Plain Talk


Jailer, Bring Me Water by Maris Piper

My best pal, Eggs, is worried again. Actually he is worried because his wife is worried about the price of cabbage. And we know what that means. It's not just cabbage, it is daikon and spinach all her favourite veggies. And rice don't even mention rice! Apparently prices are going to rocket (pun intended).

Well, fair enough. Prices plummeted last year.

Abenomics is hitting hard with all the sales taxes and weak yen, it has been a tough year or two already.
For once, Eggs grins, it has nothing to do with Abe. Its the water supply. Tokyo is on the verge of a drought.
But what about the rainy season? There have been floods in Honshu. Hiroshima and Kyusho - a months rain in a few days.

In southern Honshu, yes. But not in Kantou. It may not be enough to get us through summer, and on top of that the all-round effect means smaller harvests and less supply of his wife's favourite cabbage.

In May, total water levels in the eight dams on the Tone River system that supply the Tokyo region and five surrounding prefectures have dropped drastically, reaching record-low levels, according to the government.

The data reported by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Kanto Regional Development Bureau showed at the eight dams were at their lowest in 25 years, since the ministry began surveying water resources in 1992. Water levels at the eight reservoirs in total were only 58%. with the Sonohara Dam, in Gunma, was measured at 12 percent.
The development bureau said one of the largest factors contributing to the shortfall is a considerable lack of rain since the end of April.

Prospects for an increase in the water levels in the summer months are low, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), with rainfall in the Kanto-Koshin region expected to be lower than average through July,

The climate isn't the only problem. People all over Japan water streets out of habit, often for no reason, even when it is raining. You seen train cleaners hosing down trains in yards while it is pouring. Is the pollution that bad?

Without adequate water for the farmers on the Kanto plains, expect fruit and veggies to go up in prices later this year, ditto for rice.

The strengthening yen may offset some of these prices due to cheaper imports, but the water issue remains. Personally, I would begrudge sacrificing my beloved bath for a shower would be pointless if everyone else is ignoring the issue. Perhaps the Tokyo Government or JMA should put out an advisory warning.
Eggs has his own solution. He is going to cut down on his water intake, and merely drink more beer. Cheers!

Plain Talk


Dolls aren't for Sissies by Nathan Palmer

What makes a great Japanese souvenir? While some prefer kitsch modern toys and gadgets I think it's better to find objects which reflect Japan's long established tradition of crafting miniaturized works of art. This genius can be found in Japanese dolls, which come in a bewildering variety of styles. They include: hina (doll's festival) kintaro, and even musha (warrior) dolls. Some of these cost hundreds of thousands of yen but if you're prepared to trawl through recycle shops or antique markets such as Setagaya Ward's biannual boro ichi you can pick them up at a tiny fraction of their original cost.

One variety which is probably not practical as a souvenir is the real-life sized, ultra-realistic iki ningyo (living doll). Embarrassingly, mothers have been known to give them to their adult sons, who have no hope of marrying, as surrogate partners.

Still, whatever the variety, doll making is a serious business in Japan, and many of them are incredibly life like, to the extent that some of the antique dolls I’ve bought and decorated my house with are distinctly unnerving. The feeling I have that my dolls are alive and watching me has been accentuated by some of the Japanese ghost stories I’ve heard, which frequently involve dolls. The most famous is the true story of a young girl named Okiku, who was given a doll by her brother in 1918. She loved the doll with all her heart and named it after herself. Tragically, she died the following year, from complications brought about by a severe bout of influenza, so her family placed her namesake doll on the family altar. However, they soon became convinced that the spirit of their departed daughter now resided in Okiku, the doll, whose hair began to grow, even after they cut it. While Okiku didn't display malevolent tendencies they were spooked, but reluctant to destroy her, so they gave her to Mannenji Temple, where she remains today tended by monks who cut her hair. Like Okiku's family, doll owners in Japan often worry that throwing away their dolls will lead to divine retribution, so temples and shrines have special funeral ceremonies ensuring that the dolls' souls return to heaven.
In short, owning a Japanese doll is a heavy responsibility and it's a little scary, but it is still one I can recommend.


Tokyo Fab



Inhale and exhale the evening breeze. Relax and listen to your body.
Enjoying Yoga during the day is great, but changing scenery and trying Yoga at night could give you a different perspective. These yoga classes held at Jingu stadium will feature different teachers everytime and also offer an area in for bilingual classes. So before going out, perhaps you can try out these yoga classes to refresh yourself!

Date: 5/24 (Thu), 6/2 (Sat), 7/15 (Sun), 7/26 (Thu), 8/3 (Fri), 8/29 (wed), 9/18 (Tue)
7:30 PM − 8:30 PM
@ Jingu Stadium
Reservation NOT required.
Schedules may change, so please check the website for updated schedules. When event will be cancelled
due to bad weather, notice will be posted on facebook on the day at about 4pm or 5pm.

