the issue - Metropolis Magazine

the issue - Metropolis Magazine
May 2017 Japan’s Nº1 English Magazine www.metropolisjapan.com
City Pop
The 80's just keep
coming back
Festival Camping
Just know that you're
gonna get dirty
Ishigaki Island
Okinawa, but better
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Seiji Iinuma
A professional lifesaver
thinks big
Sumo Wrestling
Japan produces a
new yokuzuna
Fundraising in Tokyo
Foreigners lead the
charity scene
Get Outside
THE
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INSIDE
18
Kisenosato: The first Japanese-born Yokozuna in 14 years
GET PRINTED!
IN FOCUS
20
A lifesaver's life: Seiji Iinuma on the act of saving
SEND IN YOUR BEST PHOTOS FOR OUR JUNE ISSUE.
24
Ishigaki: A piece of paradise surprisingly close to Tokyo
metropolisjapan.com/focus
Men with phones at Shibuya Station by Hugo Konno
MAY 2017
Photo by Cedric Diradourian
Cover design by Davi McDowell
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03
TO-DO LIST
Check full event listings on our Events page online!
metropolisjapan.com/events
© 市川勝弘
MAY 2-7
EDITOR’S PICK
SPIRAL INDEPENDENT
CREATORS FESTIVAL
Now in its 18th year, Spiral Independent Creators
is once again bringing together 150 artists and
designers in this festival supporting emerging talent.
Exhibitors will be brought in three groups over a
five-day period and include artists of all genres
and mediums, including digital artists, installations
and custom-made apparel. One exhibitor will also
be awarded the Spiral Grand Prix award. Held in
the fashionable SPIRAL cultural center in MinamiAoyama, the center aims to fuse art and everyday life
and has made itself a distinct and beautiful center
for the contemporary arts. May 2–7, 11am–7pm.
¥500 at door/¥1,000 for all-group pass/students
free. SPIRAL, 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku.
Omotesando. www.sicf.jp (Japanese website)
Flickr user Daniel GrandeCastelo
MAY 4–6
MAY 5
Meaning 5th of May in Spanish, this festival
celebrates the Battle of Puebla, where a small team of
Mexican fighters defeated the larger French army—
considered at the time to be the strongest globally.
Cinco de Mayo is a worldwide event and has been
taking place in Japan since 2013. Previously held in
Yoyogi Park, this year the festival is moving to a new
location in Odaiba. It is a great chance to drink, dance
and be merry, surrounded by music, cuisine and
culture from not only Mexico, but many countries in
the Western Hemisphere. Don’t miss out on what has
become one of Japan’s most international festivals.
May 4–May 6, 10am–9pm. Promenade Symbol Park,
1-3-12 Aomi, Koto-ku. Aomi. www.cincodemayo.jp/
english.html
Wired Music Festival is back this year with a stellar
lineup: Hardwell, Wiz Khalifa, Zedsdead, Killthebuzz,
GxTxA and Kohh, to name a mere few. What better
way to spend Sunday than dancing amongst a sea of
people, waving neon glowsticks in the air or flitting
between the multiple different stages to the music
that takes your fancy. Held at Nagashima Spaland,
aka “Long Island”, escape into the beachside,
amusement park atmosphere before returning to
real life on Monday morning. There is no age limit
on admittance and for cheaper tickets, be sure
to purchase them in advance. May 5, 11am–9pm.
¥13,000 at door/ ¥30,000 VIP. Nagashima
Spaland, 333 Nagashimacho Urayasu, Mie-ken.
Nagashimaonsen. www.wiredmusicfestival.jp/
en.html
CINCO DE MAYO
© Chihiro Iwasaki, The Little Girl Lighting a Match, from
The Little Match Girl, 1964 (Kaisei-sha)
WIRED MUSIC FESTIVAL
© CAPCOM CO. LTD
UNTIL MAY 14
MAY 21
MAY 26
Chihiro Iwasaki is a beloved Japanese illustrator
of watercolors, whose lovely and fluid paintings of
children and flowers decorate the halls of elementary
schools and appear in popular children’s books. Hans
Christian Andersen is the famous Danish author of
enduring fairy tales including “The Little Match Girl”
and “The Little Mermaid.” Now at Tokyo’s Chihiro
Iwasaki museum, 90 of Chihiro’s popular Andersen
illustrations are on display, along with those of
other artists from around the world who have been
inspired by Andersen’s magical tales. Until May 14,
Tues–Sun 10am–5pm. ¥800 adult/¥700 students/
HS and younger free. Chihiro Art Museum Tokyo.
4-7-2 Shimo-shakuji, Nerima-ku. Kamiigusa. www.
chihiro.jp/global/en/index.html
Enter if you dare! This 2k fun-run, based on the
survival horror game “Biohazard” which has sold
75 million copies worldwide, is accompanied by a
costume contest, talk show, zombie makeup corner,
and merchandise shop. Anyone (if they're are brave
enough) can enter either dressed as a “survivor”
or a “zombie”. The zombies proceed to chase the
survivors in order to rip off their life jackets. The run
starts in front of the Tokyo City Keiba stands and the
course is complete with set pieces that recreate the
Biohazard ambiance. Immerse yourself in this world
of the undead on a casual Sunday morning. May 21,
9am. ¥4,800 adult/¥2,800 junior or ¥7,800 adult/
¥5,800 junior for Special Entry. Tokyo City Keiba,
2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku. Okeibajo-mae.
zombie-rush.jp/en/event.html
FANTASIA is a brand new music festival that
celebrates Japanese beauty through music, fashion,
and media art. Episode 0 at WOMB will be the first
of a series of FANTASIA events that look to shake
up the Japanese music festival scene. In developing
the theme of “Japanese beauty,” Masahiko Shimada,
author and selection committee member of the famed
Akutagawa Prize, is in charge of creating an original
story that incorporates elements of dance, music
and digital art, while Ryo Oguri, a renowned theater
director, is attached to the project as a director. And
with Australian DJ duo NERVO billed as the headliner,
FANTASIA - Episode 0 is set to be a fantastic and
memorable night. May 26, 11pm. ¥6,500. WOMB 2-1
Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku. Shibuya.
www.fantasia.tokyo
CHIHIRO ART MUSEUM
COLLECTION: MY ANDERSEN
04
BIOHAZARD ZOMBIE RUSH
SPONSORED
FANTASIA
Woman with Insomnia, from The Scroll of Diseases and Deformities, fragment
MAY 7
MAY 14
UNTIL MAY 14
The Premium Bike Impression is the perfect event
for biking fanatics. Having started last year, it will
run for a second time on May 7. Weekenders will
enjoy the opportunity to come together, share their
love of the sport and enjoy views of Tokyo. Road
bicycles, a type of cycle designed for travelling at
speed on paved roads, have been gaining more
attention and popularity throughout Japan, so much
so that the event is also being held in Osaka for
those who cannot make it to Tokyo. Although it is
possible to rent a helmet, there are a limited number
available, so it is recommended you bring your own
May 7, 9am–5pm. Starting at ¥2,000/¥1,000 in
advance. Meiji Jingu Gaien, 1-1 Kasumigoaka-machi,
Shinjuku-ku. Shinanomachi. www.bit.ly/2oaHuKt
(Japanese website)
Longwalk Tokyo is a walk rally at which you plan to
reach a goal within the time limit of 10 hours, walking
along the Tokyo Marathon course. Although there are
10 individual checkpoints to aim for along the way,
you have the freedom to plan your own route through
the city. So test your organization, map-reading
skills and determination during this Sunday event.
Starting at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office,
checkpoints along the way include Nihonbashi and
Hibiya, with the finishing line at Tokyo Station. The
whole event is held for the Charity Walk project,
“Ayumu Lantia,” supporting activities of developing
countries suffering from starvation.
May 14, 8am–7pm. ¥7000/ ¥6000 for groups of 5 or
more. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, 2-8-1
Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Tochomae.
www.bit.ly/2osSGy4
To celebrate a decade since the Suntory Museum
moved to Roppongi, this unprecedented exhibition
focuses on generations of great enthusiasts for
Emakimono or e-maki. These Japanese illustrated
texts, or narrative picture scrolls, are a fusion of
art and literature, created between the 11th and
16th centuries. The history of their production was
heavily impacted by figures such as the retired
emperor Go-Shirakawa, Emperor Hanazono, and
the Prince Sudatusa of Fushimi. By looking at the
passion, admiration and biographies of these highly
idiosyncratic individuals, the exhibition delves into
previously unexplored context, offering an exciting
new angle on the e-maki. May 14. 10am–6pm.
Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo Midtown Gardenside
9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Nogizaka. Adult ¥1300/
College & HS ¥1000/ JH Free. www.bit.ly/2oAopxn
PREMIUM BIKE IMPRESSION
2017
LONGWALK TOKYO
© 坂茂/羽根木公園の家―景色の道/2011年 撮影:ジェレミ・ステラ
Flickr user Edwin Martinez
MAY 27
MAY 27–28
The Spartan Race has arrived in Japan! The world’s
best obstacle course, which originally came from the
mountains of Vermont, is now held in 30 countries
with over 240 races. This year it will also take place
in Sagami Depot with 7km of mud, fire, water, and
barbed wire. Before convincing yourself that it isn’t
for you, consider that the course is designed for
athletes of all levels as a physical challenge that
is great fun. The race will certainly spice up your
weekly exercise routine, giving you an epic rush
and expanding your limits. May 27, 9am. Starting
at ¥15,000 for participants/¥1000 for spectators.
Sagami Depot, Sagamihara-shi. Sagamihara.
www.spartan.com/en/race/detail/2209/overview
The single largest art festival in Asia is no small
affair. Design Festa brings together those of all ages,
cultures, nationalities, and languages, adding up to
around 12,000 artists showcasing their work. Since it
began in 1994, the event has become a melting pot
for professional and amateur artists and designers.
A new summer event has even been added to the
calendar. Film screenings and musical performances
take place on both indoor and outdoor stages.
Whether you're exhibiting work or merely browsing,
the two-day festival will bring diversity, enrichment,
international cuisine and music to your Tokyo
weekend. May 27–28, 11am–7pm. ¥1,000/¥800 in
advance. Tokyo Big Sight. Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1
Ariake, Koto-ku. Kokusai-teniji-seimon.
www.designfesta.com/en
SPARTAN RACE JAPAN 2017
PICTURE SCROLL MANIA
DESIGN FESTA VOL.45
UNTIL JUNE 25
JAPAN, ARCHIPELAGO OF THE
HOUSE
“Japan, Archipelago of the House” is brought
together by French photographer Jérémie Souteyrat
and French architects Véronique Hours, Fabien
Mauduit and Manuel Tardits, who have assembled
a series of images exploring the history and future
of Japanese residential architecture. The exhibit
comes to Japan after a successful initial reception
in France in 2014. The seventy residences selected
here show the evolution of residential architecture in
Japan as shaped by geography, natural environment,
economy, industry, and society. Take a look at all the
different homes, and lives, you may have had.
Until June 25, 10am–6 pm. Closed Wed. ¥800 adult.
Panasonic Shiodome Museum, Panasonic Tokyo
Shiodome Bldg., 4F, 1-5-1 Higashishinbashi, Minatoku. Shimbashi. www.bit.ly/2pOLqAg
05
FOOD&DRINK
TASTE
THE
HEAT
Crispy on the outside
BY JESSICA THOMPSON
D
espite insects, adverse weather conditions and logistical challenges, eating outdoors just seems to make food taste better. The
multi-sensory experience of eating goes into overdrive as we subconsciously attach contextual memories of friends, weekends and
warm weather to our grilled prawns and corn on the cob. The art of the
barbecue has many variations on the theme throughout the world — in
Jamaica it’s jerk chicken cooked in drum barrels, North Carolina has its
slowly smoked pork with vinegary BBQ sauce, and in Argentina it's Asado
barbeque with cow carcasses slung to parilla grills, cooked slowly over
hot coals. Japan also has its own unique setup and food.
THE BARBECUE
The classic Japanese barbeque is a shichirin, a round, square or rectangular hollow earthen base fitted with a net top. These became popular
during the Edo Period as an economical and practical alternative to traditional sunken irori hearths in houses. While shichirin were replaced with
gas stoves in homes during the 1950s, they continue to have a place in
grill restaurants and barbecue set-ups, as they’re small, lightweight, and
impart a prized charcoal-grilled flavor. These days, konro is an umbrella
term often used for Japanese barbecues, and encompasses shichirin
as well as other portable barbecue varieties like single gas burners and
stainless steel tabletop or standing grills.
and still dominates the barbecue scene. The infrared heat emitted by
binchotan charcoal cooks the meat on the surface at a high temperature,
trapping the umami-rich juices inside. As the heat passes through, the
outside becomes crispy while gently cooking the inside. As the juices
drip onto the charcoal, the smoky, meaty plumes rise up to infuse the
food with a deep, smoky taste.
Barbecues and binchotan charcoal can generally be purchased at homeware stores like Don Quixote and Tokyu Hands, and online at Amazon
or Rakuten.
THE FOOD
A popularity ranking of Japanese barbeque foods (katadukekotsu.com)
shows meat in first place, followed by grilled vegetables, seafood, processed meats like wieners and bacon, mushrooms, salad vegetables,
fried noodles, onigiri, cheese fondue and fruit. Foil-wrapped foods and
skewered foods are also common. Given all this, here are some menu
ideas for a Japanese-style barbecue:
Meat with assorted condiments - In other countries, it’s popular to marinate meat and seafood in different rich sauces or rubs before grilling. In
Japan, it’s more common to cook meat plain. Beef, pork and chicken are the
most popular meats. Favorite cuts of beef are harami (skirt steak), cheeks,
belly, boneless spare ribs, rosu (sirloin), tongue and offal. Popular pork
cuts are spareribs and rosu, and popular chicken cuts include the thighs
and wings. Serve grilled meat at a Japanese barbecue with condiments
like lemon juice, ponzu, mayonnaise, yuzukosho, wasabi, butter and salt.
THE FUEL
While gas elements or briquettes are cheap and easy to manage, sumibiyaki (charcoal grilling) is the original method of Japanese barbeque,
06
Yaki-onigiri - Grill an onigiri on the barbecue until it gets a crispy, chewy
exterior. Basting plain or salted onigiri in a little soy sauce, or a mixture
of miso paste, mirin, sugar and water or mentsuyu as it cooks is popular.
Alternatively, try a DIY rice burger by shaping onigiri into flatter patties,
grilling them, then sandwiching in other barbecued ingredients.
Potato with mentaiko mayo - This dish is a yatai favorite, but can easily
be recreated in a barbecue setting. Serve grilled or foil-roasted potatoes
with a rich sauce of equal parts mayonnaise and mentaiko (cod roe), mixed
with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
Soy, sake & butter scallops - Scallops in the shell are relatively easy to buy
in Japan from supermarkets. Place them over a grill, add a little sake and
butter and, when just about cooked, sprinkle a little soy sauce over them.
Seafood with shiso & myoga tartar - also often grilled plain in Japan,
seafood pairs nicely with the classic seafood dipping sauce, tartar. Popular
seafood to grill includes prawns, crab, octopus, squid, aji (horse mackerel),
torigai clams, scallops and sazae shells.
Grilled seasonal vegetables - In addition to
commonly barbecued vegetables in Japan
like pumpkin, potato, mushrooms, renkon,
daikon and onion, try grilling summer seasonal vegetables like corn, myoga (native
Japanese ginger), zucchini, asparagus,
green peppers and edamame.
Shioyaki-zakana (salt-grilled fish) - Salt-grilling is
a classic Japanese preparation technique for fish,
where a whole fish is rubbed generously in salt
and then grilled over coals. Shioyaki-ayu (sweetfish) are a common sight throughout summer, sold
at yatai street food stands and festivals where
skewered grilling fish surround pits of coal, ready
to be devoured whole straight off the skewer.
Mochi - Mochi (Japanese rice cakes) and barbecue are a match made in
heaven. When grilled, they become crispy on the outside and chewy on
the inside, and are also a substantial option for vegetarians.
Himono - Himono are Japanese salted and dried fish, a food-preservation
custom which goes back to ancient times. These are perfect for barbecuing, as the oily skin becomes crispy and the flesh soft and juicy. Grill
skin-side down first, then flip once the flesh changes color a little.
