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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005
Old clothes and capsule delight
By ANGELA JEFFS
Waste not, want not
Elizabeth in Kyoto Prefecture is leaving Japan in a month's time, having spent two years here.
"I have a lot of clothes and shoes I am not taking back with me, but it seems a waste to throw them away. I can't seem to find anyone to donate them to. Do you know of any charities which accept used clothing?"
The Salvation Army accepts secondhand clothing and with this organization you know that all donations go to help the homeless, elderly and families in need, etc.
Also, this is one of Japan's best secrets: the SA has amazing sales of unwanted goods. Every Saturday the SA in Tokyo organizes a big sale of whatever is in store.
The sale runs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., but if you go to the shop early you can get a ticket that allows you to preview the goods at 2-21-2 Wada, Suginami Ward (phone 03-3384-3769), just a 10-minute walk from Nakano-fujimicho subway station on the Marunouchi line.
Ask at the koban (police box) for directions or there is a map on the Japanese Web site.
SA has a branch office in Osaka, at 3-6-20 Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward (06-6351 0084). There is an answering machine, though in Japanese only.
Maybe Elizabeth can find a way to call and ask if they would like her stuff. Otherwise she can try e-mailing email@example.com
Or how about recycle shops? I'm sure many stores in Kyoto would be happy to take stuff off her hands.
Alternatively, she could organize a small sale of her own, inviting friends and neighbors.
She could even set up a stall at Kyoto's Toji Temple, located southwest of the gigantic JR Kyoto Station.
This holds one of the largest and oldest flea markets in the region on the 21st of every month. Ask at the city's tourist information office (075-344 3300) about procedures.
Trouble with names
Scott has been studying Japanese for many years now and is currently employed by a Japanese company in New York.
"One of my responsibilities is translation, and it is of persistent embarrassment that I still have a great deal of trouble reading Japanese first names. Is there any guide or technique anyone can recommend to make it easier?"
Kate recently had a friend visiting from Australia and, wanting a special Japanese experience but on a budget, decided to stay in a capsule hotel in Tokyo.
"Most of the capsule hotels in the capital are for men only, but we found one in Roppongi that reserves the 4th floor for women." (Men are on the 5th floor.)
This capsule hotel, continues Kate, has been renovated recently. "We were greeted warmly and felt relaxed immediately.
"It was just like a day spa, complete with a beautiful big onsen, sauna, and a special 'Stone Sauna' from Hokkaido (this was my favorite -- a large sauna with relaxing music and we could lie down on special wooden mats on the hot stones).
"Everything was provided, including a yukata, towel and comfort clothes; massage and natural therapies were also available."
The hotel, Spa Community, is at Roppongi 5-5-5; phone (03) 3403-4126. An overnight stay is 4,100 yen (check-out 10 a.m.) or 2,800 yen for the day (check-in after 5 a.m.). Locker, yukata, towel, comfort clothes, onsen, sauna, and Stone Sauna are all included.
Last, last word
Regarding whether Japanese would prefer to use the word Viking or smorgesbord (Lifelines earlier this month), Mark Noda believes Mr or Mrs would probably say neither.
"Personally I vote for 'buffet.' "
Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to firstname.lastname@example.org