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Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003

LIFELINES

Train trips, veggies and stitch-ups


Moonsky star trip

Further to last week's information on where to buy tickets for the Trans-Siberian railway, Colette in Yokohama describes the trip she took in 1993 as, "one of the most amazing experiences of my life." She organized her journey through Moonsky Star, a travel agent based in Beijing that specializes in Trans-Siberian tours. Check out their monkey-funky Web site at www.monkeyshrine.com

2004 is the Year of the Monkey according to Chinese lore, by the way.

Good news for veggies

Vegetarian Maryann has developed severe environmental and food allergies since arriving in Japan 9 years ago.

"I thought you'd like to know about a couple who raise chickens in Saitama Prefecture. They sell eggs from free range chickens whose extra feed consists of only organic, non-GMO dried-corn (my allergist here in Kyoto says all corn sold in Japan is GMO), imported from the U.S."

The couple -- a young American woman and her Japanese partner -- offer eggs that are contamination free. "They are the only eggs I am able to eat here in Japan without getting a severe allergic reaction. The allergist says it isn't the eggs I'm allergic to but rather the chemicals in the feed the chickens eat."

Non-vegetarians take note: nancy@gol.com also sells chicken hot dogs!

Maryann is also a fan of Tengu, the strictly vegetarian foods mail order business in Saitama, which supplies health food stores all over Japan under the name Alishan.

Tengu sells organic vegetarian cook books in Japanese and English and self-help books and videos. Their on-site organic cafe is a treat in itself, with "delicious main dishes, hand-made organic desserts and organic coffee, tea, beer and wine."

You can contact them at Tengu Natural Foods, Komahongo 185-2, Hidaka-shi, Saitama-ken 350-1251; Phone (0429) 82-4811; fax (0429) 82-4813. E-mail: tengu@gol.com Their Web site's at www.alishan-organic-center.com

Thanks Maryann. This just the type of information we like to pass on: wholly constructive.

More noise

Bill is not at all happy with my reply to Don concerning noise emanating from Roppongi Hills' sound stage and arena.

"Mori Corporation's reply was pure PR boilerplate that had utterly nothing to do with your reader's problem."

Asking why I had not answered specific questions about set decibel levels, precisely what MC regards as a special occasion, and who Don should contact directly to further his complaint, he described my reply as "a total waste of ink," believing it raised more questions than it answered. "Next time just throw him a piano." he suggested.

Well sorry you feel like that Bill, but I printed what Mori supplied with clear intention of allowing the company to hang itself by its own empty PR-speak.

Sadly, as a lone voice in a corporate wilderness, there is very little Don can do.

Should he be able to raise solid and purposeful support from other residents and make a strong case to be heard, say through petitions or the judicial system, then he might be heard.

A stitch in time

On the subject of finding dressmaking patterns, Margaret wonders if Marijke (answered by Ken last week) -- and crafty-fingered readers not necessarily interested in high fashion -- might be interested in the online store Patterns from the Past: www.oldpatterns.com

"Patterns from the Past sells original, vintage (1920s, 30s, 40s, etc.) and some recently out of print sewing patterns of all kinds, and older knitting, crochet and tatting patterns."

Margaret has done business there and have been very satisfied with what she calls "the promptness of service and affordably low prices."

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


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