Togarashi & cheese corn - Similar to Mexican elotes, chargrill whole corn
cobs, then, just before serving, brush with Kewpie mayonnaise and butter,
sprinkle on a heavy-handed amount of powdered or grated parmesan
cheese, a dusting of shichimi togarashi, salt and a squeeze of lemon or
lime juice.
Fish kama - Kama is the collarbone of a fish, and is generally a meaty, fatty
part, so becomes incredibly rich and juicy when barbecued. Hamachi
(yellowtail) and tuna kama are easy to get and cheap at supermarkets
and fishmongers, and can be grilled with just a little salt and pepper for
seasoning.
Foil-wrapped fish and vegetables - Foil-wrapping is a popular cooking technique in Japan, both in the oven and on a stovetop or barbecue
grill. Salmon, as well as summer seasonal fish like kisu, karei, mebaru
and Japanese mushrooms like shiitake, eringi, shimeji, and enoki, work
well as a foil-wrapped parcel combined with butter or olive oil, lemon,
pepper and herbs for a succulent parcel.
Tomato-bacon skewers - Known as "tomato
beikon kushiyaki" in yakitori joints, these
are an easy barbeque number. Take cherry
tomatoes, wrap them in bacon, skewer them,
sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper,
then grill for around 5 minutes.
Yakisoba - This one will need a flat barbque
plate but is cheap and cheerful and feeds a
crowd. Heat a little fat on the barbecue plate,
then add the yakisoba noodles. Saute them a
little, then push them to the side. Fry strips of
pork belly, then add slices of onions, carrots,
peppers and cabbage, meat of your choice, and
a sprinkling of tenkasu (tempura crumbs) for a
little crunch. Sauté until softened, then mix in
with the noodles and yakisoba sauce. Serve
as-is, or topped with a little pickled ginger and
aonori (powdered seaweed).
Cheese fondue - Cut a round section out of the top of the rind of a wheel
of camembert, wrap it in foil, grill until it’s oozy, then grind over some black
pepper, add a drizzle of honey, and serve with crusty bread or vegetables
and fruit for dipping.
Fruit - Pineapple, mango, peaches and kyoho (Japanese grapes) are all in
season over the warmer months in Japan, and can all be thrown onto the
barbecue grill. The natural sugars caramelise making them a perfect
summertime dessert.
For a list of great parks to barbeque at, visit metropolisjapan.com/taste-the-heat
RECIPE
SHISO & MYOGA TARTAR
INGREDIENTS
•100ml mayonnaise
•50g sour cream
•2 myoga (Japanese ginger)
buds, chopped
•½ cup sliced negi onion
•2-3 shiso leaves, sliced
•1 tablespoon chopped dill
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•Salt and pepper to taste
PREPARATION
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, then
serve with grilled, crumbed or battered seafood and vegetables. Keep
chilled until ready to serve.
07
FOOD&DRINK
CAFÉ
¥¥ EN/JP
COFFEE
WRIGHTS
Relax with an aromatic brew in
this Sangenjaya hide-out
BY CRAIG ATKINSON
A
way from the crowds
and on the fringe of
the residential area in
Sangenjaya is Coffee
Wrights cafe.
Built in the shell of an old
hair salon, there you’ll find
co-owner and head roaster
Yuki Muneshima who, along
with her experienced staff,
has created a quiet space for
coffee lovers.
The cafe is a two-level
building with the bottom floor
dedicated to roasting, making and serving coffee.
The roasting machine sits there, filling the cafe with
the scent of the morning’s roast that lingers in the air
throughout the day.
In front of that, the brewing process takes place—
hand drip, espresso or iced. There is also a selection
of roasted beans available for home brewing.
The second floor is clean and simple, exemplary
of the current Tokyo trend favoring unfinished surfaces and understated decor. A plain wood staircase leads up to a room of recycled furniture, timber
walls and an exposed ceiling, which is exactly how
Muneshima wanted it. Seated next to the roaster,
sorting through the day's roast, she smiles and tells
me that the cafe came together quickly … though her
15 years of cafe experience helped in making decisions. As a former roaster for a large coffee company
here in Tokyo, she explained that she wanted to be
more involved and closer to the customers. So, late
last year, she determined to strike out on her own,
opening Coffee Wrights in December. The coffee
menu covers all the usual regions: Brazil, Colombia,
Guatemala, Kenya, and my current favorite, Ethiopia. Coffee Wrights roasts
on the lighter side, for optimal taste and flavor.
The coffee (¥480) was served in a large ceramic cup. It was light,
delicate and floral—almost tea-like. To accompany your coffee, there is a
choice of four hand-selected sweets made by Comma Coffee: A banana,
pineapple and walnut pound cake (¥350); a green tea and black bean
pound cake (¥450); a fruit tart (¥680); and anko butter cookies (¥350).
Coffee Wrights isn't a place where people just pop in for a quick
cup. (However, they do have a 'quick brew,' a pre-made house blend
for ¥380.) This is a place where you relax, take your time, maybe meet
a friend and appreciate the aromas and undertones that are expertly
08
brought out in the roast.
Muneshima and her staff are dedicated to supplying and serving
the best coffee possible in a friendly and casual setting. They are
also working on expanding their wholesale market so others can
enjoy their coffee.
Coffee Wrights is well worth the short ride from Shibuya Station
and is a great addition to the Sangenjaya neighborhood, which is
already host to a treasure trove of mostly undiscovered gems.
Coffee Wrights. 1 -32-21 Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku. Sangenjaya. Tel: 03-6413-8686. Mon–Sun 9am–6pm. Closed Tues.
coffee-wrights.jp
www.dubliners.jp
MONTHLY
¥500 PINT BEER DAY
AT ALL 5 BRANCHES
TUE,
MAY 9
¥500
PINTS OF
DRAUGHT BEER
ONLY
ALL DAY
(GUINNESS, KILKENNY,
AND MORE)
Shinjuku
2F Shinjuku Lion Hall
3-28-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
03-3352-6606 | [email protected]
http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g209300/
Each
branch
has
different
hours
Shibuya
2F Dogenzaka Center Bldg.
2-29-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
03-5459-1736 |[email protected]
http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g008214/
Akasaka
B1 Sannou Park Tower
2-11-1 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku
03-3539-3615 | [email protected]
http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g008233/
Closed: Sat., Sun., & Holidays
Ikebukuro
B1 Sun Gorou Bldg.
1-10-8 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
03-5951-3614 | [email protected]
http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g029000/
Shinagawa
Shinagawa Mitsubishi Bldg.
B1F Grand Passage
2-16-3 Kounan, Minato-ku
03-6718-2834 | [email protected]
http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g008220/
We welcome
all kinds
of parties.
Please
contact us.
09
MOVIES
BY DON MORTON
FEATURED MOVIES
FENCES
T
roy Maxton, a former ball player, an ex-con
and now a Pittsburgh garbage collector,
is in equal parts lovable and loathsome.
He does his job, provides for his family,
and spends each evening drinking gin and
railing about the unfairness of life while never
accepting the slightest blame for where he’s
ended up. He belittles the dreams of his sons,
fearing that they will be more successful and
at the same time that they will be just like him.
Director/star Denzel Washington spent six
years bringing the late August Wilson’s 1983
Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play to the
screen, and the result is a performance-driven
masterpiece on a variety of levels. Though it’s
set in 1953, it’s at the same time eternal and immediate, and transcends race.
The director resists the Hollywood bells and
whistles, and doesn’t try to “open up” the play.
It’s talky, as play adaptations will be, and there’s
little actual action, but the material is so powerful
BEAUTY AND THE
BEAST
Re g u l a r re a d e r s w i l l
know that I’m not a huge
fan of Disney’s criminal
blandness and manipulative marketing. But I try to give the Mouse House
its due when it gets it right, and I dug the 1991 animation. (And, for the record, I thought 2015’s reimagined
Cinderella quite excellent.) But this reupholstered “live
action” version (a misnomer, since it’s 95% frenetically
edited computer animation surrounding a few blameless actors) left me cold. It’s 43 minutes longer and adds
absolutely nothing, and I don’t know why it exists except
to separate ‘tweeners from their allowances. Grumble
grumble. (129 min)
MR. RIGHT
A scatterbrained ditz on
the rebound finally finds
the man of her dreams,
except (quibble quibble)
he’s a paid assassin. Anna
Kendrick and Sam Rockwell brighten up this mean-spirited, forced screwball fantasy, but there’s only so much
they can do. The film’s most cringe-worthy moments
involve Kendrick dumbing her smart self down for the
material. Sam wears a clown nose when he works, for no
discernible reason except maybe for the movie poster.
Marrying a cutesy concept to this kind of pointless violence is a hard thing to pull off, and while this one’s got
plenty of attitude, it’s just feels wrong. (93 min)
and the dialogue so spellbinding that even the
multiplex crowd will be hooked.
The actor’s visceral, vicious portrayal of Troy
is lived-in and absolutely convincing (he was in
the 2010 Broadway revival, as were most of the
cast members here). It’s one of his best, right up
THE EDGE OF
SEVENTEEN
An awkward high school
junior’s already, like, totally
annoying life gets infinitely
more humiliating when her
best (okay, only) friend starts dating her popular all-star
older brother. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), expertly balancing snarky with sensitive, sympathetic with dislikable,
manages to provide this often cookie-cutter character with
some dimension, and elevates this witty and observant
update of the old coming-of-age chestnut to the thoroughly watchable. Kind of like a John Hughes movie with depth
and honesty. And cussing. Woody Harrelson is hilarious as
the teacher that gets where she’s coming from. (104 min)
SPLIT
The good news is that
James McAvoy gets to
stretch his range as a
loony tune with 23 personalities who kidnaps a trio of
thinly drawn teenage girls (are all 23 okay with this?) who
soon realize they have to get away before the emergence
of a really nasty 24th. The bad is that it’s from M. Night
Shayamalan, and though it’s marginally less absurd than the
director’s recent disasters, he can’t seem to settle for making a serviceable psycho-thriller and has to include some
lame and lurid third-act twist. So: overlong, child abuse, little
tension, spotty plotting, and a moronic non-ending. Have
fun. (117 min)
there with Glory and Training Day.
But it’s Viola Davis who steals the spotlight
(and took home an Oscar), notably in one scene
where Troy rather self-righteously delivers to her
some unwanted, devastating news. Absolutely
not to be missed. (139 min)
ARRIVAL
When a dozen huge alien
spacecraft take up position
at various points around
the globe, a professor of
linguistics (Amy Adams,
perfect) is asked to try to establish communication. This is
a plausible, non-glamorous and cerebral “what-if” alien visitation tale from Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario) along
the lines of 1997’s Contact. And like all good sci-fi stories,
it looks inward at the human condition instead of up at the
stars and has something to say about today’s world. It’s a
beautiful and thought-provoking puzzle box of a movie that
packs considerable emotional weight. Nominated for eight
Oscars. (116 min)
MANCHESTER BY
THE SEA
A morose, asocial janitor
(an Oscar-winning Casey
Affleck) is appalled to
learn that his late brother
has named him the guardian of his 16-year-old nephew,
and returns to the title hometown with great reluctance.
As this graceful tale of loss and grief unfolds, a window
is opened onto a wounded soul, and we learn the reason
for this reluctance. Yes, it’s depressing. But writer/director
Kenneth Lonergan refuses to put a pretty bow on life’s
untidiness. It’s never what you’d call hopeful. But neither
is it hopeless. And the occasional, gently satirical comic
twists add to its realism. A masterpiece. (137 min)
Fences: (C)2016, 2017 Paramount Pictures; Beauty and the Beast: © 2016 Disney Enterprises inc. All Rights Reserved; The Edge of Seventeen: © MMXVI STX Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved; Mr. Right: © 2016 Right Productions, LLC;
Split: ©2017 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. All Rights Reserved; Manchester by the Sea: ©2016 K Films Manchester LLC. All Rights Reserved.
10
More reviews: metropolisjapan.com/movies
EIGA
HIKARI
BY ROB SCHWARTZ
D
irector Naomi Kawase occupies one of
the most envied, and controversial, positions in Japanese cinema. The leading
international film festival, Cannes, adores
her and has supported her like no other auteur
in the history of Japanese movies. Her first
feature-length fiction film Moe no Suzaku was
awarded the Camera D’Or (best new director award) at Cannes in 1997, and in 2007 her
fourth feature Mogari no Mori (The Mourning
Forest) walked away with the Grand Prix (the
2nd most prestigious award at the fest after
the Palme D’Or). These honors seem to have
assured her a lifetime place at the fest. Her 2011
effort, Hanezu, premiered in competition, and
in 2013 she was a Cannes main competition
jury member. Then once again her 2014 pic,
Futatsu no Mado (Still the Water), premiered in
competition. Many thought this to be the end
of the love affair, as critics panned the work
and some called it the worst flick at the event
that year. But in 2015 An (Sweet Bean) was
included in the much sought after Un Certain
Regard section. Her current creation, Hikari,
will premiere in competition at the fest later this
month and open May 27 in Japan.
Kawase’s style is quiet, imagistic and atmo-
of going blind. He harangues heroine Misako (Ayase Mizuzaki) during a test run of her audio guide
narration for the blind of a film-within-a-film. But
Misako is improbably drawn to Nakamori, supposedly due to the genius of one of his photos of
a sunset. The movie meanders between this and
a subplot about her mother, replete with unnecessary detail, such as the contents of her late father’s
wallet. There are some nice moments in Hikari,
as when Nakamori photographs children, but in
general the piece is infused with sentimentality
and some overlong scenes. Kawase remains the
most celebrated enigma in Japanese cinema, and
Hikari will please her hardcore fans but won’t win
many converts. (English title: Radiance; 101 min.)
Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku; www.ht-cinema.com).
The Spanish drama The Olive Tree focuses
on a socially-conscious young woman who
reaches out to her estranged grandfather only
to learn he is depressed because the family
sold his beloved century-old tree to a corporation to use as its logo. Starting late May at Cine
Switch in Ginza (4-4-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku; www.
cineswitch.com).
The German comedy-drama Me and Kaminski explores issues of mortality and journalistic
ethics as it follows a young reporter (Daniel
Bruhl) as he goes on a road trip with the elderly
painter who is the subject of his book, all the
while hoping the old man would boost sales by
finally dying. Starts April 29 at Yebisu Garden
Cinema (4-20-2 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku; www.unitedcinemas.jp/yebisu)
© 2013 Wildside
sphere-driven, sometimes to the point of being incoherent. For example, her 2008 effort
Nanayomachi was filmed in Thailand and most
of the flick features two characters who don’t
speak the same language. There’s no doubt that
some of her frames are beautifully shot and the
filmmaker’s background in documentary means
the pieces often have a stark realism that can
be affecting. But lately Kawase has been falling
prey to pretentious profundity (as in Futatsu no
Mado) or schmaltz, a criticism often levied at
An, which also featured the male lead of Hikari,
Masatoshi Nagase.
Nagase portrays Nakamori, a brilliant but
irascible photographer who is in the last stages
CINEMATIC UNDERGROUND
SOCIAL ILLS
European films tackle the
big questions
BY KEVIN MCGUE
T
he French drama Courted casts veteran actor Fabrice Luchini as a stern, unfeeling judge
whose orderly world is turned upside-down
when one of his jurors turns out to be an old
flame he has never forgotten. The character embarks on the kind of emotional awakening that is
Luchini’s trademark. On from May 13 at Shibuya’s
Image Forum Theatre (2-10-2 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku;
www.imageforum.co.jp)
The mini festival Viva Italia returns for its third
installment of contemporary Italian movies. The
lineup this year includes The Mafia Kills Only in
Summer (pictured) a comedy about a Sicilian journalist who grows up worshiping the mafia but
comes to see them for what they are, and the drama Days and Clouds about an upper-middle-class
couple who must readjust to life without luxury
when the husband loses his job. The fest kicks off
May 27 at Human Trust Cinema Yurakucho (2-7-1
11
THE CITY
TEAHOUS
TRADITIONAL
Where to go for an authentic steep
BY MANDY LYNN
L
et your tastebuds experience the transition from traditional Japanese tea to today’s
modern-day blends. Even in Tokyo’s hyperurban sprawl, you can find pockets of quiet to
savor the combination of rich teas and the delicate
Japanese sweets, perfectly formulated from a rich
legacy of this ancient beverage.
TOKYO SARYO
Tokyo’s first green tea drip café, Tokyo Saryo,
opened its doors this January in the affluent
neighborhood Sangenjaya, with the aim to
promote good green tea to the younger generation. Everything about this sleek, minimalist café
exudes an air of simplicity and serenity, from
its interior décor and furniture, to its tableware,
12
cutlery, and of course, its teas.
