Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 11. 2021

The Buskers Are Gone by Tim Lake

As we entered another State of Emergency, I recalled how different things were the first time round in April 2020. I remembered Shinjuku Station being strangely quiet considering it was once said to be the busiest station in the world. The pavement in front of the southern exit, usually packed with shoppers and commuters, was deserted and I grasped how wide it really was.

The pavement is more like an esplanade than a roadside footpath. That whole stretch of road, and the department stores built on the station, is essentially a bridge over the JR tracks. Before it slopes down and quickly tapers on either side, the pavement is one of the widest I know of, which makes it an area of public space or at least nominally available for public use.

Pre-covid many people used that space as a makeshift stage. In fact, a multitude of stages as any number of street performers would carve out their performance space on a given night. For the better acts, a semi-circle of onlookers would intrude into the path of pedestrians, but for many, they might as well have been at home for all the attention they received. Still, it remains the perfect place to find a captive audience or at least get heard.

The quality was shockingly mixed. It was rare to hear someone worth stopping to listen to. Somehow a power trio made it work with their electric guitars and makeshift drumkit. Some people were basically just doing karaoke in public - badly. There were the singer-songwriter types with an acoustic guitar or keyboard, and various wanna-be idol groups performing to backing tracks. And at least once there was a decently tight jazz-funk outfit. Regardless of their talent, the music was a zesty accompaniment to Friday and Saturday nights in the city, though often the performers got shut down and presumably fined.

It's a pity. One of the nice things about London was that it embraced its buskers by providing space on the underground for them to perform. The space in front of Shinjuku Station seems like a good spot to allow something similar. Permits for street performers in Tokyo are so hard to come by they are almost mythical and most people seem to not care about having one anyway. However, something more sensibly regulated might weed out the crying cats from the genuine talent.

But of course, you miss even the howling when it's gone. In my corner of Tokyo, the performers in front of Shinjuku station were the perfect motif for a city bursting with life, creativity, and bucking the norm of conformity. I'd much rather have the out-of-tune singers and wanna-be idols back than have to listen to the lone nationalist or, worse, the corona-conspiracists! When the street performers truly come back it will be a sign that life is returning to something like normal, perhaps then I'll take them less for granted and stop to listen a bit more often.

再度の緊急事態宣言が表明され、僕は2020年4月の最初の宣言時と事態がどのように異なったか思いめぐらした。世界でも、もっとも人の行き交う駅だと言われた新宿駅が妙に静まり返っていたのを思い出した。南口を出た所はたいてい買物客、通勤客でごったがえしていたのに、荒涼としていて、歩道がこんなにも幅広なんだと認識した。

歩道というよりは遊歩道だった。道路全体と駅の上階に建つデパートは、本来、JRの線路上をまたぐ跨線橋だ。下り坂になり両端が細くなる前に、歩道は公有地となり、少なくとも公共的な用途に供される。

コロナ渦以前は、一時的な舞台として公共利用されていた。特定の夜は、ストリートパフォーマーが独自の芸術を披露した。よい芸であれば、見物人が作る半円で歩行者の流れを遮る。しかし多くの場合、注目を集めるにはいたらず家でじっとしていた方がよさそうだった。それでも、とらわれの群衆を見つけるには絶好の場所だったし、少なくとも聞いてもらえることができる。

玉石混淆だ。路上ライブで道行く人の足を止めるのは稀だ。なぜかエレクトリックギターとドラムの力強いトリオバンドが場を盛り上げたりする。ただみんなの前でカラオケを歌う人もいた、へたな歌で。アコースティックギターやキーボードを鳴らし、シンガーソングライター気取りの人もいたし、アイドルグループをまねる人もいた。ぴったりしたジャズファンクの衣装を身にまとった人を見た事もある。才能があるないにかかわらず、音楽は、都会での金曜・土曜の夜にピリッとした刺激をあたえてくれる。だが、パフォーマーは立ち退きを言い渡され、おそらく罰金を徴収される。

