Plain Talk


Ugly Betty is not just beautiful but healthy by Hiroko

Why Japanese, who are known for their keen sense for health and esthetics, do not treat their crooked teeth? It may have been a mystery for non-Japanese observers.

I was one of the ignorant. My teeth are slightly too big for my relatively small mouth, resulting in disorderly alignment of them. Typical of many kids, I used to have those two prominent front teeth and the ones on either side set back. My classmates called me Beaver. I quite liked the nickname.

But a human beaver has a weakness; there were always places that the toothbrush wouldn’t reach because of the uneven alignment, and I was prone to bad teeth. Every year at a dental checkup at school, the dentist would call out “C0, C1, C1!” as he peered into my open mouth, that metal tool with a small round mirror tapping against my teeth, and the nurse scribbling on the patient’s card. Later I received the card, which I was to take to a local dentist for treatment.

My older sister wore braces. Since someone told her that her crooked teeth looked ugly, she stopped laughing with her month wide open. She started orthodontics treatment at 12 or 13 and endured the pain silently until at last she was freed from the braces before starting college.

So my mother asked me too if I’d get orthodontics treatment. I said No. I probably felt that it was sort of cheating to fix one’s tooth alignment. You have to live with what you were given by nature. I never saw it as not just an esthetic issue but medical.

So there I was, all grown up and suddenly realized that I should take care of my beaver teeth. By then I had lost a tooth nerve in a bad cavity case. In order to save the other teeth, I bravely had as many as four teeth pulled out to make space and wore the “Ugly Betty” braces. That was three years and several months ago.

Now I wear transparent retainers molded for my new, straight alignment to keep them in place. The nurse told me to wear them at least as long as I wore the metal braces. I run my tongue over the straight line of my teeth, which gives me a thrill. I can now brush every corner of my teeth. My beaver teeth are still there, but not protruding.

For Japanese, orthodontics was just something uncommon. Those who missed the opportunity in their childhood now turn to it. I see more and more adults wearing braces at work and on the street. We can pay for ourselves as working adults now, though it’s still too costly.

Is orthodontics covered by the public health insurance in your country? It isn’t here. If it’s insurable, kids from households with lower income can afford it as well, which will raise the health standard of the nation. That should help reduce health care budget in a long run.
Copyright (C) 2015 Hiroko. All rights reserved.









Plain Talk


Introducing Funabori city ! by Adriana Stoica

As I have recently heard that many of my foreign friends have plans to move to different areas of Tokyo, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce Funabori, the city where I moved several years back, one of the most convenient location I have found so far in Tokyo.

I came to Japan in 2006 as a student, and during the last 11 years I have been living in various area in Tokyo such as a lively foreign students dormitory Komaba-Todaimae, in a large, spacious and incredibly cheap apato in Ichikawa-Oono, Chiba, and currently in a mansion in Funabori, Edogawa-ku. Although each place has its own charm and benefits, so far, Funabori city has become our favorite place due to the great variety of attractions. One of the most exciting is Funabori Tower- which yyou can visit free of cost while entertaining your guests, or even have a lunch on a restaurant and enjoy the view. Another nice location situated just next to the station is Funabori Hall that organizes exhibition, various shows, performances, wedding ceremonies, and even movies in a small, but cozy cinema.

There is a great variety of restaurants that satisfy any taste, (at least five tasty Chinese restaurants, two delicious Korean, three spicy Indian restaurants plus their own particular food stores, not to mention Saizerya and well-known family restaurant such as Denny’s, Jonathan, Mr. Doughnuts, and the local Japanese Izakaya etc.. Recently for the beer lovers, a Kirin City nice beer shop has opened. Lots of options for a dinner out plan.
Funabori city has also abundant natural resources (parks, green healthy paths, ponds with colorful carps and friendly ducks) and a lot of fun options such as local onsen, spa center, and Community Center offering a wide range of activities at minimum rate, just to mention a few. There are also at least 3 sport and health centers (including one hot yoga center), all of them provided in a very convenient environment with more than 4 huge supermarkets and convenience stores at every corner.

