Plain Talk


Dream by Iona Fab

Dream is one person's aspiration or a fancy way of calling it a goal . The other meaning is just some random thoughts when a person is sleeping . Either way of describing it, it is quite interesting .

In ancient history, dreams has meaning (even up until now, and the easiest way of finding out the meaning is through google!) . Infact , through the interpretation of some gifted prophesiers, Kings, Leaders and the likes most likely to believe in it and this would guide them through their decisions. If propheciers nowadays do exist and are as accurate as the old days, would you believe them too? It is a question that is answerable by yes and/or no. I personally respect to those who believes in it and I won’t neither argue to those who do not believe in it.

On the other side of its definition, this is something that I would like to believe in - "goal and aspiration". This is something that we can create and control . Amidst all odds, challenges and daily struggles, is a goal that we aspire to reach ! Dream may sound too fancy and it shall remain as it is if there is no action towards it. I believe nothing is too impossible for someone who is very committed to his/her goal. It would only be unrealistic if you would just sit there, staring at a blank space and indulge yourself in your dream. There is nothing wrong with that, but nothing would also happen.

As Greg S. Reid wrote : "A Dream written down with a DATE becomes a goal. A goal broken down into STEPS becomes a plan. A plan backed by ACTION makes your dreams come true". I'd like to remind myself this, everytime I'd doze off to dreamland because I have so many dreams that I'd like to play in my head whenever I can, yet no actions has been done at all. There were times that I have tried yet failed and I did not have the strength to do it again or due to some circumstances that were way out of my control, but then I have realized dream does not have an expiration date. There are so many successful people out there who has failed so many times even more than we can imagine and yet they remained to be determined until their dreams came true and they did not stop from there , they continue to try and try to make it better . I want to be that kind of person and inspire others too to do the same . Life is short, make it worth every second . Do not be overcome with the failures and obstacles upon achieving your dream, instead, take control . What is so good about life is that we have the control over it . Just believe in yourself that you can . Yes! You have heard me right ! "You can! If you will!"

So to my fellow dreamers/goal-achievers, let me end this with Walt Disney's famous quote : "If you can Dream it, you can do it!"


古代、夢は意味をもっていた(現代では意味をグーグルで手軽に見つけられる!)。英知ある予言者、王、指導者達は夢の存在を信じており、意思決定の判断としていた。現代にも予言が存在しており、昔と同じように正確だったら、彼らと同じように信じるだろうか? イエスかノーで答えられる質問だ。個人的には夢を信じる人をリスペクトするが、私自身は夢を信じるか否かは議論したくない。

夢の他の定義で、私は信じたいものがある。「目標と大志」だ。自分で創造し掌握できるからだ。逆風や困難、日々のストレスに負けず、目標に邁進する! 夢というと現実離れした感じがするが、それに挑戦しなければそれでまでだ。目標にコミットすれば必ず誰でも達成できると信じる。手をこまねいて、物思いに耽るだけなんて現実的でない。それは悪いことではないが、何の進展もない。

グレッグ・S・リード氏は「「日付をつけて書き留めた夢は目標となる。段階ごとに分類された目標は計画となる。行動に裏打ちされた計画は、夢の実現へと導く。」と著作で述べている。私はこれを心がけたい。私はあまりにもたくさんの夢を持っていて、いつも夢の世界でうたた寝しているが、何ら実現したものはない。やってみたがうまくいかなかったり、再度失敗を乗り越える勇気がなかったり、自分の力ではどうすこともできない状況に陥ったりといろいろあったが、夢には賞味期限がないことはわかっている。世の中には成功した人がたくさんいて、彼らは私たちの想像を超えるような失敗もしている。しかし我慢強く夢を実現しようと最後までやり遂げた人たちだ。私はそうした人になりたいし、他人にもそれを推奨したい。人生は短いから、一瞬でも無駄にせずがんばらなければならない。失敗とか障害を乗り越え、夢を実現させるというか、夢を掌握しよう。人生で何がすばらしいかというと、夢を掌握できることだ。自分を信じてがんばってみよう。私の言う事は正しいでしょ! あなたが望むなら、夢は叶う!


