Upfront Extra

Courtesy of Avex Trax

Formed in 2005, AAA (“Triple A,” an acronym for Attack All Around) is a mixed-gender pop septet brought together by mega-label Avex Trax. Their new single, “Wake up!” ranks in at No. 3 this week, reaping the benefits of its selection as the 17th opening song for anime juggernaut One Piece.

Top Japanese Singles

1. Kanjani Eight—“Omoidama

2. Inifinite—“Last Romeo ~ Kimi ga Ireba Ii~

3. AAA—“Wake up!”


1. Disney—Frozen: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Jpn: Anna to Yuki no Jo-o)

2. Vixx—Darkest Angels

3. Linkin Park—The Hunting Party


1. Maleficent

2. Edge of Tomorrow (Jpn: All You Need is Kill)

3. Frozen (Jpn: Anna to Yuki no Jo-o)


1. Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball) vol. 28

2. Ansatsu Kyoshitsu (Assassination Classroom) vol. 10

3. Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) vol. 13


Movie rankings from Eiga.com. Music and manga rankings from Oricon.

Jul 22, 2014 | No Comments | 102 views

Copyright: ryanking999 / 123RF Stock Photo

Dear AMA,

I’m overdue for a tooth cleaning and checkup. How much can I expect to pay at the dentist’s office if I have national insurance? Is it true that I need to make two separate appointments?—Cavityprone

Dear Cavityprone,

We passed your query on to Dr. Oikawa of Trust Dental Clinic. Here’s what he had to say…

With Japanese National Health Insurance, you will need to pay 30 percent of the total cost at a clinic or hospital. The initial exam and a tooth cleaning should be anywhere from ¥1,780-3,860 out of pocket, depending on the type of exam and X-rays you need. National Health Insurance requires that a clinic divide tooth cleaning over two appointments. It’s a very unrealistic rule for everyone, but as we say here, “a rule is a rule.” There are some clinics where they just do it all in one appointment, but they’re doing one half of the cleaning for free. Remember that Japanese dental offices are only paid a quarter to half of what a dentist would earn in the U.S. or E.U.—so please be kind to your dentist!

Dr. Oikawa is a U.S.-licensed, English-speaking dentist at Trust Dental Clinic, 1-11-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. trustdental.jp/english/

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

Jul 14, 2014 | No Comments | 556 views

Traditional Japanese footwear gets a new twist with Geta Setta Japan’s beach sandals. The natural rubber soles offer resilience and comfort, while padded straps reduce scraping. But the real appeal is the wafu design—bold colors such as yellow, teal and red mixed with elaborate traditional patterns from graphic shapes to the iconic sakura. Women’s sizes are 24 and 25.5cm, while men’s sandals are available in 27 and 28cm (all sizes ¥5,200 plus tax). The size range isn’t broad, but hey—if the shoe fits, it’s the perfect city-to-beach look this summer.



Jul 9, 2014 | No Comments | 557 views


Optimus Prime may have to move down at the kaiten-zushi bar: On July 24, T-Arts Company, Ltd. will release its first wave of sushi toys that transform into battle-ready robots at the push of a button. Noble Toromaru and his nigiri allies face off against the maki-styled Tema Kids, their fish slices serving as both shields and hiding places for powerful hand-held weapons in “kaisen” mode. Each Sushi Warrior—or Sushi Sentai Sharida—has a suggested pre-tax retail price of ¥850. We presume they will all eventually join forces to fend off the threat of a gigantic set of transforming chopsticks.

By: Mike Kanert | Jul 8, 2014 | No Comments | 557 views

Located in Kuramae, Kakimori allows customers to make their own personalized notebooks from scratch. With over 60 color and paper options for the front and back covers and 30 interior page options ranging from foolscap to craft paper, it’s easy to choose something unique to you. With prices running ¥760 and up, you can even select the binding color and the fastening mechanism. It only takes about ten minutes from start to finish—and when you’ve used it up to the last page, you can come back to get a refill.

4-20-12 Kuramae, Taito-ku. Nearest stn: Kuramae.


Jul 7, 2014 | No Comments | 152 views

Dear AMA,

I have a history of sexual abuse, starting from my own father. It seems to follow me wherever I go…

I moved to Japan several years ago and I recently changed jobs. I really like this new job and I think there’s a future in it for me, but I’m being sexually harassed by my immediate manager. It’s nothing too serious right now—touching my arms and thighs, kissing my cheek at company outings, checking me out and saying I look nice. Maybe because I have a history of sexual abuse, even these small things make me feel incredibly uncomfortable. But I’m also worried that this will escalate if I don’t say something. And that’s the problem… I’m too scared to say anything. I’ve tried speaking up in the past and nobody believed me—and I had to quit my part-time job.

Why me? Is it the way I dress? The way I look? Am I giving off mixed signals without realizing it? I really don’t want to lose this job, but I don’t want to be around my manager. The office is 98 percent men, and if I can’t stand up for myself now, I’m afraid everyone will soon take advantage of me. I tried telling my Japanese friends, but they told me that it’s normal and their bosses also touch them, and there’s nothing we can do. Is this really normal? —Looking for Answers

Dear Looking,

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

Thank you for having the courage to write and share your story with us. We do not believe you are crazy—and it is something serious. The unwanted acts you are experiencing from your boss are sexual harassment, which understandably can make working there extremely uncomfortable and even frightening. It is not something you have to put up with even if others tell you it is normal; it is wrong.

Unfortunately, as of yet, Japan does not have a statute that provides victims of sexual harassment with protection. Instead, there is something called Article 11 of Japan’s Equal Employment Opportunity Law, which states that a company cannot discriminate based on gender, and requires that the employer take steps to make the workplace free from sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment takes place in one of two forms: “retaliation-type” (unfair treatment such as being fired for refusing a co-worker or boss’ sexual advances) or “environment-type,” which is what you are describing: unwanted sexual touching that is impacting your ability and desire to continue to work there. To get a better understanding of your legal status and the options you have, it is best to speak with a lawyer. Our telephone counselors can help you find one who might be able to help.

Your belief that sexual harassment is something that follows you is not a simple question to answer. You briefly mentioned that you are a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of your father. Research shows that all too often, survivors of childhood trauma experience something called “revictimization,” which can involve other traumatic experiences of abuse in the course of their lives. Often feelings of guilt and self-blame are experienced, in the sense that a survivor may believe that they “asked for it” or “must like it.” Also, on a very basic level it has to do with a survivor employing dissociative coping methods that helped keep them alive through past experiences, which may minimize social cues that would usually alert them to possible danger.

It is important to know that this is not your fault. Talking to someone who understands trauma can be helpful. The telephone counselors at the Lifeline can help you with this, but I also recommend reaching out to a therapist specializing in child sexual abuse for adults. We have face-to-face therapists at TELL who can help you on this journey.

If you need to talk, the TELL Lifeline is there to listen. Call TELL at 03-5774-0992 or visit their website at www.telljp.com.


Jul 3, 2014 | No Comments | 779 views

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