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Friday, Nov. 22, 2002

LIFELINES

Finding a place and food for Thanksgiving


Finding a place

Andrew in Kanagawa-ken wants to know how to help his daughter's French boyfriend get accommodation.

"He needs a Japanese guarantor, but being a student can't fall back on company sponsorship. Any ideas?"

Sakurai Corporation, which specializes in helping non-Japanese find accommodation, associates with Nihon Safety.

This company guarantees the rent if the tenant proves unable to pay, or if the tenant terminates the contract early. It pays cleaning and clearance charges if a tenant disappears, and legal fees if a landlord and tenant are in dispute.

Nihon Safety charge the tenant about 70 percent of one month's rent for this service

Be warned, however. This system doesn't work without a landlord's agreement, and not all Japanese landlords trust such companies.

Akio Sakurai (of Sakurai Corp.) often introduces a Japanese friend to act as guarantor if he believes the tenant is reliable.

Sakurai Corp. has moved of late, and can now be found at #301, 23-9 Midori, Sumida-ku, Tokyo (03-5600-3201; fax 03-5600-3200. E mail: masaskri@gamma.ocn.ne.jp).

Alternatively, call Japan Group of Consultant, based in Shinjuku, which offers a guarantor service for house rentals. Phone 03-3358-8521; fax 03-3358 8525. E-mail: luminescence@tokyo.email.ne.jp. Their Web site is at: www.jgc-luminescence.co.jp/help

Facts for foodies

With Thanksgiving looming on Thursday, North Americans new to Japan may fear that Thanksgiving in Japan means no cranberries to accompany the turkey.

But fear not. Kinokuniya always has frozen, if not fresh, supplies, as do most of the so-called international supermarkets.

Which brings me to a reader's inquiry from Mita, Tokyo, about goats' cheese.

"Cheese made from cow's milk doesn't agree with me, and my doctor has recommended goat cheese. Any ideas for regular supplies?"

Many of the main train stations in and around Tokyo now feature 'import shops,' run by the Seijoishii company.

These are a godsend, bringing foods from all around the world at far more reasonable prices than the usual upmarket outlets.

There are 23 in all, cleverly positioned in or around major railway stations, mostly in the Kanto region but there is also one in Umeda, Osaka -- which has at least four types of goat cheese at any one time. You can find this particular branch at the foot of the escalator (Takanawa side), main exit, on the right-hand side.

You can find a complete list of branches -- in Japanese -- on the Web site: www.seijijoishii.co.jp

Calling all coeliacs

Recently arrived S. in Aiichi Prefecture has a child who is allergic to gluten. That means all wheat-containing products are out.

Pamela Weinsaft (E-mail: coeliac_japan@yahoo.com) advises S. to check out the following Web sites for more information: www.coeliac.com/index.html;   www.coaceliacs.org/infocenter.html

Here are a few things about hidden gluten in Japan that she has learned to date: there is wheat (and thus gluten) in soy sauce; all prepared foods in convenience stores have wheat in them (even salads, sushi etc.); many of the "foreign" products which are gluten-free in the form sold outside Japan are not necessarily gluten-free in Japan (ie. certain potato chips, nacho chips etc.).

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers, to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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