残念だ。ロンドンの良い点は、路上ライブを行うパフォーマーのため、地下にスペースが提供されていることだ。新宿駅前のスペースは路上ライブを許可するのにはよい場所だと思える。東京のストリートパフォーマーはライブ活動の許可をとるのはむずかしく、申請してもほとんどおりない。だから多くの人は無許可で路上ライブを行っている。しかし賢く許可を与える基準を整えるなら、すばらしい才能集団から泣き叫ぶ猫を排除することができるかもしれない。

もちろん、玉ばっかりで石がいなくなったら寂しくなるなるだろう。僕の住む東京の片隅において、新宿駅前で路上ライブを行うパフォーマーは生命力と創造力に溢れ、基準の準拠に逆らう都会の完全なるモチーフだ。僕は、孤立した国家主義者や、コロナ陰謀論者よりは、音をはずして歌う人やアイドルになりたい人達に身近にいてもらいたい。ストリートパフォーマーが街に戻ってきたら、生活が正常に戻ったサインとなるだろう。そうしたら、おそらく僕は、それが当たり前だとおもわず、今までよりはもう少し立ち止まって耳を傾けるだろう。


Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD TNB Throwback: JUNE 10. 2016

Shoe Culture in Japan by David Alexander S. Dial

While the Japanese word for “shoes” is kutsu (靴), there is a specific word used for shoes worn outside − dosoku (土足), which is written with the characters for “dirt” and “feet”. Because we wear these shoes outside, and trample on any number of dirty objects (sometimes even dirt itself), the shoes themselves get dirty. The home is no place for dirt. The outside is a lowly place; the home is held in higher regard. This is further illustrated by the fact that, when someone greets you at their front door and invites you in, while they may use the verb for “enter” (hairu, 入る), they will often use the verb agaru (上がる), meaning to come “up”. In the old days, this actually involved stepping up to a higher level than the ground; however, even when the entranceway is on the same level as the rest of the home (as in the case of an apartment), Japanese may still use the verb agaru.

The “inside is higher than the outside” belief also presents itself in Japanese schools. If you’ve watched a lot of anime, you probably noticed that through high school, Japanese change their shoes, from dosoku to uwabaki (上履き), upon entering the school. Uwabaki are light, comfortable shoes to be worn only indoors. The first character in uwabaki means “up” or “above”, and the rest comes from the verb for wearing something on the lower body. When compared with dosoku, the attitude toward the outside vs. the inside should be clear. It should be further emphasized that indoor shoes and outdoor shoes have their places, and one should never be placed where the other is used. I had this pointed out to me on my very first day in Japan.

I studied Japanese for two years before coming to Japan. I had my survival Japanese down, I could read and write simple Japanese, but I was still in a state of culture shock. I was enrolled in a homestay program, and had just arrived at my host family’s home. This was my first experience with a Japanese home, and I noticed several things right from the start.
First of all, the front door swung outward. In America, doors almost always swing inward. Stepping into the home, there was a small area of concrete flooring. Some shoes were placed neatly in this area, with the toes pointed toward the doorway. More shoes were housed in a small cabinet off to the side. I learned later that this cabinet is called a getabako (下駄箱), and means “box for geta (traditional Japanese platform sandal)”. Spots in the cabinet that did not have shoes held indoor slippers. The entranceway, or genkan, of the home was on the same level as the outside, and there was a distinct step up to get inside the home.

I of course knew that shoes are removed before entering a Japanese home, but no one told me there was a special way to remove your shoes. I never even thought about it. I figured, you take off your shoes and walk in. I was wrong. Any surface that is touched by the soles of our shoes is considered dirty by the Japanese. Standing with your socks/barefoot on the same surface as you had worn your shoes immediately dirties your socks/feet. Even if you wear slippers in the home, stepping on the “lower” level without shoes is frowned upon.

