Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD 22 JULY 2016

Fuji Goko Five Lakes, just two-hour drive from Tokyo 1 by Hiroko

This past Golden Week in May my husband and I went on a camping trip to Motosuko Lake at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture. I had never camped out except when we rented a small tent on Kozu Island in Tokyo for two nights. This time, we were equipped with a larger tent and screened shelter as well as folding chairs, and planned to stay there for four nights. Borrowing the camping gear and their car from my sister’s, off we drove heading west.

The weather was not perfect for camping, though. It was heavily clouded when we left Tokyo slightly after 4 am to avoid the expected heavy traffic. Later it started drizzling. Fuji-san was nowhere to be seen. By the time we got to Motosuko Campground, with a little excitement at the sight of the grey, quiet lake, it was raining steadily. But first we had to find space to pitch our tent. It was the biggest concern I had all the way if we could find space at all. Obon is the highest of the high season. We came to Motosuko Campground because it operates on first come, first served basis, without reservation. By the time I called some other campgrounds, they had been all booked out for obon. I was mentally prepared for what could take on the look of a “refugee camp” according to some blogs I had checked out.

We walked along the wet dirt path with puddles through treed area, colourful with pitched tents. It was still well before 7 am and campers seemed to be slow on the rainy morning. Luckily we found a spot off the track and against the forest. Neighbouring tents were spaced generously from one another. We decided to pitch our tent there, but first we took a nap in the parked car to wait the rain out. I hovered between wakefulness and slumber, listening to the rain drops on the car roof.

An hour or so later, the rain lightened and the sun came back occasionally. We found the spot lovely when the grassed ground dappled with pools of the sunlight through the trees. When we almost finished setting the place, two caretakers of the campground came to collect the charge, and we received cards with dates on strings.

On the first day, it drizzled off and on all day, and everything felt damp inside the tent. The lake was five minutes’ walk along the dirt track. It was interesting to see how people were well equipped with tables and benches, hammocks, lanterns, cooking stoves, volleyballs, dogs, even rabbits. They could live there perfectly comfortably, I thought.

We didn’t have anything like that; we didn’t, even a cooker. We had canned food, boiled eggs, fruits, some vegetables, breads, crackers, energy bars, jars of honey and jam, 2 liter bottles of water and some mugicha tea bags. We regretted a lot that we left cheese in the fridge at home. (To be continued)

Copyright (C) 2016 Hiroko. All rights reserved.

Copyright (C) 2016 Hiroko. All rights reserved.

この5月のゴールデンウィークに、山梨県の富士山麓にある本栖湖に夫婦でキャンプに行った。私は一度東京都の神津島で小さいテントを借りて二晩過ごしたのを除けば、キャンプ経験はない。今回は大き目のテントとスクリーンのついたシェルター、それに折りたたみチェアを携えて4泊の予定を立てた。キャンプ用品と車を姉のところで借り、西へ向けていざ出発だ。

天候はキャンプに最適とは言えなかった。予想される渋滞を避けるため朝の4時過ぎに東京を発った時は雲が重く垂れこめていた。後には小雨が降りだした。富士山はどこにも見えない。灰色に静かにたたずむ湖を見て少し浮き立ちつつ本栖湖キャンプ場に着く頃には、雨がしとしと降ってきた。しかしまずはテントを張る場所を見つけなければならない。場所が確保できるかが、ずっと気がかりだった。お盆はハイシーズン中のハイシーズンだ。このキャンプ場に来たのも、予約なしで早い者勝ちというからだった。電話してみたいくつかのキャンプ場はどこも予約でいっぱいだったのだ。気持ちの上では、いろいろなブログでいうところの「難民キャンプ」の様相も覚悟していた。

木々の間に色とりどりのテントが張られ、水たまりのできた土の道にそって歩いた。7時よりだいぶ前で、雨の朝はキャンパーの動きもゆっくりのようだった。幸運にも小道からそれて森を背にした所にスペースが見つかった。近隣のテントは互いに十分スペースを取って張っている。そこにテントを張ることにしたが、まずは車を停めて仮眠をとり、雨が止むのを待つことにした。私は車の屋根にあたる雨粒の音を聞きながら、覚醒とまどろみの間を行きつ戻りつした。

一時間ほどして小雨になり、時には日の光もさすようになった。草地に木漏れ日がさすその場所は素敵だった。セッティングがほぼ終わる頃、キャンプ場の管理人が2人やってきて料金を徴収し、ひものついた日付のカードを受け取った。

初日は一日中、小雨が降ったりやんだりで、テントの中はじめっとしていた。湖は土の道を5分ほど歩いたところだ。他のキャンパーの様子をうかがうと、テーブルやベンチ、ハンモック、ランタン、コンロ、バレーボールに犬、ウサギさえいて、興味深い。

私たちはそういったものを何も持っていなかった。炊事器具さえもだ。缶詰にゆで卵、果物、野菜少々、パンにクラッカー、エナジーバー、はちみつとジャムの瓶、2リットルの水のボトル、麦茶のティーバッグ。家の冷蔵庫にチーズを置いてきてしまったのは非常に悔やまれた。(2. へ続く)

Copyright (C) 2016 Hiroko. All rights reserved.


Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD 22 JULY 2016

Desperate housewife or needed Shufu? by Anne Corinne

In spite of the “womenomics” policy organized by Prime Minister Abe in order to make more women join the labor market, 70% of mothers in Japan completely resign from their jobs before having their first baby and become Shufu (主婦, “housewife”). Whether this is their choice or not, I realized myself it is very difficult to do it another way.

Nursery schools are too few, with long waiting lists and high rates. Having domestic employees (including baby sitters) doing the mother’s job is still a taboo and hence unusual. And due to the local working culture, it would be disapproved to leave the workplace on time to pick up the kids while the rest of the team is staying overtime until late at night (without mentioning the days when the children are sick and need their mom to stay with them). Eventually, most fathers are also very dedicated to their companies, which implies they cannot be much present at home to help their wives.

France, my home country, is on the opposite side. Maternity leaves are until 10 weeks after birth, and most mothers go back to work by this time. Many couples are worried about unemployment and need a second income to face the economic crisis. Others need to flourish in a career, and more flexible measures are available to do so.

Full time moms in France are now a minority and often receive some kind of pressure from their acquaintances. “You don’t work?! So what do you do, during all your spare time?” a young mother once told me, half surprised, half despising. “You should work at any cost, even if you earn less than the nursery school fees. Otherwise, you will never manage to find a job again” is the most common remark I can hear.

Does this mean that French working mothers are happier? Not sure. By the end of their maternity leave, a lot of them have to wean their infants, who will be looked after by a nanny or a nursery school. And they often feel guilty for not being able to spend more time with their babies (the average is 3 hours per day).

From this point of view, Japanese society has a lot of respect towards stay-at-home moms. Mothering is considered as a 100% career and as a social duty. It also implies more comfort and less stress for the baby.
Desperate housewife or needed Shufu? Independent working lady or desperate mother? Wherever we are and whatever we do, keeping a good balance between family and work is one of the biggest challenges women have to face.

 


What’s App With You?

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD 22 JULY 2016

Ready to Go!:

Ever had the feeling you forgot to turn off the gas, cut off the water, turn off the iron and to feed your favorite pet after you left the house? Ready to Go helps you to check all these daily worries in no time. With features like daily reminders, adjustable checklist and intuitive controls with gestures, you will not forget or worry about those things anymore. You can also let the creators know how it's performance and functionality was, and they will keep making the app better and better!

Venus Calendar:

Tired of the same old boring way of keeping schedules and tedious data entries? Then Venus Calendar is for you! The app allows you to plan out your day by writing it in sketches and doodles − much like you would do to an old wall calendar. Venus Calendar is designed for its simplicity and sanity. Let go of all the alerts, notifications, and oppressive schedules eschewed by traditional calendar apps, and find a new fresh way to get things done. Be creative and express yourself. Make each day unique, different and fun. Because life isn’t supposed to be a time clock you punch in and out of. It is a canvas where you paint your experiences, and leave your mark.

 

Tokyo Voice Column

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD 22 JULY 2016

Travel to Tokyo by Vera Krisnawati

Last week, I went to Tokyo with my cousin. We wanted to explore the city thoroughly, so we went to several places such as department store, restaurant, government building and subway station. Japanese Railways was so efficient and we could save a lot of time to travel everywhere.

First destination was Shibuya, a southwestern Tokyo area with many awesome places around. Stores, restaurants, tourists and entertainment places exist in Shibuya. I also took a picture at Hachiko statue and we visited Tokyu Hand department store. But the most amazing part about Shibuya that this is the most crowded crossing in the world, called Shibuya Scramble Crossing. It’s the most busiest and hectic crossing in the world. Then, after from Shibuya, we went to Harajuku using Yamanote Line. Harajuku is famous because of Takeshita street with lot of street vendors, we can purchase anything without need to enter the store. Harajuku station was also very authentic because the building looks like an ancient European style. The third destination for our journey was Shinjuku. Shinjuku filled with sky-scraper buildings makes Tokyo the modernist city ever. We went to the government building and lifted up to floor 45th to watched Tokyo from the highest point of the building. There was no ticket for entering the building, alias free. At the same time, there was an exhibition that introducing many kinds of cultures from each prefecture in Japan. It was very interesting because they offered so many traditional foods and lots of brochures given away to the visitor. The last destination was Akihabara and would be the climax of our adventure of the day. Akihabara presenting so many anime features started from the gift shops, theater, cafe´ and restaurant, electronic stores, and people who wore costume like character in Japanese comic book or Manga called Cosplay. Lucky for me that I was buying a digital camera for only ¥9000, compare to other places that sell above ¥10.000 for a new camera. It was absolutely affordable in my opinion.