There are currently seven teas available,
with plans to bring in more, such as uji and
sayama green teas. Each tea is steeped three
times at varying temperatures: the first at 70°C,
the second at 80°C, and the third at 90°C with
roasted genmai (brown rice) that emanates a
robust smokiness. The most popular teas are
001 Harumoegi and 007 Yoino Shichiyousei. The
former is a clear and light traditional tea, while
the latter is a little sweeter and smoother on the
palate; both are extremely easy to drink. My personal favorite, 004 Yabukita Yame, is a tea full of
umami aromas that I was instantly captivated by.
Each steeping only served to deepen its flavors,
and strengthen its bitter nuances.
SES FROM
L TO MODERN
beautifully with the well-rounded softness of green tea. It is
best paired with wagashi (traditional Japanese confections):
the preserved red date with walnut and cream cheese, and
ichigo daifuku (mochi stuffed with strawberry).
Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience. Spiral 5F, 5-6-23 MinamiAoyama, Minato-ku. Omotesando. Tel: 03-6451-1539.
Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm.
KOSO-AN
For the full experience, opt for the yōkan (Japanese thick
jellied dessert) of dried fruit and nut, their version of the traditional
yōkan commonly served with green tea.
Tokyo Saryo. 1-34-15 Kamiuma, Setagaya-ku. Sangenjaya.
Tue-Fri 1pm-8pm; Sat-Sun 11am-8pm.
The first thing that struck me about Koso-an was its architecture. Built by tennis buddies Watanabe Hirohiko and
Matsuoka Nobuo in 1945 in the Showa Era with the aim of
providing a place of relaxation after their games, Koso-an
was structured with sentimental meaning, using Watanabe’s
favorite mulberry timber obtained from Nagaoka in Niigata
Prefecture. The teahouse and gallery were later introduced
in 1999 to offer respite for those tired of Jiyugaoka’s
cityscape. Folk craft and antiques displayed around the
teahouse create an ambience reminiscent of traditional tea
ceremonies.
There are 10 options on the menu, all of which come with
houjicha and wagashi. For a taste of Japanese tradition, I recommend the matcha, shiratama zenzai (dango with red bean
soup), and anmitsu (agar jelly dessert served with Japanese
sweet red bean paste and black honey syrup) if you prefer
something sweeter. The sweetness of wagashi truly complements the subtle fragrance and roast flavors of the tea.
Koso-an. 1-24-23 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku. Jiyugaoka.
Mon-Sun 11:30am-6:30pm.
SAKURAI JAPANESE TEA EXPERIENCE
Situated on the fifth level of Spiral Building, it’s hard to imagine this
tranquil space exists within bustling Omotesando. Upon entering
and getting one whiff of the heady aroma of teas in the air, one
immediately feels a sense of calm and time seems to come to a
standstill.
This intimate eight-seater offers an extensive menu of Japanese
teas, ranging from the commonplace sencha to premium grade
matcha and original house blends. There is an aura reminiscent of
traditional medicinal uses of tea—servers are dressed in pressed
white lab coats, teas are brewed in giant round-bottomed lab flasks,
and their leaves are displayed in glass test tubes.
The tea shop offers à la carte and several tea courses for a
tasting experience of premium single origin teas, as well as original
house blends such as gobo (burdock root) with Japanese black
tea and fermented green tea with ginger and mikan (tangerine).
I particularly enjoyed the houjicha, a type of Japanese green
tea roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal instead of the usual
steaming process, resulting in hints of smokiness that blends
13
CITYPOP
New sub-genre
"future funk"
takes us back to
the Bubble years
BY PATRICK ST. MICHEL
E
verything old becomes fashionable again
at some point, and the same holds true in
Japan. Recently, a glitzed-out style of music
that was big in the 1980s, called “city pop,”
is enjoying a bit of a resurgence nationwide.
Fittingly for songs made during the country’s
luxurious Bubble years, city pop songs are finely
produced numbers loaded up with brass sections, neon-tinged synthesizers and lyrics about
living the high life in the city. Lately, reissued versions of the biggest albums from this period have
arrived on store shelves, while city pop tunes
have become central to a whole sub-genre of
music called “future funk.”
And of course, a new wave of artists inspired
by the original style—or at least tagged as being inspired by, even if they really aren’t—have
emerged. The economic conditions of Japan in
2017 are no where close to the excess of the ‘80s,
so the music isn’t quite a copy. It’s less dizzying
and more chilled out, but still focuses on urban
life (where everyone is flocking). It isn’t simple
cut-copy stuff, but rather a variety of artists adding their own contemporary twists to the style.
To help you navigate this emerging scene—and
maybe find some tunes for the summer—here’s
a guide to the new city pop crowd.
THE TOP TIER
No group has achieved as much success using acid-jazz-inspired sounds as Suchmos,
a Kanagawa-born group taking cues from
Jamiroquai and Random Access Memories-era
Daft Punk. They broke out in early 2016 with the
skippy “Stay Tune,” which shined on YouTube
14
and currently boasts over 20 million
views. Earlier this year, they released
their sophomore album The Kids, a
set of easy-breezy numbers that has
proven a huge success, and pushed the band
to the next level of media attention. They are
already slated to appear at this year’s Summer
Sonic, and expect them to pop up at even more
gatherings across Japan in the warmer months.
MUSIC TO LOUNGE OUT TO
Sonically, many of the new wave of city-popindebted groups play music at a slower, loungeready pace. Trio Lucky Tapes have stood out
thanks to their half-speed funk, becoming a live
favorite with songs built around horn blurts and
bass. It helps that the lead vocals, courtesy of former electronic producer Kai Takahashi, meld along
nicely with the mellow music. Rising up as of late
as well is Special Favorite Music, a seven-person
outfit originally playing zippy indie-pop, but which
pivoted to jazzy funk last year. Their first single
“Ceremony” features calming flute and dramaraising strings. Expect an album later on this year.
A POPPIN’ TIME
Not all of this decade’s city pop sounds best while
sprawled out on a couch. Bubble-era songs drew
heavily from emerging forms of dance music, and
bands such as Awesome City Club carry on that
tradition by working in neon-bright synthesizer
melodies alongside bouncy beats and tag-team
vocals. Quartet Shiggy Jr. are even more direct,
crafting rubbery numbers that shuffle up to the
chorus, when the group just lets the music burst
open. If you need some good hooks to shout along
to while driving this summer, look towards this tier.
LONGPLAYERS
Trends are only trends when they are in the spotlight; many artists still embrace a style even when
it’s out of fashion. So it is with city pop, which had
plenty of practitioners before it became a buzzword. Asako Toki, formerly a member of Shibuyakei band Cymbals, launched a solo career borrowing from ‘80s sounds, and released the catchy
set Pink earlier this year, featuring no shortage
of throwback synths and bass slaps. She also
appeared on the latest album from G.Rina this
January. A fan of keytars and well-aged rhythm
boxes, she’s been constructing pop nodding to
those gold-dusted days for a while now, and still
does it better than most.
BEYOND THE CITY LIGHTS
The Japanese underground scene features
many artists equally keen on ‘80s sounds, but
reconfigured into new ways far different from
what’s found higher up. Tokyo’s Boogie Idol creates shimmering numbers that take cues from
old pop songs … and in-store background music.
The end result is dazzling. Last month, electronic
project Pasocom Music Club released Park City,
a collection similarly drawing from cheesy sounds
of yesteryear but arranging them into energetic
dance numbers.
15
ART
YAYOI
KUSAMA:
MY ETERNAL
SOUL
A retrospective exhibition of the
prolific artist's work, running
until May 22 at the National Art
Center Tokyo
BY GIANNI SIMONE
16
W
hen asked to name internationally famous Japanese artists, most people
will probably answer Yoko Ono
(whose brilliant career is perennially
obscured by her also being Mrs. Lennon) or
Takashi Murakami. However, few people can
match Yayoi Kusama’s presence on the world
stage or the sheer influence she has had on
contemporary artists. Time magazine recently
included her in its list of the world's “100 Most
Influential People” – the only Japanese to make
the list. Although her name may not immediately ring a bell with many, her polka-dotted
works and brightly colored giant pumpkins are
instantly recognizable.
The National Art Center is currently showing
My Eternal Soul, one of her biggest shows to
date, and a tour de force covering her entire
career from her beginnings to her most recent
work-in-progress project.
Chronologically speaking, the exhibition
starts from the end: we enter a huge space
whose walls are covered with 132 pieces never
before seen in Japan. These works belong to the
500-painting-strong “My Eternal Soul” series,
on which Kusama has been frantically working
since 2009.
As she says in the audio guide available to
the visitors, “I’m so focused [on this project]
that I even forget to eat, and there are times
I’m so tired I faint.” Apparently she works so
quickly and with such a concentration that she
manages to finish one 194cm x 194cm painting
in just two or three days.
The series is marked by extremely rich variation, with figurative motifs and abstract patterns freely coexisting. It’s a riot of funnily scary
faces, amoebas and thousands of small spying
eyes. Some of these works are monochrome
while others show an array of colors including
gold, silver and copper. The overall effect of
seeing all these works next to each other is
simply overwhelming.
The great novelty of this exhibition is that,
in this particular room, people can actually
take pictures with their phones. As a result,
the usual quiet contemplation of an art museum
is replaced by people dashing from one corner
of the room to another, trying to take as many
souvenir photos as possible.
Luckily, this is the only place where picturetaking is allowed.
For people who only know Kusama’s later
works, the next room is eye-opening: it exhibits
her early drawings and paintings. As a child,
Kusama was plagued by hallucinations (the
violets that grew near her house would turn
into people’s faces and begin to talk to her)
and began painting to escape her fears. In the
1950s, Kusama was depicting both abstract
and natural forms and developed a variety of
motifs based on plant and animal forms, the
planets and universe. Her works from 195052 show a maturity that belies her young
age. Looking at Accumulation of the Corpses
(1950), one can only try to imagine the kind of
nightmares and hallucinations she experienced
at the time. Though beautiful and artistically
accomplished, these early works directly speak
to our purest emotions.
We next jump to Kusama’s American period.
In 1957 she “escaped” (as she has often said)
to the U.S., settling down in New York in 1958
and grabbing the local artists’ attention with her
Infinity Net paintings, several of which are also
on display. These vast fields of canvas filled with
a mesh of monochrome strokes have neither
boundaries nor center and eliminate composition. At the time they were regarded as fresh and
innovative, anticipating the aesthetics of Minimal
Art that would become mainstream in the 1960s.
Even today they never cease to mesmerize.
A few years later, in 1962, Kusama began
to challenge traditional concepts of sculpture
being made from wood, metal or stone, by
creating so-called soft sculptures — soft phallic protrusions affixed to furniture and other
ready-made objects. The ladder and dresser
displayed in Tokyo, together with the macaronicovered coat, have been explained as obsessions with sex and food.
One of the most outstanding works Kusama
has ever made is Aggregations (One Thousand
Boats Show) (1963), an installation of a boat
painted silver and covered with phallic protrusions, along with 999 posters portraying the
same boat on the surrounding gallery walls,
ceiling and floor. This has been reconstructed
at this exhibition by using Walking on a Sea of
Death, a similar-looking work from 1981.
Kusama’s famous pumpkins can be found
in several places throughout the exhibition.
She first saw pumpkins in the fields around her
house when she was a child, and they appear
even in her early Nihonga paintings. “I was enchanted by the charming form of pumpkins and
became interested in creating pumpkin-like
large, bulbous decorated bellies. Their strong
spiritual balance appealed to me,” she says.
Of course such a comprehensive retrospective
wouldn’t be complete without the Infinite Mirror
Room installation that first appeared in her November 1965 solo exhibition. The work combines
a mirror room with electric lights. The brightcolored lights flickering in infinite space represent
the concrete realization of “the soul wandering
between life and death in an ecstatic space,” as
Kusama described in her autobiography.
The third part of the exhibition covers
Kusama’s return to Japan. After the deaths of
many people close to her and suffering from
mental illness, the artist moved back to Tokyo
in 1973. While living in a psychiatric hospital,
she immersed herself in creating collages,
pasting printed photos of plants and animals
to paper and adding patches of watercolor and
gouache paint. Though these works are not
as famous as her polka dots, infinity nets and
pumpkins, they show a more introspective side
of her work. These are also some of the most
beautiful works she has ever produced. “The
universe keeps dying and being reborn,” she
says about these works. “This cycle will go on
forever, even after I die. I’m forever grateful to
god that gave me my talent and introduced me
to the art world. I may have created thousands
of works, but when I’m gone the world will go
on forever, even without me.”
Following Kusama’s infinity themes, the
exhibition is laid out in a circular way, so when
you reach the end, you can start all over again,
and again. Considering the massive human
jams caused by all the people visiting the show,
this was an excellent idea.
Having just turned 88, Kusama could be excused if she decided to hang her brushes and
ink pens and enjoy some rest but, judging by her
recent exceptional output, she is not finished yet.
Indeed, her parting words confirm her commitment to her art: “Today’s world is marked by a
lot of anxiety connected to ever-growing strife
between nations and individuals and to elusive
prospects for peace. We must, as human beings, be ever more determined to build a better
world through cooperation. I have always been
dedicated to my art, struggling day and night to
create. I intend to continue as long as my heart
keeps beating. My greatest desire is that my vision of a future of eternal harmony among people
be carried on."
17
A NEW
CHAMPION
APPEARS
A Japanese
sumo wrestler
reclaims the
grand title
STORY AND PHOTOS
BY CHRIS GOULD
18
S
umo returns to Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan May 14th–28th, and with an even more
earth-shattering development than usual.
For the first time in 14 years, fans will be able
to witness a homegrown grand champion plying
his trade.
Thirty-year-old Kisenosato Yutaka finally ascended to sumo’s highest rank in January this year,
after claiming his maiden top-division championship. In doing so, he became the first Japanese to
be promoted to sumo’s yokozuna apex since 1998,
and will become the first grand champion to grace
a Tokyo ring since Takanohana in January 2003.
The rules of sumo are refreshingly simple: the
first wrestler to touch down inside the ring, or
step out of it, is the loser. Most bouts are over in a
matter of seconds, but some thrilling encounters
may last several minutes. The force with which
two 150-kilogram behemoths collide is genuinely
frightening, and truly incredible power is needed
to withstand an opponent's charge, drive him
backwards and throw him to the ground.
Yokozuna status is the highest honor in sumo.
Since the sport turned professional in the 1760s,
only 73 men have ever attained the rank. No clear
promotion criteria are defined, but the general
consensus is that a wrestler on the second rank
of ozeki must either win two tournaments in a row,
or win 27 bouts out of 30 to get there. Once at
the summit, the yokozuna is not only expected to
give an excellent account of himself, but to bear
responsibility for the public standing of the entire
sumo association. Should he ever commit the
cardinal sin of losing more matches than he wins
in a tournament, he must tender his resignation
immediately.
Kisenosato’s 188-cm, 180-kg frame certainly
embodies a force to be reckoned with. At present, he is the youngest of the current yokozuna
and seemingly at the zenith of his powers. His
courageous fight-back on the final day of the
March tournament in Osaka, when he overcame
injury to defeat gargantuan Mongolian Terunofuji
twice in 30 minutes, captured the hearts of the
nation. The pressure to restore domestic pride
in Japan’s national sport remains tremendous,
but Kisenosato at last looks capable of rising to
the challenge.
The protracted birth of a home-grown grand
champion is the by-product of an unprecedented
period of foreign domination in sumo. Since
the Mongolian wrestler Asashoryu embarked
upon his record-breaking 11 tourney wins out
of 12 in January 2004, only six of the ensuing
79 tournaments have been won by Japanese.
The current grand champion, Hakuho Sho, also
from Mongolia, has captured a jaw-dropping 37
of the championships—a sumo record. Although
subdued by the effects of injury these days, his
speed of thought remains undiminished, and he
will doubtless exhibit breathtaking flashes of skill
as he chases down retired ozeki Kaio’s all-time
record of 1047 career wins.
Hakuho and Kisenosato will be joined on the
top rank by two more Mongolians, Harumafuji
and Kakuryu, each of whom is capable of producing trophy-winning form. Indeed, fans will be
treated to the rare spectacle of four yokozuna
ring-entering ceremonies per day, each of which
sees a grand champion don a magnificent white
copper-cord belt and thunderously stamp his feet
on the dohyo to drive away evil spirits.
