote> <p>Your own cultural background will require the negotiators on the other side of the table to come to an understanding on how to best work with you, as well. Every part of negotiation requires communication, so if you aren't sure of the cultural implication of any part of the negotiation, it is not unreasonable to ask questions and learn how to best work with the particular person you're working with.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cultural-considerations-in-negotiations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years">9 Office Politics Goofs That Can Set Your Career Back Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-jobs-proven-to-make-you-live-longer">5 Jobs Proven to Make You Live Longer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-become-a-better-negotiator">5 Ways to Become a Better Negotiator</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/motivating-yourself-and-others">Motivating Yourself and Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tactics-for-relieving-work-related-stress">5 Tactics for Relieving Work-Related Stress</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Personal Development Small Business Resource Center culture negotiations small business Fri, 12 Mar 2010 20:48:44 +0000 Thursday Bram 5382 at http://www.wisebread.com Money Related Traditions for Celebrating Chinese New Year http://www.wisebread.com/money-related-traditions-for-celebrating-chinese-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-related-traditions-for-celebrating-chinese-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/goodhealth.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is celebrated annually by billions of people around the world. In 2010, New Year's Day falls on February 14th. Here are some of the customs related to money and financial prosperity you may see and hear during the Chinese New Year.</p> <h3>Wealth</h3> <p>One custom enjoyed by all Chinese children is the giving of <em>ya sui qian</em>, which literally means &quot;money to push down your age.&quot; This custom stemmed from a Chinese folklore that states each year there are evil spirits named <em>sui</em> that sickened children, and each family must bribe the spirits with some money to keep them away. These days kids do not worry about the evil spirits, but get the money. Elders generally would give money in little red packets to children as families visit each other in succession. In fact, it's not just children who receive these &quot;red envelopes&quot; but unmarried young adults as well. Once you are married, the tables are turned and you start <a href="http://www.lynntruong.com/chinese-new-year-cash-charity-and-community">handing out red envelopes</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/iStock_000002784461XSmall.jpg" /></p> <h3>Prosperity</h3> <p>A common greeting for Chinese New Year is <em>gong xi fa cai</em> in Mandarin or <em>gung hay fat choy</em> in Cantonese. It literally means &quot;congratulations and get wealthy.&quot; Another greeting that is often seen on cards is <em>nian nian you yu</em>, which means &quot;every year there will be extra.&quot; Since the word for &quot;extra&quot; is a homophone of the word for &quot;fish,&quot; New Year feasts usually include fish.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/1103891_jpg_c5e27cd2639b6230f4315c1fcaa76ed0.jpg" /></p> <h3>Health</h3> <p>Traditional New Year's food is symbolic of the hope for prosperity in the new year. A popular food item to eat during new year is the dumpling. Although they are eaten all year round, they are a must during the new year because dumplings are usually shaped like gold and silver ingots used in ancient China as currency. Another food eaten for prosperity is a sticky sweet rice cake called <em>nian gao</em>, which is a homophone for the words &quot;year&quot; and &quot;high.&quot; If you are invested in the stock market you definitely would want it to be higher in the new year.</p> <p>Ultimately, Chinese New Year is a celebration of family and friends. It is a time when we get together to wish each other the best for the future, and appreciate the fact that we have survived another year, together. Happy new year everyone!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-related-traditions-for-celebrating-chinese-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-ii-associated-content">Write for money online series - Part II - Associated Content</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-part-5-your-own-blog-or-website">Write for money online - Part 5 - Your own blog or website</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-costa-rica-lesson-awwwwwww-they-got-me">The Costa Rica Lesson: Awwwwwww They Got Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-alternative-investments-for-long-term-enjoyment-and-appreciation">3 Alternative &quot;Investments&quot; for Long Term Enjoyment and Appreciation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure chinese new year culture money Thu, 11 Feb 2010 16:00:02 +0000 Xin Lu 5190 at http://www.wisebread.com What frugal lessons can we learn from the demoscene? http://www.wisebread.com/what-frugal-lessons-can-we-learn-from-the-demoscene <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-frugal-lessons-can-we-learn-from-the-demoscene" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/melon dreams.