The Randy Reviewer


Kaidan Live Bar Thriller Night by Randy Swank

The Tokyo district of Roppongi is famous for its discos and dance clubs, but there is a place where one can enjoy a different kind of thrill: the Kaidan Live Bar.

Finding the place is easy because across the street one can see a bright yellow ドン・キホーテsign. That’s Don Quijote, a popular discount chain selling everything including lots of kitschy junk.

This bar is a must for fans of Japanese ghost and horror stories. Inside, the place is decorated with skeletons, skulls, chains and cobwebs hanging from faux-grimy walls, and one of the two sofas is already half-occupied by a couple of rather big dolls. One of them wears a junior high school girl uniform, the other one an old-style western dress, and their disfigured faces are anything but cute.

But the real attraction of the Kaidan Live Bar Thriller Night is the storyteller who comes out every hour and scares the bejesus out of the customers with his tall tales of the macabre. The 15-minute performance is included in the 60-minute 3,500 yen all-you-can-drink menu. The tales, of course, are told in Japanese, but even if one doesn’t understand Japanese, the spooky atmosphere (heightened by the screams of terrorized customers) and tacky special effects make up for the language barrier.

Speaking of stories, the bar has a stable of actors who take turn on stage, and today’s storyteller is the most popular of the bunch: Shirotani Ayumu. You can even have a photo taken with him − for a 500-yen fee.

When story time comes, Shirotani take the stage and all the lights are dimmed to enhance the atmosphere. According to him there are two kinds of scary stories: kaidan and horror stories. The latter genre is comprised of tales about people who become the target of some evil spirit without having done anything bad. In kaidan’s case, on the other hand, there is always a reason, a back story to the terrifying events told. Besides sending chills down people’s spine, these stories are often very sad as we learn that the ghosts who haunt the living were the victims of some abuse in the first place.
All in all it makes for a chillingly entertaining night out.

Kaidan Live Bar Thriller Night
B1F 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Tel. 03-5411-2770
Open 19:00-5:00 (Mon-Sat), 19:00-23:00 (Sun)

Unfinished business


I Did It! by David Gregory

She had been here before. But, those were tour-guided or hand-held visits. After living most of her life in white-bread suburban USA, driving everywhere, shopping in giant malls and supermarkets, and needing only one currency and one language, my mother ventured out on her own, within and beyond Chiba, during one trip to Japan. From her notes, here are Dorothy’s...

Grocery Shopping in Neighborhood―Walk five only one bag...walk five blocks back. Survived it!

Shopping in City Center―Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus fifteen minutes. Arrive at stores. Walk around. Look. Decide: cookies.

Buying: “Ikura desu-ka how much?” Hmm. “Kakimasu kudasai write please.”

Paying options: give large bill, let clerk figure change, or open change purse, let clerk take out correct amount. Decide to just give some cash.

Clerk shakes her head (“NO! MORE!”), then counts out correct amount needed from register and shows me. I mimic her action from my change purse. Smiles! Deep bows with many, “Arigato gozaimasu thank you very much!”-es.
(My error: thought there was decimal point in Yen price....)

Open cookies, expecting pirouettes with chocolate centers. Instead, peanut butter waffle rolls, no chocolate. No wonder, now I see peanut sketch on package. “Shoganai can’t be changed,” I did it to myself. It could have been worse!
Travelling to Visit Friend’s Family on Other Side of Chiba―Walk ten blocks to train. Purchase ticket. Electronic lady on ticket machine screen says, “Arigato gozaimasu” and bows. Ride train twenty minutes, watching for correct stop, get off, walk seven blocks to house. I did it myself!

Visiting Hisae Overnight―My Japanese study partner in USA returned to Japan, now lives on other side of Tokyo Bay.

