I added this information to my guide, but hesitated even to mention it, as it totally changes the game. It is a trick that has the potential of allowing a player to obtain almost infinite amounts of money on the very first day of gameplay. If you can amass even 2000g on 1 Spring of the first year, you can buy the Small Fridge and the Small Kitchen instantly from Ivan. Otherwise, you have to wait an entire season until they are offered again on 1 Summer.
It is very simple and is an option that was programmed into the game by Natsume. Whether or not it was intended for THESE purposes is another matter...
All you need is another player with a DS and Rune Factory. Even if the player is a beginner and is on the first day of gameplay as well, you both can make enough money to buy the Fridge and the Kitchen. If the other player is more advanced, the potential is almost limitless.
It is the 'multi-player' option in Rune Factory that allows this trick. In multi-player mode, items can be 'traded' from player to player. Each time an item is traded, it increases in level.
On 1 Spring, you can collect bamboo shoots from your own field. Each bamboo shoot is worth 130g. Trade that and its value doubles. Trade it again and again until it is worth at least 2000g, then sell it at the Spring Rabbit Pub, one of the few businesses open on the Holiday. Take your earnings, and buy the Small Fridge and Kitchen from Ivan.
Another possibility is to connect twice. Connect the first time to enhance the levels of existing items like bamboo shoots. Sell those at the Spring Rabbit Pub, then buy the most expensive item that Emmett has for sale. Return to the Mysterious Shell to trade THAT item back and forth a few times. You can 'create' an enhanced item worth 20,000g without too much trouble.
The most important reason for performing the trick is to be able to buy the Fridge and Kitchen on the first day of the game. It makes a tremendous difference.
Using the multi-player option, it is possible to win ALL contests in the first Spring and Summer, if the other player has Large Ranch Product and has the ability to complete any recipe.
There are no real shortcuts where some goals are concerned and I am happy about that, actually. One doesn't want the game to become too easy, after all. On the other hand, being able to store items in a fridge and cook elementary dishes on the first day of Spring is rather marvelous...
You will find this trick included in the latest updated version of the General Guide.
There is an entire section that deals with the Mysterious Shell with instructions on how to make connections with other players.