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Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005


Sumo, golf and old maps

Sumo memorabilia

Mark in Tokyo would like to purchase old sumo "tegata" (wrestlers' handprints) and "banzuke" ranking sheets. "Any ideas?" he asks.

Two suggestions Mark. Firstly, there is a shop specializing in sumo memorabilia in Asakusa. Okuramae Shobu at 3-12-10 Kuramae, Taito-ku, Tokyo (03-3865 5894), has such wonders as a banzuke dated Meiji 8 (that is 1875); but the price is pretty wondrous too: 405,000 yen. There are far cheaper items, however, so go take a look. The Web site is in Japanese: www.mmjp.or.jp/okuramase-shobu/

Also try the sixth floor at Kanda Kosho Centre Building, 2-3 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (phone/fax 03-3264 2566). It's open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. This is a "must" for anyone interested in Japan-related paper memorabilia -- postcards, magazines etc. There is a lot of sumo stuff.

Organic food

Adrian is looking for organic health food stores that have good supplies of fruits and vegetables.

This is a hard one if the outlets mentioned over the last few weeks do not satisfy. You need to find reputable growers.

The commune Yamagishisim in Mie-ken produces the best organic food in the world (or so it seems to my palate). A van used to come weekly to where I lived in Kanagawa-ken, selling meat, milk products and vegetables.

But after the Aum incident, they came under a lot of pressure from a scandal-driven media and slowed down their activities.

The Yamagishi Association (Kouhuku-kai Yamagishi-kai) has some 30 communities, mostly in Japan but also many other parts of the world.

Contact: Communities/Networking/Information and Referral, Yamagishism Life, Toyosato Jukkenchi International Dept., 5010 Takanoo-cho, Tsu-city, Mie Prefecture.

Phone (05) 9230-8028 and ask how you can hold of their organic foodstuffs. They have English speaking members.

Golf in English

Nadine in Yokohama wants to learn golf in English. "Where can I go? Who can I ask?"

Call Bob White on (0468) 72 2086. Bob, who lives in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture (so not far from Yokohama) has been in and around golf courses for some 47 years, playing, caddying, teaching.

"I came up with the idea of teaching golf here to Japanese enthusiasts in English, so that players could play abroad with ease. But I'm more than happy to teach native English speakers too."

Old maps

John asks if we happen to know of a shop that sells old maps of Tokyo (Meiji or Taisho period) with the road and place names in Romaji.

He used to know of such a map shop in Jimbocho, but now he can't find it.

Don't know about Jimbocho, but suggest you head for Buyodo at 3-8-16 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (toll-free 0120-72 2410), which is a 5-minute walk from Tokyo Station.

It is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, but closes at 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of every month. It's also closed on national holidays.

Buyodo has a vast array of maps of Japan, including upside-down maps. Among such a collection there are surely ones printed in romaji, and if this turns out to be a specialist area, I'm sure the expert assistants will point you in the right direction.

Cigar tip

For the reader in Kansai looking for cigars (Lifelines; Oct. 18), WC informs us that there is a nice cigar shop that sells Cuban cigars in the basement of Hankyu Department store in Umeda, Osaka.

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

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