Take large purse and large tote bag with jacket, nightie, toothbrush, cosmetics. Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus to train station. Ride train eighty minutes to Yokohama. Find correct exit from station. EASY. Did not even look at note in pocket explaining route and Japanese signs. And, look! Hisae and three-year old Kei are waiting! “Hello!” they say! Many hugs!

I did it!

Then, still more travel: train together fifteen minutes, short taxi uphill to lovely apartment, sunny and bright.

Returning to Chiba, just reverse process. Next time, we can meet at a station halfway in between. I can do it.
I can do it!

Copyright (C) 2015 David Gregory. All rights reserved. Chiba, Japan

Book Revi]ew


The Spy Across the Table
(Book 4 in the Jim Brodie thriller series)
by Barry Lancet
Hardcover − 2017, 448pp, $17.10
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 20, 2017)

Reviewed by Allan Cook

The Spy Across the Table is the much-anticipated fourth installment in Barry Lancet's award-winning Jim Brodie thriller series.

Sometimes-PI Brodie "is in top form" (Kirkus Reviews) in this latest outing, in which he finds himself called to the White House―by the First Lady herself―after a double-murder occurs at the Kennedy Center. It turns out the First Lady was the college roommate of one of the victims, and she enlists Brodie―off the record―to use his Japanese connections to track down the assassin. Homeland Security head Tom Swelley is furious that the White House is meddling and wants Brodie off the case. Why? For the same reason a master Chinese spy, one of the most dangerous men alive, appears on the scene: the murders were no random act of violence.

The Spy Across the Table
(Book 4 in the Jim Brodie thriller series)
by Barry Lancet
Hardcover − 2017, 448pp, $17.10
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 20, 2017)

Forced into a dangerous game of espionage, Brodie finds himself in the crosshairs of the Chinese, North Korean, and American governments. He flies to Tokyo to attend the second of two funerals where Anna, the daughter of one of the victims, is kidnapped during the ceremony. Immediately, Brodie realizes that the murders were simply bait to draw her out of hiding: Anna is the key architect of a top-secret NSA program that gathers the personal secrets of America's most influential leaders―secrets so damaging that North Korea and China will stop at nothing to get them, forcing Brodie to face off against the spy across the table.
The previous entry in the series, Pacific Burn, explores the tragic aftermath of the Fukushima quake-tsunami disaster and the real reasons behind the nuclear melt down. Japantown, the first Brodie adventure, won the Barry Award for Best First Novel, was initially optioned by J. J. Abrams, and is now under consideration at other studios. The second volume, Tokyo Kill, was a finalist for a Shamus Award for Best Novel of the Year and declared a must-read by Forbes magazine.

Lancet's connection with overseas travel, foreign lands, and Japan began more than thirty years ago with a short exploratory trip from his California home to Tokyo. Five years later, after visiting numerous other countries, his visit to Japan turned into a long-term stay in the Japanese capital, a thriving metropolis he found endlessly fascinating. Now, Lancet is based in Japan but makes frequent trips to the States.


Tokyo Fab


So long, and thanks for all the sushi by Joshua Lepage

Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt have noticed that TNB has been re-publishing old columns of mine for last few weeks. Every time I scroll through my dusty old articles folder, I'm surprised by just how much I've written since joining TNB. I've been with them for years now -- I've written about fashion school, movies, art, the Japanese language, shopping, and even my disastrous love life and drunken adventures. Since I moved back to Canada, though, it's been increasingly hard to write anything fun or at least relevant to you Tokyoites.

So yes, this is officially my last article. I'm stepping down. It pains me to do so, but I'm sure that in no time, TNB will have amassed a line-up of fresh-faced writers who actually live in Tokyo and can churn out much better biweekly articles than I can. My daily life in Montreal mostly involves working in a call center and moping over the snow, the cold weather, the gross sushi, and the lack of men's clothing that fits my narrow shoulders, so I promise you won't be missing out on anything exciting.