The most common way to remove your shoes at the genkan of a home is to slip your feet partly out of your shoes to the point where you can easily pull them out, then without stepping on the lower level, step “up” (figuratively −remember, whether or not the level is physically higher, the outside is considered lower) into the home. It is then customary to adjust your shoes so that they are close together and facing toward the door, so that you can easily slip them on and go. If there is actually a raised level in the entranceway, as in my host family’s house, it is acceptable to sit down to remove your shoes if it is too difficult to do so standing up (e.g. when removing long boots). As long as your feet never touch the lower level, you are fine.

Mine did. So, immediately upon arrival at my new home, I had made the mistake of stepping on the ground while removing my shoes. Embarrassed by my error, I made sure that the wheels of my suitcase did not touch the floor. I lugged it up the narrow staircase, up to my new bedroom, and immediately laid it on its side so that the wheels would not dirty the floors. I began to unpack, placing my clothes on the bed and my change of shoes on the floor.

My new host-mom peeked into my room to see if I was okay, and freaked out. I had no idea why she was so up in arms, but she ran downstairs and came back with a sheet of newspaper. She picked up my shoes (that I had not worn), placed the newspaper on the floor, and then placed my shoes on top of the newspaper. It did not matter that I had not worn the shoes outside. They were dosoku, and were dirty by definition.

As you explore this new country, you’ll find that there are some cases where shoes are removed even outside the home. Many washoku (Japanese cuisine) restaurants will similarly have you remove your shoes prior to entering. Depending on the establishment, there may be lockers (sometimes locked using a small piece of wood) or small plastic bags will be given for you to place your shoes in, and ensure that they never touch any part of the inside of the restaurant.

Another place where you might not expect to encounter the concept of levels is in a clothing store. If you choose to try on an item, you will find that the dressing rooms are carpeted, and shoes are taken off before stepping inside. This is to prevent your feet from touching the same surface as your shoes, in case you were trying on bottoms. If you don’t turn your shoes around, the store staff will conveniently do so for you while you are inside the booth.

There are many other places where you may or may not have to take off your shoes. Your best bet is to follow the lead of the natives. Also keep an eye out for signs that say “土足禁止” (dosoku kinshi − “ outdoor shoes prohibited”), or “土足厳禁” (dosoku genkin − “outdoor shoes strictly forbidden”). They should be, but not always are, accompanied by some kind of illustration.

If this is your first visit to Japan, you are in for a treat. Japan is a beautiful country with a wonderful language and culture. The Japanese people are, as a whole, inviting and friendly. You will most likely enjoy your experience immensely. However, there is one thing you must accept.
Your shoes are by definition dirty.


Unfinished business

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 17. 2019

Farewell to a Japan Jazz Icon by David Gregory

The messages from all over Japan read aloud during the service helped us realize how widely Koyama-san touched lives and how many like us were feeling something newly missing from our worlds. But, although wonderful and sometimes saddening us, they did not trigger crying. That happened next.

Those first few notes of the "'Round About Midnight" Miles Davis version, the cut Koyama-san always used to open Jazz Tonight, performed by a live piano and trumpet duo up front near the coffin, did it: Instant recognition, recollections, sighs around the room, eyes closed, arms crossed, heads dropped back or down, and tears, at least for me. How many times had we heard, after Miles breathed his somber opening, Koyama-san's low, raspy voice welcoming us into the studio with, "Minna-san, gokigen ikaga desho-ka everybody, how are you feeling?"?and never thought that someday we would hear him ask about us no more?

Koyama-san's widow, whom, like him, had never known me, stood alone at the coffin head and bowed in silence to everyone in turn after they placed flowers around his body as the duo continued with another slow number, the trumpet sounding so strong and crisp and unusual in a memorial service hall. After we placed our flowers, she responded to my hand on her shoulder, a touch just meant to console her, by immediately turning and reaching for me?a total stranger?burying her head in my chest, and breaking down. She needed that hug that everybody sometimes needs. She let go after her respite when she was ready to face the coffin and everyone else again, and returned to her position. Going to Kashiwa in a snowstorm was worth it just for those few moments when I could do something for her.