There are, of course, several other wrestlers
worthy of attention. Terunofuji, presently on the
second rank, stands 193 centimeters tall, weighs
a massive 190 kilograms, and would likely be a
yokozuna by now were it not for an untimely knee
injury. He has already taken home the coveted
Emperor’s Cup once, and—as the last tournament
indicated—could be unstoppable if the stars align
in his favor. His fellow second-ranker, Goeido,
has also won a tournament championship and
is something of a technical magician. He will be
fighting desperately to retain his rank after withdrawing from the March tournament due to injury.
Anxious to either join him there or replace him will
be Takayasu, Kisenosato’s younger stablemate,
oft-touted as Japan’s next great hope. For sheer
showmanship, however, look no further than Ura,
the smallest wrestler in the top two divisions at
just 173 centimetres and 113 kilograms, renowned
for dazzling his foes with a series of leaps, bounds
and devastating throws.
However, a day at the sumo is about so
much more than just the fighting. It is about
the awesome sight of the kimono-clad wrestlers entering the arena, the sounds of the
claves and the referee’s kabuki-style wailing; and the smells of beer, bento boxes and
bintzuke—the overpowering liniment oil used
to lacquer the wrestlers’ hair. You can find
numerous souvenirs inside the arena, ranging from wrestler-themed key rings and rice
crackers to grand champion handprints and
the woodblock impressions of top sumo artist
Daimon Kinoshita. Intriguing sumo memorabilia can also be witnessed in both the sumo
museum and the resplendent entrance hall
trophy cabinet. You can even sample one of
sumo’s signature chanko nabe stew recipes
for a bargain ¥300 in the Kokugikan basement
between 12pm and 2pm each day.
Food lovers will be pleased to learn that
the area surrounding Ryogoku is awash with
sumo-themed restaurants, many of which
are owned by ex-wrestlers keen to monetize
their trusted chanko recipes. Arguably top of
the pile is Chanko Yoshiba, located a sevenminute walk from the Kokugikan on the opposite side of the picturesque Yasuda Memorial
Garden. Another popular hangout is Chanko
Kirishima, to be found next to the McDonald’s
on Kokugikan Street. It is managed by a former top-division champion named Kirishima
Kazuhiro, who makes a point of greeting each
of his customers on a match day.
Outside the restaurant stands one of
several sumo statues lining the main road,
underneath which several bronze handprints
of sumo greats can
be found. The line of
s tatues terminates
at the T-junction of
Kokugikan Street and
Keio Street, behind
which stands the imposing red gate of the
famous Eko-in. The
grounds of this Buddhist temple also host
the towering Sumo
Stone of Strength,
erec ted in 1936 to
celebrate the survival
of the sumo association in highly adverse
economic and social
conditions.
In short, prepare
your sel ves for an other action-packed
for tnight along the
banks of the Sumida
River.
19
SEIJI
SAVES
JAPAN
A lifesaver's mission to
make sports safer, in and
out of the water
BY SEAN MAY
T
Photos
by Cedric
Diradourian,
suit and t-shirt
by FranCisT_
MOR.K.S.
20
he call came from another beach further
down the Shonan coast, an area 50km
southwest of Tokyo. A boy was lost; one
moment he was playing in the surf and
the next he was gone. Seiji Iinuma scanned the
horizon with his binoculars. He did not have a
good feeling about the outcome.
A recent graduate of Tokai University and
a former member of the school’s lifesaving
team, Iinuma knew the emergency procedures.
Lifesavers at the beach where the boy went
missing would first deploy jet skis and, if he had
not been found, volunteers would then form
a human chain and scour the sea. But he also
knew that the likelihood of survival decreased
with every minute. Information trickled in slowly
throughout the day—boy, around 10, swimming
unsupervised—but the sun soon set and the
search was handed over to the authorities.
Iinuma returned to his post the following
morning. The scene he witnessed still troubles
him now: he saw a solitary figure canvassing the
beach, calling out a name like a mantra, over
and over again. It was the missing boy’s name,
and it was his mother who, without rest or sleep,
wandered up and down the coastline in search
of her missing boy.
“It was a heart-wrenching moment,” Iinuma
says of the event, twenty years later. “Seeing the
frantic search for loved ones is, for me, always
worse than seeing a dead body.”
The incident was the first fatality Iinuma
encountered in his lifesaving career. And what
he learned on that fateful day, he remembered
throughout his career: the suddenness with
which tragedy can strike.
Not long after the incident on the Shonan
beach, Oceanman Series, the world championships of competitive lifesaving, offered Iinuma a
spot on the tour. The year was 1997 and Iinuma
had just scored a graduate job with JTB, the
largest travel agency in Japan. He had spent
his student days volunteering at Shonan and
entering lifesaving competitions, in which he
achieved impressive results, so much so that
despite being a new hire at the travel agency,
he was allowed to take significant time off from
JTB to travel the world on the Oceanman circuit.
Competitive lifesaving is a sport that mimics rescues in that it places the participants in
testing conditions. Lifesavers compete in a race
that combines four aspects of surf lifesaving—
running, swimming, board paddling and ocean
kayaking—on a course that takes them over
thunderous beach breaks.
The Oceanman Series was the first competitive lifesaving event that gathered the best
lifesavers from around the world. Standing with
Iinuma at the starting line at Piha Beach, New
Zealand, on the first leg of the 1997 series, were
the greats of the sport, figures like Trevor Hendy
and Nathan Meyer. One competitor, on a TV
broadcast of the series, called the event “A dream
come true. Like the Olympics of lifesaving.”
Iinuma placed 28th that day, though this was
a feat in itself. The conditions at Piha Beach were
so rough that four competitors needed to be
rescued.
Iinuma was reminded again of the dangers
of the water. The ocean can swallow even the
best lifesavers from countries with proud surf lifesaving cultures like Australia and New Zealand.
However, it was what these colleagues told him
that was the most sobering.
Fellow competitors warned Iinuma of the large
numbers of Japanese tourists needing rescues
by surf life-saving clubs in other countries. They
implored Iinuma to return to Japan and raise
beach safety awareness.
“Beachgoers in countries like Australia seek
out areas where lifesavers patrol the ocean.
It’s ingrained in the culture,” says Iinuma, “but
Japanese people look for uncrowded spots on
the beach. We do not have a culture of following
safety protocols at the beach.”
Iinuma returned from the tour with a new mission. He would be the best educator of ocean
safety in Japan. He sought support from local
governments to spread awareness of the dangers of the sea
to the people of Japan, and
ran classes teaching response
techniques in emergencies.
He even started a surf lifesaving club in Tateyama, Chiba,
where he coached lifesaving
techniques he learned abroad
and enforced discipline on the
local crew.
But an accident involving a
friend in 2011 forced Iinuma to
grapple with the literal meaning of lifesaving—the act of
saving another person’s life.
Naoki Matsuda, a 34-year-old
professional footballer, collapsed one day while training
with his club, Matsumoto Yamaga FC. Matsuda
had had an illustrious career, representing the
Japanese national team 40 times. After a 15-minute warmup, he laid down and told his teammates
that he was tired and, without warning, slipped
out of consciousness. The team physicians speculated that he had suffered from heatstroke, as
Japan was, at that time, in the midst of a heatwave
that had claimed 43 lives in the prior two months.
They immediately began resuscitation efforts,
however, when Matsuda’s heartbeat stopped.
But Matsuda never regained consciousness. He
passed away two days later from complications
related to his cardiac arrest.
What had happened to Matsuda was a tragic
and often overlooked aspect of an athlete’s
life. Sudden deaths happen to roughly one in
200,000 young athletes under the age of 35.
These men and women, at the peak of physical fitness, often succumb to various conditions,
of which heart-related conditions are the most
prominent. But Iinuma believes Matsuda’s
death—and many cases like his—could have
been prevented. If only an automated external
defibrillator (AED) was on hand, Iinuma thinks,
Matsuda would have survived.
AEDs, though, were readily available in Japan
when the accomplished footballer collapsed. In
2004, Prince Takamado, first cousin to Emperor
Akihito and who was dubbed the “Sports Prince”
for his love of sports, collapsed from ventricular
fibrillation while playing squash with the Canadian ambassador in Akasaka, Tokyo. It was
reported that the Prince would have survived had
an AED been available, and the untimely death of
a young and active member of the Imperial Family
shocked the nation.
The death of the Prince prompted lawmakers
to change the rules regarding AEDs, the use of
which was previously restricted to medical personnel. AEDs were approved for public use and
devices were placed in publics spaces across
Japan. Following Matsuda’s death, the Japan
Football Association made it a requirement for
stadiums and training facilities to have AEDs available. Now, Japan boasts over 600,000 AEDs
in public spaces and the numbers per capita is
purported to be one of the highest in the world.
“AEDs can save lives,” says Iinuma. “But it is
also important that people know how to use it.”
Following the sudden death of Matsuda,
Iinuma was once again reminded that danger
always lurks and even top athletes are not
guaranteed safety. Beachgoers are protected
by lifeguards who patrol beaches and ensure
safety. But on the football fields and basketball
courts and anywhere else sport is played, who
will save the athletes?
With this in mind, Iinuma founded Athlete Save
Japan in 2015. Through ASJ, he aims to reduce
the number of sudden deaths in sports, especially by educating the public on the use of AEDs.
Out of 70,000 heart attacks a year, only in 4% of
cases are AEDs used, often due to unfamiliarity
with the device.
“This is not an uncommon thing to happen to
athletes,” Iinuma says, “Take the Tokyo Marathon
for example. Out of the 11 times the marathon
has been held, eight people have collapsed from
cardiac arrests. Or the recent Nagoya Women’s—
three runners’ hearts stopped.”
“But people enjoy sports at different levels,
from top athletes to hobbyists to kids. And for
people to safely enjoy sports, everyone involved—coaches, guardians and the athletes
themselves—must know basic safety measures.”
ASJ operates on two fronts. First, the organisation hold classes, much like when Iinuma
worked to spread awareness for ocean safety,
called Inochi no Kyoushitsu (classroom of life), to
coach safety response.
Another way ASJ promotes safety in sports
is through influence. Iinuma recognizes the role
athletes play in influencing youths. As lifesavers like Hendy and Meyer influenced Iinuma in his youth,
so too can top athletes be
role models for children.
ASJ ambassadors include
well-known Japanese
athletes such as footballer
Shinji Ono, marathon runner
Ari Ichibashi, and swimmer
Kyoko Iwasaki.
Among his many other
activities, including promoting
outdoor activities in Kyushu,
Iinuma has found his latest
mission through ASJ.
“I want to eliminate sudden
deaths in athletes in Japan
leading to the Tokyo 2020
Olympics.” 21
Camp Out, Fest Out
BY LUCY DAYMAN
As we roll out of the darkness of winter through the sakura-mad spring season, it’s time to get
outside and celebrate. There’s no better way to enjoy Japan’s warmer months than by taking
advantage of the country’s incredible season of music festivals. In Japan the music festival circuit
is as diverse as the people that attend. Whether it’s big-name rock icons or obscure electronic
musicians, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best outdoor music events for 2017’s spring/
summer months.
EDC JAPAN
April 29th–30th
Electric Daisy Carnival is one of the biggest
dance music celebrations in the world. Originating in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has now become a
global phenomenon. In April the arrival of EDC in
Chiba (a short trip from central Tokyo) unofficially
marks the beginning of Japan’s music festival
season.
For the 2017 leg of the tour, festival organizers have gone all-out, booking the biggest international names in electronic music, including
headliners Fatboy Slim, Zedd Afrojack, Armin
Van Buuren and Martin Garrix alongside local
heroes A.Mochi, Banvox and Licaxxx. For lovers of dance, EDM, techno and everything in
between, EDC is the perfect kickoff for your 2017
summer festival assault.
japan.electricdaisycarnival.com/en
RAINBOW DISCO CLUB
May 3rd–5th
Rapidly garnering a reputation for being one of
the country’s best and most underrated festivals, Rainbow Disco Club will be celebrating its
seventh year this spring.
Located in the scenic Izu Peninsula, the
three-day camping and arts event is the perfect
low-key antidote to the country’s mega-dance
music events that engulf the country during the
warmer months.
With one of the most well-curated lineups on
the festival calendar, 2017 sees contemporary
house, disco and dance legends Floating Points,
Hessle Audio (Ben UFO, Pangaea and Pearson
Sound) share stages with Japan’s finest: Keita
Sano, DJ Nobu and Akiko Kiyama.
www.rainbowdiscoclub.com
JAPAN JAM
May 4th–6th
Held over three days at Chiba City’s Sports Park,
Japan Jam is a take-no-prisoners rock celebration. While electronic music events have begun
to swell in popularity, it’s fair to say that Japan
still unashamedly loves rock and roll.
A strictly day-only affair, festival-goers are
recommended to book their Chiba accommodation early unless they don’t mind having to
make the daily 40-minute commute from Tokyo
Station to the festival site.
This year sees local guitar-wielding heroes
22
Crossfaith, The Oral Cigarettes and Acidman
headline the 2017 event.
japanjam.jp
RE: BIRTH FESTIVAL
May 12th–14th
Now in its fourth year, RE: Birth festival was born
from the need to rebuild and come together to
help stimulate Japan’s party scene following the
devastating 2011 earthquake.
As of last year, the festival has made its home
at an abandoned quarry on the scenic Nokogiri
Mountain in Chiba, Japan. With an emphasis on
underground music, RE: Birth showcases house,
dance, bass, techno and psytrance as well as
live bands. RE: Birth is a fully inclusive affair: The
festival creators have worked hard to create a
diverse environment, bringing together people
from different backgrounds. The common goal
is to get lost in music and art.
www.rebirth-fes.com
festival organizers would kill for. This year is potentially the biggest yet, with the bill featuring
Battles, Lil’ Simz, Moodymann, KOHH and Motor
City Drum Ensemble.
taicoclub.com/17
GREENROOM FESTIVAL
ITADAKI
May 20th–21st May
Hosted in Yokohama, Tokyo’s seaside sister
city, Greenroom Festival is a celebration of surf
culture and bayside lifestyle through world-class
music, art and film.
Taking over the Red Brick Warehouse in
Yokohama’s scenic Minato Mirai district, 2017
sees roots and rock heroes Jake Bugg, Izzy Bizu,
Michael Franti, and SOJA headline the two-day
event.
As well as a live music stage, Greenroom also
hosts a mini film festival, screening some of the
best contemporary and retro surf films. You can
purchase a one- or two-day pass, which will give
you access to everything the festival has to offer.
greenroom.jp
June 3rd—4th
If the big-name, international-headlined events
are not your style and you’re on the hunt for
something a little more domestic, Shizouka’s
Itadaki Festival is the way to go.
Hosted in Yoshida Park along the stunning
Suruga Bay coast, Itadaki is a family-friendly,
chilled-out two-day camping event that feels
equal parts beach holiday and music festival.
Attracting some of Japan’s most interesting
up-and-coming names, it’s a great opportunity
to enjoy the sweltering Japanese heat while
discovering your new favorite local band.
www.itadaki-bbb.com/2017/story
TAICO CLUB
May 27th– 28th
Rolling through two days, Taico Club boasts
one of the most diverse but accessible lineups
Japan’s 2017 festival season has to offer.
Situated at camping haven Kodama No Mori
in Nagano, Taico Club is without a doubt a mustvisit for those who love festivals, but can’t stand
the one-day super-jammed festival crush.
Now in its 12th year, the event has managed
to keep a relatively low profile, resulting in an
organic evolution and fan base swell that other
FUJI ROCK
July 28th—30th
A pilgrimage to Fuji Rock, the most internationally-recognized name on Japan’s festival circuit, is
a rite of passage for pretty much every live music
fan. It feels right to wrap up this list with Fuji.
Located at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata, Fuji Rock is the pinnacle of big-name,
mainstream rock music festivals. For its 2017
incarnation, the festival behemoth features
the unbelievable bill of Gorillaz, Queens of the
Stone Age, The xx, Aphex Twin, LCD Soundsystem, Bjork and Lorde—just to name a few.
fujirock-eng.com
Clockwise from top:
Taico Club, Taico Club,
Akiko Kiyama, Floating
Points, DJ Nobu,
Green Room Festival,
Taico Club
23
TRAVEL
POCKETFUL OF SUNSHINE
A paradise awaits on the island of Ishigaki
BY TREVOR CAMPBELL
W
ith summer fast approaching, your
mind may already be on spending
long, lazy days on the beach. Tokyoites have a few local options to
choose from, but if your heart’s set on going
further afield–maybe Singapore, Thailand
or Taiwan–remember that you don’t have
to exchange your yen for a taste of tropical
paradise. Fly only a few hours south of Tokyo
and you can find yourself in one of Japan’s
hidden wonders: the Okinawan island of
Ishigaki.