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The &quot;<strong>demoscene</strong>&quot; loosely refers to an underground computer art movement where the emphasis is on creating <strong>amazing-but-compact <em>demonstrations</em></strong> &mdash; hence the name. Modern geeks and deals have been married as early as the advent of tech flea markets, but the demoscene is special.</p> <p><object width="475" height="297"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/PidTKpKLYZM&amp;showsearch=0&amp;rel=0&amp;fs=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18" /> <param name="wmode" value="window" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed width="475" height="297" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/PidTKpKLYZM&amp;showsearch=0&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" wmode="window"></embed></object></p> <p>The demoscene has illicit roots grounded in software piracy. Basically, an individual or small team would go beyond &quot;cracking&quot; a game to break its copy protection: they'd also put a visual tag, or &quot;loader&quot;, before the game started. Like real-world graffiti, these served as the mark of a demo group, often containing text shoutouts of respect and inside jokes.</p> <p>As the form matured, demos became strong enough to serve as their own standalone shows, and conventions were hosted around them. The amazing thing about so many of these demos &mdash; and what I mean by &quot;compact demonstrations&quot; &mdash; is they were <strong>extremely resource-light</strong>, relying on insanely deep knowledge of making a computer do tricks not envisioned with its original hardware specs: faux 3D on primitive hardware, extending the screen borders, etc.</p> <p>What does all of this have to do with making smart choices saving money? Here are <strong>3 effective lessons we can apply from the demoscene</strong>:</p> <h2>1. Be resourceful yet fun</h2> <p>In an era when 500 gigabyte hard drives are common, it's easy to slack off and not be astute about tidying your files. The demoscene has long prided itself on tapping into the potential of severe constraints: even today, there are demogroups working on old computers like the Commodore 64 and Amiga, squeezing surprisingly tasty juice out of their ancient husks. There are <a href="http://www.maa.org/editorial/mathgames/mathgames_08_16_04.html">&quot;64K&quot; competitions</a> which means your demo <em>must</em> fit into 64 kilobytes or less. To put that in perspective, that's like a drop in the bucket of a modern PC's memory.</p> <p>With such tight limits, every single line of code must be put to good use. Anything nonessential is trimmed; techniques like procedural generation (using math to create graphics on the fly, rather than prerendered) are employed wisely. <em>And</em> there almost always is music, too! It may not sound like Top 40 radio hits, but is carefully crafted with catchy melodies.</p> <p><strong>If you can do more with the same resources, you should.</strong> A sage bargain hunter strives to save money and scrimps when needed. But that's not to be mistaken for a miser who gets little pleasure out of life because their tightfisted spending is depriving them of fun. Even if you're making meals on a budget, infusing them with color and zest is preferable to sulking over gruel. In much the same way, some of the greatest demoscene stars came from war-torn parts of Eastern Europe, where not only did they not have access to the latest Western technology, they had an overall lower quality of life to contend with. And yet, you might not know that when gazing at the vibrant spectrum of their demos.</p> <p>It's not enough to save. <strong>To prosper from your healthy habits, you must enjoy, and flourish.</strong></p> <h2>2. Tight teams help you win</h2> <p>Many of the greatest demos were made by a triad: a coder, an artist, and a musician. There are edge cases and exceptions to this, sure, but these 3 archetypes show up time and time again. The individuals may possess overlapping skills, but having <strong>a core group enforces both trust and helps you catch mistakes you might miss on your own</strong> &mdash; especially if you're groggy from hours of creative spelunking &quot;inside the machine&quot;.</p> <p>Even veteran deal mavens are prone to making errors like forgetting a product's predicted lifecycle and buying it <em>just</em> before the newest model is introduced, when prices drop on the prior line. Lacking that knowledge can be costly, and with so much of a dataglut on the Net, it can be tough to pinpoint what you need <em>before</em> you spend. That's why you need someone who knows your tastes, and even with machine-assisted matching, there's no substitute for human intuition. Hot deals are often time-sensitive and stock-limited, so while polling the masses (e.g., on Twitter) can be useful, <strong>keep in mind they're looking for the same deals as you</strong>. It's a <em>dog-eat-deals world</em> out there.