In the summer, on the nearby Arakawa River banks there are fireworks festivals and the nearby station (Higashi-Ojima) has a large park with barbeque, jogging, walks and other recreational activities and a huge playground for kids.

I would like to introduce this city not only from the convenience point of view ( have I mentioned that the Rapid train stops here ? ), but also from the incredible potential in terms of making new foreign friends. Recently large groups of foreigners from all over the world can be seen socializing in the nearby park, and this makes this city look like a resort, where tourists from all over the world can meet and share their experiences, as world travellers. For those who are still thinking which place to move in, Funabori city may be a good option. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!


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Tokyo Voice Column


Glow in the Dark: Winter Illumination by Jennifer Nakajima

After we had experienced the beauty of Autumn season every year and capturing its magnificent colours of fall leaves. Then, finally " Winter Season" here it comes. Woah! just to think of it, sooo cold and frozen..! I hope you dont feeling blue that way because even winter there are so much fun to do.

Illumination is one kind of event held every year warmly entertaining people during freezing winter holidays season. Every town and cities has decorating spectacular thousands and millions of LEDs to transform it to a magical fantasy land. Here are one of the best festive options for lighting up your day during Winter Holiday Season this year 2017:

1. Tokyo Skytree Dream Christmas: (from Nov 9 to Dec 25)
Its two observation decks are lights illuminating both sides and also the Top of the Tower. You will be curious about its two lighting styles " Iki ", the spirit of edo, and " Miyabi " , its aesthetics.

2. Caretta Shiodome Illumination: ( from Nov 16 to Feb 14)
You could enjoy its theme Disney's Beauty and the Beast with Ballroom Dance Scene set which has covered Caretta Shiodome park with thousands of LEDs lit up like a fantasy world.

3. Roppongi hills Artelligent Christmas: (from Nov 25 to Dec 25)
The popular city of Tokyo will be lit up about 1,200,000 LEDs with a wonderful theme of " Snow and Blue " to " Candle and Red."

4. Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination: (from Nov 9 to Feb 18)
One of the Star of the Night and Top illumination event held from the rest in Tokyo. It has impressive illuminations beautifully decorated to experience and enjoy during Winter holidays that you can spend every night.

5. Omotesando Illumination: (from Nov 30 to Dec 25)
Tokyo's most popular street for illumination during the Christmas season.

Explore and admire the breathtaking illuminations of Tokyo by night. Towns and Cities are lit up emphasizing the magical atmosphere in the heart of Tokyo.


Strange but True


Different Christmas customs in the world

Germany and Austria
The star of a new Hollywood horror film, the Krampus is Father Christmases' scary friend, a devilish creature who punishes naughty children throughout the festive period. The mythical beast, which stems from Austro-Bavarian German-speaking Alpine folklore, is hairy with hooves and large horns.
In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, revellers travel to early-morning church services on roller skates throughout the festive period. The roads are even closed off specially.
In Portugal, families set extra places at the dining table on Christmas morning for deceased relatives. The practice is called “consoda” and is thought to bring the family good luck.
Czech Republic
Over Christmas, Czech women use a clever trick to predict their love lives for the coming year. Unmarried women stand with their backs to their front doors and toss shoes over their shoulders. If a shoe lands with its toe pointing towards the door, the woman will get hitched within the next 12 months.
In Norway, it’s thought Christmas Eve coincides with the arrival of evil spirits and witches. To protect themselves, families hide all their brooms before they go to bed.
Ukrainian Christmas trees are traditionally decorated with a fake spider and web. The custom, which is said to bring good luck, stems from an old wives' tale about a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree. She woke up on Christmas morning to find a spider had covered it in a glittering web.
If you think sprouts are bad, you should try one of Greenland’s Christmas delicacies. Mattak - raw whale skin with blubber - is one. Another is kiviak, which is when an auk (a small bird) is wrapped in seal skin, buried for several months, and then eaten once decomposed.
Only about 2.3 per cent of the population of India are Christians, but that still works out as about 25 million people. The day is celebrated with midnight mass and present-giving, but in the absence of fir trees or pine trees, banana trees and mango tree are decorated instead.




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