Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11. 2018

More Signs of the Changing Culture of Japan by Marshall Hughes

Although almost imperceptibly slow at times, cultures are constantly changing. Japan is no exception.

Recently there was an event which happened at the private junior high and high school where I work just outside of Tokyo that is a reflection of a change in Japanese culture.

When I returned to school in September after a summer break, there was something new at my school, something unexpected which I took as an indication of Japan’s changing mores.

When I arrived for my first day, it was there, next to the entrance area where students and teachers change their shoes. “It” was a small Daily Yamazaki convenience store.

Traditionally in Japan, mothers have made obentos, boxed school lunches, for their children to take to school every day. This was possible as few mothers worked outside the home, and not preparing a delicious and, as importantly, pleasing-to-the-eye lunch was a reason to be ashamed. Good mothers made tasty and visually-appealing lunches. Bad mothers did not.

The decision of whether or not to let Daily Yamazaki build a shop on campus was left up to the school’s teachers. Not surprisingly, the teachers had a variety of opinions - some hoping to hold on to what they saw as traditional Japanese values and some willing to bow to the inevitable.

In talking with some of the other teachers I found that these kinds of stores, or at least outside venders, have been in public schools for some time, but are now starting to move into private schools where, it is assumed, fewer mothers are working and have time to make obento lunches.

The store has lots of notebooks, pens and pencils, but nearly all the students who use the store can be found there during lunch, grabbing something to eat. Students (and teachers) can buy onigiri (rice balls), spaghetti, burritos, cup noodles, curry and rice and many kinds of bread. There is nothing healthy to be eaten - no fruits or vegetables to be found.

The home-made obentos that other students have brought to school look much more healthy, but at this point there is no turning back. Time marches on.

たまに、もたついたりするが、文化(受け継がれている行動形式)は、たえまなく変化する。日本も例外ではない。

僕が勤務する東京郊外にある私立高校で、日本文化の変化を示すような出来事があった。

夏休みが終わり、学校に行くと、新しい事が学校で待っていた。思いもよらない出来事で日本のさらなる変化の現れだと僕は感じた。

9月初日に学校に行くと、生徒と先生が靴をはきかえる出入口の横に、それはあった。『それ』とは小さなデイリー・ヤマザキ・コンビニエンスストアだ。

昔から日本では、母親が毎日お弁当を作り、学校に行く子供に持たせる。それは外で働く母親がわずかだから可能だった。おかずが用意できず、重要である見た目がきれいな弁当を持って来れないのは、恥を知る理由となる。よい母親はおいしく目を楽しませる弁当を作る。できないと、悪い母親だ。

校内の敷地にデイリー・ヤマザキ・コンビニエンスストアが出来たのは、学校の先生の判断だ。当然の事ながら、先生達は様々な選択肢があった。日本の昔ながらの価値観を継続したいと望む先生と、避けられない事態をやむを得ず受け入れる先生と。

他の先生と話して、こうした店や自販機は、公立学校ではすでに設置済みだと知った。そして今や私立学校にも進出してきたのだった。つまり、お弁当を作る時間的余裕のある母親は少ない。

店にはノート、ペン、鉛筆が一杯あるが、生徒が店を訪れるのは、昼休みか何か素早く食べるものを買う時だ。生徒(先生)はおにぎり、スパゲティ、ブリトー、カップヌドル、カレーライスとか菓子パンを買うことができる。健康にいい食べ物は何もない。フルーツや野菜は見あたらない。

学校に弁当を持ってくる生徒の手作り弁当は、とても健康に良さそうに見える。しかし後には戻れない。時は前へと進み、さらなる変化をもたらす。


Book Review

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11 2018

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014,
291 pp, USD34.00 www.ateneo.edu/ateneopress

Reviewed by Randy Swank

video maker and scriptwriter Rey Ventura won the 2015 National Book Award for his third collection of essays, Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami, but for some strange twist of fate you will find very little information on this book. You can’t even buy it on Amazon. This is a shame because Cherry Blossoms... is a beautiful, insightful and thought-provoking book.

These 11 essays, some of them autobiographical, see Ventura travelling back and forth between the Philippines and Japan, his adopted country, often portraying the many ways Filipino lives have been shaped and affected by their rich quasi-neighbor. Like in “A Suitable Donor,” where the young men who live in the Manila slum of Banseco tell of how they came to “donate” a kidney or another organ to help a rich person in need − often from Japan.

