Keep your cash on Buy Nothing Day

by Karen A. Foster

Started in 1992 by a group of Canadian activists, BND aims to raise public awareness about the harmful effects of consumerism.

Anyone can participate by just not spending any money on Nov. 26. Through abstaining, participants are encouraged to reflect on the role money plays in their lives and in society as a whole.

BND stalwart Gabrielle Hadl says not to worry if you feel you can’t stop all spending for a day. Similar to fasting, you can go the whole hog or you can cut only frivolous spending and still pay for such necessities as transportation.

BND, in its seventh year in Japan, is promoted by a network of individuals and groups that have organized events nationwide.

In the city of Fuchu in western Tokyo, the Sloth Club will offer an afternoon of workshops and presentations, including an introduction to local money and how to make a date book from recycled paper.

In Kyoto, a group of Zenta Clauses — the BND symbol created in Japan as the alter ego of gift-giving Santa — will meditate in front of Hankyu department store in the city’s Shoji-Kawaramachi district and there will be a Zenta Food Fest party afterward.

An advocate group for the homeless will hold a Have-Nots and Have-Somes Solidarity Cookout in an Osaka city park with food donated by Tokyo-based Second Harvest food bank.

And if you need to take it easy at home to cope with not spending, you can always watch the “uncommercial” that will be broadcast throughout the day on Discovery Channel.