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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

LIFELINES

Gold value, dogs and carpentry


Gold, gold, gold

Andrew in San Francisco has come through with some very helpful advice on gold (Lifelines: July 4).

"Gold prices are generally uniform throughout the world. Everybody who deals in gold has the latest up-to-the-minute prices on the world market. Gold can be sold as bullion, coin or jewelry. With coin there is little problem, as with bullion. But jewelry presents a different problem.

"Pure gold is .24 carat. It is usually marked 999. Gold jewelry can be found in .24 carat, which is very soft and easily bent metal. However, .22 carat gold is more common, down to .18 carat. Generally anything below .18 carat is department store quality and not worth much.

"Generally speaking all gold is hallmarked. Look at your chains or bracelets or medallions and you might see the above markings. If not, and the gold buyer is interested, there are ways to determine the amount of gold in the item.

"This is easily done and fast and your price would depend on the world market for gold, less commission. You can always add in workmanship as in your favor of price.

"Japan does not seem to have the same interest in gold as in other Asian countries. Perhaps in Chinatown in Yokohama there are jewelry shops that sell gold. Often the official price, which changes daily, will be posted and easily seen. Talk to them about buying your gold. Gold is priced in grams."

Wako Jewelry

On the subject of gold, the Wako jewelry store in Ginza has been in touch to let us know that, unfortunately, they don't deal in antiques or vintage materials at this time, just jewelry.

Adopt a dog

Jim Fuji writes: "For Ian, who wishes to adopt a dog in Tokyo (Lifelines: July 4), there is a nonprofit rescue and shelter organization called SALA Network (Save Animals Love Animals) in Tokyo (Fuchu).

"Their Web site is at www.salanetwork.org/.~

"They are a real humanitarian organization, and while their dogs and cats are in rather humble quarters, they receive wonderful care and attention. I saw about 40 dogs in their kennels just two weeks ago, waiting to be adopted.

"Barring unforeseen circumstances, I assume Ian is planning to adopt a dog for the rest of its life. I ask this because I have known more than enough well-meaning foreigners (I am an American myself) who come to Japan and adopt an animal knowing that they will look to leave it to someone else or even abandon it once their stay in Japan is over."

A carpenter

Carpenter Phil wants to get in touch with the carpenter who made wooden boxes for someone in Akiya who was sending furniture and artifacts home by post from Japan.

Roberto, who operates like a local village carpenter, able to do the smallest repair to designing and making furniture, lives between Hayama and Yokosuka on the Miura peninsula (Kanagawa Prefecture).

You can e-mail him at robertotakeyama@jcom.home.ne.jp

Matter of conscience

Barbara Geraghty, Japanese Section, Department of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland, writes in response to correspondent Hiro in Australia thinking that singing an anthem is a matter of liking the people of the country.

"I disagree. The question of whether or not teachers and pupils should be forced to sing 'Kimigayo' is not a question of liking or not liking Japanese people: it is far more complicated than that.

"People in Okinawa, for instance, have a real problem with a melody that has strong associations with war-time militarism. Demanding unthinking compliance has disturbing resonances."

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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