Upfront Extra

Reminiscent of U.S. women’s retailer Anthropologie without the clothes, Jiyugaoka’s Timeless Comfort is one of those home shops where you covet everything in sight. The first floor has colorful, useful kitchen items including cast-iron cookware and the usual accoutrements, plus a café ensconced at the back where you can get bagel French toast for ¥702. Floor two offers cozy, quality furnishings—a bit pricey but not ridiculous—while the basement boasts organic products from soaps to fabrics. Any purchase will surely give your home a fashionable, friendly touch!

2-9-11 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku (also in Shibuya). www.timelesscomfort.com

Sep 29, 2014 | No Comments | 153 views

Face it: in Japan, the ratio of available seating to time spent waiting just sucks. Smartphone games and apps help kill the time, but what will rescue your poor aching feet? That’s where the ingenious Book Stool from Going Furniture sweeps in to save your soles. This 5cm-thick portable “book” fans out in a flash to become a stool that can support up to 80kg of weary bones. Available online at Amazon (¥3,240), it can be stored in your bookcase when at home. At 1.62kg, it’s a little hefty (think coffee table book), but it’s a fair trade if you consider that it will support you (and your reading material) in return.




Sep 29, 2014 | No Comments | 113 views

For Empowerment of Women (FEW) is inviting all self-identified women to attend its 18th Career Strategy Seminar this October. The event offers a platform for women in Japan wanting to take charge of their careers, presenting an opportunity to listen, exchange information and learn from notable speakers including Lori Henderson, Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Tiziana Alamprese, Marketing Director for Chrysler Japan, and many more. Oct 4, Meguro MG Meguro Ekimae Bldg. See community listings for details. public.relations@fewjapan.com

Sep 22, 2014 | No Comments | 1,221 views

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 | 1,999 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 | 608 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 | 950 views

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