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Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004


Classes, groups and driving

Japanese classes

I am on a month-long holiday travel staying here in Tokyo. I am interested and looking for Japanese beginner level language courses.

While there are are many, many schools, a couple stand out for just being here so long.

Two good ones are the Tokyo Nihongo Center, right across from Tokyo Tower. Their number is (03) 3433-3378.

There's also the Naganuma School. It's in Shibuya and can be reached on (03) 3463-7261.

A quick glance at our events and groups listings across the page also reveals Japanese classes on offer in Yokohama, where a basic course for beginners is being run until March 18. Classes are held on Friday afternoon, For details, you can contact (045) 743-3116 or (045) 541-5813.

Also, Sakura-kai in Minato-ku in Tokyo offers classes, with monthly membership from only 1-2,000 yen. You can contact them by e-mailing sakurakai@par.odn.ne.jp.

Do any of our readers know of other good schools for learning Japanese?

New to Tokyo

I have just come to Tokyo and want to join a group of some kind. What do you suggest? Where can I go to get more involved?

Tokyo is full of opportunities. One of the best places to start is right here -- in The Japan Times -- where there are regular listings of events and organizations.

Another good place to look is Metropolis magazine -- which you can find in major bookstores, hotels, and other public places.

There are many interesting organizations depending on your interests.

For example, there's The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan -- the largest such chamber in the world - if you have business interests.

You can call them at (03) 3433-5381. They have branches in Osaka and Nagoya too. They can also give you information on the other Chambers of Commerce, from Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, India and many, many more.

Postal certificates

A relative has died and left us with two Postal Certificates worth 445,000 yen. What do we have to do to redeem them? They were issued in 1981. We are living in the United States.

As the interest rate is very, very low in Japan, the certificates will have accumulated very little interest since 1981.

In order to redeem them you need to contact the Postal Service Center at 0081-48-600-3898.

You will need to send a copy of the passport of the deceased, identification showing you are a relative, and a copy of the certificates and they will be able to help you.

Intl. driver's license

I will be traveling overseas and need to obtain an international drivers license. What do I need to do?

An International Driver's License is easy to obtain. In Tokyo go to the license office beside Samezu Station (a couple stops from Shinagawa).

Bring in your Japanese Drivers License, your passport and 2,500 yen and two pictures.

If you are outside of Tokyo, ask for the closest "Shikenjo."

Readers' questions

I heard there was an organization in Yokohama that serves as a guarantor for foreigners who want to rent apartments through an estate agent. How can I contact them? -- Dave

I'm trying to find out whether the Tokyo Power Squadron is still in existence, and how to contact them. They gave annual courses on sailing and boat handling in Tokyo Bay.

I last attended one of their courses 10 or 15 years ago. I believe the instructors were somehow connected with the U.S. Navy in Yokosuka. Does anyone know if they still exist? -- John

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp Ken Joseph Jr. directs The Japan Helpline at 0570-000-911 or www.jhelp.com

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