Monday, December 29, 2008


I wanted to tell you about something that many won't tell you about...hesokuri.

Hesokuri is pin money in Japanese. Many wives keep a hesokuri some running into the thousands. When we were burglarized, one of the things that was taken was my hesokuri. I had actually had some money set aside in my emergency earthquake bag. The first thing the police asked me when I told them what was taken, "can you tell us in front of your husband how much was taken?"

You may be wondering why they would ask this...Many wives keep their hesokuri secret from their husbands.

In most Japanese homes, the wives hold the purse strings. Unlike the States, most salaries are paid monthly. The husbands turnover their paychecks to their wives and the wives give their husbands kozukai (an allowance). The rest of the money is used to pay bills, the mortgage and everyday living expenses. Any money that is left, sometimes "finds its way" into the hesokuri.

This amount that the husband receives as kozukai is often the topic of some news stories. I think this year the going kozukai rate was like 30,000 yen (about US$300).

Anyway, my hesokuri does not come from the money I get from Satoshi (who holds the purse strings in our household), but from my lessons. Usually every month, I usually put some of the money into the bank and then keep some money aside to use or for emergency.

Some things I have used my hesokuri for: something for Christmas for Satoshi, candies for the children at our annual Christmas party, books, a few foodie adventures and more recently, the giveaway.

For Christmas, I bought myself this book with my hesokuri, "The Food You Crave" by Ellie Krieger. I love her recipes, they are relatively simple and very healthy.

One recipe in the book was a pesto potato salad. Since this recipe is meant to be served cold, I changed it to a pesto mashed potato so I could serve it warm. I served this with a pan fried boneless pork chop and onions sauteed with apricot jam and a little ketchup.

Do you keep pin money? What do you use it for?


Debinhawaii said...

A good choice for your pin money--I love her cookbook and there are many great recipes in it. I have always had a change jar that I put all loose change in and then when it gets full I buy a splurge with it--expensive chocolate, spices or ingredients, books, a nice gift for someone, etc. It changed to a large ceramic piggy bank that I was given a couple years ago and I have no idea how much is currently in it but am thinking it might be time to cash some coin in. ;-)

Lynne said...

This was a very interesting post. I have one friend that currently resides in Japan. I don't think I'd ever get this kind of information about Japan from him, lol.

To answer your question, yes I do. I started an allotment to pay a quarterly life insurance annuity and added a bit more to the allotment amount. Well it has added up over time, and I consider it my "mad money". So far, I have not had to use it.

However, the husband and I are getting ready to build a home and I have a I will try not to tap it out decorating the new place. Good post.

Natashya said...

In our house, hubby hands over the paycheck and I give him an allowance. I don't usually have much "pin money" around as I end up doling it out to either him or the kids for one reason or another.
I had no idea about this aspect of Japanese culture - so interesting!
I was born in Kobe but don't know much about Japan as my Canadian parents were only teaching there at the time and we left when I was a baby.
I did buy the same book this season, and look forward to cooking from it.
Cheers, and Happy New Year.

genkitummy said...

Kat-Interesting blog topic. I actually do not keep any "pin money", but maybe I should...

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - My Grandmothers on both sides used to keep pin money...when they passed away they had literally hundreds of $$$ in small's and fives!

K and S said...

What great responses everyone! Interesting to hear them :)

Take care.

Phoebe said...

interesting! it will come in handy for unexpected situations. For NZ, we are just asked to store food, water and shelter for 3 months...not to mention documents. I think that you need a few spots around/in the house that will keep the $$ safe =)

K and S said...

thanks Phoebe :) 3 months of food, water that is a lot!!

Take care.

Phoebe said...

yup...quite a lot! wonder how everything will be carried...

Lori said...

Great choice with Ellie Krieger's cookbook. I really like her show on Food Network!

Fuji Mama said...

My pin money is used for fun foodie finds and adventures that come up unexpectedly, random craft projects, good chocolate... :-)

tofugirl said...

How interesting! I don't really keep pin money, exactly, but like DebinHawaii, I have a change box that I throw all my change into. Every couple of months I take it to the Coinstar and exchange it for Amazon gift certificates which then usually become cookbooks...or camera accessories... :)

Jenster said...

I'm so sorry you lost your pin money when you were burglarized. And I'm sorry you were burglarized! When did that happen?

In our family, my husband is the breadwinner. His paycheck is automatically deposited into his checking account. I have my own checking account as well. I have online access to all our accounts and will move the funds between accounts, usually some to savings and some to my checking account, since I pay all the bills and do most of the grocery shopping.

I also throw all my spare change into a can at the end of the day. After a few months, I'll usually have more than $100. I'll take that money and try to do something fun with it, like go to the spa or a special lunch with friends. Being a mom, though, I sometimes spend it on the kids.

K and S said...

Lori, whenever I go home to Hawaii I am watching all I can of the Food Network :)

Great uses FM, Tofugirl!

We were burglarized last year, Jenster. I am glad that it wasn't a lot of $$ and that no one was hurt. It is nice that you sometimes spend your pin money on your kids :)

Take care everyone.

OkiHwn said...

Being single I don't need to have a hesokuri, though I do keep extra ¥ & $s on hand for unexpected expenses.

Must admit though that I have a strange habit - I like clean, new money! Whenever I get clean new ¥ or $s I tend to keep them, especially if they are in consecutive serial numbers. Think I may have $3,000 in ¥1,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 bills, plus $20, $50 and $100 bills. I don't know why I do it. Can always go to the bank and get the like. Just a quirk of old age I think.

K and S said...

Interesting habit Nate :) But I'm sure it helps you save some $$ for when you need it :)

Take care.