For those unfamiliar, Okinawa Prefecture
is the southernmost point of Japan. There
24
are three main archipelagos: the Okinawan
Islands, the Miyako Islands and, lastly, the
Yaeyama Islands, the southernmost chain
and where Ishigaki is located.
Being the furthest afield from mainland Japan, the remote Yaeyama Islands feel a world
away from northern hotspots like Naha and
Okinawa City. Leaving New Ishigaki Airport—a
3-hour flight from Tokyo and a mere 40 minutes
from Taiwan—you’ll be struck by how close to
nature you are, a feeling that will stay with you
throughout your time on the island. No matter
where you go, you’re never more than a short
trip from lush wildlife or turquoise seas.
Several bus routes help users traverse the
island on the cheap. If you plan on staying
for a while, you may want to pick up a 5-day
pass valid on all bus routes for only ¥2,000.
While bus routes are limited, if you’re without a
driver’s license (or would rather not spring for a
rental vehicle) they’re a great way to get around
the island. But depending on your route, the
last bus comes well before midnight—sometimes at around 6 or 7 p.m.—so make sure to
check the schedule of the line you’re planning
to take. Once the buses have gone to bed,
you’ll need to shell out for a taxi—but these
carry a lower flat rate than Tokyo (¥390 per
kilometer) and, depending on your distance,
are fairly affordable. My drivers were also much
more interested in making small talk than are
drivers in bigger cities.
Whatever mode of transportation you
choose, most routes lead to or from Ishigaki
City. With a population of less than 50,000, it’s
definitely on the small side, but with a good mix
of things to do and see. Some favorite options
include Vanilla Deli’s deliciously rich burgers
and Banana Cafe’s floral cocktails with locally
brewed Awamori. If you’re looking for something a little more, er, “international,” American
fast food chain A&W makes an appearance.
If you eat meat, make sure to try a proper
meal of island beef. While wagyu (premium
Japanese beef) is famous throughout Japan,
particular fans of Ishigaki’s output credit its
lower melting point for giving its wagyu its
tenderness and superior flavor. While many of
these restaurants can be found in Ishigaki City,
their offerings don’t come cheap. Nice cuts cost
well past the ¥5,000 mark and continue into
the stratosphere. If you’re able to foot the bill,
its melt-in-your-mouth taste is said to be more
than worth it.
Much cheaper but still delicious are two of
Ishigaki’s major culinary exports: the aforementioned sweet potatoes and dark Okinawan
sugar cane. Both of these goodies show up in
an endless variety of incarnations: cakes, jams,
candies, and the like. It’s all delicious, reasonably priced and, for the most part, immaculately
packaged. As a bonus, these souvenirs for the
foodie on your list tend to be much cheaper than
similarly-styled products elsewhere in Japan.
Despite being decidedly less busy than Okinawa Island, Ishigaki still has plenty of places
for visitors to stay. Many are concentrated in
Ishigaki City, the quasi-urban hub of the island,
but a variety of private resorts are strung along
the coast. These accommodations are single
buildings or village-type estates, catering to a
mix of budgets and featuring different amenities—such as the fantastically named Beach
Hotel Sunshine’s private seaview onsen.
I spent a few days at Fusaki Village Resort,
at the south end of Nagura Bay on the Island’s
west side. As its name suggests, these accommodations are spread out to form a little town
populated with semi-detached and private
red-tiled villas, as well as newer apartment-like
structures. There’re also a smattering of gift
shops, bars and restaurants (featuring primarily
Japanese food but with some more “Western”
offerings). At the centre of the complex is a
large hall serving buffet meals throughout the
day, and its town hall-vibe makes breakfast feel
more like a little community gathering than a
private mealtime. Menus include a good selection of foods (with fresh fruit and vegetarian
options), as well as the requisite Okinawan
speciality: beniimo, or purple sweet potato.
Many hotels along the coast offer bicycle
rentals at reasonable prices (at Fusaki they
come at ¥1080/day), which allow you to explore
the local environs while getting some exercise.
Things can get pretty hilly heading inland, but
even while sticking to the coastline you can tick
plenty of great spots off your list: Tojinbaka, a
Chinese-style tomb, and its nearby sugar cane
shop; Nei Museum of Art, a small gallery with
brightly-coloured island scenes hand-painted
on silk; and Fuzaki Kannon Do Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto goddess of mercy.
From Fusaki Resort, I was also a short
pedal away from Miru Miru Hompo, a recently
expanded gelato shop and restaurant that offers sweet ice creams and milk jams, as well
as basic lunch options like taco rice and beef
bowls for around ¥500 each. Enjoy your snack
on their patio for a great view of the coast
The best of Ishigaki is in the wild. While it’s
possible to visit some of these spots by bus,
your best bet is to rent a car. If you can navigate
Japanese car rental websites (thanks, Google
Translate!), you can easily find a 4-seat vehicle
25
with gas for the day for less than ¥4,000. Otherwise, the English-friendly rental sites tend to
charge a couple thousand more.
Zipping along the winding, picturesque
roads of Ishigaki is a lot of fun, and in a single
day you can see many of the sites that have
made the island famous. High on your list
should be Kabira Bay, a stunning beach inlet
with scads of glass-bottom boats that bring
you only inches from clown fish and blowfish
in thick masses of coral. Priced at roughly
¥1,000, a typical tour lasts about 30 minutes
and comes narrated in Japanese or English, if
you’re lucky enough to have a bilingual driver.
You’ll also get a free ticket to try Blue Seal
ice cream, a famous Okinawan treat originally
developed for American G.I.’s stationed in
Okinawa Prefecture.
For a prime vantage point of the island,
you’ll want to head up—but not too far. The
highest mountain in Okinawa Prefecture is
Mt. Omoto, but you’ll get the best view of
Ishigaki from the slightly-shorter Mt. Nosoko.
It’s a steep and off-road climb that will have
you battling through dangling branches and
your fair share of mud on rainy days, but it’s
absolutely worth it. The views of the island are
unparalleled and offer a whole new perspective of the island.
On the northeast corner of the island,
Uganzaki Cape demands a visit not only for its
lighthouse, but the breathtaking natural rock
26
outcropping that extends beyond it. Those
without a fear of heights should head out to the
end of the peninsula, where they’ll find a tiny
shrine and, after scaling the rock face beyond
it, a breathtaking view of the coast. It’s stunning
in any weather and one of the most memorable
sights on the island.
While it might be tempting to give yourself a
strict schedule to make sure you can fit everything in, make sure you leave time to improvise.
On my visit, a friendly couple who had recently
moved from the mainland recommended a hidden field with wild horses at play. Even though
we weren’t able to track it down, we did find a
hidden beach complete with shipwreck.
Ishigaki has more than enough on offer to
keep you entertained for your whole vacation. But since you’re in
the Yaeyama Islands, why
not visit some of the neighbours? Nearby Taketomi
Island is only 15 minutes by
ferry (¥580 each way) and
is a true time capsule of
old homes (some of which
are partly constructed using pieces of coral), sandy
laneway s, and wagons
pulled by water buffalo. A
free shuttle from its tiny
ferr y terminal connec ts
you with cheap rental bikes
that make exploring the island a breeze. You
can see and do it all in an afternoon, including
a lunch of Taketomi’s famous Yaeyama soba,
some mountainous milk and brown sugar
kakigori and exclusive petting privileges of
the island’s many stray cats.
It takes longer and costs a bit more, but
from Ishigaki you also have the option of
heading to Iriomote Island: the second-largest island in all of Okinawa Prefecture and an
ideal spot for kayaking, climbing waterfalls
and exploring mangroves.
So the next time you’re looking to get a
world away, don’t go too far. Ishigaki Island
offers a culture that is distinctly Japanese
but, like so many spots in Japan, uniquely
distinct.
Opening May 2017!!
STARTING
A BUSINESS
IN TOKYO?
AL
SERVICL
E
FREE S
Tokyo One-Stop Business Establishment Center
Seminar for Foreign Nationals!
For those interested in starting a business in Japan, this seminar
will introduce the attractiveness of business in Tokyo and the
support the Tokyo Metropolitan Government can provide.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike
will also attend.
MAY 18, 2017
3PM—5:10PM | DOORS OPEN 2:30PM
Location: Ark Hills Cafe
Next to the ARK Mori Building, 1-3-40 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Oakwood Apartments Azabudai
Studios & One Bedrooms with study
Brand New Fully Serviced Apartments
1 min. walk to Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park
5 min. walk to the Tokyo American Club
10 min. walk to Kamiyacho St. (Hibiya)/Akabanebashi St. (Oedo)
1 Stop (15 min. walk) away from Roppongi and Azabujyuban
2:30
3:00
3:10
4:10
5:10
PM
OPENING AND REGISTRATION
PM
REMARKS BY TOKYO GOVERNOR YURIKO KOIKE
PM
PM
PM
ENTREPENEUR STORIES, 3 PEOPLE X 20 MINUTES
MEETINGS WITH EXPERIENCED ENTREPENEURS,
TOKYO ONE STOP CENTER CONSULTATIONS
CONCLUSION
*Attendees can choose between either the meetings with experienced entrepeneurs
or consultations with Tokyo One Stop Center staff at the time of registration.
HOW TO APPLY
Register online.
Tokyo One-Stop Business Establishment Center
Email: [email protected]
www.tosbec.com/seminar0518/english
27
TRAVEL
BRIDGE TO
NAGASAKI
A melting pot of East meets West
BY ELLIS KIM
T
he city of Nagasaki, meaning “long cape,”
derives its name from the headland that
juts out into the sea. It was Nagasaki’s
proximity to the sea that made the city an
important port center throughout the history of
Japan. During the 1550s, many Portuguese ships
began to arrive in Nagasaki along with missionaries looking to spread Christianity to Japan. But,
in the late 1590s, many Japanese leaders feared
being conquered by Western nations and ousted
the missionaries. There were arrests and killings,
and many churches were destroyed. Eventually,
Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world.
No one from Japan was allowed to leave the
country and international trade was restricted to
a single port, in Nagasaki. Consequently, Nagasaki became the bridge between Japan and the
West for a little over two centuries.
It’s not surprising, then, that the influences
of the Portuguese and the Dutch still remain
in Nagasaki. Nestled between the slightly
shabby-looking Japanese houses, there may
be a church. Or turn any corner, especially near
an attraction, and there will be at least two or
three castella shops. Castella is a specialty of
Nagasaki and originates from the Portuguese
sponge cake known as Pão de Castela, which
means “bread from Castile.” Besides churches
and sponge cakes, there are two attractions
that are prime examples of the long-lasting
Western influence on Nagasaki. The first is
Glover Garden, a park dedicated to Thomas
Blake Glover. Glover was a Scottish merchant
who made great strides in business and also
aided Japan’s industrialization. Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and Kirin Brewery Company
28
Clockwise from
top: Huis Ten
Bosch entrance,
Huis Ten Bosch
street, Megane
Bridge, Glover
Garden
actually come from business deals he made.
One of the park’s key features is the home he
built in Nagasaki; it is the first Western-styled
building in Japan.
The moment you step past the Glover Garden sign, surrounded by green leaves, the tall
shrubs act like walls, making you forget about
the outside world and enveloping you in a secret garden-like space. On a warm day, the sun
happily shines down on the flowers that dance
along with the soft breeze. The first stop on the
path will be the large koi pond. The house acts
as a museum and explains what Nagasaki was
like back then. The balcony on the second floor
is a great place to truly take in the view of the
pond and the cityscape. The path through the
park is a delight with all the different kinds of
flora along the way, and there are quite a few
places to sit and soak in your surroundings.
The second attraction is Huis Ten Bosch,
which is Dutch for “House in the Woods.”
Just like Glover Garden, the theme park
transports you to a new place—in this case,
a new country. The park is modeled like a
Dutch town that you can explore by visiting
its variety of restaurants, bakeries, souvenir
shops and attractions. The best part of the
park is really the moment you enter: fields of
bright pink, yellow and red tulips welcome
you. The breathtaking view is heightened by
the windmills spinning amongst them. There
is also a castle further within the park with
even more flowers you can enjoy.
In addition to Glover Garden and Huis
Ten Bosch, exploring other parts of the city
will give you a more complete idea of Nagasaki. The Megane Bridge area is a good
representation of Nagasaki’s architecture
and ambience. Nagasaki offers an incredible
and unique history which certainly makes it
worth a visit.
SPONSORED
SAVORING
TASTE IN FINE
JAPANESE SAKE
J
apanese sake, or nihonshu, has become a global success, and it
is even present in supermarkets abroad. Yet there is much lost
in translation, with most people having to gamble on whether to
serve a given sake hot or cold, never mind navigating the range of
seasonal washoki tableware of cups and jugs that accompany the drinking
culture. But in the same way that the enjoyment of wine is about navigating
regional vineyards and finding out
which varieties match an occasion or
meal, so too is the world of nihonshu.
Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of nihonshu
is that, in contrast to red or white
wine, it is traditionally almost always drunk fresh within a year of
bottling, even as vintage nihonshu
is on the rise. That element of immediacy is key, and there are few
pleasures as great in the sake world
as visiting a region and sampling
the freshest local sake, and better
yet to actually visit a brewery.
You don’t have to go far either, with many brewers within easy reach
of the Tokyo metropolis. One of the most prestigious is the Iinuma Honke
Brewery, which has been at the forefront of the sake world for over 300
years. Their signature Kinoene brand is a culmination not just of their own
history and the brewers who have been making nihonshu since antiquity,
but also of the surrounding fields and farms where much of the fine grain
rice used in their wine’s production is cultivated.
A brewery tour takes you through Meiji Era traditional brewing methods to the high tech present, and you can even participate in the brewing
process. A tasting is on offer for those wanting to learn the quality of
junmai-shu, a pure rice sake, and for the connoisseur daiginjo sake,
made from highly refined rice, is a pleasure to savor.
You will leave the tour ready to navigate your own way and from there
it is up to you where you take your tastes. With many in Japan finding
fruity nihonshu a perfect match for Mediterranean cuisine, and the
bolder varieties a hit with meat dishes, there is a whole new emerging
gastronomic movement that you can play your part in.
Reservation: [email protected]
www.iinumahonke.co.jp
29
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
TRAVEL
RUN
WITH IT
Spring is the time for new plans and projects, and
what better way to spend that new zest for life
on getting out and traveling? A journey can take
you as far as your backyard or as near as across
the country—or world. Get started with our travel
special and remember: as famous author Henry
Miller said, “One’s destination is never a place, but
a new way of seeing things.”
SPECIAL OFFERS
• Mention Metropolis at the front desk and receive
free admission to Hakuba Shionomachi Onsen.
24196-24, Kamishiro Hakuba-mura,
Kita Azumi-gun, Nagano-ken
0261-75-4000
[email protected]
http://gvhakuba.com/
GREEN VALLEY
HAKUBA
Internationally renowned as a snow sports destination, Hakuba is a premier
destination for those who want to experience Japan’s famous powder snow.
But less known is the breathtaking beauty of the Japanese Alps in the summer
Nagano
season. Picture this: a holiday cottage, surrounded by beautiful summer weather
among the idyllic natural surroundings of Hakuba, where you can enjoy an abundance of activities such as
rafting, hot air ballooning, and even paragliding. Green Valley Hakuba can make this a reality, with private
cottages available to rent, allowing you to relax until your heart’s content this summer. Green Valley has
numerous cottage-type options and can even accommodate parties as large as twenty. Each cottage has a
BBQ space (rental equipment available), perfect for backyard gatherings with friends. Come and enjoy the
beautiful natural surrounding of Hakuba, and make this a summer to remember!
PRICES
• Admission: ¥500; 1 ticket (6 min), ¥1,980 (over 15
years old ); 3 tickets, ¥5,200; 5 tickets, ¥7,800; 8
tickets, ¥10,500
• 1 child ticket (6 min), ¥1,480 (children must be in at
least elementary school and over 118cm tall)
• Group Race package (over 15 years old, five or
more people): Mini Grand Prix ¥4,200 per person;
Sprint Grand Prix ¥5,500 per person
SPECIAL OFFER
• Mention Metropolis and get free admission!