</p> <p>That's why in addition to tools, it helps on several fronts to have a &quot;tight team&quot; when dealhunting. It doesn't have to be a formal group with a name (although like superheroes, that can be fun). Just some friends you've organically come to trust over the course of multiple purchases, who you'll watch out for in kind. Another plus: <strong>you could save when doing &quot;bulk buys&quot; for stuff your team wants,</strong> instead of having to hunt down a stranger. (But we're all strangers in the beginning, so get started!)</p> <h2>3. Iterate, iterate, iterate your tools</h2> <p>&quot;Iterate&quot; is sort of a geeky word, but it basically means to do something over and over again. Not just the <em>same</em> thing, but to build on an established base. Many demos do this: for instance, a landscape that continues to unfold across the screen, or you may be familiar with fractal art you can infinitely zoom into.</p> <p>Digital data is easy to copy, and it was through rampant swapping of floppy disks that demos proliferated: not just as as entertainment, but for the benefit of eager demosceners-to-be who'd deconstruct and reverse-engineer what they got their hands on. The more promising novices would then take the bulk of what they learned and add a twist to it &mdash; an iteration, like DNA mutating &mdash; before sending it back out into the wild. This predates the &quot;remix culture&quot; we have today, and it continues as a parallel strain of computer-based collaboration.</p> <p>This is relevant when you're looking for deals because you'll swiftly discover that <strong>the good stuff gets snapped up incredibly fast unless you have the right tools <em>and</em> practice how to use them</strong>: whether it's email alerts, eBay auction watchers like <a href="http://www.jbidwatcher.com/">JBidwatcher</a>, or RSS aggregators that show you what's hot today (on that note, remember you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feed">subscribe to Wise Bread</a>!), there are always new tools to help you save money. As you get comfortable with some, stay hungry for what's on the horizon or you'll miss out. <strong>Keep trying new tools and simply stick with what gets you results.</strong></p> <p>The same is true for deals sites' development. It's an amusing game to observe which fundamental &quot;I need that too!&quot; features spread from one social media hub to another. A fine example is <a href="http://retailmenot.com/">RetailMeNot</a> on the left-hand side &mdash; how many of those various features have you seen on other sites? (I'm rather fond of whenever a site has a Mac Dashboard Widget.)</p> <p><strong>Tools aren't the end, they're part of the process, and they reduce the distance from you to the deals.</strong></p> <p><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1174/1264719393_c83732b337.jpg" style="display: inline;" alt="" /></p> <h2>Further reading</h2> <p>The above is but a cursory dip into the demoscene, but if you're curious, <strong>I highly recommend </strong><a href="http://maz-sound.com/goto_product_20"><em><strong>FREAX - Volume 1</strong></em></a>, which is an exquisite and in-depth story of the the early demo days, including the personalities who shaped its growth. It's riddled with typographical errors but there's a lot of humor, and the art is gorgeous. As this is a fairly esoteric text, I don't know of any notable discounts on it, but I prize my copy. There are many connections between 80s retrocomputing and modern dealhunting.</p> <p><em><strong>Have you spotted connections between another &quot;scene&quot; and our dealhunting culture?</strong></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-frugal-lessons-can-we-learn-from-the-demoscene">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping c64 computers culture deals demoscene resources tools Mon, 23 Feb 2009 00:04:31 +0000 Torley Wong 2860 at http://www.wisebread.com Deal Fu: Inside the Culture of Obsessed Bargain Hunters, Part I http://www.wisebread.com/deal-fu-inside-the-culture-of-obsessed-bargain-hunters-part-i <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deal-fu-inside-the-culture-of-obsessed-bargain-hunters-part-i" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/458932809_a066ff3818_o.jpg" alt="Deep deals." title="Deep deals." class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before the Internet blossomed, the closest you could come to &quot;the face&quot; of a <em>bona fide</em> bargain hunter is if you were one, knew someone who was (like my Mom), or if you were in the midst of Black Friday or Boxing Day action as the shelves emptied. The media covers tragedies like <font color="red"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stampede-death-walmart-black-friday">Wal-Mart tramplings</a></font>, but they've neglected thriving communities on the web who'll stop at nothing to get the deals they're delirious about. We're&nbsp;&mdash; say it with me&nbsp;as a&nbsp;LaFontaine tribute &mdash; <em><strong>IN A WORLD OF&nbsp;OBSESSED BARGAIN HUNTERS</strong></em>. If you're a newcomer to the deals jungle, put on the pith helmet you paid too much for, and join me on this tour so you can get comfortable adventuring...