Plain Talk


Kabuki Will Surely Mesmerize You by Mrs. S. interviewed by Paul Stewart

Recently at the theater, I saw a little girl of perhaps five years old with her mother and also a boy who was seven or eight with his father. It reminded me of my childhood when I went with my grandmother and my mother. At that time there were more children in the gallery. Recently, there aren’t so many children at the Kabuli Za or the National Theater. I feel a little sad about this.

Speaking of children, when my daughter was about two years old, I worked voluntarily at a community center in Tokyo. One day, the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited us. I was very happy but also a little sad. The reason for the sadness was that my daughter who I was holding was not interested in our prestigious guests. I had to stop her from crying. Whenever I sat down with her she started crying. I stood and moved back from the Emperor and Empress. She settled down as she felt more comfortable away from all the press and other guests.

When I was a child, I greatly admired many Kabuki actors due to their presence and powerful movements. Many of these actors were not famous.

If you are watching Kabuki for the first time, you should choose a famous story or one with wonderful scenes, beautiful kimonos and elaborate sets. The older stories are often more interesting than the newer ones. You can view in English, the Kabuki website below. Even if you don't understand the stories, the sounds of the experience are exquisite. The lighting is beautiful so the atmosphere is very comfortable. Because a Kabuki performance is very long, it is possible to get a ticket for one scene during which you will be seated high in the upper gallery.

From my childhood up to now, I have had the good fortune to watch four generations of Kabuki actors from one family. There are several famous families in Kabuki but it has been really wonderful to see this progression in a traditional way with this esteemed group of individuals.





子供時代から現在に至まで、好運にも私は、ある家元の4世代に渡る歌舞伎役者を鑑賞することができた。 歌舞伎には様々な家元があるが、この名門家系で伝統が受け継がれていく様を鑑賞出来た事は本当によかったと思う。

Plain Talk


Life Lessons from a Bicycle Ride by Weellee Domingo

If you are fortunate enough to be working in a place that is just a comfortable biking distance from your house, most likely you'd be riding your bicycle on a regular basis. Just as likely, you’ve already had those random thoughts, reflections, or maybe even “Aha!” moments during your commute. In my more than five years of living here in Japan, bicycle riding has given me the opportunity to reflect on who I have been and who I could be in my life. These reflections, while confronting and a bit scary at some points, are actually comforting, relaxing, and―believe it or not―empowering.

Allow me to share some of the reflections I’ve had, all while riding a bicycle:

1. In life, people will always give you advice (even if at times, unsolicited). However, what you make out of your life relies entirely upon you. And no matter how you steer it, it’s perfect for what it is and for what it’s not.

Just like in riding a bicycle. Anyone can teach you how to ride, and you may even learn just by reading a manual. However, nobody can teach you balance, because that is something you have to figure out for yourself.

2. Once you start pedaling, your bicycle moves. The harder you pedal, the faster you go. If you are going uphill, pedaling fast and hard will soon get you to the top. At any point, for as long as your feet are on the pedals, you are in control. Once you take your feet off the pedals, you slowly stop and/or you lose control.

Just like life. As long as you keep going, remain focused on your goals, and give your very best in every endeavor, you will continuously progress even if it doesn’t seem obvious, and you will remain in control of your life. Once you lose focus or lose sight of what motivates you in life, you start heading nowhere.

3. Finally, sometimes on your ride you may feel like you’re not pedaling fast enough - especially when a lot of cyclists overtake you on the road. So you tend to pedal faster than usual, giving you leg cramps as a result and worse, you were unable to enjoy the ride.

Just like in life. We often become so fixated on comparing our lives with others, thinking that we are not (yet) good enough or that they will always be much better than we are. As a result, we fail to see our own accomplishments and all the more fortunate aspects of our lives. Worse yet, we sometimes become so exhausted just surviving that we fail to really live. So perhaps it’s best that we stop comparing ourselves with others, take our time, learn what can be learned, and appreciate life! (now that is something I also have to remind myself from time to time)

Most likely, for as long as I live in this country, there will be more of these reflections to come. How about you? What are your thoughts? Enjoy the ride!

Tokyo Fab


St. Patricks Day in Japan Guide 2019

St. Patrick’s Day in Japan: from Hokkaido to Okinawa, Irish in Japan and Japanese friends of Ireland join the celebration of all things Irish!
Planning for Saint Patrick’s Day 2019 celebrations in Japan is going full steam ahead. Events include 15 Parades and festivals around Japan, from Matsue and Fukuoka in western Japan to events in Tokyo and Yokohama. This year will also see new events in Sapporo and Fukuroi in Shizuoka.

Download the St Patricks Day Japan 2019 Events Brochure from HERE!


The Wild Rover

The Wild Rover will be holding their annual St. Patrick's Day party, featuring traditional Irish music. In fact, the party is commemorating its 15th anniversary nd has been growing bigger and bigger each year thanks to the support of sponsors, organizations, pubs, and customers. This year, the Wild Rover will present a variety of artists with an Irish theme. The Wild Rover, which is often considered to be a drinking song, provides a great opportunity to drink, dance and have a good time!