2F Harbor Circuit, Chiba Sports Plaza, 13-26
Dezuminato, Chuo-ku, Chiba
043-441-3243
Open Mon-Fri, 2-11:30pm, Sat & hols
10am-11:30pm, Sun 10am-9:30pm
Chiba or Chiba-Minato
[email protected]
www.harbor-circuit.com
30
HARBOR
CIRCUIT
No driver's license? No problem. You can still experience the thrill of the road at
Harbor Circuit in Chiba, where you can battle it out in go-karts with friends and
family! First time in a go-kart? There’s no need to worry as full safety guidelines
Chiba
are explained before each heat. Group Races let you burn some rubber while
competing in groups of five or more. There’s also the simpler Mini GP option, and even a final 35-lap
race—with five different plans to choose from. And if you’re looking to hone your skills, prove yourself
against a real-time ranking system. No matter how crowded it gets, everyone is guaranteed four rides;
and afterward, you can still be part of the race-day atmosphere by relaxing around the circuit with
snacks. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be screaming for more!
MORE SPECIALS ONLINE →
SPECIAL OFFERS
• Go for Free! Check the Experience+ website for
details.
TABICA
Experience+ is a place for families, friends and travelers to find unique
experiences in Japan. Whether it’s a day trip to a new region or a closer
look at a cultural hotspot nearby, each activity is made to enhance your
knowledge of life in Japan with a local expert as your guide. Join Experience+ this summer for a hike
to a hilltop temple and meditation by the morning sun, or learn to cook your favorite Japanese dishes
with a restaurant chef by your side. You can barbecue a farm-to-table feast with your friends, learn a
traditional Japanese craft or check the hidden spots of a city you may have never seen before. With new
experiences to try every season, you’ll always find something unforgettably unique to do in Japan. Want
to know more? Contact Experience+ for details on how to get your experience for FREE.
Nagatacho
Nagatacho GRID, 2-5-3 Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku
03-6869-0747
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm
Nagatacho
[email protected]
https://exp.wow-j.com/
JAPAN RURAL TOURS
TOUR
• The Rural Japan Tour
• Black Mountain Three Waterfalls Tour
• North Sickle Lake Tour
• Paragliding Nagatoro Temple And Rafting Tour
• Mountains and the ancient Korean Temple and
Shrine Tour
090 9829 3058
japanruraltours
[email protected]
japanruraltours.com
JAPAN RURAL
TOURS
Picture yourself seated on top of a thickly-forested mountain, looking from high
above onto the tiny thatched houses of the villages below, and catching sight
of people flying like birds, down to the little thatched cottages and catching the
Saitama
wind to drift them up to the top of the mountains again. Picture yourself relaxing
in the grounds of ancient temples and shrines. Enjoying the sounds of the gurgling streams, the gush of
the waterfalls. Picture yourself just sitting back, relaxing, taking a deep breath and seeing how wonderful
Japan is for ¥8,000 a day. This is the Japan you will always have in your heart. It will stay with you forever.
It will be a lifelong experience you will never forget. Only 46 minutes from Ikebukuro on the Tobu Tojo Line,
pickup from Sakado Station available every day.
SPECIAL OFFERS
• Original gifts for Metropolis readers (One per person)
Seaside Mall 4F., Decks Tokyo Beach, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku.
03-3599-5191
11am-9pm
Odaiba Kaihinkouen
[email protected]/
www.trickart.info
TRICK ART
MUSEUM
Come and revel in the excitement of old-timey Japan at the Tokyo Trick Art
Museum! Just like jumping into a time machine, this museum transports
you straight back to the time of samurais and ninjas with vivid recreations
Odaiba Kaihinkouen
of scenes from the Edo Period. 3D artworks place you right into the scene
with clever trick art that plays with your perception of space. Exciting scenes such as a ninja house and
depictions of traditional Japanese festivals are highlights. Its the perfect place for kids and adults alike,
just don’t forget your camera, though, because the Tokyo Trick Art Museum is an experience you won’t
want to forget! ¥1,000 adult/¥600 child.
31
SPONSORED
EXECUTIVE FIGHT NIGHT VII
"LUCKY 7"
Tokyo’s executives raise their fists
for an important cause
BY EILEEN IWAMOTO
S
ince 2012, Executive Fight Night has been teaching Tokyo and the hospital.”
a whole new meaning of the phrase “fight for a cause.” This
On April 15, the children central to the event’s cause and the
May, the celebrated event returns to the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, executives participating met face-to-face in a moving event dubbed
bringing its upscale, Vegas-themed energy. Dubbed “Lucky 7,” “Fighters Meet Fighters.” For the fighters in the ring, it was important
the evening features 16 Tokyo executives squaring off against one to meet the fighters outside the ring, so that they could personally
another, as a way to test themselves, but more importantly, to raise connect with the children and families for whom they are making a
money for a great cause and organization.
difference.
EFN is the brainchild of Eddie Nixon, Dave Thomas and Nathan
“It was an opportunity to establish a connection and a relationSchmid. Originally conceived as a way to give Tokyo’s executives ship with them and to offer each other a little more courage, though
some much-needed stress relief, as well as to raise money for a their fights are so much more significant because it is truly a matter
good cause, the event quickly ballooned in popularity and has raised of either life and death,” said Valentino Sebic, Head of Banking &
hundreds of thousands of dollars for different charities.
Financial Services at Apex K.K., who will be in the ring at EFN 7.
“We started Executive Fight Night to provide stressed-out Tokyo
“We are so incredibly fortunate to even be in a position to contribexecutives an avenue to get fit and test themselves—and to provide ute to this charity, because many of the children we are helping will
great entertainment,” explained Thomas. “But we also wanted to give never live to be old enough for that same privilege ... How ironic is it
back to the community and tap into the generous spirit of Tokyoites, then that, despite their short lives and immeasurable suffering, they
so the money that’s been raised gives us enormous satisfaction.”
did in fact give something to us, too. They gave us a priceless, reWhile past EFNs have supported charities such as Run for the Cure, calibrated perspective on how fortunate we are, and how we can also
which aims to raise breast canface life with more courage like
cer awareness, and Refugees
these little warriors.”
International Japan, an NPO
For the adult fighters, it was
that assists refugees displaced
the missing piece on their road
by war and conflict around the
to EFN, and for the kid fighters,
world, the money raised since
they see strong and dedicated
2014 has gone to Shine On!
strangers supporting their jourKids. Specifically, proceeds go
ney. The kids and their parents
to Shine On! Kids’ Facility Dog
were then able to spar with the
Program, which brings therapy
the fighters and participate in
dogs into children's cancer
other fun activities before they
wards.
and their families wished them
“A specially trained dog is
good luck.
paired with a dedicated nurse
It should be noted, however,
and handler, who together
that those who might picture
form a medical team that helps
some executives playing dressto improve treatment outcomes
up and half-heartedly shadow
John Trollope takes his licks at the "Fighters Meet Fighters" event held on April 15th.
and children’s approach to
boxing each other couldn’t be
medical treatment and therafurther from the truth. Fighters
py,” explained Joy Fajardo, Event Director for EFN, who spent 3 years have to try out, and only those in top physical shape make the final cut
as Marketing Manager at SOK. (Fun fact about Fajardo: she fought in, of 16. They then go on to a rigorous 12-week training camp at Tokyo’s
and won, the very first EFN bout in 2012.) “The team has an impact Club 360, run by professional coaches, including former pro fighters
not only on the child and their family, but also on the medical team Jan Kaszuba and Brian McGrath.
32
MEET THE
FIGHTERS
Maiko Itami, Japan
AGE: 42 WEIGHT: 46kg
HEIGHT: 155cm REACH: 150cm
Marketing Director ,
EF Education First
John Trollope,
USA / Philippines
AGE: 40 WEIGHT: 104.2kg
HEIGHT: 195cm REACH: 199.5cm
Country Project Manager, IKEA
“ It is cer tainly
not for the fainth e a r t e d ,” N i x o n
said. “You hit and
get hit hard. Blood
is spilled. You train
ver y early in the
morning or late
into the night while
juggling your job,
f amil y and ot her
commitments.” The
Toko Komatsu (top) and Dollar Abshir Omar (above) hone
16 fighters must at- their skills at intense training ssessions at Club 360.
tend a minimum of
24 training sessions.
“I'm a lifelong competitive athlete and so, although I'm used to regularly training hard, being uncomfortable, being injured and testing myself,
training for boxing is a whole other level,” said Sebic. “I quickly realized
nothing can prepare you for the mental and physical onslaught that
fighting requires … it's literally all of your senses and all of your faculties
required 100 percent the time … EFN is the real deal, and you either
sink or swim.”
“Add our full-time professional and other family and life-related commitments, training before or after a hard day at work, and I think you
have a very special and worthy kind of fighter in an EFN competitor. The
unexpected for me was the realization of how there is always two battles
going on when you fight; one is the battle with yourself, and the other
battle is with your opponent.”
If you’d like to get involved with such an outstanding cause, without
subjecting yourself to 12 weeks of rigorous training and a good pummeling, there are multiple options available to you. Those wishing to attend
can purchase tickets at varying levels. Businesses and private groups
can purchase ringside tables that come with sponsorship opportunities,
while single tickets are available for individuals. For those unable to
attend, you can “pledge a fighter” or purchase tickets to be entered in
the night’s raffle. Top prize comes from sponsor BrewDog, and entitles
the winner to a year of free beer!
Shigenobu Hashimoto,
Japan
AGE: 44 WEIGHT:95 kg
HEIGHT: 172cm REACH: 168 cm
Representative Partner,
Hashland LLC
Katsuaki Hamasaki,
Japan
AGE: 29 WEIGHT: 81.3kg
HEIGHT: 184cm REACH: 182cm
Company: TANK
David Villagomez,
Ecuador
AGE: 39 WEIGHT: 74kg
HEIGHT: 177cm
Deputy Chief of Mission &
Consul, Embassy of Ecuador
in Japan
Ichiro Hirooka, Japan
AGE: 49 WEIGHT: 67kg
HEIGHT: 174cm REACH: 171.5cm
Director, Mitsubishi UFJ
Toko Komatsu, Japan /
USA
AGE: 36 WEIGHT: 49kg
HEIGHT: 159.5cm REACH: 153cm
Customer Service, Interactive
Brokers
Blaise Deal, USA
AGE: 27 WEIGHT: 99.6kg
HEIGHT: 185cm REACH: 192cm
Trader, Evolution Japan Asset
Management
Jun Takahori, Japan
AGE: 32 WEIGHT: 69kg
HEIGHT: 175cm REACH: 171cm
VP, Foreign security firm
Valentino Maximus
Sebic, Canada
AGE: 51 WEIGHT: 89.7kg
HEIGHT: 179cm REACH: 187.5cm
Head of Banking & Financial
Services, Apex KK
Toshi Suzuki, Japan
AGE: 34 WEIGHT: 75kg
HEIGHT: 171cm
British Embassy Tokyo
Dollar Abshir Omar,
Sweden / Somalia
AGE: 32 WEIGHT: 93kg
HEIGHT: 183cm REACH: 187.5cm
Associate Consultant, Robert
Walters
Andrea Ferrero, Italian
Patrick McGonagle,
Germany / Ireland
AGE: 30 WEIGHT: 100.2kg
HEIGHT: 185cm REACH: 182 cm
CEO,IG Securities
Chad Lafferty, USA
AGE: 38 WEIGHT: 64kg
HEIGHT: 170cm REACH: 170cm
Senior manager, Wahl & Case
WEIGHT: 85.5 kg
REACH: 182cm
Head Chef, Shangrila Hotel
Aaron Glenn McCain,
USA / Belize
AGE: 37 WEIGHT: 73kg
HEIGHT: 165cm REACH: 167cm
Asscociate Director, Cushman
& Wakefield
33
34
SPONSORED
NOW
OPEN
PIA
HAIR
SALON
West Coast chillin’ in the heart of Tokyo
A
n established brand since 1991 with multiple locations in
California and Guam, Pia Hair Salon opened its new location
in Shibuya in April. The people behind Pia Salon have spent
decades outside, and wanted to recreate comfortable spaces
they found abroad in Japan.
Pia’s concept is “Tools to connect with people,” and the salon aims to
provide a place where people from all over the world can gather to meet
others, relax, and have a good time. The staff welcome guests to come
grab a coffee and chill, even if they aren’t clients.
The idea behind Pia Salon is to be a comfortable hang-out location
where people can meet up with friends or make conversation with the
friendly stylists. With its easygoing, bilingual staff and selection of English
magazines and movies on three TVs, it is ideal for Japanese visitors and
foreigners looking for a casual, relaxed place.
The salon is located on a rare quiet street in Shibuya, not far from the
bustle of the station. The interior of the salon is wide and spacious, finished
in warm wood, with a row of counter seats lining a wall of windows. In this
the decor is reminiscent of a café setup, and the resemblance extends
further, with Pia Hair Salon offering USB charging ports and free wi-fi. In
addition, free spaces around the walls are for clients to put their own mark
on the space with chalk drawings and paintings.
The stylists emphasize not rushing their clients, taking the time to give
them the exact type of haircut or style they want. Manager and stylist
Koichi Nihei jokes that he likes it when customers fall asleep during the
session, because it shows they are very comfortable.
When a Metropolis writer went to Pia Hair Salon recently after its opening, she was served cups of hot coffee and given a lengthy consultation
on getting highlights with the manager of the salon. During the lengthy
styling session, it was evident the stylist was taking the most care in
mixing and selecting the best colors and arranging the foils to plan the
best possible look, and the writer emerged with completely reimagined,
richly streaked new hair.
Pia Hair Salon is especially strong in hair coloring, and notes that one
of its most popular styles is the French coloring method “Balayage color,”
a freehand coloring technique which mimics an ombre effect with vivid
colors. In addition, Pia Hair Salon offers haircuts and full color, perms and
Japanese straightening options for both men and women.
The laid-back vibe of Pia Hair Salon makes it stand out among
the hundreds of beauty
salons in Tokyo.
Yushin Bldg. 1F, 3-27-11
Shibuya, Shibuya-ku.
Shibuya. 03-3409-1225.
Mon–Sat 11am–8pm,
Sun 11am–6pm. Closed
Tues. piahairsalon.tokyo
Nails | Facials |
Special
Eyelash Extensions | Spray Tanning | Waxing | Massage
Shellac Pedicure for ¥5,600
Valid until the end of May; Conditions apply
Elana Jade
NS Azabu Juban Building 4F
3-6-2 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku
Nearest Station: Azabujuban
Tel: 03-6453-9319
[email protected]
www.elanajade.com
Restaurant
Dalian
Edoya wine
& Restaurant
McDonalds
Amanoya
Tully’s
35
COMMUNITY
GIVE AND TAKE:
CORPORATIONS
AND CHARITIES
Pairing for mutual benefit
BY LOUISE GEORGE KITTAKA
I
n Japan, the concept of donating to charity
brings to mind a line of young adults standing
outside a station as they jangle fundraising
boxes and greet commuters with choruses
of “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!”
On the flipside, support for charities by businesses, often called “corporate social responsibility” or CSR for short, is still a relatively new
concept in Japan. Bigger firms do have budgets
for these activities, but tend to target well-established charities.
However, things are changing. The 2011
Tohoku earthquake and tsunami was a defining moment in terms of kick-starting a myriad of
volunteer organizations. Foreign nationals have
often been at the fore, encouraging Japanese
friends and colleagues to jump in wherever they
see a need.
We talked to several people involved in both
sides of the CSR equation about the place corporate funding plays in their activities and got the
lowdown on the current state of CSR in Japan,
as well as future trends.
American Michael Anop founded his Tokyobased NPO, Playground of Hope (PoH), in the
aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku disaster. After realizing that displaced children had nowhere to let
off steam, he came up with the idea of erecting
play structures, and the organization has since
built over 40 playgrounds in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. They have now expanded
their activities to include children's homes and
public park projects.
Anop explains that due to the high costs involved with buying and installing the equipment,
PoH rely wholly on corporate sponsors. Firms are
offered the option of sending employees to help
install the playgrounds. “Our success has been
our ability to combine community service with
an HR team-building exercise. It's a win-win for
everyone involved,” he says.
Of the more than 70 projects completed so
far, a mere three were funded by Japanese firms.