</p> <p>First of all, &quot;Obsessed&quot; isn't necessarily an evil thing: I've coined a word, &quot;<a href="http://torley.com/the-power-of-gladdictions"><strong>gladdiction</strong></a>&quot;, which is a portmanteau of glad + addiction. Someone with such healthy, intense expertise is an invaluable resource to others, a sherpa on the rocky path to saving money. After all,&nbsp;there's no way&nbsp;you can&nbsp;scrimp your bucks without time being&nbsp;a factor&nbsp;&mdash; and while you can always make more money, you can't make more time.</p> <p>Where do we find these Obsessed Bargain Hunters, or OBHs for short? Offline is inconvenient &mdash; the cleverest ones know&nbsp;the Internet is a <em>prerequisite</em> to the best prices. After all, the Net enables and amplifies our ability to spread and disseminate data, including what may or may not be a price mistake on a new laptop or other item you've coveted for months and would snap up&hellip; <em>&quot;If only the price would drop!&quot;</em> So, <strong>the short answer to finding OBHs</strong>: behind the front page of most prominent bargain sites are forums, including <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forums/">Wise Bread's own</a>, common tools used to discuss daily deals. Infact, deals often bubble up to the front by means of social media, a tired buzzword for participating in what you consume &mdash; talking about it, voting it up if you approve, and even buying it.</p> <p>This is why forums, a modern&nbsp;extension of the ol' &quot;heard it through the grapevine&quot; of who we rely on to help us make purchasing decisions, have such <strong>community-sourced power</strong>. It also generates intriguing dynamics, such as limited supplies being hastened to OoS (Out of Stock) status as more people, and perhaps eventually masses, catch on. In other words, there's good reason to keep mum about a hot deal, but a seasoned bargain hunter helps others join in on the fun because she knows they'll help her in the future.&nbsp;Being able to navigate these waters and tab through these pages at a rapid clip&nbsp;requires a certain <em>finesse</em>, which I'll term &quot;<strong>deal fu</strong>&quot;, and aspire to explore the mechanics of&nbsp;in future posts.</p> <p><strong>SlickDeals.net</strong>, featured on <a href="../../../../../../bestdeals/">Wise Bread's Best Deals</a>, has <a href="http://forums.slickdeals.net/">one of the most active forums</a>. Their &quot;Hot Deals&quot; sub-forum has accumulated in excess of 300,000 threads and 4.2 million posts, with multiple ways to sort for the good stuff.&nbsp;Certain posters like Selma and SP33DFR34K <a href="http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=648759">have accumulated legendary status</a>, their 1,000s of contributions resulting in many reputation points being heaped&nbsp;upon them.&nbsp;&quot;<strong>Repping</strong>&quot; a post, clicking a link then commenting (similar to eBay feedback), is one way to show appreciation. Repping may be done in gratitude for the OP (Original Poster) of a massive deal thread, or may be given to someone within a thread who offers sound advice. For example, Ned wonders if Daisytron Pies are any good, and Charlotte mentions they're mostly tasty &mdash; but stay away from the strawberry flavor. Through repetitive repping, trust is formed, friendships are bonded, and close-knit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/1591842336/?tag=torllive-20">tribes</a> arise.</p> <p>This is important for a number of reasons, such as: with deals in sight, unscrupulous scammers try to take advantage of others. To counter them, &quot;<strong>haggle hordes</strong>&quot; are virtual vigilantes, thumbs-downing threads&nbsp;in clusters&nbsp;and sinking&nbsp;them to the where they won't get&nbsp;exposure. The scammers can also be abuse-reported, and ultimately, excommunicated from the community for being jerks. Giving thumbs-up or -down is another way of expressing yourself socially, and on SlickDeals, it can only be done for threads, not individuals.</p> <p>The tides can turn red in a matter of days, or hours. For example, <a href="http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?threadid=1045779">SP33DFR34K recently claimed a 1TB external hard drive would be US$70</a>. Hopefuls (including myself) lined up, reloading pages persistently and hoping to catch a sight at this live deal in the wild. Others expressed faith and devotion because of SP33DFR34K's excellent history, but like a cult gathering to see a UFO that never showed up, the hours dragged on, skepticism started to bubble forth, and then&hellip; the crowd tore into a jagged rage. The level of conversation descended to near-YouTube&nbsp;comment lows, anger or biting sarcasm present in just about every post.&nbsp;Tough crowd &mdash; even the best OBHs <em>do</em> make mistakes!