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami
by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014, 291 pp, USD34.00 www.ateneo.edu/ateneopress

In “Miniskirts and Stilettos” we meet Ginto, a young lady who comes to Japan dreaming of making it big as a singer and entertainer but has to deal instead with a much darker reality; while “Mr. Suzuki Tries Again” and “Into the Snow Country” are tragicomic tales of arranged marriages where the dreams and expectations of bride-starved farmers from Japan’s Deep North clash with those of young Filipino women who want to escape their poverty and go into marriage “as a girl goes into a convent.” Ventura tells these stories with a great eye for detail and manages to find a ray of light even in the darkest corners, or poetry in the midst of a nuclear disaster.

The book’s first essay is called “The Slow Boat to Manila” and indeed, slowness is the first word that comes to mind when considering Ventura’s approach to writing. Everything Ventura does is slow. He is no magazine reporter after all, and will spend days or even months getting to know a person he wants to write about. That’s the kind of personal commitment and deep connection with his subject that one feels when reading his essays.

 


Tokyo Fab

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11 2018

Cinco de Mayo 2018

Cinco de Mayo means 5th of May in Spanish. The day is to commemorate the Battle of Puebla, where a small team of Mexican fighters defeated a much larger French army, which at the time was considered the strongest in the world. Cinco de Mayo has grown especially popular in the United States, where all things Mexican are celebrated. Cinco de Mayo in Japan, which started in 2013 in Yoyogi Park, will hold its 6th year of celebrations in Odaiba. It will showcase not just Mexico but music, dance and cuisine from many other countries in the western hemisphere. Known as one of the most “international” festivals in Japan, it is a great chance to enjoy fine food, drinks and interactive entertainment with friends and family.

Date: Saturday May 12th 10:00-21:00 Sunday May 13th 10:00-21:00
@ Odaiba Yume no Hiroba (Symbol Promenade Park)

For more information, please visit

http://www.cincodemayo.jp/en/index.html

 

Manpaku 2018

Manpaku, is a food festival where you can become manpuku (eat till your hearts content). Celebrating its 7th anniversary, this event aims to entertain everyone with its mouth-watering and unique dishes from all over. There are 10 different food areas: meat, seafood, vegetables, ramen, gyoza dumplings, fried dishes, sweets, cheese and more to choose from, spoiling guests with a wide variety of choices! During the daytime, the festival is family friendly with kids area as well as attractions including street performers and a tuna cutting show. At nighttime, it turns into a beer garden with a glittering mirror ball. Enjoy this festival till your bellies are satisfied!

Date: May 17th (Thu) - June 4th (Mon)
@ Showa Kinen Park Nearest Sta: Tachikawa Sta

For more information, please visit

http://manpaku.jp/

 


What’s App With You?

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11. 2018

Bandcamp:

Bandcamp might seem superfluous in a world of Apple Music and Spotify, but for anyone who enjoys venturing further afield to find new music, it’s a must. The service is chock full of indie artists, whose music you can delve into by way of the Bandcamp Weekly radio show, or by browsing the app’s news feeds. Most albums enable you to preview a few tracks in their entirety, and some are entirely free to play, forever. If you want to go old-school and actually buy music, the Bandcamp website is a good bet. Purchases can be downloaded in a range of formats; and when you only have your iPhone to hand, you can stream what you’ve bought and watch as your personal music feed fills with related tracks you might also enjoy.

Bricks Camera:

Bricks Camera is a novelty camera app that will strike a chord with anyone who has an affinity for plastic building blocks. The app’s essentially a live filter. Through its camera, the world’s transformed into a universe of brightly colored ‘bricks’, the size of which you can adjust with a swipe. Hold down the shutter and you get a short video rather than a still. Also, if you’re not feeling the vibe in live mode, you can import a photo instead. Your blocky masterpiece can be saved or shared − unfortunately only with a three-brick-wide watermark. It’s a pity there’s no cheap IAP to be rid of that, but otherwise this is an entertaining − if slightly throwaway − camera freebie.

Tokyo Voice Column

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11. 2018

Exploring the attractions of Funabashi H.C.Andersen Park by Olga Kaneda

Want to have some family fun on the weekend? Your kids will be delighted to spend a day in Hans Christian Andersen Park in Funabashi City, but there’s much more to it than just that. The place is equally attractive for children and grown-ups, and you should visit it at least once and check it out yourself.

Funabashi H.C.Andersen Park is divided 5 zones: Castle of Flowers, Fairy Tale Hill, Children’s Museum, Kids Kingdom, and Nature Experience Zone.

