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Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004

LIFELINES

Agents, China dance and culture


Ole Latina!

In addition to Dagmusic, (introduced in Lifelines; Sept. 24), there are quite a number of other companies in Tokyo who specialize in contracting foreign professional singers and musicians for TV CMs and soundlogos.

One good one is (established in 1987) is Latina International. Phone (03) 3460-8443 or e-mail music@latinacorp.com

China dance classes

Susan, who is relocating to Shinjuku, Tokyo, for work, belongs to a ballet and Chinese dance troupe at home and would like to continue her dance studies while in Japan.

However, she has no idea where to start looking for Chinese dance studios. "I've done some digging around online and found a couple of ballet studios, but am at a loss for Chinese dance classes. Do they even exist in Tokyo?" she asks.

Tough one. There are various culture centres throughout Tokyo offering a variety of dance classes, but I haven't been able to find one offering Chinese dance so far. Since Japan's largest Chinese community is in Yokohama, best perhaps to try there.

Call the Chinatown Information Centre on (045) 662 1252 and ask for Abe-san, who speaks English. He has information about a Ms Airin Ku, who has a Chinese dance class in Chinatown itself.

If Susan speaks Chinese, she can call Ku-san direct on (045) 662-7773 (it's a fashion outlet, so don't be confused). If Susan does not speak Chinese, Abe-san is sure to help.

Cultural shock

Anonymous says she thought she knew everything after several decades in Japan, but the current situation that has blown up between her and her Japanese husband has left her reeling. She wonders if other readers might like to comment, help her out.

Her husband's brother and his wife divorced not so long ago. Everyone one likes the ex-wife (rather more than her ex-husband it seems); indeed she is a regular visitor to Anon's home.

Now the divorced couple's daughter plans to get married, and "my husband refuses to go to his own niece's wedding because of the divorce. He says it's 'Nihon no bunka' (Japanese culture) and amazingly our own children agree with their father.

"They will come to the wedding with me though," she says, "to keep me company."

In Anon's book, just because something is custom, does not make it right. Especially if aspects of culture are painful or repressive or both.

Legalized divorce is still a relatively new concept in Japan, and it takes time -- at least one generation -- for peoples' mindsets to catch up. The custom here of a family splitting down the middle after a divorce, so that a child not only loses one parent, but the entire side of that parent's family is just one aspect that needs assessment.

Most important is that adults learn to consider the paramount interests of the children involved.

What do our readers think?

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


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