</p> <p>Just hours before, the thread had scored a 5-thumbs-up rating (the highest possible). But this descended as &quot;Cyber Monday&quot; stretched out, no deal in sight, eventually sinking beneath the weight of the grumbling mob to a 5-thumbs-down. To add injury to insult, the accompanying wiki post &mdash; found under the first post in the thread and&nbsp;is edited to post updated deal info &mdash; declared this an &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_fail">EPIC FAIL</a>&quot;, signifying how many hopes &amp; dreams had been crushed in the aftermath.</p> <p>Amidst the madness, some dealhunters &mdash; like cultists who kept their faith alive despite the UFO no-show &mdash; tried to rationalize and devise alternate ways of getting a low price, including eBay cashback from another store and other schemes. None were as compelling, but they braced the trampled spirits.</p> <p>My colorful recounting isn't deriding anyone, for I consider myself an OBH. I, too, once was content to browse the front pages and read the headline summaries, but then, like New York's subway system, I learned about legends of lower prices which compelled me to investigate. So I descended into the forums, and from time to time, I live amongst the OBHs, sharing my experiences with defective products, feeling like the winning Super Bowl touchdown everytime there's a <a href="http://www.woot.com/WhatIsWoot.aspx#q9">Woot-Off</a>, and commiserating with fellow OBHs who <em>just</em> missed the window on something they desired.</p> <p>The above is a mere glimpse&nbsp;&mdash; hence the &quot;Part I&quot; in the title&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;and since OBHs camp on the dunes of the economy looking for an oasis, this saga is far from over. <em><strong>Let me know in our comments if you want the tale to continue</strong>, and may the discounts be with you.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deal-fu-inside-the-culture-of-obsessed-bargain-hunters-part-i">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-frugal-lessons-can-we-learn-from-the-demoscene">What frugal lessons can we learn from the demoscene?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-it-now-on-ebay-without-using-livecom-cashback">DON&#039;T Buy It Now on eBay without using Live.com cashback</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men">6 Products That Cost More for Women Than for Men</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping culture slickdeals social media story Mon, 22 Dec 2008 18:08:33 +0000 Torley Wong 2655 at http://www.wisebread.com For the Love of Ramen: An Interview with Ed from RamenRamenRamen.net http://www.wisebread.com/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ramen.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I brainstorm for cheap eats I often think of packets of ramen. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed from <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/" target="_blank">ramenramenramen.net</a>. Ed reviews hundreds of types of ramen on <a href="http://ramenramenramen.net">his website</a> and I consider him to be a folk hero to ramen lovers everywhere. Ramen is usually more than just a flavor packet and dried noodles and Ed has a <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/ramen-glossary/" target="_blank">great ramen glossary</a> to explain the complexities in real ramen. Read on for some interesting ramen facts! </p> <p><strong>Are you a ramen lover because you like to save money? How much do you think you have saved by eating lots of ramen?</strong></p> <p>Actually, the instant ramen I usually eat isn&#39;t cheap. I love &quot;real&quot; ramen, and I tend to prefer some of the more expensive &quot;Japanese imported&quot; instant ramen. The cheap stuff is great too, but once you&#39;ve had the better instant ramen, it just doesn&#39;t compare.</p> <p><strong>What is the most expensive ramen you ever bought? Was it worth it?</strong></p> <p>I think the most expensive instant ramen I&#39;ve bought was around $4-5. It was one of the &quot;bowl ramen&quot; from Japan and it even had a piece of pork! Seriously! I don&#39;t remember which one it was exactly, but I can dig up my post on it. Was it worth it? Even the best bowl ramen I&#39;ve had doesn&#39;t compare to a good bowl of real ramen, but yes, it was darn good.</p> <p><strong>What stores are your best sources for acquiring ramen?</strong></p> <p>There are a few Japanese supermarkets in my area that I check out on a regular basis. There&#39;s a Mitsuwa and Marukai, big supermarket chains. Those tend to be the best sources.<br /><strong><br />How much ramen do you eat each week?</strong></p> <p>I try to eat ramen about once a week or every other week. This week, my wife is on vacation so I&#39;ve been eating ramen more often. Shh...don&#39;t tell...hahaha</p> <p><strong>What is the most disgusting or scary ramen ingredients you have ever seen? What is your favorite?