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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

LIFELINES

More big sizes and outdoor pursuits


Big sizes

So many of you responded to the reader looking for larger sized clothes. Here are some more tips.

Stephen, a Yokohama-ite, rates Sakazen, which he says has several online and "real" shops offering "a decent choice of BT(Big/Tall) sizes in casual and business wear. It's at www.sakazen.co.jp/

He says the company's bricks-and-mortar shops are in Bakurocho (Nihonbashi), Kamata, Ikebukuro, Urayasu, Shinjuku and even Fujisawa, in Kanagawa Prefecture. Note that the Web site has maps to all its shops on its front page.

Stephen also recommends Takashimaya's 2-for-1 order-made suit sales three or four times a year (look for the ads on subways and JR trains). With prices starting as low as 30,000 yen for two full suits, they're worth catching.

"Takashimaya is very good about accommodating larger sizes, though there may be a limit on available fabrics if you are really big and cannot be fitted out with a single bolt," he says.

You can also order sport coat-and-pants separates at these sales, and they keep your information on file for future reference, sending out a postcard in advance of the next sale to already registered customers.

One final point, notes Stephen: The 2-for-1 suit chains so popular now can accommodate some taller sizes, but aren't much help in the girth department.

Max (who often boasts to people how he buys clothes at the same place as former Yokozuna Takanohana) likes the fact that you can accumulate points for free purchases at Sakazen Zen Mall.

Also he advises: "For shoes, go to Kutsu Hikari, with branches in Shinjuku and Gotanda in Tokyo, and neighboring Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture." Reader Ilia last tried the Shibuya outlet of Sakazen in January 2003. "It was on the same street as Zara and HMV."

Last but most certainly not least, famed scribe Mark (Schreiber) reports that the Daiei department store in Himonya, Meguro Ward, has a Big Men's corner with both a wide selection and often many items on sale at very reasonable prices. He's been been going there for years.

Great escape

Finally, Tom is wondering how to get information on outdoor pursuits. "I have to live in the city but at weekends I'm desperate to get out and about."

Outdoor Japan is a comprehensive illustrated online guide to the great Japanese outdoors. Check out the web site at www. outdoorjapan.com for news on activities, festivals, weather, gear, onsen, accommodations and the like.

And/or contact Nature Lovers Group by fax (03-3426 3515) or call 090-4524 1458. NLG was established in May 1998 by Egyptian Abo Shosha.

Abo says, "We have 52 members -- Japanese and non-Japanese -- and our activities are camping, hiking, outdoor BBQ . . . everything related to enjoying nature." NLG is free, with no fees for hiking, and camping costs vary according to the location and time of year.

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


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