An Investment Better Than Gold?

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I live in Japan with my wife and son. Japan is a country that often has earthquakes. Sometimes these earthquakes are pretty big. The standard thinking on earthquakes here is that if there is a big earthquake, like the one we had in 1923, a family of four needs to have at least three days of water and enough food stored up in order to survive. Three days!? You mean to tell me that if we have a huge earthquake and the water mains are all broken, the sky is falling, the buildings all collapse, Tokyo burns to the ground, and you expect me to believe that the gorilla’s running the government could fix the water mains in only three days and get things back on their feet? Heck, under normal conditions, it takes these clowns 10 men and 3 days to fix some potholes in the road so I think it would take them at least a month to fix underground water pipes and get the mystery fizz back to its old self. Three days? Get real.

We also live next to a country that has nuclear weapons and the local government takes every opportunity to scare us and show us what a lunatic Kim Jong Il is so it is wise to store up enough vittles and water in case that other nut-case you folks have in the Whitehouse decides to start a war with them. In which case, you’ll need enough water and stuff to get you through nuclear winter long enough to be able to stand your skin melting off. I figure that would be about two weeks.

Throw on top of all these goodies the Wall Street and Nikkei meltdown going on right now and you have the right recipe for some smart person to invest in gold. Gold! Yes, my friends, gold! That’s the ticket. If my money is going to be useless, then I’m buying tons of gold! We’re in the money! We’re in the money!

What? How’s that? Gold has already surpassed a $1000 dollars and ounce? Gee, that throws a crimp in my plans. I don’t really have that much money in my pants at the moment. I guess it must be in my other pair. Or, if I don’t have it, I’ll just mosey on down to the local bank and withdraw the cash necessary to buy a few grams of gold.

How’s that? A huge line at the bank? Banks closed? Can’t withdraw my millions? Oh well. Stay positive…. As Hamlet once said, “Best laid plans of mice and men.” Er, not Hamlet, but Steinbeck? Don’t confuse me with the facts.

Okay. Let’s face some ugly truths. We’re messed up big time. You are like me: We have no gold. We have no money. We’re in big trouble. What to do?

Time to get serious and get off our arses and do something about this situation. Here’s what I did (I’m trying to be serious here). Buy enough food, water, and toilet paper to last about two months. Really.

Last week Tuesday, the wife and I really got off our rears and we spent about $800 dollars on canned groceries and water. That was $800 at last Tuesday’s prices. The way the dollar has gone since then, I figure we saved at least $100. Sweet!

Do yourselves a favor and go out and buy some water and canned food. I’m not kidding about the toilet paper either. You don’t want to be rubbing your buns with old newspapers. Buy only canned food that you would normally eat so that you won’t have a bunch of stuff you don’t like that you have to scarf down just because the expiration date is coming up.

We have two adults and one four-year-old so we bought about 50 gallons of water with expiration dates of October, 2010. Six cases of canned tuna (108 tins per case), three cases of canned whole tomatoes (24 cans per case), six cases of canned corn (my kid eats canned corn like crazy), 24 tins of Sardines, 10 packages of crackers, 120 cans of Campbell’s canned soup, 100 cans of Corned Beef, three cases of Refried Beans, 108 rolls of toilet paper, several gallons of vodka — in case of the end of the world, got to have that (there’ll be nothing else to do), as well as medical supplies and antiseptic, my usual daily medicine, and a can opener, lighters, candles, batteries, and Sterno.

Yes, I can’t afford gold, but I can’t eat it either. I figure that this is the poor-man’s disaster hedge fund. If the bank’s close, or if the ship hits the fan, I’ll be okay for at least two months.

Seems like a smart deal and a good way to get prepared for the coming troubles. While everyone is freaking out, I’ll be enjoying booze and Sardines on crackers for at least a little while….

Heck, being prepared and having everything I need to “camp out” for a few months while the US economy dies actually gives me something to look forward to…. It also makes me rest a little easier.

Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He is the president of a mass-media production company and also runs a talent agency in Japan. He is now the Producer/Director/Co-host of Good Morning Garage, the most popular FM radio morning show in Tokyo. His book, Schizophrenic in Japan, went on sale in 2005.

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