Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JULY 14. 2017

Summer Memories of Japan: Hanabi Matsuri by Patrick Hattman

I lived in Japan for much of the 1990s and 2000s. I think I enjoyed summer in Japan more than any other season of the year. And my favorite activity each summer there was to go to the best hanabi matsuri, or fireworks festivals, in the Tokyo area.

One steamy summer evening in the early 1990s, a Japanese friend took me to the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, held annually along the Sumida River in the heart of Tokyo.

Upon arriving, I was impressed by the throngs of people, with some of them attired in colorful yukata. With seemingly innumerable food offerings for dinner from the ubiquitous stalls that had been set up for the festivities, I chose unagi bento, or a boxed meal of eel over rice. It was my first time to have the dish. It was delicious and fortifying, especially on a hot, humid night.

Finally, the much-anticipated fireworks show began. A battle for the top displays was underway in earnest within minutes, as the pyrotechnics were sent skyward from multiple launchers. Two teams strove to outdo each other in terms of design and illumination. Each time I thought it was not possible to surpass one salvo, the next one invariably had a more scintillating effect. It was with much disappointment that the show eventually came to an end, but not until a fitting climax lit up the night sky.

Living again in the U.S. for a number of years, I certainly like our fireworks shows, particularly the grand displays held each July 4th to commemorate our Independence Day. However, from my experience, Japan is the best at putting on visually stunning fireworks displays, with the added bonus of a smorgasbord of food selections at each location to please even the most discerning palate. How I wish I could get back to Japan this summer and enjoy more fireworks festivals!

1990年代から2000年代の大部分を日本で過ごした。1年のうち、他のどの季節よりも日本の夏が楽しかった。僕の夏の一番の楽しみは、都内で開催される花火大会に行く事だった。

1990年代初めの蒸し暑い夏のある夜、日本人の友達が隅田川沿いの河川敷で毎年開催される花火大会に連れて行ってくれた。

現地に到着し、おびただしい数の人出に圧倒された。カラフルな浴衣姿の来場者もいた。いたる所に屋台が出店し、あらゆる食べ物が売られていた。僕はうなぎ・べんとうを買った。鰻を食べたのはこれが初めてだったが、うまくて活力がみなぎった。特にこんなに蒸し暑い晩には最高だった。

ついに、待ちに待った一番花火が打ち上げられた。数分のうちに全国から集まった優秀な花火師・煙火業者10社での打ち上げバトルが本格的に始まり、あちらにもこちらにもある発射筒から花火玉が夜空へ向かって飛んで行く。ふたつの業者がデザインとイルミネーションの両面で職人の技を競う。毎回僕はこれ以上の花火はないと思うが、次の花火の出来は常にそれを上回る。終わりに近づくにつれ、気落ちするが、夜空を彩るクライマックスは感動的で盛り上がる。

アメリカに戻って数年経つが、もちろんアメリカの花火ショーは好きだ。特に7月4日の独立記念日に打ち上げられる花火は気に入っている。しかし僕の経験から言うと、見事な花火が打ち上げられるという鑑賞面と誰もが自分が気に入る食べ物の屋台があるというボーナス面で日本の花火大会は最高だ。今年の夏は日本に戻って、花火大会を鑑賞できたらどんなにいいだろう!


Book Revi]ew

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD 14 JULY 2017

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.

 

What’s App With You?

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JULY 14. 2017

WiFi Share:

Is your house always full of guests? Now, with one click you can securely share your WiFi login with your guests! The application idea was born when the creators got tired of giving out their Home WiFi password to every new guest. The network name and password had been written on the modem cover, and after the first 20 lookups it simply became a pain in the b!. With this app all you need to do is connect to your Home WiFi and store your WiFi password once. When the guests arrive, with a single click you will send them a message with your WiFi credentials. All major messengers, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and many others are supported. Your guest will only have to select the desired network and copy / paste your password.

Cellular Signal Booster:

Use this amazing app to easily pinpoint and identify all the carrier towers around you. Often these are in plain sight but other times, they’re disguised as trees or on top of roofs. This app will be priceless to you if you often find yourself in remote areas or enjoy hiking and camping. It’s hard to go a long time without communicating or sometimes there are emergencies. With this app you can see where your carrier towers are located so you can easily improve your cell phone reception. Also, you will be able to view additional details about the towers.

