Two more ideas for this blog post. First, ImotoSae’s tax accountant.
i love learning about japanese tax law (via A Sister's All You Need) pic.twitter.com/3nYCWcFx48
— miles 🔜 anime nyc (@MilesExpress999) November 7, 2017
I’m all for sadistic Nunu whispering “Oniichan” to my ears. That aside, the Hometown Tax or Furusato Tax or whatever, the idea is piggy-backing on the rural revival ideas partly described via these lines of thoughts, but without the actual tourism. The tax-deductible donation system is originally intended for people who moved to the big cities from the countryside, so that they can financially contribute to their hometown’s municipality. What’s more, the beneficiary can, in return, gift the person who designated part of their income tax to the municipality. This has become a weird scheme in which people are basically buying things via their hometown tax, because you don’t actually have to designate the money to your literal home town. You can donate to just about any Japanese municipality, even an urban one. You can read about the full situation here. I mean, just go and look at the home page of Furusato tax, it’s like a full blown shopping site.
Here are some things that was available for “purchase” with the donation (tax deductible!):
- Authentic hand-crafted sword
- Yama no Susume goods (you can’t buy these AFAIK)
- Frame Arms Girls event ticket (Event ticket being a gift aside, LOL it’s Tachikawa-shi, which is part of Tokyo).
- Awa Odori posters from Machi Asobi (Here is the 2017 version–and you wonder why people steal these, as you can’t buy them either! Oh, unless it’s an auction or something, like the ones they auction off at Machi Asobi every so often…)
- A tour of Nippon Animation studio
It’s not to say it isn’t already cool to get wagyu beef or snow crab legs from a humble donation (well, some of the gifts are quite expensive in order to get, but they are tax deductible). What’s kind of fearsome is that some of these goods are simply things you can’t buy, however, and are worth a lot if they are fungible. If you ever wonder how the hometown tax ends up relevant in a super otaku anime, now you know.
As for filing income tax as a freelancer or consultant in Japan, yeah it’s more about figuring out the deductions, but also knowing how much you have to pay to cover for insurance and various fees. That stuff is just administrative though.
The BBT of anime, Anime-Gataris, has a moment in this past week’s episode where the Gataris meet Beibei (baby is the pun in the title, right?), a Chinese otaku braving Summer Ket along with our youthful protagonists. This is something kind of endearing to me as an experience, because it’s like a special bond you form with other folks in your same predicament, may it be a hostage situation or braving summer of Japan outdoors from 3am to 1pm, in a line. And you think Comiket lines are bad? LOL.
It’s kind of weird in that, not only I’ve had similar experiences (minus the Japanese speaking part), I’ve seen/been a part of it enough times that I don’t even bother anymore. I mean, usually I want to sleep, you know? Also, too bad Beibei and the Gataris are not Producers, because we would exchange IM@S business cards as part of the ritual. It’s pretty cool how you actually end up keeping in touch with some of these folks over the years because you got their contact info at an offkai or in the goods line. It’s one of those funny fandom quirks that ends up being really useful and a neat part of the fandom. It’s not a unique part of the fandom, I guess, because it’s pretty common for cosplay and art circles to have vanity/business cards, but it’s something to think about.