So our Kashiwa day was both sad and good. But, why did I even want to go a funeral for a man whom I only knew by voice, and who, although linked to jazz, was not even a musician?

Koyama-san and his Jazz Tonight program I listened to since at least the early 2000s. For more than sixteen years, while my life in Japan has been filled with huge uncertainties, he has been here Saturday nights on the radio, reliable, keeping me connected to the world's music and opening my ears to music from Japan I would not know without him. Listening to him always made me feel good, no matter what had happened in my life during the week or what was coming up in the weeks ahead. Koyama-san and Jazz Tonight were my respite. How well can I replace that comfort?

Koyama-san, thank you for helping this foreigner feel good in Japan. Please rest well in jazz heaven.

NHK Radio, thank you for giving Koyama-san a way to connect with us. Please encourage other DJs to continue doing what he did so well.

To Koyama-san's surviving family members: Please care well for yourselves now, and thank you for supporting and sharing Kiyoshi with us.

 

 

The Smallest Box by David Gregory

She came over to my table and asked if I remembered her.
“That’s my boyfriend over there.”
Their table hugged a pillar blocking the sunny Tokyo Bay view enjoyed by the other customers that afternoon in Chiba’s AquaRink ice skating facility café.
“Maybe we will marry next year.”

On my way out, I stopped to congratulate the potential groom to be. What I later heard happened with Hiromi and Hiroshi that night at another place also close to the bay sounded so too good to be true that I visited that place to confirm it really happened. It did.

Hiroshi had reserved for the course menu that night at OCEAN TABLE, next to Chiba Port, on the second floor, where tables sat by the huge windows facing Chiba Port Tower and Tokyo Bay. No view-blocking pillars there. And they had a wait, even with their reservation, because it was Christmas Eve, which in Japan matters much more than the following day; the Eve is the year’s couples’ night out, and single women without dates that night can feel their whole year was wasted.

Hiroshi had changed into a suit after skating, and had urged Hiromi, against her protests about overdressing, into a plaid one-piece, raising expectations. They had never come to a place this nice, one requiring reservations. Saizeriya was more their speed: fast faux-Italian, cheap, and everywhere.
The unexpected wait made Hiroshi antsy. He relaxed and all was perfect after they were seated.

They talked. They ate the Christmas Dinner courses. They ignored the soft Christmas background music. They admired the gleaming, golden Christmas Tree rising from the first-floor buffet area through the open center space across from their table. They could see outside the sparkling flashes and half the tree in Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination, and beyond, the lights from the ships on and facilities around Tokyo Bay, appearing almost twinkling. Perfect—but not for Hiromi.

She went to the toilet. Still he had not asked. The day was done. The reservation system only allowed them two hours there. They had been together all day. He had remembered her birthday-just by coincidence, also that day-with a necklace at AquaRink. Nice, but was that all? He had pestered her since early December about what Christmas present she wanted until she had finally exploded with, “Nothing! Don’t you know I just want a proposal?!” And had added she wanted it to be a surprise. Here he had the perfect chance, and he was wasting it.

She could try enjoying what was left of the evening. Dessert was next. At least here was better than Saizeriya….She was still stuck when she returned to the table, and had no chance to do or say anything, anyway. It was his toilet turn.

Their desserts came. Hiromi sat and waited and pondered the future. Outside, the tower stood alone against the dark sky and Tokyo Bay’s inky darkness.

Their desserts waited. Maybe his tooth was bothering him again. Maybe he was just tolerating it to make the night go well. Maybe for her. Maybe she should go to check on him. Wait-maybe she just heard his voice across the room.

No, only Santa Claus, posing for photographs with diners at the far table. He then started circling the room, giving a small present from his big sack at each table. She could check after he was done.

Hiroshi still had not returned to his seat when Santa reached their table. He handed Hiromi a big, red stocking, by far the room’s largest gift, accompanied by a squeaky, “Atari! You’re a lucky one!” Yeah. She set it aside and Santa moved on. What was he still doing in the toilet?