Overall, my trip was amazing because I have the opportunity to visit Tokyo with the famous places inside. Hopefully it will not be my last trip ?

先週、従兄弟と東京に行った。街を散策したくて、デパート、レストラン、政府関連の建物や地下鉄の駅等、様々は場所に出かけた。JRは快適でどこにいくにも時間のロスなく行けた。

最初の目的地は渋谷。東京の南西部にあって、渋谷には店、レストラン、観光施設や映画館、劇場等がいっぱいあって最高な場所だ。ハチ公の銅像で写真をとって、東急ハンズに行った。渋谷でもっとも目を見張る場所は、渋谷スクランブル交差点と呼ばれる世界でも大勢の人で混み合った交差点だ。渋谷の後、山手線に乗って原宿へと行った。道沿いに小売りの店が並ぶ竹下通りはとても有名だ。店に入ることなく商品が買える。原宿駅は古いヨーロッパの建物のようですばらしかった。3番目に目的地は新宿だった。新宿は高層ビルが建て並び近代的な街だった。都庁に行って45階まで上がり建物の上階から東京を眺めた。無料だった。そのうえ、日本の都道府県の名産を紹介する展示コーナーがあった。さまざまな名産品がありとても興味深かった。まだ無料のパンフレットがたくさんあった。最後の目的地は秋葉原でその日の旅を締めくくった。秋葉原にはアニメに関連する商品、博物館、カフェ、レストラン、電気店がいっぱいあった。日本のコミックやマンガに出てくるキャラクターのコスチュームを身にまとった「コスプレ」の人が大勢いた。幸運なことに9000円でデジタルカメラが買えた。普通では1万円で売られているものだ。自分にとってお買い得商品だった。

とても満足のいく旅だった。東京の有名所を観光できてとてもよかった。ぜひまた行きたい。


 

 

Strange but True

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD 22 JULY 2016

Too busy for getting robbed!

The owner of the Egyptian Kebab House in New Zealand has run his kebab shop for 15 years. This shop became famous on the internet after a video of the owner ignoring a would-be robber and continued to serve a customer went viral. He said it was simply a “lucky” reaction to ignore the masked man, who walked into his restaurant and demanded cash while holding what appeared to be a gun. He continued to bag up an order and handed it to a customer before walking away to call the police, leaving the attempted robber to exit empty handed. Sorry robber, he was too busy to serve you!

How did he do it?!

No windows were broken. The door handles weren’t the kind you lift up. And yet somehow this medium-sized bear managed to open a car door, crawl inside and close the door behind him, and just chilled inside. The sheriff's department in Colorado said “Deputies could tell by all the moisture on the windows that he’d clearly been inside for a while. Given the size of the bear, they also wondered if there was a momma bear nearby,” After some quick thinking, deputies opened the hatch of the vehicle and allowed the bear to run off into the forest. Unfortunately for the car owner, this bear seemed to have enjoy having a party in their car.

 

Links

Guesthouse Tokyo

10 minutes to Ikebukuro.

Interhouse

safe and accessible solution for your accommodation needs in Tokyo.

Sakura House

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BAUHOUSE

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J&F Plaza

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May Flower House

Tokyo furnished apartments. Ginza, Roppongi, Yotsuya and more.

TenTen Guesthouse

33,000yen/30 days for working holiday students.

MOVE JAPAN

Private furnished rooms in Tokyo with free internet. Call us first or call us last!

Tokyomove.com

Hassle free moving starts from 6000yen.

Tokyo Helping Hands

Very flexible working hours to effectly help you with moving, deliveries, disposal, storage and more!

AirNet Travel

We'll cut you the best air ticket deals anywhere.

Fun Travel

Discount air travel & package tours 2min from Roppongi Stn.

No.1 Travel

We go the extra mile for you. International air tickets and hotels.

JR Tokai Tours

Top-value travel to Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya fron Tokyo by Shinkansen.

Matsuda Legal Office

All kinds of Visa, Immigration & Naturalization, International Marriage etc.

Futaba Visa Office

Licensed immigration lawyer & certified public tax consultant.

Coto Language Academy

Group lessons from ¥1,700 & Private lessons from ¥2,800.

iPhone Doctor

Will fix your iPhone and other smartphone at reasonable cost.

American Pharmacy

English speaking pharmacy since 1950.

Tokyo Skin Clinic

EU-licensed multi lingual doctors.

Takarada Electric

Visual equipment and home appliances.Overseas use and Tourist models.

Tokyo Speed Dating

1st & 3rd Sat. at Barin Roppongi.

EXEO INTERNATIONAL

The best way to meet single Japanese women. Parties held every week.

TMA

Japanese women & Western men.

 


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