The Castle of Flowers has a rest area with medieval-style tables and chairs. At the entrance you can see a bell with Thumbelina’s image which rings every hour. You can eat your obento here if you don’t fancy the idea of eating outside. Younger kids will have a blast on the playground with Tunnel of Lizard. In the Community Center there is a Goods Shop where you can buy many imported goods from Denmark, including Danish beer for yourself and Lego for your little ones. It is in the Fairy Tale Hill Zone. On your way you will see rural landscape of Denmark in the 1800’s with a Windmill, a Farmer’s House, and the Fairy Tale Pavilion with a museum room, lots of Andersen’s books, and handicraft activities. You can also rent a boat and take a trip around the Pond of the Sun. I highly recommend doing so in cherry viewing season. In the Children’s Museum Zone children can try themselves at acting or participate in workshops with artists. When you get to the Kids Kingdom Zone, there are many physical activities (adventure playground course, petting zoo, pony riding etc.) that will make you and your kids sleep tight after you return home. Take a sun tent and food, because you probably will not want to miss out an opportunity to have a picnic. If you would rather prefer some peace and quiet, a stroll in the Nature Experience Zone is just what you need. Enjoy the nature of Satoyama by taking a walking trail around the waterside.

The admission fee for junior high school and younger kids is free on April 2nd, H.C.Andersen’s birthday.

週末家族で楽しみたい?ふなばしアンデルセン公園に子供を連れて行くと、とても喜ぶだろう。しかもアンデルセン公園は子供だけでなく、大人も十分楽しめる。一度は出かけて見る価値ある公園だ。

アンデルセン公園は5つのゾーンに分かれている。花の城ゾーン、メルヘンの丘ゾーン、子ども美術館ゾーン、ワンパク王国ゾーン、自然体験ゾーン。

花の城ゾーンには、中世スタイルのテーブルといすが設置された休憩場がある。入り口には、おやゆび姫をイメージしたスウィングベルがあり毎時間鐘の音が鳴り響く。ここでお弁当を広げてもいい。幼い子は大トカゲのトンネルでおもいっきり遊べる。コミュニティーセンターには、デンマークからの輸入グッズ(自分にはデニッシュビール、子供にはレゴ)が買えるギフトショップがある。コミュニティーセンターはメルヘンの丘ゾーンにある。先を行くと水車が見え1800年代のデンマークの農村風景が広がる。農家があり、童話館は展示室を備え、アンデルセンの本がたくさんあり、ハンディクラフトも楽しめる。ボートも借りることができ、太陽の池を一周できる。桜の季節が一番のおすすめだ。

子ども美術館ゾーンでは子供達はワークショプに参加できる。ワンパク王国ゾーンでは身体を使っていろんな運動体験ができる。家に帰ったら子供達はすぐに熟睡するだろう。日傘と食べ物をもって行くといい。ピクニックに最適だ。運動が苦手という人には自然体験ゾーンで平和的な静けさが堪能できる。里山の自然を活かして作られたため池まわりの小道を散策して楽しんでください。

 


Strange but True

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11. 2018

May the Fourth be with you

May 4 is known as Star Wars Day. It's a big deal for fans of the sci-fi franchise. It's because the date provides the opportunity to play on the famous Star Wars line, May the Force be with you. People like to say, 'May the Fourth be with you' today. People watch one or more of the movies, dress up, celebrate with various toys and memorabilia. So yes, some take May 4 very seriously indeed. Heathrow Airport celebrated Star Wars Day with amazing departure board. Heathrow Airport tweeted as such “Good morning from Heathrow. The force is strong with us today and we've got some special new routes. Will you be travelling to galaxies near... or far, far away?” and on its board were the names from the movie such as R2D2, BOBA and more. Heathrow staff were praised for their creativity!

What's your sign?

Not everyone takes to roads like a duck takes to water. Some of us will fail our driving test (theory and practical) multiple times, spending a small fortune in the process, before we can upgrade our license from green to red. Others, it seems, have twenty lessons then ace their test, with just a few minors. While you may put this down simply to different aptitudes for driving, it may also have something to do with your star sign.100,000 drivers in Australia were tested to see which star signs were the most or least likely to break the law. And some star signs emerged as being better drivers than others. But first, which zodiac sign do you think is the worst driver? According to the survey, the worst offenders were Leos and Pisceans who, between them, amassed the most amount of fines. Tut tut. In any case, it’s always good to remind ourselves to drive safe.

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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