Plain Talk


Work Life Balance back in half a century ago... by Yuhei Dan Ito

Let’s admit that everyone feels his or her life is packed with work and need more leisure or what people call a “life”. I have tried to achieve a healthy work life balance and failed countless times. Looking at the holiday photos posted on my friend’s Facebook made me feel like I’m leading a miserable life. One afternoon, I had a small talk with a 73 year-old colleague, who had no idea about life work balance. The talk somehow changed my view on this issue to a positive one thus I thought it was worth sharing with you too.

I asked what hobby he enjoyed when he was in his 20s. He answered “Well, there was no leisure until it was introduced by Americans.” I was shocked and at a loss for words. He continued, “I learned about leisure from a brochure published by the government. It explained its definition, how to enjoy it, examples of activities and so on.” No one imagined that leisure did not even exist 50 years ago. I asked another question. “So what did you do when you had free time and money?” The answer was alcohol, girls and gambling. He also shared a story that he lost all of his business trip funds (40k USD) paid in advance on 3 nights of gambling.

Reflecting on his story, I realized that “work life balance” is not something we lost due to the modern busy lifestyle and it is something that we are striving to achieve. Moreover, our common hobbies such as Netflix, internet surfing and texting seem not too bad, and we don’t need to feel bad for not having extravagant hobbies like scuba diving, traveling around the world and eating overpriced/over-decorated meals. Very few could afford it 50 years ago. Work life balance is a huge social problem in Japan, but we can also be optimistic and think it is improving. More variety of leisure is available nowadays and you can even have a vacation abroad if you plan it well. Work life balance, let’s make it happen!




Plain Talk


"Traveling to Portugal" by Jake Akino

My favorite country I’ve ever been to is Portugal. My mother and I met up with my sister in London because that’s where she was living at the time. Since I couldn’t bare all her bragging about achievements that seemed made up, I started calling her Jetset sarcastically but maybe it wasn’t so sarcastic since she seemed to pretend that she was one. Reality will be a steep price to pay for those who don’t learn to let go of their fantasies, time and age will catch up with them and they’ll fade faster. She is headed there. People always get what they deserve, at least in my eyes.

So after a few days in London we left for Lisbon, Portugal. The beautiful stewardess on our flight was an omen to our destination. She looked like a real life Barbie and I have to say that I was both mesmerized and very insecure about myself whenever she was in close distance. I didn’t do any research for this trip so my mind was completely blank on what to expect when we landed in Lisbon. Let me describe the feeling . . . it was like waiting for a show to start, the red curtain drops and you start to witness the greatest show you’ve ever seen. It was kind of like that. It was an adventure and I think all the arguing I was getting with my family made it even better.

We rode a taxi to our fantastic 1 bedroom apartment hotel. There was a large framed very artsy photo of an exotic nude woman in the bedroom. I stayed in the living room, where a very comfy bed was setup. The welcome basket with fruits and sweets was to die for. I never had fruits this fresh, even in Tokyo. While in the taxi on the way to this place, I could see the ocean, the sea or whatever it was and I told them I was going to check it out after we bring all the luggage in. I didn’t have wifi on my phone so I went out and got lost looking for it. I was very lucky I had a photo of the apartment hotel and I got there after two and a half hours of searching and asking directions to any friendly looking locals who could speak English. It was very careless of me to leave without getting the address of the place we were staying in. Lisbon is a very touristy place so it’s not like there’s an only area that’s crammed with tourists. I got back very tired and passed out on the bed.

What I like about Lisbon so much is how scenic it is. It really is something else. It was one place after another of stunning architecture, history and culture and the local food was great. On one of the days there, we ate at a very local restaurant and had their specials, mostly seafood, and a pitcher of sangria. The three of us got along for once and couldn’t stop praising how good the food was. It was a short trip and another highlight was going to Sintra, which I can only describe as otherworldly. Unfortunately my mother lost her iPhone and went back to try and retrieve it the next day, which I thought was a total waste of time to do. Once something is gone, it’s gone for good you know, just forget about it, was my advice to her. Too bad she took a lot of cool photos on that phone.

What I like the most about my short visit to Portugal was how “un-American” it was. I didn’t really see any Starbucks or Mc Donald’s, you know the branding Americans are known for. They had their own thing, their own culture. It really opened my eyes and made me realize how I didn’t know much about culture in this side of the world and how different it is from the very “American” things I am used to in the Philippines, Japan and Asia in general. The next and last destination before going back to London for a few days then back to Manila was Morocco and that was an adventure too. Morocco was the most exotic place I’ve been to. REAL EXOTIC!