Santa finished his round, returned to Hiromi, and pointed at her unopened stocking with squeaky, “Un! Un!” grunts. The other diners had opened their presents. She forced a smile and said she was waiting for her boyfriend to return. “Un! Un!”

When Hiromi still resisted, Santa took the stocking in his white-gloved hands and opened it himself. Out first came a big, pink box, heart shaped. He opened that and pulled out another heart-shaped box, and then, from inside that, another heart-shaped box. Another smaller, heart-shaped box followed. He removed from that an even smaller heart-shaped box, and thrust it to Hiromi with one more squeaky, “Un!”

Still gone. Well, he’d miss it. Hiromi obeyed Santa this time and opened it, the smallest box in the room …and her mind and face went blank.

After that frozen moment passed, Hiromi looked at Santa. The second shock hit, and more followed. Santa Claus had ripped off his gloves, furry hat, sunglasses, and huge, flowing beard. He took the box from her?she was still speechless?dropped onto one knee, held the open box out and up to her in both stretching hands, and said in a voice loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, “Hiromi-san, boku-to kekkon shite kudasai! Hiromi, please marry me!”

Outside, to anybody looking, Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination still flashed, and the lights on and around Tokyo Bay still appeared almost twinkling. Inside OCEAN TABLE, on the second floor, everything was happening so fast that Hiromi just did not know which was more difficult to believe: Hiroshi and the ring he first tried slipping onto the finger on her right hand, the one he had taken in his before she held out her left hand, or the following PAN! and PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! and PAN! PAN! and PAN! explosions ripping and ribbons shooting around the room as diners at the floor’s other tables popped the party crackers they had found with the notes in their presents from Santa Claus.

Copyright © 2018 David L. Gregory All rights reserved.

 

I Did It! by David Gregory

She had been here before. But, those were tour-guided or hand-held visits. After living most of her life in white-bread suburban USA, driving everywhere, shopping in giant malls and supermarkets, and needing only one currency and one language, my mother ventured out on her own, within and beyond Chiba, during one trip to Japan. From her notes, here are Dorothy's...

ADVENTURES IN JAPAN
Grocery Shopping in Neighborhood―Walk five blocks...buy only one bag...walk five blocks back. Survived it!

Shopping in City Center―Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus fifteen minutes. Arrive at stores. Walk around. Look. Decide: cookies.

Buying: “Ikura desu-ka how much?” Hmm. “Kakimasu kudasai write please.”

Paying options: give large bill, let clerk figure change, or open change purse, let clerk take out correct amount. Decide to just give some cash.

Clerk shakes her head (“NO! MORE!”), then counts out correct amount needed from register and shows me. I mimic her action from my change purse. Smiles! Deep bows with many, “Arigato gozaimasu thank you very much!”-es.
(My error: thought there was decimal point in Yen price....)

