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Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2004

LIFELINES

Boating, studying and moving to Japan


The last column of the year! Where did the weeks go?

Be that as it may, 2004 goes out with the news that Ken Joseph Jr. remains safe in Iraq while somehow keeping Tokyo Helpline and his column going here. All things willing, we will both be back in 2005, doing our best to handle everything you throw at us.

Tokyo Power Squadron

John has been trying to find out whether Tokyo Power Squadron, which gave annual courses in sailing and small motor-boat handling in Tokyo Bay, is still in existence.

"I last attended one of their courses ten or more years ago."

Tony Whitman replied to this query, saying that the group is still active but under the name Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron. John, or any other reader for that matter, is free to contact him with questions about TSPS by e-mail ( tonyw@gol.com) or by phone on 03-3770-1513.

"We also have a Web site at www.tspsjapan.org that describes our activities in and around Tokyo."

Thanks to Steven Smith in Nagoya who sent Tony's contact numbers.

Wanna go by train?

Brenda wants readers to learn about this great Web site for train schedules (theme parks, excursions, daily rides). Based on information taken from the JR Rail Timeline Web site, it's jazzed up in useful fashion: grace.hyperd ia.com/cgi-english/hyperd01.cgi

Aspire in English

Keiko and Emi in Kansai would like to study English in New Zealand.

"Do you know of a good school we could try?"

Check out the new company Aspire based in Thames on Middle Earth's beautiful Coramandel Peninsula. Aspire's Web site, www.aspire-english.co.nz , includes some Japanese.

Moving information

JL lives in California with his Japanese wife.

"Increasingly I contemplate moving to Japan but the idea is daunting. Where can I get information or advice on moving to, finding work and living in Japan?"

Search "info on moving to Japan" online and see what comes up. Most entries are ads for moving and housing companies, but not all.

The Web site thejapanfaq.cjb.net covers basics like visas, apartment hunting, mail and banking.

The Web site www.escapeartist.com/japan/japan3.htm is a great guide to working, visiting and living in Japan. General info apart, it provides a database for embassies, international job listings, and even resources for "Americans seeking to flee America."

Web site www.japanese-experts.com is concerned with living, working and networking. Business-related.

These sites will point you to many books. The most obviously useful must be Jarrell D. Sieff's Practical Guide to Living in Japan. Also (for reasons that will become obvious) Culture Shock! Japan by Rex Shelley. Finally, because you will need to hone your sense of humor, Learning to Bow -- Inside the Heart of Japan, by Bruce Feiler.

Vispassana

Jun writes: "Someone mentioned Vipassana at a party. What is it? It sounds fun." Fun it is not. Joyous in the sense of personally revealing, and a great way to start 2005, maybe.

Vipassana (which means, 'seeing things as they really are') is a form of self-purification by self-observation through Buddhist meditation. (The courses, however, are not religious.)

The Japan Vipassana Center in Kyoto organizes regular 10-day courses, the next starting Jan. 5.

These courses, which "provide universal remedies for universal problems," are not easy. Discipline is strict, with no contact of any kind between students -- physical or verbal -- for the duration of the stay.

There is no charge. Donations are invited. Check www.bhanu.dharma.org in Japanese or English.

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


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