36
Anop notes that CSR activities are not yet as developed in Japan as in the USA, for example, and
so Japanese firms don’t have such large budgets.
“That's not to say that Japanese companies aren't
generous. Indeed, they give millions of dollars
away to charity, but they prefer to give it to the
big players among NPOs.”
ARK (Animal Refuge Kansai) has developed a
reputation as one of Japan’s leading NPOs and
animal advocacy groups since it was started by
British expat Elizabeth Oliver in 1990. Dedicated
to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals,
the organization is based in Kansai but also operates a Tokyo office, led by Julie Okamoto.
As with PofH, ARK’s corporate sponsors are
also mainly multinationals. These firms support
ARK’s activities in a variety of innovative ways.
“For example, one allows charities to register
and asks employees to donate money they have
saved by choosing cheaper accommodation on
Left page,
from top:
Animal Rescue
Kansasi,
HOPE's Conrad
to Hilton Walk
of Hope, relief
packages for
Tohoku from
Grand Hyatt,
this page:
Nagoya Gala
(photo: Keitaro
Nishizaki), Kids
Earth Fund bus
and Christmas
fundraiser,
Playground
of Hope at
work (photo:
Shannon Jih)
business trips, etc. Another,
also an employee initiative, invites us to participate in events
on their calendar, giving us the
opportunity to get our message out and raise donations,”
explains Okamoto.
She cites one positive
trend from recent years. “We
have seen a sharp increase in
both educational organizations and corporations sending us volunteers.” Okamoto is hopeful that experiencing and knowing the value of
volunteering while young will encourage the
next generation to instigate and support CSR
projects once they join the workforce.
Under the motto of “Helping the neglected
poor become self-reliant” the HOPE International Development Agency has been assisting
families in developing nations for over 40 years.
The Japan branch, HOPE-JP, was established
in 2001 and focuses on raising awareness and
funds in Japan to support overseas projects,
as well as domestic ones in the Tohoku region.
According to HOPE-JP’s representative Elena Omura, successful corporate partnerships
depend very much on individuals. “While we
have relationships with companies, the catalyst
in starting the relationship, in most cases, began with an individual. We often speak with the
CSR and/or marketing divisions of companies,
but we have found that what is key to a lasting and meaningful relationship is people, not
departments.”
Joy Fajardo has experienced both sides of the
CSR story, through her involvement with Shine
On! Kids, an NPO supporting children with cancer,
and now in her role as Creative Services Director
at the Custom Media agency. “Collaboratively,
both parties strengthen the values they represent
to stakeholders and the public.”
“In general, in Japan, the concept of charity
is different and younger than in the West, so the
(receiving) foundation has to spend a lot of time
educating about how to give and the difference
giving makes,” Fajardo says. She adds that she
finds it encouraging that more diversity is emerging in this area.
With so many worthy causes out there, how
do firms decide which ones to support? Emilie
Achilles from the Grand Hyatt’s marketing communications team acknowledges that it isn’t an
easy task. One of the hotel’s major events is a
multi-faceted annual Christmas fundraiser, with the
general theme of holiday seasonal magic seen as
a natural choice for activities that support children.
To this end, the Hyatt has partnered with Kids
Earth Fund, a global NPO working to promote
peace and environmental conservation through
the medium of children’s art. The Tokyo branch
runs a community center in Watari-gun, Miyagiken where they work with children affected by the
Tohoku disaster.
One unique component of the Christmas
fundraiser is the sale of gifts made from cork.
“These were made by Ri Kikou, a sheltered
workshop for people with learning disabilities.
We donate corks from wine used in the hotel and
then buy back the finished items as an outreach
program,” Achilles explains.
Steve Dewire, the General Manager of the
Grand Hyatt Tokyo, believes that CSR activities
will become increasingly important in Japan in
the future. “Throughout the journey of life, there
are many points that we can assist and show care
to others and I believe that through both company
and personal commitments, CSR must and will
continue to grow in Japan.”
If you’d like information on how to get involved
with any of the organizations listed above,
please refer to the contact information below:
Playground of Hope: [email protected];
Animal Rescue Kansai: [email protected];
HOPE International Development Agency:
www.hope.or.jp; Shine On! Kids: sokids.org/;
Kids Earth Fund:
http://www.kidsearthfund.jp/en
37
COMMUNITY
RAISING A CHILD WITH
DISABILITIES
And the added complications of living abroad
BY SUZANNE KAMATA
her English were evident. She has many
English-speaking relatives and often visits
the United States. The teachers, however,
didn’t recognize the need until I told them
how I felt.
Sara Yoshi hara, who
has a daughter with au tism, adds:
“Understand
that teachers
and social
workers
who are not specialized in helping children
with disabilities have quite a low baseline
understanding of what support and accommodation is possible and what is necessary. Parents need to be ready to advocate
strongly for their child and, if at all possible,
identify and enlist the support of a qualified
professional.”
G
iving birth to and raising a child in a
foreign country can be daunting. But
when that child has a disability, the
challenges increase dramatically. For
me, it all began when my twins were born
fourteen weeks premature in a hospital in
Tokushima. Although my son emerged from
the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) after
three months without any noticeable problems, we eventually learned our daughter
was deaf and had cerebral palsy.
Because my Japanese husband had a
steady job with good insurance coverage as a
high school teacher, we didn’t even consider
moving to the United States, my native country. However, living far from my family meant
that I had little back-up support, and dealing
with the endless bureaucracy in Japanese
has been a challenge. Nevertheless, we managed to raise our daughter to adulthood—
she will turn eighteen this month. She is, for
the most part, a healthy and happy young
woman, with friends, hobbies and dreams
for the future. It hasn’t been easy, but here
are some of the things that other mothers of
children with disabilities and I have learned.
38
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Although parents of children with special
needs will get plenty of advice from doctors,
teachers, therapists and other professionals, no one knows their child better than his/
her parents. Former expat Robbie Walker,
mother of a daughter with unilateral hearing
loss and related learning disabilities, writes:
“I received many different diagnoses and
opinions over the years about what was the
‘problem’ with my daughter. Even before I
received the technical confirming results
of the final diagnosis, I knew it was correct
from everything I knew and had observed in
my daughter. Those who know a child best,
know what is best.”
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. When
my daughter’s teachers declared that she
would not be getting English lessons at
school because she wasn’t on the academic
track, and therefore didn’t need to learn
English for college entrance exams, I still
insisted that they work English into her
education. To me, the reasons for teaching
FIND A COMMUNITY
Motherhood can be overwhelming in Japan.
Not only are we expected to get up at 5 a.m.
to make anime characters out of food for our
children’s bentos, but we are also the ones
who supposedly determine our children’s
success (or failure) in life. As Laurel Kamada
writes, “My child had some undiagnosed
problems, and it was very hard for our family. Japan just tends to ignore the problem
and blame the gaijin mother for everything.
I have felt guilty of being a poor mother as
I could not teach kokugo (native language
use) at home very well and my son suffered
for it all of the way through school.”
To ease some of the pressure and loneliness, connect with other foreign mothers
through organizations such as the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese or online
chat groups. Ask about home helpers and
day care services for children with special
needs at your local town office. Ask your
friends for assistance. And don’t forget to
take care of yourself—do yoga, or go for a
walk.
For a list of recommended resources, visit
metropolisjapan.com.
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• Tel: 03-6434-9667
www.watanabe-hair.com
Call
03-6447-7414
The Aki Watanabe salon’s new branch in Hiroo specializes in tailored cutting.
The salon also feature internationally renowned nail artist Mayumi,
who has over 20 years of experience in nail design.
Manicures start at ¥4,500 and pedicures at ¥8,000.
Hiroo
Harajuku
5-17-4-2F Hiroo, Shibuya-ku.
3-25-6-B1, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku.
Open 11am–9pm (Mon, Wed-Fri),
Open 11am-9pm(Tue-Fri),
10am–9pm (Sat) & 10am–7pm (Sun & hols).
10am-9pm (Sat), 10am-8pm(Sun & Hol)
Closed Tue & 3rd Mon of every Month.
Closed Tuesdays and the 3rd Monday of the month.
Tel: 03-6447-7414
Tel: 03-3405-1188
39
COMMUNITY
doctors and patients into English, Japanese or
Chinese. Artificial intelligence will choose appropriate responses from the roughly one million examples of travel-related conversations
along with 200,000 medical examples stored
on a hospital server connected to the device.
URBAN PARK DAY CARE
CENTERS OPEN
MAY NEWS
KNIGHTS IN WHITE LYCRA
ANNUAL RIDE AND EVENTS
Founded after the 2011 Triple Disaster, the Knights
in White Lycra aim to raise funds to help support
the people of Tohoku through an annual 500 km
ride. Supporting Mirai no Mori, an outdoor education non-profit that helps orphaned children, the
Knights aim to raise 7 million yen this year. The ride
will take place from May 25 through May 28, and
while the roster of riders is full, it’s still possible to
lend a hand. Join them for a Band Night on May
14th, sponsor a rider, or check out their web page
for further events throughout the year. Check out
our article on them, too, at metropolisjapan.com!
kiwldonations.org
KAMOME MARCHE
Held the fourth Saturday of each month, the
Kamome Marche in Yokohama is a cozy hub of
foodly activity. Nearly twenty vendors gather
on the second floor walkway of the Bay Quarter Shopping Center near Yokohama Station.
Baked goods, seasonal vegetables, and even a
Yamanashi vintner are on hand to offer visitors
something a little special. Started in 2009 by the
NKB Corporation, parent company of Gurunavi,
the Kamome Marche aims to offer eaters the
chance to meet the growers and producers of
the food they put on their tables.
May 27. 11am – 5pm. Yokohama Station.
East Exit A. www.marche-japon.org/venue/3
WHEN SOMEONE IN THE
FAMILY DRINKS TOO MUCH
TRANSLATED TO JAPANESE
A children’s book that helps children deal with
alcoholism in their families, When Someone in
the Family Drinks Too Much is now available
in Japanese. Machi Taniguchi, a TELL mental
health counselor, organized a fundraising
campaign to produce the translation. The text
discusses the feelings such as guilt, embarrassment and anger that can be caused by living
with someone suffering from alcoholism and
the other ways it can affect people. It also offers advice on where to turn for help. Originally
written by Richard Langsen and illustrated by
Nicole Rubel, the book is now available from
the TELL Library or for purchase.
telljp.com
HOSPITALS TEST AI
TRANSLATION TECHNOLOGY
As Japan prepares for the 2020 Olympic and
Paralympic Games, plans for how to best host
the 40 million hoped-for visitors in all situations, including medical, are underway. About
20 hospitals nationwide will begin testing an
automated translation system this year. A tablet
device jointly developed by the University of
Tokyo Hospital, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and
Fujitsu Ltd., translates conversations between
Starting this year, restrictions on the location
of day care centers have been eased, allowing
them to open in urban parks in Tokyo, Yokohama and Fukuoka. Local governments and
day care facility operators found the search for
new sites to be problematic, as area citizens
blocked construction out of concern for noise
and traffic. In April 2017, new facilities opened
in Arakawa, Setagaya and Shinagawa Wards
in Tokyo, as did others in Sendai, Yokohama
and Fukuoka. More are expected to open in
Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, as well as in Toyonaka,
Osaka Prefecture. A total of 19 new centers
are hoped for by April 2019 to help the 23,553
children on waitlists as of April 2016.
PASSENGERS AND RAILWAY
STAFF LEND A HAND IN
TOKYO
Tokyo-area railway businesses, including JR
East, are running a campaign that promotes
the idea of mutual cooperation between passengers and railway staff. Started by the JR
East group in 2011, the campaign, Koekake,
Sapo-to (Need Help? Support for Passengers),
expanded to other companies in November
2016. Railway staff and passengers are encouraged to look out for those in need of assistance,
whether they are foreign visitors needing directions or passengers in wheelchairs. Posters
and in-train video ads aim to spread the news
of the campaign and foster the spirit of helpfulness in the name of safety and efficiency.
SOUND MIND, SOUND BODY
RUN & WALK FUNDRAISER
This year, the TELL Runathon has a new name
and a new partner: Second Harvest Japan. All
proceeds from the fundraiser, a celebration of
good mental and physical health, will go to the
two organizations. Comprised of 5k and 10k
runs and a 5k walk, prizes will be awarded to
the fastest runners. The first 600 registrants
will receive a Sound Mind, Sound Body Run &
Walk T-shirt. Participants can register online
or on the day of event starting at 8:30am. Rain
or shine, the event will take place along the
Tamagawa Running Course and registration
will be at Furuichiba Track and Field Stadium.
Saturday, May 27
telljp.com
For more community news and resources, visit metropolisjapan.com/news/community-news
40
JUNE GETSUMATSU
インターナショナルパーティー
入場無料 ・ドリンク¥500~
FRIDAY JUNE 30 7PM-11PM
Free Entry Drinks from ¥500
Join us this summer for the Metropolis Getsumatsu party! Held at
the newly-opened TRUNK (HOTEL), this stylish, intimate boutique
hotel welcomes international and internationally-minded
guests—the perfect setting for a summer kick-off.
LOCATION: TRUNK (HOTEL)
5-31 Jingu-Mae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
http://trunk-hotel.com
41
RAW VEGAN ZEN LADY
58C
For homemade, raw vegan foods that
are free of preservatives and are nonGMO, look no further. Raw Vegan ZEN
LADY prepares light but satisfying
organic, gluten- and corn-free snacks,
dishes, and juices that feed and
nourish the body and mind. Pasta
sauces, sushi, sweets, bento boxes,
and more, all 100-percent vegan (no
meat, eggs or dairy). ZEN LADY offers
a selection of Raw Vegan dishes great
for buffets or home use. Some dishes are suitable for events or party buffets
for 10 or more people. A 10-percent discount is available to those who bring
in this ad. Clear your mind and increase your overall health with clean,
fresh and delicious food. If you follow a meat-free diet and love plant-based
meals, you should definitely check out http://rvz.tokyo
Tom Yoshimura is an
internationally-recognized stylist
who spent over a decade in New
York styling for New York Fashion
Week, CNBC, Vanity Fair, WWD,
Vivienne Tam, Eileen Fisher’s
fashion show and commercial
advertisements. His New York
salon Hair Design Ampersand, Inc.
has been voted the Best Hair Salon
in NY by Yelp users, with branches in the trendy East Village and Lower East
Side. As the lead stylist at 58c, which is located 5 seconds away from Exit 1 of
Shirokanedai Station, Yoshimura is ready to work his magic on Tokyo. The 58c
staff will attend personally to each guest, drawing each customer’s personality
out to create a unique style. 10% off all services for first-time visitors who read
Metropolis. 3-14-4 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6447-7554. Tue–Sun
11am–8pm. Shirokanedai. [email protected], www.fiftyeight-c.com
ICHII
CORPORATION
AZABU COURT
With over 550 affordable,
quality-furnished
apartments in central
Tokyo locations and the
Greater Tokyo Area, Ichii
Corporation has you
covered. Apartments are
new and clean, and the
contract system is simple,
with full English support. Even better, rentals require no key money, guarantors,
or agency fees. With a large variety of apartments in and around Tokyo, they are
sure to meet your needs. So call today and make your stay in Tokyo perfect! 5F
Blue Bell Building, 2-15-9 Nishi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku. Gotanda. MonSat, 9am-6pm (hols 9:30am-6pm); closed on Sun. Tel: 03-5437-5233. E-mail:
[email protected] japt.co.jp
TRUST DENTAL
CLINIC
42
Serviced apartments in a
quiet residential area of
Hiroo. Studios and suites.
Four minutes from Hiroo
Station.
Rates: Daily ¥8,200 ¥28,000/night. Weekly
¥7,050 - ¥23,800/night.
Monthly ¥5,700 - ¥19,100/
night. Long-term stays
(three months or more) ¥5,130 - ¥17,190/night (tax, utilities included). Azabu
Court’s full-service packages include free broadband, an in-house concierge,
laundry services, and more. Residents receive daily access to the nearby
Fitness Club Hiroo, so you can stay in shape. 4-5-39 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku.
Hiroo. Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat-Sun & hols, 8am-6pm. Tel: 03-3446-8610.
E-mail: [email protected] www.azabucourt.com
MDSA HAIR
REMOVAL
SALON
If you’re seeking familiar
dental care from an Englishspeaking professional,
look no further than Dr.
Oikawa, an American dental
school graduate with 20
years of experience. Dr.