Open cookies, expecting pirouettes with chocolate centers. Instead, peanut butter waffle rolls, no chocolate. No wonder, now I see peanut sketch on package. “Shoganai can’t be changed,” I did it to myself. It could have been worse!
~~~
Travelling to Visit Friend’s Family on Other Side of Chiba―Walk ten blocks to train. Purchase ticket. Electronic lady on ticket machine screen says, “Arigato gozaimasu” and bows. Ride train twenty minutes, watching for correct stop, get off, walk seven blocks to house. I did it myself!

Visiting Hisae Overnight―My Japanese study partner in USA returned to Japan, now lives on other side of Tokyo Bay.

Take large purse and large tote bag with jacket, nightie, toothbrush, cosmetics. Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus to train station. Ride train eighty minutes to Yokohama. Find correct exit from station. EASY. Did not even look at note in pocket explaining route and Japanese signs. And, look! Hisae and three-year old Kei are waiting! “Hello!” they say! Many hugs!

I did it!

Then, still more travel: train together fifteen minutes, short taxi uphill to lovely apartment, sunny and bright.

Returning to Chiba, just reverse process. Next time, we can meet at a station halfway in between. I can do it.
I can do it!

Copyright (C) 2015 David Gregory. All rights reserved. Chiba, Japan

Book Review

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11 2018

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

Reviewed by Randy Swank

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

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

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

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

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

 


Tokyo Fab

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 11. 2021

2021 Juneteeth Festival

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. This historic time marks our country’s second Independence Day. Although it has been celebrated in some African American communities, the monumental event is still largely unknown to most Americans.
The event will include a DJ battle contest, Food, Fashion Show, Artists, Game Tournaments (Cornhole, Dominos, Spades, & UNO), Kids Bouncy House, and Vendors!! Our vendors will include: Cotton Candy, Education Exhibit, Photo Booth, and more!!
"SIGN-UP HERE" to either compete and play in the Juneteenth Festival tournaments!! PRIZES will be awarded to tournament winners!


Date:6/19 (Sun), 2021
Venue: Yokota Air Base in Fussa city

https://www.facebook.com/groups/556015481736854/

 

2021 Black Lives Matter Virtual Art Exhibit

The Legacy Designs Studio, Juneteenth, Black Lives Matter Virtual Art Exhibition takes place this year from June 15th-21st, 2021. Last years event aka experiment was well received leading this event to come back this year, with hopes to make it a regular event each and every year. It is a great opportunity to come together and discuss the current political climate , social issues and solutions, enjoy some great music, as well as experience some of the most amazing Black Artwork from artists on the continent of Africa and in the diaspora. The intention and purpose of this events is to uplift, empower unify and heal our consciousness as a people, as well as to honor the experiences, knowledge, struggle, and strength of ancestors.


Date:6/16 (Wed) 2:00am - 6/21 (Mon) 4:00pm
Venue: via Online

https://legacydesignsstudio.com/blm2021artexhibit/


What’s App With You?

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 11. 2021

Fun Folk:

Fun Folk is a fun new Gaelic music app that is designed to make it easier to introduce young children to traditional Gaelic music, dance, song and folklore of all kinds. Developed by youth arts organization Feis Rois, this Gaelic music and culture app will be available for free download on different mobile platforms including iOS and Android. It will be launched June 1 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in the city of Edmonton. Many people have complained that the advent of smartphones and apps risk making children too obsessed with technology at the cost of staying in touch with their cultural heritage. This is where Fun Folk comes in. The app makes Gaelic music and folklore available to children on modern technological platforms that they will rely on for the rest of their lives.

 

ZanzaMapp:


ZanzaMapp is an exceptionally innovative and useful mobile app, developed by professor Cesare Bianchi working out of Sapienza University in Italy, that is designed to make it easier than ever to gather crowdsourced information from the public in order to be able to spot areas that are high in mosquito activity. What's great about the ZanzaMapp app is the fact that it effectively creates a heat map that allows people to locate and identify places that have a high concentration of mosquitoes, pests and other insects. The app was inspired by the absence of information on how to deal with mosquito-borne threats and diseases. The ZanzaMapp app shows a lot of promise in helping prevent the spread of infectious disease by helping people avoid places that are high in mosquito activity.

 