Tokyo Voice Column

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JULY 14. 2017

Are you allergic to house dust and dust mites? by Olga Kaneda

Defining. It is very important to know your enemy. For years I had been thinking that I’m allergic to feather. Every time I used a feather pillow or a feather blanket I couldn’t stop coughing, sneezing and wheezing. Then in Japan things gradually got worse. Last summer my eyes suddenly got so red and itchy I practically ran to the eye doctor in my neighbourhood. At fist she didn’t say anything about allergies and just prescribed me some eye drops. But my second and third visit (2000 yen each) got us both thinking allergies. I went to a bigger clinic in Chofu City and took a blood test. My allergens, at least the ones that the test detected, are house dust and dust mites. I also suspect that I am allergic to chlorine though. I’m not sure how much exactly the test cost but it was covered by insurance and that day I paid 8000 yen. My advice: when it comes to allergies, don’t rely on smaller clinics with just one doctor. One of my friends did it and nearly died.

Prevention. OK, this is the phase when you need to splurge on deep cleaning of your A/C. Maybe this does not sound very economical, but in the long run you can save on electricity bills. Our A/C started working more effectively and we never set the temperature too high now. If it’s been about 10 years since you moved in and you haven’t had it cleaned by a professional team yet, it’s high time to do that.

If possible, buy an air cleaner, and don’t forget to take a surgical mask, especially on the subway, at libraries, some shops, and anywhere you feel is dusty. Also try wearing a mask while cleaning your apartment. But the most important part nobody tells you (because it is so obvious) is that you need to improve your immune system and do it quick.

定義:敵を知る事は重要だ。ここ数年、自分が羽毛アレルギーだと思っていた。以前は、羽毛の枕やブランケットを使うと、咳やくしゃみが出て息苦しさを覚えた。その後日本で状況は次第に悪化した。去年の夏、目が赤くなりかゆくなり、近所の眼科を受診した。最初、医者はアレルギについて言及せず、目薬を処方してくれた。しかし二度、三度と(2000円も払って)受診するとお互いにアレルギーが原因だと考えるようになった。調布にある大きな病院を訪れ血液検査を受けた。私のアレルギーは、その検査によれば、ハウスダストや家ダニが原因だと言われた。さらに塩素アレルフィーの疑いもあると言われた。保険でカバーできたので、実際、いくら検査にかかったのかわからないが、私は8000円支払っただけだった。この経験から、アレルギーかなと思ったら、小さな診療所のひとりの医者の診たてだけを頼りにするのではなくセカンドオピニオンも大切だ。私の友人で他をあたらず死にかけた人もいる。

予防:エアコンの洗浄にお金をかけることになる。たとえ、経済的に大きな負担になるかもしれないが、長い目でみれば電気代の節約になる。うちでは、エアコンを効率的に使用するようになり温度も強く上げないようしている。引っ越して10年ほど経っていて、専門家に洗浄してもらっていなければ、一度お願いするといいだろう。

可能なら、エアクリーナーを買い、地下鉄、図書館や店など埃っぽい所はマスクをするといい。アパートで掃除をする時もマスクをするといいだろう。しかし(ありふれているので)誰も教えてくれない大切な事は、この免疫力を高め、すばやく改善することにある。



Strange but True

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JULY 14. 2017

Caution!! Fish and chips are in danger!

The fish in our fish and chips may be shrinking forever due to climate change, according to a marine biologist. Species such as cod, one of the most common components of the traditional British dish, could be a fifth smaller by 2050. Dr William Cheung, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, blamed the declining size on climate change, as this is reducing the level of oxygen in the ocean. Fish more easily become "out of breath" as they grow larger. We would be left with fish more commonly found off Spain and Portugal and our fish and chips could soon be made with sea bass or anchovies. But there is still time to preserve the UK's national dish, as Dr Cheung said that efforts to reduce the impact of climate change and conservation programmes could still make a big difference.

Don't you dare take food away from us!

Oh boy, killer whales are mad. Alaskan fisherman say they are being "chased out" of the Bering Sea by pods of killer whales which are stripping their lines of fish. In a number of cases fishing captains have reported losing tens of thousands of pounds of halibut and black cod after being followed by a number of miles by orcas. One described the pods as like a "motorcycle gang" which leave little more than the lips of the fish they snatch. While killer whales were previously an infrequent sighting for fishermen in the Bering Sea, the problem is now said to be "systemic". During his expedition to an area near the Russian border, fishing boat captain Robert Hanson said he tried to fish for two days before giving up after a pod of at least 50 whales appeared.

Links

Guesthouse Tokyo

10 minutes to Ikebukuro.

Interhouse

safe and accessible solution for your accommodation needs in Tokyo.

Sakura House

1830 monthly furnished rooms at 204 locations in Tokyo.

BAUHOUSE

Private furnished rooms in Roppongi, Akasaka, Azabu-Juban etc.


J&F Plaza

Furnished & unfurnished guesthouses and apartments in Tokyo.

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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