Oikawa and his team of
overseas-trained dental
hygienists provide general
dentistry, oral surgery, and more. Consultation-only and second-opinion
appointments are welcomed. Just three minutes from Harajuku Station,
Trust Dental Clinic offers convenience in addition to quality service. Call
in advance to ensure a space. 1-11-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. MeijiJingumae or Harajuku. Tel: 03-3402-1501. E-mail: [email protected]
www.trustdental.jp/english
Intense Pulsed Light Hair
Removal Salon, located
just two minutes from
Azabu-Jūban Station,
offers secluded treatment
rooms, English-speaking
staff, a reservation-only
policy, and an atmosphere
that caters to both
men and women. Remove unwanted hair from your back, upper arms, and
V-lines. You’ll be impressed by our efficiency; in fact, if you’re not satisfied,
we’ll re-do your treatment for free. Prices start at ¥3,300. More info online.
2F Ishihara Bldg, 3-7-1 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku. Azabu-Jūban. Mon-Fri
12pm-11:30pm; Sat-Sun & hols 10am-11:30pm. Tel: 03-6435-1276. E-mail:
[email protected] mds-a.jp/english
BEAUTY BY
ALEXANDRE
THE JAPAN
HELPLINE
Alexandre started
as a hairstylist and
color specialist
for blondes and
brunettes in Paris 25
years ago. He then
moved to New York,
and now Tokyo. He
also specializes in
make-up for special
events, such as
parties or weddings. Alexandre understands that sometimes people are
unable to visit salons for cuts and color, so he is happy to make housecalls. By appointment only at home or at Lizero in Omotesando. Tel: 0903520-6262. www.bba-japan.com
Japan’s only 24-hour
non-profit nationwide
emergency assistance
24hour non-profit worldwide
service, providing aroundemergency assistance
the-clock telephone
service since 1975
advice for the international
community. The Japan
0570-000-911
Helpline provides
assistance for any situation,
from an emergency
to simple enquiry. So whether you’re in a crisis situation such as an
earthquake or tsunami, or you simply need advice on treating a toothache
or finding a last-minute babysitter, The Japan Helpline is ready to assist
you no matter where you are. www.jhelp.com (and press “help”). Tel:
0570-000-911. To volunteer or donate, please contact [email protected]
Jhelp.com
PRIVATE
JAPANESE
TEACHERS
Want to improve your
Japanese ability but don't
ever seem to have the time?
Having a private Japanese
teacher will make your life
in Japan easier and happier.
Without the rigidity of a
school schedule, private
teachers from Sensei Shokai meet you at your chosen time and location.
Personalized lessons mean you can study at your own pace and practice a lot
of speaking. Not only will you be improving your Japanese, you'll be gaining
an advisor who can give you advice about your life in Japan. Best of all, tuition
is very reasonable. So give us your lesson request and our teachers will
respond soon. www.senseishokai.com/nihongo
TAMACHI/OKACHIMACHI
EKIMAE DENTAL CLINIC
Tamachi Ekimae Dental Clinic provides
excellent US-standard dental services
at affordable prices. The clinic is
headed by Dr. Brian Watanabe, a
graduate of Nihon University and the
University of Southern California.
With over 33 years of experience,
he is licensed in the United States,
Japan, China, UAE and Myanmar. Dr.
Watanabe welcomes new clients for general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and
dental implants. All international insurance as well as Japanese insurance
accepted. Ogawa Bldg. 2F, 5-27-13 Shiba, Minato-ku. Tamachi. Miyama
Bldg. 1F,1-12 -1 Higashi Ueno Taito-ku. Okachimachi Tel: 070-1076-1356
(English), 03-3454-8585 (Japanese). Mon-Fri 10:30am-2pm, 3pm-8pm, Sat
10:30am-2pm. Email: [email protected] www.tamachi-shika.com
CLINICAL TRIALS IN
TOKYO
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sweat stains again with NanoDri!®, http://nanodri.jp
JOBS
CHAT HOSTS AND TEACHERS
WANTED BY LEAFCUP in Tokyo,
Iidabashi, Shibuya, Yokohama.
Seeking enthusiastic, proficient
English, French, Spanish, and/or
German speakers who can teach
and lead lively conversations.
¥1,000-¥1,500/h. Apply online:
[email protected], leafcup.com/job
LOOKING FOR PART-TIME
PRIVATE TEACHING JOBS? Set
your own locations, schedules, and
lesson fees. Students will then
directly contact you! Available
for: English, Chinese, Korean,
French, Spanish, German, Italian,
Portuguese, Russian, Thai,
Vietnamese, Arabic, Indonesian
and more. Register today!
hello-sensei.com/en/sensei
A leading research hospital
in Tokyo is seeking healthy
participants for clinical
trials in May and June. The
compensation amount ranges
between ¥ 130,000—400,000
for completing one of the
studies. Participants must
complete a clinic stay lasting
4 to 7 nights, depending on the trial. The hospital provides meals, wi-fi, game
consoles, English-language magazines and movies during the stay. Participants
then return to the clinic for one or more follow-up checks lasting about two
hours each time. The number of follow-up visits varies depending on the study.
Please see www.clinicaltrialstokyo.com or email us at [email protected]
gmail.com for more information about the upcoming clinical trials.
Elana Jade
Elana Jade
Elana Jade
Elana Jade
ELANA JADE ORGANIC BEAUTY
SPA, which caters to expat and
Japanese clientele, is seeking
an E/J bilingual manager.
Management experience and
a friendly, professional attitude
a must. Salary starting from
¥270,000. [email protected]
www.elanajade.com
FOOD WRITERS WANTED. Got a
great nose and the pen to prove it?
Metropolis is seeking freelance food
writers. Help us sniff out the best
and most original restaurants, cafes
and izakayas in Tokyo—after all, it's
the city which Anthony Bourdain
would eat in for the rest of his life.
Please e-mail writing samples to
[email protected]
43
BACKSPACE
HOROSCOPE
♥ Love ¥ Money ♣ Luck
BY CATHRYN MOE
ARIES
TAURUS
GEMINI
May 22-Jun 21 ♥♥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ♣♣♣♣
Jun 22-Jul 23 ♥♥♥♥ ¥¥ ♣♣♣
What you focus on comes your
w ay. Po we r h o u s e t r i o U r a n u s ,
Pallas Athene, and Venus are in
Aries. Mercury is there too, going direct May
3rd. Thoughts and plans merge so fast; do a
double-check to make sure you manifest what
you really want. Ideas take shape mid-month
when Mercury enters your income sector. Fight
for that raise and make it stick. You may attract
someone’s admiration the last week of May. Are
you interested? They certainly are!
The planets dance around your hopes
and wishes. May begins with a fantasy
that is hard to pin down. By May 10th
you may make a snap decision to conserve your
energy. The result is that you become stronger.
If anyone is playing games, you will see through
them. Psychic wounds start to dissolve, even if
you thought they never would. Mercury transits
into Taurus mid-May. You may make an art investment, spring for an impressive addition to your
wardrobe, or meet someone with a lot of talent.
There are moments when the light
shines just right, and things are
crystal clear. This is not the way May
begins. Mercury is retrograde, and the heavens
have left things hanging. Then it goes direct on
the 3rd, and your perspective clicks into place.
You can be more affected by a retrograde Mercury, your ruling planet, than other signs, except
Virgo (who shares rulership with you). Expect
a step forward on the 12th and 19th. Changes
heat up the final week of the month.
Your natural instincts are about to be
rewarded. Mercury starts the month
as a retrograde planet, but things
soon smooth out as it goes direct on the 3rd.
The first two weeks you may be itching to undo
others’ mistakes at work. Then Mercury transits
to a place in your chart where you can relax.
Enjoy some down time with friends, or hang
out where you know pretty much everyone. If
you’re looking for romance, keep watching. A
relationship mystery is about to unfold.
LEO
VIRGO
LIBRA
SCORPIO
Standing up for yourself just got
easier. Vesta enters your sign as May
beckons. What you need to keep
yourself feeling secure and comfy has celestial
backing this month. Hold off on some bets the
first week, as you are likely to be more lucky
during the second. Changes are star-blessed,
which can turn your life around quickly. The
excitement you feel is just part of the promise.
Destiny plays a part in an unusual offer the final
week of May.
Although time is racing, it’s resting,
too. Your ruler, Mercury, starts this
month still retrograde. Things have
a surreal quality. With the Sun sextile Neptune,
you may not know if you lived it or dreamed it.
Then Mercury goes direct on the 3rd, and you
can see forward. Your connections expand, and
life has more meaning. By mid-month, you may
realize you have to travel to accomplish certain
goals. Or at least plan for it. Obstacles move out
of the way the 28th, 30th, and 31st.
You’ll find time and clocks hard to
believe as May begins with Mercury still retrograde. Then Mercury
moves direct on the 3rd, and you’re back on
track. Watch for relationships to twist and turn
on the 10th, then settle down on the 11th (hint
– distract yourself so you don’t take things too
seriously). By indulging in what refreshes you,
your outlook attracts a higher vibe and more
satisfaction. A new commitment may start on
the 29th.
What would life be without mystery?
You’re always willing to take a deeper
look. If you’re left alone long enough,
you’ll feel your intuition! May begins with Mercury retrograde, so some facts and figures may
need to be double-checked. You won’t want
to take anyone’s word for it but yours! Then
Mercury goes direct on the 3rd. You can share
what you’ve found. Things get easier, as you’ve
discovered a way to be secure. An obstacle on
the 25th is just a bump in the road. Go around it.
SAGITTARIUS
CAPRICORN
AQUARIUS
Jan 21-Feb 19 ♥♥♥♥ ¥ ¥¥ ♣♣♣♣
Feb 20-Mar 20 ♥♥♥ ¥¥ ♣♣
There’s no guarantee you’ll get all you
ask for in May. That’s because this
month starts with Mercury in retrograde. Things still need to be sorted. When all
is said and done, you may decide to ask not for
less, but for more. This planet goes direct on the
3rd, and zooms into another sign by mid-month.
It leaves your romance sector and turns the focus
towards your work. So if you have a chance to
take a weekend away, just go for it. You’ll be glad
you did!
Peace comes at a price, as you’re
constantly being hammered by other’s
needs and desires. People think of
Cancer as the nurturing one, but being its opposite,
you’re right in there pitching. Whatever is missing
in your life is easier to come by in May. Your field of
energy heightens as a form of magnetic attraction.
Mercury is retrograde as this month begins, but
soon straightens out. The Sun sextiles Neptune on
the 3rd as Mercury goes direct, and you reap the
rewards of your stellar patience.
You’ll look calm on the surface but will
be paddling like mad underneath in
May. There are several options open to
you. Each one has merit, so it depends whether
you want to jump, or dip in your toes to test the
waters first. Brainstorms may look like they’ve
backfired early on, as Mercury is retrograde.
Then it goes direct on the 3rd, and you’re
running to catch up. By mid-month personal
interests have taken over. You’re not being
self-indulgent, you are taking care of yourself!
May is a special, harmonious month
if you choose your surroundings
carefully. This includes people,
their agendas, and your desire for beauty and
smooth connections. Mercury starts the month
retrograde, so don’t blame yourself if you end
up somewhere you didn’t mean to be. Just slip
away back to start, and review your plans for
the future. Mercury is direct on the 3rd, connecting with Uranus, Pallas Athene, and Venus.
Romance beckons. Basically, try to hold onto
your money, as it could go fast.
Mar 21-Apr 20 ♥♥♥ ¥¥ ♣♣♣
Jul 24-Aug 23 ♥♥♥ ¥¥¥ ♣♣♣♣
Nov 23-Dec 22 ♥♥♥ ¥¥ ♣♣♣♣
44
Apr 21-May 21 ♥♥♥♥ ¥¥¥ ♣♣♣
Aug 24-Sep 23 ♥♥ ¥¥¥¥ ♣♣
Dec 23-Jan 20 ♥♥ ¥¥ ♣♣♣
Sep 24-Oct 23 ♥♥♥ ¥¥¥¥ ♣♣♣♣
CANCER
Oct 24-Nov 22 ♥♥♥♥ ¥¥¥ ♣♣
PISCES
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45
THE LAST WORD
WANT TO HAVE THE LAST WORD?
Send your article to: [email protected]
FURANSU,
MON AMOUR
Living la vie française in Japan's capital
BY ANNA JASSEM
I
n the film Tokyo Fiancée — based on Amélie Nothomb’s semiautobiographical novel — a young Belgian Japanophile settles
down in Tokyo only to quickly fall in love with her Japanese Frenchlanguage student, who is a member of a secret Francophile society.
That Japan’s love affair with France is not just artistic license becomes
apparent the moment you set foot in Japan’s capital.
The city’s landmark Tokyo Tower is a younger and flashier sister of
the Eiffel Tower, and Odaiba’s Statue of Liberty is a replica of the statue
in Nice, rather than her big sister in New York. Every other bakery in
town is “French,” which is to say all the names are in French, and most
products resemble their French originals (though occasionally you may
find red bean filling instead of chocolate in your croissant) but the staff
will usually not speak a word of the language of Molière. Restaurant-wise,
Tokyo offers some of the finest French dining outside of Paris. And you
can choose between anything from Michelin-starred restaurants of Joël
Robuchon or Alain Ducasse to cosy bistro-style eateries whose “French”
names may sometimes make little sense to Francophones. The upscale
shopping districts of Ginza and Omotesando rival the Champs Élysées
for concentration of French luxury brands. And art enthusiasts are also
spoilt for choice: last year alone Tokyo saw exhibitions featuring the
works of Renoir, Gaugin, Les Nabis group as well as the masterpieces
of Centre Pompidou, to name but a few. French expats marvel at how
much they can learn about their own culture while living 10,000 kilometers from home.
In Japan, old Europe, and in particular la belle France, are still considered by many to be the essence of high culture, beauty and good
taste. French is the fourth most studied foreign language in Japanese
schools, after English, Chinese and Korean. “For the Japanese, foreign
literature is synonymous with French literature,” explain the staff at the
French bookstore Omeisha in Tokyo’s “French quarter” in Iidabashi. The
bookshop — in operation since 1947 — is visited more often by Japanese
clientele than by the 8,000-plus French expats living in Tokyo. The allure of the French language is confirmed by Father Pierre Charignon,
the chaplain of the Francophone Catholic Community of Tokyo. One of
the Japanese members of the community explained to him that “God
talks to [her] in French—the language that is logical, clear and beautiful.”
For full French-immersion, some Japanese parents even choose to put
their kids in French schools. Out of the 1200 students enrolled in Lycée
Français International de Tokyo, 40% come from mixed Franco-Japanese
families while a further 10% have two Japanese parents. Similar proportions are observed by Florine Lamoity, the director of the French-speaking
kindergarten Au pays des Sakuras. “There’s a true fascination with French
language and culture among Japanese parents, which makes me even
more proud to act as an ambassador of my country,” declares Lamoity.
Inevitably, the Japanese vision of France is an idealization fed by
popular culture. In the words of Eriko Nakamura, a former NHK presenter
married to a Frenchman: “The Japanese see Paris as the City of Light, the
most beautiful city in the world, the capital of refinement and romance.
A mix of Chanel N°5 commercials, Amélie Poulain and black and white
photos of Robert Doisneau.” The reality — as Nakamura details in her
hilarious book “Nââânde” — may be less rosy: rude taxi drivers, dirty
public toilets, constant strikes. As of 2014, France remained one of the
most popular destinations for Japanese tourists, yet for some Japanese
visiting or settling down in France, the culture shock may be so intense
that it results in a form of nervous breakdown dubbed “Paris syndrome.”
For those anxious about confronting their dreams with reality, Japan’s
capital makes it possible to live an almost perfectly French lifestyle. If
you can afford it, that is.
■ Anna Jassem is the co-author of the upcoming book, In the Rhythm of the Seasons:
Japanese Customs and Home Recipes.
The views expressed in “The Last Word” are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or opinions of Japan Partnership Co. Ltd. or its partners and sponsors.
46
Recipe & Story
Contest
Your original dish could win you a cash prize!
Send in your own recipe for either a Japanese dish
or one from your country that uses soy sauce as an ingredient.
Silver: ¥50,000 prize (2 winners)
Bronze: ¥30,000 prize (7 winners)
* Winners of Gold prize and
silver prizes will be honored
at the ceremony on Sep 30,
which is Soy Sauce Day.
Application Deadline: Wed, May 31, 2017
For more details visit: www.soysauce.or.jp/en
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