Tokyo Voice Column

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD TNB Throwback: JUNE 10. 2016

Take Your Shoes Off Please by Dean Mejia

One of my favorite things about living in a Japanese home is that you are forced to/required to/strongly encouraged to take off your shoes before walking through. After I got used to this system I started feeling disgusted by my friends back home who walk outside on the streets picking up pee and poo particles on the bottoms of their sneakers and then drag the dirt throughout their homes without a care in the world.

I love this new cleaner way of life. Still, not all is perfect. In the Winter time, I am very careful in making sure that I always layer up properly in an attempt to keep the cold from reaching my skin. I wear double coats, triple socks, etc. This process of mummifying myself with clothing takes a few minutes and it always makes me pretty non-flexible by the time I’m ready to exit my home.

This makes it extra annoying then when, after already putting on and tying up my footwear, I remember that I forgot my debit card on the bed or I get the sudden urge to use the restroom. I don’t want to go through the whole process of removing my boots just so that I can take care of business (remember it’s difficult to bend down or kick them off because of all of my layers). I can’t go back to walking through my home with my boots on though. I would be spreading filth all around.

Depending on how badly I need what I forgot to bring with me, I’ll either (A) struggle enough to remove one boot and then just do a one-legged hop to whatever I need to reach; (B) keep my footwear on and if I can, try to reach my goal in 2-3 long strides (I have long legs and I rationalize that the quick steps won’t have me dirtying the floor as much); or (C) just forget about what I left behind and try to come up with an alternative solution while on my journey.

I would suggest that to avoid being placed in similar difficult situations you should always try to live in a place with the bathroom located near the exit. Also, consider slip on shoes instead of those with laces.

日本の暮らしで一番気に入ってる点は、家に入る前に靴を脱ぐ事だ。このスタイルに慣れた僕は、国に帰ってから、外出時に道に落ちている犬のふんとかをスニーカーの裏にくっつけたまま、気にもかけず泥をなすりつけて室内を歩き回る友人が気になり始めた。

僕はこの清潔な生活スタイルが大好きだ。まだ、完璧とはいえないが。冬には、冷気が肌に直接当たらないように防寒着をきちんと身につける。コートは2枚羽織るし、靴下は3枚重ねで履く。このようにミイラのように重ね着するには手間と時間がかかるので、家を出る頃には、融通がきかなくなる。

靴を履いて靴ひもを結んで準備万端整った時はいっそうやっかいだ。デビットカードをベッドに置いたままだったと気がついたり、突然トイレに行きたくなったりした事がある。せっかく履いたブーツを脱ぐなんてやっかいだし、着膨れしたまま身体を曲げるなんて困難だ。しかしブーツを履いたまま家の中を歩くなんてごめんだ。家中に汚ない泥が飛び散ってしまう。

僕が忘れ物をどれほど必要としているかにもよるが、僕が取るべき行動は以下のいづれかだ。(A)片方だけブーツを脱いで欲しい物のある場所までピョンピョン飛んで行く。(B)ブーツを履いたまま、できるだけ足を延ばして、2、3歩で欲しい物がある場所まで行く。(A)欲しい物はそのまま忘れたおき、代わりの物で済ます。

こうした苦境に陥らないためには、入り口近くにトイレがある家を探して住んだり、靴ひもを結ばなくてもいいスリッポンのような靴を履く方がいいだろう。


MUSEUM -What's Going on?-

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD APRIL 23. 2021

Commemorating the 150th Year since his Birth Mondrian:
In Search of Pure Pictures


A true master of modern art, Piet Mondrian was a risk-taker whose bold, fearless choices allowed him to become one of the most recognized artists of the 20th century. His abstract paintings in red, yellow, and blue rely on lines and geometry to make a statement and are a far cry from the conservative Dutch art scene he came of age in. So what pushed Mondrian to break boundaries and shake up the art world?
Piet Mondrian, original name Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, a painter who was an important leader in the development of modern abstract art and a major exponent of the Dutch abstract art movement known as De Stijl (“The Style”). In his mature paintings, Mondrian used the simplest combinations of straight lines, right angles, primary colors, and black, white, and gray. The resulting works possess an extreme formal purity that embodies the artist’s spiritual belief in a harmonious cosmos.

《Composition with large red plane,
yellow, black, gray and blue》
1921 Kunstmuseum Den Haag Piet Mondrian

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Piet Mondrian, the exhibition will be exhibiting 50 works by Mondrian from Kunstmuseum Den Haag in the Netherlands, and around 20 other Mondrian and related works owned by domestic and overseas art museums. Mondrian’s works are diverse, including Hague-style landscape paintings from the early century, works devoted to symbolism and theosophy, works influenced by cubism, and compositions of horizontal and vertical primary colors from the later years of his life. Mondrian’s geometrical painting compositions continue to provide inspiration in the fields of design and fashion and cause people to re-examine the breadth of Mondrian’s artwork.