</strong></p> <p>I&#39;ve never seen it in person, but there&#39;s a picture of ice cream ramen on my blog: <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/2007/10/28/ice-cream-ramen/" target="_blank">http://www.ramenramenramen.net/2007/10/28/ice-cream-ramen/</a> . But that doesn&#39;t sound nearly so bad as natto ramen. Natto, if you don&#39;t know, is really an acquired taste. It&#39;s a sticky bean dish that tastes like...I don&#39;t know...<em><strong>spider webs and dirt?</strong></em> My favorite ramen is boring old shoyu or chashu ramen (which is just shoyu ramen with extra pork). I still think it&#39;s the best.</p> <p><strong>Do you think ramen is a healthy food? What could you add to ramen to make it extra yummy and healthy?</strong></p> <p>Real ramen is definitely healthy. It&#39;s a Japanese fast food and much healthier than the fast foods we Americans eat. Instant ramen is not too bad, though it usually has a lot of sodium. I like throwing in mushrooms when I&#39;m cooking instant ramen, especially enoki mushrooms because it&#39;s healthy and so easy. I also make hard boil eggs to go with my ramen. You could just as easily add some bamboo, green onions, corn, assorted veggies, or if you&#39;re really ambitious, roast pork!</p> <p><strong>When you dated your wife did you share your love for ramen with her?</strong></p> <p>Yes! My wife also enjoys ramen, but she doesn&#39;t quite like to eat it all the time like I do. We went to Japan for our honeymoon and I actually took her to the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. Haha.</p> <p><strong>What did she think?</strong></p> <p>She&#39;s a great sport about it. She&#39;s actually the one that encouraged me to start a web site about ramen.</p> <p><strong>Did you design that <a href="http://www.ramenramenramen.net/ramen-lapel-pin/" target="_blank">yummy looking lapel pin</a> on your site? Have you seen anyone wear it?</strong></p> <p>Yes I did. Thanks for the compliment. Some of my friends wear it but I haven&#39;t been lucky enough to see anybody else wear one :(</p> <p><strong>Well, that&#39;s all now. Next time you come to San Mateo you should definitely go to Santa Ramen. They have a larger location now so it fits 65 people. The wait isn&#39;t so bad anymore! I just had the always sold out stewed pork topping for the first time last weekend and it was super yummy!</strong></p> <p>Thanks for the interview! I will definitely check out Santa Ramen the next time I&#39;m in the area! Thanks for the heads up!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-great-meals-with-your-car-engine-the-heat-is-on">Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-frugal-eating">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sayonara-ramen-san">Sayonara, Ramen-san</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ghetto-mac-yours-for-1">The GHETTO MAC - yours for $1.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap eats culture Fast Food Food interview japan noodles ramen Fri, 14 Mar 2008 23:18:27 +0000 Xin Lu 1919 at http://www.wisebread.com Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/elephant.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I moved to the United States when I was a child from Yangzhou, China. After sixteen years, I could easily pass as an American because I speak English without an accent, and I am well versed with the popular culture. However, if you ever examined my attitudes toward money you will see that I am undeniably Chinese. Here are some of the principles I grew up with.</p> <p><strong>1. Being frugal is a virtue </strong>- Being frugal did not start as communist propaganda. Actually it is a concept that has been taught for thousands of years. The classic Chinese text Dao De Jing states that the three greatest treasures one can have are love, frugality, and generosity. Frugality is really a integral part of the Chinese culture</p> <p><strong>2. Save as much as possible</strong> - The personal savings rate in China is incredibly high compared to the United States. According to this <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/03/news/international/chinasaving_fortune/" target="_blank">2006 CNN article</a> , the personal savings rate of Chinese households is 30% while Americans dipped into their savings that year. I know that my Chinese relatives regularly save 50 to 60% of their income and it feels normal to me that I save as much as them.</p> <p><strong>3. Pay for things in cash</strong> - Credit cards are still fairly rare in China and most people pay for everything in cash. What really impressed me is that many ordinary Chinese people were able to pay cash for their homes when the government allowed homeownership recently. The houses are not cheap, and it is amazing to see teachers and factory workers pull out savings equivalent to ten to twenty times of their regular salaries. Chinese people are wary of debt, and I think that is a good thing.</p> <p><strong>4. Always look for a bargain</strong> - In China, haggling is a way of life. If you ever visit China you have to ask at least 50 to 75% off in stores. This has been changing lately as high end stores are switching to the model of &quot;no haggling allowed&quot;. However you will still find plenty of vendors willing to negotiate. I think in America this particular bargain seeking behavior earned the Chinese the cheapskate stereotype.