Jun 3, 2019
There are a number of apps set up as fitness rewards apps that you can find with a quick search. One of my friends recommended Carrot around six months ago and I downloaded it. On the up side, the app does not have to be running in order to calculate your steps and such, relying instead on your GoogleFit data already being stored in your android. I am guessing there are comparable systems set up for iPhone users as well. Your personal step goal is generated by the app and changes everyday, increasing if you hit the previous goal and decreasing as you failed to do so.
The big disappointment with Carrot in Japan is the extreme lack of rewards. Canadian Carrot users have many options for sane point totals including discounts at neighboring retailers and even money back on some credit cards, at least according to my friend and her family who are all loyal users. Unfortunately, this does not extend to Japan as most featured retailers are American and no rewards are currently available for less than 15 million points. After six months of walking regularly, and this includes my trek of Yamadera and even going to Disneyland last December, I have only accumulated 800,000 points. That means I would have to be using this app reliably for around 10 years to be able to afford any of the prizes.
The other option is the auction function, run through a separate website, but even there the winning prices are high enough that I am not likely to win anything more interesting than $5 off fishing equipment, and even that would be a struggle as most auctions seem to happen between midnight and 6AM Japan time.
CokeON I found by accident while checking out a vending machine before a class the other day. All you do is download the app, turn on your bluetooth, and your phone will connect with CokeON machines, granting you stamps for any purchases you make while it is connected. Every 15 stamps fills a card that can be exchanged for a free drink of your choice at a CokeOn machine. Certain beverages give more than one stamp per purchase based on current promotions and such.
There is also a fitness function where it, much like Carrot, uses the data your phone is already storing to figure out how much you've walked. Unlike Carrot, this one comes with specific goals, such as 35,000 steps in a week, after which you get one stamp. You also get stamps for other milestones along the way, such as 10,000 steps. All stamps seem to be good for one year and I do not know if you can re-acquire the same walking-goal stamp, but one fifteenth of a coke is arguable more enticing than a chance to win a useless gift card. Also, the participating machines can be found using the map function and even Sendai is flooded with them.
While I am not removing either app from my phone at the moment, I have a feeling CokeOn will pay off far sooner than Carrot.
What keeps you walking?
A working mom/writer/teacher, Jessica explores her surroundings in Miyagi-ken and Tohoku, enjoying the fun, quirky, and family friendly options the area has to offer.