Mondrian described his philosophy as the following: “This new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance…on the contrary, it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and color, that is to say, in the straight line and the clearly defined primary color.”

Period: - June 06 (Sun), 2021
Venue: Sompo Museum of Art
Hours: 10:00-18:00
(last admission 30 minutes before? closing)
Closed: Mondays (*open if it is a holiday)
Admission: General: ¥1,700 / University and college students: ¥300 / Under age 18 Free
By advance reservation only

For more information, please visit

https://www.sompo-museum.org/en/

 

“Picasso: Life on the Co^te d’Azur”

Between the years of 1946 and 1973, Pablo Picasso created a breathtaking collection of original ceramic works. But how did Picasso―best known for his paintings―first become interested in ceramics? And how does his pottery fit into his larger body of work? Join us for this brief history of Picasso ceramics, the results of a truly remarkable period in the life of one of the 20th-century greatest artists.
After World War II my father explored the full potential of working in pottery, including the different techniques of painting with slips and glazes. Over a period of some twenty years, he modeled, shaped, designed, decorated, engraved and carved over 3,500 fired clay objects. The great invention and originality of this large body of work have established his importance in the development of 20th-century art pottery. ―Claude Picasso, From “Picasso: Painter and Sculptor in Clay,” Royal Academy of Arts, 1998.

PABLO PICASSO
"Vase Tripode Visage de Femme A.R.125"
1951, Ce´ramique
(C) - Succession Pablo Picasso - BCF (JAPAN)

Picasso was intrigued at how quickly and inexpensively he could create these new ceramic works. In an era when only the wealthy could afford his paintings and sculptures, Picasso welcomed the notion that his pottery and ceramics could potentially be owned by everyday people in the post-war world. Picasso also loved the idea of his ceramic works being both aesthetically pleasing and functional―he frequently gifted his pots, plates, pitchers, and bowls to friends and family members.
This exhibition will showcase his passion for ceramics introducing his ceramic works and their background as well as explores the changes in Picasso’s daily life and the innovations that his ceramics brought about in relation to his time.

 

Period: - September 26 (Sun), 2021
Venue: YOKU MOKU Museum
Hours: 10:00-17:00 / -20:00 on Fridays (last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Closed: Mondays (*If Monday is a national holiday, Monday will be opened and Tuesday will be closed. )
Admission: General: ¥1,200 / Students: ¥800 / Elementary School Students and Younger:Free

For more information, please visit

https://yokumokumuseum.com/


Strange but True

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 11. 2021

The "correct" way to eat sushi?

A woman who shared an ingenious way to eat sushi with soy sauce may have you questioning how you eat yours. A woman from Queensland, Australia demonstrated the hack on TikTok, where she showed herself pushing the long nozzle of the classic fish-shaped soy sauce directly into the seafood roll instead of using it to season the sushi as you eat it. She then squeezes it so that the sauce coats the inside of the roll. This allows the rice to absorb the soy sauce, rather than simply sitting on top of the sushi as it usually does. She said: "Next time you eat sushi and you get soy sauce, do this... You're welcome." Could this sushi-eating hack be popular in Japan as well or do you prefer the traditional way of eating sushi?

Interview tomorrow but I am green...

While preparing for a job interview, you set out to look your best. Whether it's over Zoom or in person, how you look on your big day plays an important part in whether you get a job or not. So one woman was left begging for help after her attempt to relax with a face mask before the big day went very wrong. The TikTok user tried out a chlorophyll face mask - the latest beauty trend to go viral on TikTok. You might remember the green compound from biology class - but aside from its sun-absorbing qualities, it helps nourish and feed the skin. It is an antioxidant that helps protect the cells from damage and can reduce inflammation. But it is VERY GREEN and actually, not ideal to put straight on your face without mixing it with a cream, or it can stain....as this TikTok user found out. After scrubbing her face, she was left with a very green face - which reminded some of the famous green ogre Shrek.

 

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