For more information, please visit


Charity Park Yoga 2018

Do you like yoga? So why not do yoga for charity? Three inspiring yogainstructors will teach bhakti flow yoga at Shinjuku Gyoen Park. Asidefrom the entrance fee of ¥200 to the park, you can set your ownadmission fee (minimum ¥500) and it will be donated tokids in India. (You can check the last charity result from this linkインド-ヨガ-チャリティ/) Try out bhakti flowyoga and help kinds in India where yoga originated.
Bhakti flow Yoga is a slow and mindful practice that centers around your direct experience of the tools and themes of yoga chanting and meditation before, during and after asana practice.

Date: 5/26 (Sat) 10:00am - 11:30am
@ Shinjuku Gyoen Park (location details will be informed when reservation is completed) When event will be cancelled due to bad weather, notice will be posted on facebook on the day at about 7am.
Admission: your donation (¥500~) + ¥200 for Shnjuku Gyoen Park entrance fee

For more information, please visitチャリティパークヨガ2018新宿御苑/?instance_id=116172

What’s App With You?



Looking for an app to read business news during your stressful commute? No time to read the whole news but want to get digested versions? Look no further. Business news app Quartz doesn't inundate you with voluminous long reads that will wind up in the land of "TL;DR (too long; didn't read)." Instead, the app offers you bite-sized digests and summaries, almost in the form of text messages that you can react to, click through to more detailed writeups, or simply breeze past. Quartz's notifications can come withphotos, news digests, charts, GIFs, or even 3D augmented reality objectsthat you can play around with or learn more about.


Bear is a flexiblewriting and note-taking app that works great for jotting down quick notes, doodles, poetry and prose or even snippets of code. Focus mode lets you get right down to business, and a markup editor supports 20 different programming languages. Inline image and photo support combined with ApplePencil and hand sketching makes adding scribbles, doodles, andillustrations a simple task. Bear also includes cross-note links, and tagsupport for easy searching. A pro subscription ― $1.49 per month or $14.99annually ― includes note syncing, export options for multiple file typesand extra editing tools.

Tokyo Voice Column


A newcomer to Tokyo by Mohammed Sahir

First of all let me take you about myself then you would understand my situation here, I'm a British citizen and third generation from Bangladesh and Mongolian or somewhere in Asia, for some of the people who don't understand this, it means my parents were born in England but my grand parents came from Asia originally but not sure because we always speaking English at home also never talk about where they are from too.

Since my name is an unisex name in Arabic, some people automatically assume that I'm a girl then see my face! You can imagine what they were thinking, hahaha!

I look tanned like an Indian or Mexican, so many people in Japan and China would ask me " are you Indian?" I would say no I'm British some would be shocked or some would ask me again to confirm that what they hear was right or wrong, and some rare times some would not believe me at all even I show my passport.

One of the big reason why they have a hard time believing me is due to of my accent, I lost my accent 3 years ago when I was working in Shanghai, before I lost my accent I had a strong Manchester accent now I sound like mongrel with different accents I picked up from different countries I travelled in the past.

I were applying for a few jobs, but some of company told me directly that I need to be white if I want to do English speaking jobs, they don't care where you are from but your appearances matters the most.

It's okay, I have got use to it plus it doesn't bother me at all, I just need to keep positive and I'll find something to do soon or later.







Strange but True


ripped jeans effect

It is finally spring, and summer's on the way. Weather was glorious for theroyal wedding! The local council can urge the public to dress sensibly all it likes, but confident eccentricity will prevail. Still, you might consider stopping short at ripped jeans in the sun. Long trousers mean no need for sun cream, right? Fashion dictates otherwise. Think it's pertinent to bring up a past issue some women − and men too, probably − have encountered while dressing in ripped jeans. Yes. Trousers traditionally protect skin from the sun's UVrays, but gaps in the barrier mean people end up looking like a bit like a zebra-lobster type thing! So don't forget to put sun cream on your legs if you are going to wear some ripped jeans!

Painful misspelling... literally!

Choosing your baby's name isn't easy. So you can't really blame someone for wanting to commemorate their child's arrival (and name!) with a tattoo . Unfortunately, having done this, one mum has discovered her inking is actually wrong. 30-year-old Johanna Giselha¨ll Sandstro¨m had requested a tattoo of her children's names, Nova and Kevin. What she got was "Nova and Kelvin"!! Johanna had a few choices. She could either live with the typo. Or have the tattoo modified. Or go down the slightly more extreme route of changing her son's name. Which is exactly what she did! Of the moment she realised she'd got the wrong name imprinted on her, Johanna said: "My heart stopped and I thought I was going to faint. But instead of removing the tattoo, she decided to rename her boy. she says. And three years on, everyone is happy!