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Thursday, July 18, 2002


Taking a break in Tokyo and getting to grips with coins

Did you miss me? Hopefully not. Due to stockpiling three columns, I was able to escape the worst excesses of rainy season to the U.K. for five weeks without leaving a gaping hole on the page.

Nice to be back though, and to find so many enquiries piling up. From the most recent batch of 16, however, three were scams -- two from Nigeria and one involving a so-called Chinese company. If you receive any mails involving alleged large amounts of money and proposed investment opportunities, delete!

More now about EM-bokashi (Lifelines; June 20).

Geraldine Norris in Shizu- oka, for example, describes EM as "effective microrganisms that are aerobic and anaerobic bacteria (long used in food processing, such as lactic acid bacteria and yeast) that are collectively cultivated in molasses."

She says EM products are available from EM Umemura Co., Nagoya who may, or may not speak, English (0120-55 5546). She also recommends a book, "An Earth-Saving Revolution" by Teru Higa, published by Sunmark.

American Dennis Hawkins and his Japanese wife, who live in Kawagoe, belong to a group in Saitama that meets every three months to make hundreds of kilograms of EM-11.

They prepare the soil with EM-1 and raw garbage, and put EM-11 around plants every two months. "A single eggplant planted in April produced vegetables right through to the end of November. We lost count of how many we picked."

Dennis is happy to explain to anyone in English how EM works, how it is used, how to store it and where it can be bought cheaply by the kilogram. Phone 049-235 4478.

A request here. Since most of our enquiries are online, please make it clear whether you want not only your name published, but also contact details. Putting readers directly in contact with one another certainly speeds things up from our point of view, but you may prefer anonymity.

As further proof of just how far our readership is spreading around the world, Nelson Almeda from Melbourne, Australia, is coming to Japan on vacation between Aug. 10-30. Delighted to come across this paper online, he is asking about visiting Atago-jinja in Tokyo.

This 400-year-old Shinto shrine is in Minato Ward and close by Shinagawa, Shimbashi and so on. It is open to the public daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and -- in line with most shrines -- entry is free. The nearest station is Kamiyacho on the Hibiya subway line.

Nelson may like to know some local history. In August 1945, Atago Hill (where the shrine is located and also the site of NHK Broadcast Museum) was where the original NHK studio and antenna were located. After a group of fanatical junior officers of the Imperial Army failed to capture the recording disc bearing Emperor Showa's surrender broadcast, they formed a circle on top of the hill and blew themselves up.

On a jollier note, Rebecca Marck was an avid reader of Jean Pearce's column. "Now there's someone to fill the gap." She's already clipping and stashing columns for future reference and found Ken's reply concerning employment pensions upon retirement especially useful.

Rebecca is enquiring on behalf of a blind friend. He can sort coins but it takes forever, and he hates holding up queues in the supermarket. Recently someone showed her a wallet inherited from his elderly Japanese father-in-law. "It's so convenient. It has a sort of built-in plastic rack with different size slots for different denominations."

The lucky owner would not be parted from the wallet for love nor money, so she is looking for a similar design, which she thinks will make her visually-impaired friend's life a lot easier.

Finally, last week's Web site for a car rescue service should have read (according to an online reader in Santa Barbara, U.S.) : www.jaf.or.jp

The name of the doctor at the British Clinic (Lifelines, June 6) was misspelled Symonds, not Symmonds.

As for Doctor Theodore King who established the King Clinic in the 1950s, he died just a few years ago. It is his son who now practices in Harajuku. Dr. Leo King attended International School in Tokyo and studied medicine at a Japanese medical college and surgery at St. Luke's Hospital in Tsukiji. He works bilingually.

Many thanks to A.D. Fair (of the Tokyo Medical & Surgical Clinic) who penned these pointers.

And for anybody interested in finding out more about the ongoing campaign for an international channel in Japan for the international community and efforts to keep Fox News on the air, check out www.internationalchannel.jp

E-mail: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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