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Tuesday, March 25, 2003


A reading matter, helping the needy and driving schools

More used books

Bill in Yokohama is wondering if there is any individual or organization in Japan to which he might donate used English titles. "The books are not textbooks, but rather works of fiction and nonfiction in good condition."

You could try your local library. If there is a section already dedicated to English language books -- hardbacks and paperbacks -- there is a good chance staff will be happy to take them off your hands. If there is no section, maybe there should/could be? If such a system is operational, often there is a day or time in a day set aside for receiving donations.

Alternatively, there are now two bookstores dependent on taking used English-language titles aboard.

The first is Good Day Books in Ebisu, about whom we have written before. Basically, when you take in books you receive credits based on their age and condition. You then use these credits towards purchasing new reading matter.

Owner Taeko Kobayashi and her brother speak good English (the foreign staff, excellent Japanese) and will explain exactly how the system works and when best to bring books in. Good Day Books is at 1-11-2-3F Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013. Phone (03) 5421 0957 or fax (03) 5421 0958. E-mail: gooday@goodaybooks.com or gooday@gol.com. Their Web site is at www.goodaybooks.com

The Blue Parrot is new (1-7-5-#204 Aoyama Seven Heights, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002). They can be reached at (03) 5485 5558, and their Web site is at www.blueparrottokyo.com

The shop is small, and easy to miss as it also sells knicknacks, so look out for the 100 yen book bin outside. On the plus side, staff will, for the moment, collect books in quantity from anywhere in the city. Also the English Web site (Japanese coming soon) announces interesting acquisitions, like (most recently) 20 issues of Mangajin (the learning magazine that ceased publication a few years ago) in prime condition.

There is also a "kanji of the week" box to assist students of Japanese language.

Used clothes

Vaunda Perry notes (Lifelines 24/12/2002) that two places accept donations of used clothing: Sanya Workers Welfare Hall (men's only) and the Salvation Army.

"Are there any other possible points of donation? I have heard U.S. divisions of the Salvation Army have turned down donations in the past for various reasons. Not sure of the procedure here."

Vaunda did check the SA site ( www.salvationarmy.or.jp/english/ but there seemed to be no clear explanation of what, if any, policies apply to donations, nor if they need to be addressed to a particular SA person or section.

Best is maybe to just send the clothes along to the address that follows, writing USED CLOTHING clearly on the package. The SA is a good organization, and responsible, distributing unwanted goods where there is immediate need and staging bazaars to raise funds for its work with the homeless and disadvantaged.

Donations should be addressed to: 2-21-2 Wada, Suganami-ku, Tokyo 166-0012, where bazaars are held every Saturday, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. There are reports of rich pickings and amazing bargains.

Directions please

A reader in Shinagawa wants to personally take used clothing to the Sanya Workers Welfare Hall at 1-25-11 Nihon-Zutsumi, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0021.

"Can you tell me how to get there and also what hours it's open?"

Charlie Mc Jilty, executive director of Food Bank Japan, says there are always people at the hall at weekends. As for directions, this depends on whether you're coming by car or train. The nearest station is Minami-senju, on the Hibiya subway line. Call Charlie on (090) 6029 1823 for details. They collect unwanted food and distribute it where needed. Phone or fax (03) 3838 3827 for more information. Also see www.foodbankjapan.org.

Driving schools

A reader is looking for a cheap driving school that teaches in English, or indeed any cheap driving school, because he does have some basic Japanese language skills.

Cheap? Well, it depends on where you live; also remember the old adage: you get what you pay for. Lessons may be cheaper but instruction may take longer, so . . . swings and roundabouts. Since Japanese-speaking, why not contact the Samezu Drivers Licence Test Centre in Tokyo on (03) 3474 1374 and see if they have a list of schools in your area.

If any readers have recommendations, let us know.


Diana Pitt in Kobe is desperately seeking replacements -- especially cups and small plates -- for her collection of Kutani crane design Wedgwood bone china.

"Wedgwood has stopped making them but the pattern was very popular in Japan so there must be people out there with unwanted pieces." Can anyone help?

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

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