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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

LIFELINES

Money, good men, Vikings and markets


Fast, reliable

AG offers advice from Yokohama on a fast and reliable way to get money from the USA to Japan.

"Use the old-fashioned international postal money orders. You can buy them at any post office in the USA, value up to $700 each. Simply mail them by letter to the recipient in Japan. (In case of loss or theft you can reclaim your money.) "Here in Japan, cash them at the next post office against your ID."

Sexual desert

E. remembers reading an article in Japan Times about Western women dating Japanese guys.

"Do you have any recommendation about meeting normal, mature Western or Japanese guys in Tokyo? My friends and I have been to a lot of international parties and clubs, but they don't work out so well."

E. says her best friend is saying that if she cannot find a decent boyfriend soon, she's moving back to the States before she officially becomes old. "So we've got some sort of emergency situation here. Can you help?"

Well, it is a problem. I know many Western women who have left Japan for this very reason: Frustration on every level sets in. The problem is -- and no doubt all the guys will start screaming at me here -- that many Western men come to Japan because they are interested in Japanese girls, who they imagine to be everything we are not: soft, pliable, doe-eyed and prepared with slave-like devotion to cater to their every whim. Well, this is true until they get married, and then more often than not, everything changes. Believe me, in my Western female eyes there is nothing more formidable than the average Japanese housewife and mother.

Japanese men are another matter. In the main, while admiring of Western women -- especially those with blue eyes, blonde hair, big breasts and long legs, they are more often than not rather scared of us.

Those Japanese men prepared to make the effort can be quite remarkable human beings, both for stepping outside their culture to be with us, and in putting up with our own peculiar whims and foibles and more-often-than-not, marshmallow centers (I am of course, speaking only for myself).

As to how to meet those good men and where, best to throw this open to all our female readers. Provocative comments and genuine recommendations much appreciated.

Flea markets

Peter writes: "I've heard about flea markets held in Yamashita and Yoyogi Park each month -- is it possible to get a stall at these events?

I am assuming that Yamashita refers to Yamashita-koen in Yokohama, in which case we are talking a different city. Ring Yokohama's Tourist Information Office in Minato-Mirai at (045) 211-0111. Maybe they can advise. The flea markets in Yoyogi Park and others in Tokyo are organized by the Citizens Recycling Organization on (032) 3226-6800. The phone is often busy. When you do get through it is a push button service (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) in Japanese, with all the information you need. Get a native speaker to help if your language ability is none too hot.

We would also like to hear from anyone with experience of selling in flea markets or any other kinds of legal sales pitches in Japan.

Truth about Viking

Mark's mail, wanting me to know that Vikings were/are from Scandinavia, made me smile.

He says: "Being that smorgasbord is Scandinavian, I believe it has to do with the Vikings. The film may have caused the head chef to use the word Viking, but I believe that it was just the inspiration that the Vikings were/are from Scandinavia. When I first came to Japan, about 18 years ago, the moment I heard 'viking' I knew it was a buffet as the substitute for smorgasbord."

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


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