Upfront Extra

(Photo: 123RF Stock Photo/ zurijeta)

Dear AMA,

I’m an ALT who works in a public elementary school. I think there’s a student in one of the classes who is getting abused at home. He comes to school with a black eye, a swollen lip or bruises on his arms. I asked him a couple times what happened and he just says “…my dad.” I have brought this to the Japanese teachers, but they don’t do anything about it! They told me that what happens at home is none of our business. That’s really hard for me to understand! I don’t get it, it’s so frustrating! What can a “foreigner” like me do to help this kid??

—Savior or Nosey Parker


Dear Savior,

We passed your query on to TELL and here’s what they had to say:

“Suspecting that a child may be experiencing abuse at home can leave one feeling worried and stressed. The feeling of helplessness you are experiencing is understandable considering your co-workers appear to either not want to or are unsure of how to handle this situation. Your stress may be compounded by the fact that as a non-Japanese person here, the laws and available resources for this student might be unknown or inaccessible to you because of the language barrier.

It might help you to know that there is a child protection system in Japan that you can contact with your concerns. The quick version of how it works is that anyone (even the child himself) is able to report suspicions of child abuse—anonymously if they wish. The child must be under the age of 18. Key information includes the name, age and gender of the child, and the address where he or she lives; dates of abuse; other siblings living in the home; and photos if necessary. Reporting may be done via the national Child Guidance Hotline (0570-064-000), or by fax, letter or a direct visit to a Child Guidance Center or welfare office. Presently the reporting can only be done in Japanese.

TELL Counseling Service (TCS) has a Children Protection Program in which specialists are able to speak with parents, schools, the child or the concerned person in English or Japanese about the abuse and the steps that can be taken. TCS can be reached at 03-4550-1146 (English) and 03-4550-1147 (Japanese).

If you need more information about a Child Guidance Center in your area you can call the TELL Lifeline and speak with a phone counselor who can help you find that information. While you are making your decision about what to do, remember that our phone counselors are here seven days a week to listen to all your concerns, frustrations and worries without judgment.”

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.

Metropolis would also like to notify you of Childline, a counseling service kids can call themselves in Japanese at 0120-99-7777. www.childline.or.jp

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.

Apr 20, 2014 | No Comments | 112 views

One fact that is not a secret—and that you will never be allowed to forget if you live in this country—is that Japan has four distinct season. Now you can remind yourself even in your kitchen with the Four Seasons Spice Shakers (¥3,780 for a set of 4) available from the MoMA Design Store. The snow globe-like shakers come empty, allowing you to fill them with your favorite spices. Surround the spring tree with parsley or oregano, plant the summer cactus a sandy bed of white pepper. Red pepper flakes will resemble fallen leaves around autumn try and salt around the evergreen will make for a White Christmas. The animal variation represents the seasons with a bunny, camel, deer and polar bear.


By: Taiichi Izawa | Apr 5, 2014 | No Comments | 1,030 views

Photo: Teppei Sato.

With the enactment of the state secrets law (see feature, pp 6-7), secrets, ironically, are everywhere. Here’s how to crack the code.


• 秘密 himitsu = secret, conceal + carefulness, minuteness = secret

• 内緒 naisho = inside/between + beginning/end/strap = secrecy, confidentiality, privacy

• 秘訣 hiketsu = mysteries, key

• 企業秘密 kigyo himitsu = trade secret

• 秘密兵器 himitsu heiki = secret weapon

• 秘密漏洩 himitsu rousetsu = leaking of a secret

• 秘密情報 himitsu jouhou = confidential information

• 特定秘密保護法 = tokuteihimitsuhogohou = State Secrecy Law


Apr 2, 2014 | No Comments | 1,014 views

Photo by Davi Azevedo

Dear AMA,

“I love gel nails and get them done when I can, but I find it hard to figure out what the biggest trends are for the seasons since most of the Japanese magazines are just advertising—opposed to editorial about what to look for. Can you tell me what the big nail trends for spring 2014 are?”


Dear Nailista,

We passed your query on to Lena Kasai, manager and head nail artist at JoliNails Nail Salon and Spa. Here’s what she had to say…

This year, spring nail trends are a bit different abroad than they are in Japan. Here in Tokyo, smoky pastels and florals are popular styles for the season. If you wonder what “smoky pastel” is, it’s the vibrant look of light pastels  toned down with a slightly grayish shade, which changes kawaii, or cute, looking nails into a more sophisticated, cool and adult style.

Floral patterns are popular in general at this time of year, but for 2014 bigger and more dramatic flowers are taking the lead.

Coral red with studs. Photo by Davi Azevedo

Outside of Japan, the main colors are orchid or lavender purple, creamy caramel or nude and coral red. As for design, studs and matte topcoats are spicing up fingertips here, there and everywhere.

If you’re looking for inspiration in general, magazines such as Nail Up and Nail Max are great starting points for decorated and cute nails, while Nail Venus has more edgy designs. Fashion glossies such as Fudge, will occasionally publish special edition nail booklets as well. In the end, whatever suits your style and preference is the best. Feel free to bring along magazines as reference when you see your nail artist and she can help advise you on what might suit you.

Reverse French nail with floral pattern. Photo by Davi Azevedo

JoliNails Nail Salon and Spa is an English speaking nail and esthetic salon in Tokyo with childcare. 3-10-9 Shirogane, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6721-9669 or 080-3599-9669. Book online at www.joliarts-salon.com


Apr 2, 2014 | No Comments | 282 views

Anyone learning a foreign language is bound to make mistakes, and Japanese is especially tricky. But sometimes language mistakes can be endearing to native speakers. Here’s what some Japanese women found kawaii coming from the lips of foreigners.

“An American guy would always use sou ne when actively listening. I guess his teacher must have been a woman.”
- 20-year-old student

”During an English to Japanese translation test, “doctor” became ika-san (Mr. Squid) instead of oisshasan. It was cute, even though he was an old guy.”
- 24-year-old finance worker

“There were two middle-aged foreign gentlemen sitting in the seats next to me at a soba restaurant. Without looking at the menu, they ordered stiffly, but perfectly morisoba, ichimai. This was followed by tempura no momowawase and the waiter responded with a giggle. Apparently moriawase (large helping)  was too difficult.”
- 28-year-old office worker

Source: http://trendnews.yahoo.co.jp


By: Taiichi Izawa | Mar 29, 2014 | No Comments | 1,053 views

Finding new ways to match garments to each other can help you get more mileage out of your wardrobe. The Wear App helps you do just that. Users share photos of full outfits—as well as individual items—so others can discover new coordination ideas. Fashion brands also use the service to show off the best combos of their items together and models use it to get extra exposure.  Unlike many apps that are limited to brand and item choices, you can search using certain terms such as “men’s”, “women’s”, “kids’”, particular colors or patterns, and so on. Normal users are called “wearistas” and official accounts are called  “shop staff.” Once new coordinates are made, they can be shared and commented on. It also saves you from having to say to random strangers, “I love your skirt, where did you get it?”


Free for Android and iPhone.



Mar 20, 2014 | No Comments | 1,228 views

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