</p> <p><strong>5. Your salary is not a secret </strong>- If you ask a Chinese person in China how much money he or she makes, odds are that person will tell you. Discussing one&#39;s income is not always a matter of bragging because not everyone is rich. Most of the time I see Chinese people do this as a way of getting to know another person. Once you speak to people and find out their income they tell you more about how they live. It is not a rude or bad thing in my culture to talk about money, and sometimes good comes out of it. For example, my dad helped his friend secure a 20% raise after he found out that man&#39;s salary.</p> <p><strong>6. Cash gifts are the best</strong> - On every new year or birthday, Chinese children usually get cash gifts that they end up saving. This sounds pretty sad, but I remember being quite excited about visiting all the relatives and receiving red envelopes with cash in them. Red envelopes are the standard gift for any celebration, and they are considered the best gifts because the recipient can do anything with the money. In America it seems that cash is a less common gift because it is considered to be less thoughtful. Instead, cash is converted to <a href="/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards" target="_blank">gift cards</a> or useless trinkets that are probably less appreciated by the recipient.</p> <p>China has changed dramatically in the sixteen years I have been in America, but a lot of these money habits still remain. I know that the great influx of wealth in China is changing things, but I hope the country as a whole still advocates saving for the future. The biggest negative attitude towards money that I see in China is greed, but I do not think that is uniquely Chinese. Do you have any cultural specific money habits?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seller-concessions-and-buyer-bargains-what-to-ask-for-in-the-current-real-estate-market">Seller concessions and buyer bargains - What to ask for in the current real estate market.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living General Tips Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing Shopping cheapness China culture frugality gifts haggling money Thu, 06 Mar 2008 03:50:03 +0000 Xin Lu 1891 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Don't Know About Sushi http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-dont-know-about-sushi <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-dont-know-about-sushi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009316461XSmall.jpg" alt="Sushi" title="Sushi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think you know a thing or two about sushi, eh? Yeah, I thought the same thing until today. Today is when <a href="http://www.trevorcorson.com/main/home.html">Trevor Corson</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060883502?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre0e1-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0060883502">The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket</a> made a <a href="http://www.kuow.org/programs/weekday.asp?Archive=06-18">guest appearance</a> on my local radio station to dispell some commonly held myths about sushi.</p> <p>Now, I've traveled to Japan, and I've eaten at some good sushi establishments. I'm not an expert by a long shot, but I thought I knew a thing or two about raw fish (sashimi) and the rice beneath it (sushi). But alas, 'twas not the case.</p> <h3>Fresh isn't necessarily better</h3> <p>No, I don't recommend you save money by buying week-old sushi or anything. That said, I was always under the impression that the freshest sushi was the most recently deceased. Not true. Like beef and lamb, fish actually has to age slightly in order to achieve a full, rich flavor.</p> <p>The reason for this, according to Corson, is that the enzymes in fish flesh start to break down the muscle once a fish dies. And that breakdown actually creates smaller molecules that are detectable as flavorful by the human tongue.</p> <p>Corson goes into a brief but fascinating discussion of glutamate (that's the G in MSG), a flavor that is designated as the fifth &quot;taste&quot; that the human tongue can detect. The Japanese call this flavor <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami">umami</a></em>, which we translate into English as <em>savory</em>. Much of Japanese cuisine's flavor comes from fermented or aged produce &mdash; soy sauce, natto, bonito flakes, and miso are all created through some practices that we, as Westerners, might consider <em>unsavory</em>.</p> <p>Fresh fish is delicious if you just caught some trout and cooked it over the campfire with some lemon and butter. But try to eat the same fresh fish raw, and you're likely to be disappointed.</p> <p>Most of the sashimi that we eat in restaurants has been <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercooling">flash frozen</a> using liquid nitrogen. This process kills many of the germs and worms that can develop in fish flesh, but doesn't cause any physical deterioration of the meat.