The good news, though, is that I'm still working on a way to move back to Japan. I refuse to give up, dear readers -- I just need to save up some money and get that JLPT 1 out of the way. If all goes well, you might run into me at a Nichome club in a year or two. In the meantime, please enjoy the hell out of that wonderful city on my behalf. Eat some basashi (my fave), visit your neighborhood watering hole to practice your Japanese on the locals, spend too much at Laforet, take long walks at 3am without fearing for your safety, visit a temple or two, and enjoy the cheap all-night karaoke.

Oh, and of course: if you have something interesting to write, drop TNB a line. They've treated me with exceptional kindness and generosity over the years, and they're terrific people to work with.

Thank you for reading about my silly opinions and adventures, guys. It's been a blast.

What’s App With You?


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Planett is a simple planner/todo-list app! Its Week-at-a-glance interface makes it easier for you to keep track of your plans. The top bar shows all your plans in that week with abbreviated tags. Too lazy to create a tag for each plan? No worries! This app will automatically create tags for you! Of course, you could also customize it yourself. No confusing options and complicated instructions with too many unnecessary options. Also, decorate your daily list by posting a picture of the day. Make your lists extra special by uploading a memorable photo each day!

Tokyo Voice Column


Don't Panic it's only SNOW by Peter W Empson

For the last few days the news channels have been forecasting a heavy fall of snow here in the Kanto Region, so you think people would be prepared for the impending “disaster”, we all know that people in Kanto and Kansai don’t do snow, so the images on the TV tonight once again show just how unprepared we are, accidents and road closures, trains are delayed or cancelled, flights cancelled, commuters are stuck in stations, as usual total chaos, it happens every year when there is heavy snow, WHY !.

For a whole hour on the lunchtime news today they covered the SNOW, they went on and on about a subject which would only get 5 minutes in the UK, but there was no public announcements about staying at home, don’t use your car, travel only if you need too, which is common practice in my own country.

Companies do not plan, everybody is told to come to work as usual, you are not allowed to use your own judgment, my own company only closed the office at 2 o’clock this afternoon when it was too late, people do not have the sense to leave their cars at home, thinking everything will be ok.

This is one of the frustrations and problems when living in Japan, they do not like the unusual, they have a plan and regardless the plan will be stuck too come what may and do not do believe in a plan B.

Why the Japanese do not do like to plan for the unusual is a mystery to me, they are such an organized people, this maybe the answer, they are too organized and reliant on being told what to do and when to do it which starts from childhood, will they change NO !, can they change NO !. this is why the Japanese are such a unique and sometime unfathomable people.




日本で生活していて困ったり、フラストレーションがたまる事だ。日本人は普段通りでない状況を好まず、どんな事が起ころうときっちりと立てた計画計画どおりに物事を遂行し、プランB は考えない。


MUSEUM -What's Going on?-


Flore d’Odilon Redon

Gathered from some of the most famous art museums in the world, this collection of 90 works from impressionist Bertrand-Jean (Odilon) Redon (1840- 1916), is perhaps one of the most impressive representations of his creative genius ever seen in one place.
The artists story gives hope to many a struggling student as he himself failed at school and also, could not see eye-to- eye with his early art professors eventually studying under a nomadic type teacher named Rudolphe Bresdin. He learnt etching and developed a series later called ‘Noirs’ using black on white from the 1860’s to 1880’s. His work naturally flowed into pastels and oils and it is widely acknowledged he influenced later greats such as Gaugin, Bernard, Nabis and others.

Odilon Redon 'Closed Eyes'
After 1900, Oil on Canvas, 65.0×50.0cm
TheMuseum of Fine Arts, Gifu.

This exhibition will focus on his works studying plants. “Grand Bouquet’ is one of the largest pastels ever created and is one of the 16 murals on show that previously lined the dining hall in the Castle of Baron Robert de Dormicy. The artist was keenly interested in Buddhism, Hinduism and also, impacted by Japonism, including some methods from Byobu (folding screens) in his forms. Perhaps shining through in this exhibition is the artists self-proclaimed interest in imagination and fantasy that he preferred and rated over observations of nature itself.

