Upfront Extra

If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy an authentic tea ceremony or experience a traditional Japanese theater performance, the Tokyo Traditional Arts Program—part of the Tokyo Culture Creation Project organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture—will offer both events this fall. The first is a Japanese tea ceremony in a natural, outdoor setting, while the other is a comic theater performance that features three of Japan’s living national treasures onstage together for the first time.

Event 1: Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony 2014

Discover the time-honored customs of Japan’s traditional tea culture at this large-scale, open-air tea ceremony, open to people of all nationalities from anywhere in the world. The Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony was started in 2008 and since then, about 105,000 people have taken part in this event and experienced the serenity of the Japanese tea ceremony. The event will introduce the art, aesthetics and subtle beauty of sado that underly the landscape, as well as the tools and the spirit of hospitality that make up this venerable tradition.

  • Sep 27-28, 10am-5pm. Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Koganei Park. 3-7-1 Sakura-cho, Koganei, Tokyo.
  • Oct 11-12, 9:30am-4:10pm. Hama-rikyu Gardens. 1-1, Hama-rikyu-teien, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. www.tokyo-grand-tea-ceremony2014.jp

Event 2: Kyogen: Supremacy and Successors

Kyogen is a form of comic theater that developed alongside Noh, Japan’s oldest theatrical art. While Kyogen is often performed during in interludes in Noh performances, it has its own unique tradition and repertory. The actors are mainly men, who have passed this art down among family members for generations. There are currently three Kyogen actors who have been declared living national treasures of Japan, and  all three will perform in the same show for the first time on October 28.

  • Tue Oct 28, 6:30pm. National Theatre (large theatre). 4-1 Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. www.dento-wa.jp/en

Sep 4, 2014 | No Comments | 1,248 views

The name Gari Gari Kun conjures images of, at best, suspect-flavored ice creams: corn potage, napolitana sauce and veggie stew to name a few. So it comes as no surprise that the makers of such wacky-flavored summertime refreshments would also come up with Gari Gari Kun toothpaste. Produced by Lion Corporation, the kid-targeted gloop includes nashi (Japanese pear) and soda flavors (¥195 per 40g tube). If nothing else, it’ll make it a breeze to get little ones to brush their teeth­—just make sure they don’t eat it.

By: Lisa Wallin | Aug 30, 2014 | No Comments | 590 views

Dear AMA,

My friend is going through a very difficult time and I’m not sure how to help him. He has been with his Japanese wife for eight years and it has been an unhappy relationship for a while. He has tried to end it several times, but she threatens suicide, so he goes back. I think she’s just manipulating him and I want to tell him to leave her, but fear that if I do and something terrible happens, I also would be responsible. —Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned Friend,

We passed your question on to the good people at TELL. Here’s what they had to say…

“You sound torn about how to best support your friend. Ending a relationship is never easy and a very stressful, emotionally challenging time for everyone involved. You are right to be concerned about your friend’s wife. One of the many false myths surrounding suicide is that people who threaten or talk about suicide are just seeking attention and won’t follow through with the act. People who threaten suicide should always be taken seriously. Most people who are on the verge of ending their life are hurt, depressed, lonely and/or feel like all hope is lost. They often see suicide as the last option to end their emotional suffering. Additionally, if the person feels you think they are just seeking attention, they may go out of their way to prove how much pain they are in and that they are serious.

Please tell your friend that getting professional help will be important for both him and his wife. TELL has numerous bilingual counselors who specialize in couples counseling in Tokyo. Their approach includes help with ending relationships. They can also give information about services in other parts of Japan. It will be important not to confront your friend’s wife, accuse her of being manipulative, place blame or get into power struggles. You can give the Lifeline’s hours and number to your friend; the line can help him sort through his feelings, talk through options and, hopefully, find a way forward. The police are another important source of support if anyone is actively threatening to kill themselves. They also have an English-speaking number (03-3501-0110) that operates from 8:30am-5:15pm Monday through Friday. Your friend is lucky to have your support, which will be important to him as he tries to navigate the end of his marriage. Please know that the Lifeline is also there for you yourself, as you may be feeling stressed and anxious. Sharing your concerns in a safe, confidential and anonymous environment can help ease the load.”

Answer courtesy of TELL. If you need to talk, they’re here to listen. Call the TELL Lifeline at 03-5774-0992 from 9am-11pm, 365 days a year, or visit their website at www.telljp.com

Following the death of Robin Williams, TELL has expressed concern about unsafe suicide reporting. See their full response here: http://meturl.com/tellwill

If you want to “Ask Metropolis Anything” about life in Tokyo, send your questions to askanything@metropolis.co.jp and we’ll find the most appropriate people to answer your queries.

Aug 24, 2014 | No Comments | 937 views

Copyright: frenc / 123RF Stock Photo

Unlike the West, Japan’s spooky season peaks in August with obon. This is a good time to let people know what you can or can’t handle when it comes to creepy situations. Don’t be afraid! Use the structure “(noun) ga (adjective) desu” to tell them what you mean.

Scary Sentiments

JP: Watashi wa yurei ga kowai desu.

EN: I’m scared of ghosts.


JP: Watashi wa gokiburi ga nigate desu.

EN: I can’t stand cockroaches.

Cinema Style

JP: Hora- eiga ga suki desu ka?

EN: Do you like horror movies?

City Safety

JP: Watashi wa Shinjuku no machi wo yoru dearuku no ga kowai desu.

EN: I’m scared of going out in Shinjuku at night.

Aug 23, 2014 | No Comments | 792 views

©和月伸宏/集英社 © 2014「るろうに剣心 京都大火/伝説の最期」製作委員会

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, the first half of a two-part follow-up to 2012’s Rurouni Kenshin, offers dynamic fight choreography in the style of Hong Kong cinema. It took the No. 2 spot at theaters this week, and can be caught with English subtitles once daily at Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills.


1. Stand By Me: Doraemon

2. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

3. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Top Japanese Singles

1. Eightranger—“ER 2”

2. Jin Akanishi—“Good Time”

3. SKE48—“Bukiyo Taiyo” (En: “Clumsy Sun”)

Top Manga

1. Shingeki no Kyojin vol. 14 (En: Attack on Titan)

2. Naruto vol. 70

3. Haikyuu!! vol. 12

Top Karaoke Songs

1. Takako Matsu—“Let it Go Ari no Mama de

2. AKB48—“Koi suru Fortune Cookie” (En: The Fall-in-Love Fortune Cookie)

3. Sayaka Kanda, Sumire Morohoshi & Hazuki Inaba—Yukidaruma Tsukurou” (En: “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”)

Movie rankings from Eiga.com. Music and manga rankings from Oricon. All rankings as of August 15.

Aug 20, 2014 | No Comments | 143 views

Copyright: akiyoko / 123RF Stock Photo

Summer is the season of beer, fireworks, kakigori (shaved ice) and bon odori dance festivals. So throw on your yukata, get out in the sun and use “-tai desu” to express a few of your hot-weather desires!


JP: Watashi wa beeru wo nomitai desu.

EN: I want to drink some beer.

JP: Beeru wa oishii desu-ne. Edamame mo tabetai desu.

EN: Beer tastes great, doesn’t it? I want to eat some edamame, too.


JP: O-matsuri de kakigori wo tabetai desu.

EN: I want to eat some shaved ice at the festival.

JP: Hanabi taikai ni iku node yukata wo kitai desu.

EN: I’m going to see fireworks, so I want to wear a yukata.

Lesson by Meros Language School (www.meros.jp)

Aug 16, 2014 | No Comments | 924 views

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