</p> <p>When you go into a fine sushi establishment and order the freshest daily fish, you aren't eating fish that was caught the same day, or even the day before. If you're eating good sushi, the fish is at least a few days old.</p> <h3>You're not supposed to use chopsticks</h3> <p>Dammit! The one skill that I can use across East Asia, and it doesn't even apply?</p> <p>Lots of sushi that we eat in American sushi establishments comes in the &quot;roll&quot; format. Traditional sushi is eaten in the nigiri format &mdash; a little polyhedron of loosely-packed, slightly sweet and tangy sushi rice topped with a thin slice of raw fish. Ever notice that the sushi sort of breaks apart when you dip it in that little bowl of soy sauce and then try to pick it back up with your chopsticks? That's because you are supposed to eat it with your hands.</p> <p>I kid you not. Traditional sushi lovers do exactly that. Corson has a guide of <a href="http://www.trevorcorson.com/sushi/eat.html">how to eat sushi</a> on his web site. The sushi rice is not usually packed very tightly together, which is why it falls apart when you try to eat it with chopsticks. The method for eating sushi is more or less to hold the sushi piece like it's a computer mouse, slowly flip it over, and lightly drench one side in the nikiri sauce (soy, depending on where you are eating) provided.</p> <p>By now you've probably seen that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAJeUONc3b0">comedic video</a> of Japanese etiquette that pokes fun at the traditions and mannerisms that surround sushi consumption. It turns out that much of the behavior is as baffling to the Japanese as it is to Americans.</p> <p>Give the video a watch, but just note that the fact that they are eating the sushi with their hands is not meant to be a part of the joke. You're actually SUPPOSED to go in, sit at the bar, and eat with your fingers. I'm not saying you won't get some weird looks - I'm just saying that that's what the experts do.</p> <h3>The wasabi you are eating...isn't wasabi</h3> <p>Turns out that real wasabi is difficult to grow and even more difficult to properly package. So what <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasabi#wasabi_and_imitations">you eat</a> at Sushi N More is actually horseradish powder, mustard, and green food coloring.</p> <p>Also, you're not technically supposed to be drowning your sushi in soy sauce. Good restaurants provide their own <a href="http://homepage3.nifty.com/maryy/eng/nikiri.htm">nikiri</a>, which is like a house-brewed soy sauce that the chef should use according to what he (it's almost always a he, although this is finally changing) is preparing. In fact, your raw fish should be brushed with a flavored broth that needs no additional flavoring.</p> <p>Now, if you are eating at an authentic sushi restaurant, these things matter. However, if you are at an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, eating bricks of mealy rice with slabs of flavorless fish, then you'll be forgiven for soaking your sushi in a bucket of soy sauce and pseudo wasabi. Hey, I'm not passing judgment.</p> <h3>Traditional sushi doesn't contain tuna</h3> <p>Tuna and salmon, which are BIG sushi hits in the US, aren't traditional sushi choices because they spoil very fast. Fatty tuna, while melty and wonderful to American sushi lovers, is eschewed by the sushi snobs in Japan. Traditional sushi is technically whitefish, like halibut, snapper, or even clams and raw octopus (the Japanese sushi foodies, true to form, sometimes eat squirming live octopus - don't try this at home).</p> <p>Spicy tuna rolls, never a favorite of mine, are one of the most popular sushi options in Seattle. They are also how chefs get rid of crappy bits of tuna.</p> <p>Corson appears to be very open-minded, and avoids any judgment of those of us who occasionally get our sushi fix from crappy rice rolls at Safeway or Whole Foods. Although he lived in Japan and has eaten some of the finest sushi the world over, his fascination with sushi really stemmed from the fact that you can now get find this delicacy in small towns in Ohio.</p> <p>As someone who vacillates between wanting the best sushi available, and wanting some sushi for under $10, dammit, I really loved listening to Corson talk about this cuisine. You can buy the book, or just peruse his web site and a few others to get a feel for what sushi is really about. As with most things here at Wise Bread, it's often about quality versus quantity.</p> <p>Which doesn't mean that I won't still buy it, occasionally, at Safeway. But now that I know I can eat it with my fingers, I'll be so much more efficient.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-dont-know-about-sushi">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-recipes-for-canned-clams">20 Delicious Recipes for Canned Clams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink culture dining out Japanese food sashimi seafood Sushi Tue, 19 Jun 2007 06:58:38 +0000 Andrea Karim 756 at http://www.wisebread.com