Jake Akino is a Filipino-Japanese writer who frequents Tokyo.

Tokyo Fab


Fun Fun Splash 2019

Summer has come and in this heat nothing beats being by the water or actually literally in the water. Fun Fun Splash brings an opportunity to get soaked in the concrete jungle! With the theme 'Fun', they will bring a fun water event to Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. Once you enter the venue, you are in the battle field, so get your water gun ready, splash and get soaked by water balloon bombs. Outside the battle field, a gigantic pool awaits you to relax a bit, or at the fun fun art area, you can paint on the wall (or on yourself or on others perhaps?) and take some pics to show off your arty side to the world.

July 27th (Sat), 28th (Sun) @ Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
Closest Sta.: Hakkeijima Sta. on Seaside Line


Water Run

Songkran, informally called "the Thailand water festival," is an annual event marking the start of the traditional Thai new year. Songkran is the largest celebration in Thailand and is notorious as the wildest water fight in the world. Inspired by this Songkran water festival, water run is a fun run event. First time held in Japan, this event brings about 100,000 pieces of water balloons to be thrown at each other. Enjoy the live DJ playing EDM or J-pops after getting soaked as well!

July 27th (Sat) & 28th (Sun) @ Makuhari Seaside Park G Block
Closest Sta.: Kaihin Makuhari sta. on Keiyo Line

For more details and concert schedules, please visit

What’s App With You?



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Roadtrippers is the map built for travelers. Plan your summer road trip with friends or find an amazing place nearby you never knew existed. You're always 5 minutes away from something awesome! Discover millions of places, like local diners and quirky roadside attractions, or scenic points, national parks, and hotels. Get inspiration from our pre-made trip guides of some of the most interesting and once-in-a-lifetime routes you need to see at least once. You can use Roadtrippers for free to find these great places and come up with some big ideas. Any trips you've saved or places you love will sync automatically across devices as well.

Tokyo Voice Column


Baseball Legend Ichiro Suzuki Fittingly Retires In Japan by Patrick Hattman

Incomparable Japanese baseball star Ichiro Suzuki, who played 28 seasons between Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball, returned to Japan with the Seattle Mariners to play the last two games of his career March 20-21 against the Oakland A's.

Although Ichiro was unable to record a hit in either contest to add to his 3,089 MLB hits and his overall professional baseball hits mark of 4,367, the sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer entertained sellout crowds at the Tokyo Dome, who gave him a well-deserved, emotional farewell.

Baseball fans on both sides of the Pacific know what Ichiro did by the numbers. So what I think is most important now are some thoughts on his unsurpassed impact on the game in Japan and the United States.

Ichiro was a tireless worker who never stopped trying to improve his skills. He approached his profession as a master craftsman with both an enviable work ethic and a reverence for his craft. He played the game with not only tremendous skill, but also class and grace.

Not surprisingly, he was revered by fans who saw him play over the decades, and highly respected by his many teammates in NPB and MLB. Simply put, Ichiro was one of baseball's all-time greats.







Strange but True


Get paid to go to Festivals?

Most of us love going to music festivals but sometimes going to all the festivals may cost you fortune with expensive entry tickets and travel expense. A millionaire is on the hunt for someone who can help him have a very 'normal' festival experience this summer, blending in with those with less cash - while still enjoying his usual luxuries. The unnamed man wants to hire a 'festival concierge' who will assist him with the basics such as buying camping supplies, packing and putting up a tent. And as well as getting your entry to 2019's hottest European music events paid for, you'll also receive £5,000 per festival you attend for your services. In order to apply for the role, you'll need to be at least 18 years old, have previous good experience attending festivals and hold a valid passport. And while most of the job sounds pretty simple, there are a few tasks on the list that might be a little more difficult to accomplish - such as securing back stage access for the both of you.

Would you like to order...

Have you ever gone out on a date, only to find out that your date eats like a bird? She just steals a few chips off of your plate, but certainly couldn't manage a whole portion by herself? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, one establishment might have come up with the perfect solution for both of you. That's because Mama D's diner in North Little Rock, Arkansas has added a very special and unusual offering to their menu - and they call it the 'My Girlfriend is Not Hungry' option. The hilarious promotion is listed under the side dishes on the menu and it allows a person to add a few extra items of food to their order for their friend or partner to steal/enjoy. It is up to you to take this menu as 'hilarious' or 'sexist'.


50 Shades of Yikess