3/24 (Sun) @ O-West / O-Nest / VUENOS / Glad / 7th Floor
(Closest Sta. Shibuya)

What’s App With You?


Audible audiobooks & originals

Commuting everyday packed like a sardine on a train for a long time? You'd like to read some books but can't even manage a space to open books? Welcome to Audible, home of the world’s largest selection of audiobooks, audio shows, and original series. Hear A-list celebrities narrate their favorite stories, enjoy full-cast performances, discover Grammy® award-winning audiobooks, and more. Listen to your audiobooks anytime, anywhere—like when you are traveling on a packed train with this free app. Explore new releases, best-sellers, mysteries, sci-fi, romance, and memoirs – whatever your passion you're sure to find the perfect listen. Keep up to date on current trends, news, and events with Audible original audio shows and top stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. Great escape from a packed train!!

Freemake Musicbox:

If you can't concentrate in a packed train to listen to some audio books, and rather wanting to save those books to read for relaxing weekends, you can choose this app and listen to your favorite songs. Discover & play free music for your iPhone in Freemake Musicbox application. Search any song from a 20 million tracks library. Listen to music without limits. Explore hashtags, create playlist with best tracks. Enjoy favorite MP3s on your iPhone endlessly. Freemake Musicbox lets you access to free YouTube songs - from old recordings to the latest hits. Over 20,000,000 tracks! Tap the “Search” tab and enter an artist or track name, then Musicbox will bring a list of songs for playback, so select a track and just hit the “Play” icon!


Tokyo Voice Column


Japanese indoor activities by Anne Corinne

Too cold or rainy to go out? Japan has a lot of interesting and unique traditional indoor activities suitable for the whole family. Here are a few ideas that will help us improve our knowledge of Japanese language, arts and culture while being entertained.

Igo (囲碁, Go game): this strategy game opposes two players using black and white pieces on a board (although we can also play alone with software programs nowadays). Unlike chess and draughts, the game begins with an empty board and consists in capturing pieces and occupying as much area as possible.

Karuta (カルタ): this poetry game is made of 100 cards with waka/haiku written on the front side and pictures on the back side. One participant reads each waka/haiku poem and the winner has to quickly collect as many corresponding cards as possible.

Riichi (リーチ): this Japanese modern Mahjong consists in 136 blocks with different symbols, which are mixed and faced-down into a square of four walls (East, South, West and North). Four players sit in front of each wall and will break the wall by taking blocks. Some blocks are acquired, others are discarded, depending on the sets. The winner is the one who has won most hands and accumulated most points.

Origami (折り紙): origami is an art that consists of folding square papers without using any other tool. The most famous origami character is probably the Japanese crane but most book stores sell origami sheets to learn creating all kinds of animals or things.

Shiritori (しりとり): this is a word chain game in which a participant has to say a word that starts with the final syllable of the previous word told by another player. A lot of fun is guaranteed!

What a nice way to learn about Japanese culture! Hope you will enjoy these interesting indoor activities.

寒い日や、雨の日は外出は嫌よね? 日本では、家族みんなで家の中でこんな遊びをして楽しんでいる。楽しみながら、日本語や日本の芸術文化を学ぶ一助となるのでいくつか挙げてみよう。







Strange but True


Poker Face

Any gambler knows the importance of a good "game face". Lying convincingly isn't always easy, especially when there are so many subconscious "tells" that can give you away. Many people admit that they frequently tell "white lies" to acquaintances, colleagues and even their own partners. With the average person expected to hear between 10 and 200 lies per day, how can you tell when someone is being untruthful? You can always watch out for these five tell-tale signs. Micro‐expressions, eye movements, hand movements, blink rate, and leg and feet movement. Micro‐expressions are one of the best indicators that someone is lying, as they happen subconsciously and so we have no way to stop them. The eyes are a good place to look when trying to work out if someone’s telling the truth. When lying, someone’s hand movements will often become more animated, but out of sync with what they’re saying. Blink rate either increases or decreases when someone is lying. Leg and feet movements will often increase as the liar tries to release the negative energy and stress of telling a lie. Now do you think you can tell when people are lying to you?

No more Dash Buttons?

Amazon ’s physical Dash Buttons have been discontinued, in favour of digital alternatives. Dash Buttons are gadgets that users could physically press to re-order household items, including cleaning products and foods. The devices, which Amazon suggested could be stuck to cupboards or the fridge, were first launched back in 2015. But Amazon has revealed that in the four years since then, there’s been a shift in user behaviour towards virtual versions of the buttons. customers increasingly using programmes like Alexa Shopping, which provides a hands-free shopping experience, and Subscribe & Save, which lets customers automatically receive their favourite items every month. So from now on, it is going to be all about hands-free shopping! Can't even bother to push a button anymore!


50 Shades of Yikess