Period: February 08 - May 20, 2018
Venue: Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo
Hours: 10:00 -18:00, -21:00 on Fridays,
Second Wednesday of the month and the last weekdays of the exhibition
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Closed: Mondays (Except Holidays, 2/26, 3/26 and 5/14)
Admission: 1,700 / College and high School students : 1,000 /
Junior high and elementary school students: 500
English Audio Guide Available

For more information, please visit

LA PARISIENNE: Portraying Women in the Capital of Culture,
1715-1965 from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Art is a key that opens any door to any self-imposed prison. From the end of the Franco Prussian war to the beginning of The First World War there was a great period of regional peace, creativity and optimism called the ‘Belle E´poque’. This exhibition brings the energy and art from this time.
It was difficult for women to excel in the arts with no free tuition available. They often had to pay and even then, the higher realms of the arts were simply not taught to them. This included the availability of nude subjects, which were a key element of artistic endeavors, as it was feared to be too dangerous for young women. Yes! They had the fear excuse back then too! Women bemoaned the fact that they weren’t able to travel alone easily also and had to break out of established gender roles to be successful.

Mary Stevenson Cassatt
'Mrs.Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading'
1876 Bequest of John T. Spaulding 48.523
Photograph(C)Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Despite these challenges, the presence of women was felt and will be represented here powerfully with about 120 pieces including extravagantly dressed ladies captured by Renoir and women artist portrayed by Manet. You can sense the aliveness of the cabarets, the chatter of the salons and the energy of the women from a time when champagne was perfected, the Eiffel Tower was built and the Can Can and the Moulin Rouge echoed through the streets of Paris.


Period: January 13 − April 1 2018
Venue: Setagaya Art Museum
Hours: 10:00am- 6:00pm
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Closed: Mondays *Except on February 12th (Monday), and close on 13th (Tuesday)
General: General: 1,500 / University and high school students: 900 / Junior high and elementary school students: 500 / Seniors(over 65): 1,200

For more information, please visit

Strange but True


To wet or not to wet...

Do you wet your toothbrush before cleaning your teeth? One woman started a big debate after posting the query on Twitter. Some prefer a dry brush, applying the toothpaste and going for it. Others put the toothpaste on first and add water later. Others like to get the toothbrush wet first. People have different techniques. Some seem weird, others not so much. But is there a correct way? Does any of this matter? Dr Mitali Hariawala, dental community manager at toothbrush company Quip, said there is a correct way. "First rinse your toothbrush to clean and "soften" the bristles to prevent them from being too abrasive on your teeth and gums," she revealed. "In addition, the wetness allows the toothpaste to stick easily to the bristles and therefore not fall off on application. However, apparently, immediately rinsing your mouth out after brushing is counterproductive, as it gives the solution no time to do its business. To allow anti-cavity toothpaste to take full effect, it's best to leave it on your teeth for a few minutes after − better yet, follow up with some mouthwash.

The importance of brushing teeth

Your mom, dentist, and maybe even your babysitter all probably forced (encouraged!) you to brush your teeth twice daily. And it's with good reason, too: Regularly brushing helps prevent cavities and brightens smiles, says cosmetic dentist. Because if you didn't devote at least five minutes (again, twice a day) to scrubbing your chompers clean, you could end up with a mouth full of cracked, decayed teeth. Kinda like this guy's. Jay, a 21-year-old from the U.K., was featured in a recent episode of Embarrassing Bodies due to his painful-looking smile, which was the result of abstaining from oral hygiene for the majority of his life. Unfortunately, neglecting his toothbrush ultimately led to his teeth becoming "caked in tartar, hardened food debris, and bacteria that's built up over 20 years of not brushing his teeth." It also hurt his confidence and put a damper on his dreams of becoming a physiotherapist. This is a great example of why it's so important to regularly care for your teeth. Brush your teeth twice daily (at least) and don't let things get out of control. Not everything is reversible.


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