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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

LIFELINES

Cheese, eBye and reiki


Say cheese

AP asks: "Where can I get a wide range of foreign cheeses in Japan? They are so expensive in supermarkets, and often not in good shape."

In larger cities it is far easier than it used to be to find imported cheeses. If you live out-in the-sticks, it's more of a problem.

One solution is to order from the Foreign Buyers Club in Kobe. Many customers buy whole rounds of Brie, and Cheddar by the kilogram, for example, and go halves or whatever with friends.

As of a couple of weeks ago, FBC was offering near 100 different cheeses from 12 different countries. Delivery is to anywhere in Japan. Order via their Web site: at www.fbcusa.com or by e-mail at mail@fbcusa.com (in Japanese, jmail@fbcusa.com) or fax (078) 857-9005. You can also phone (in English) (078) 857-9001 or (Japanese) (078) 857 9000.

Try also the Tokyo Food Page, online at www.bento.com/cheese.html

This lists specialty cheese shops, such as Fermier in Shibuya, and many other stores that offer a fair to excellent range.

We'd be happy to hear of other outlets in Nagoya, Kansai and even further afield. Also, are any micro-cheesemakers out there, churning away to help Japan to say "cheese" with a truly gourmet smile?

Reiki correction

Barbara Matsuura, who was recommended to reader Maria as a teacher of reiki and tai chi in the Fe. 28 Lifelines column, writes in with a correction to her Web site address.

More information on Barbara's Integrated healing Arts Center in Yoyogi can be found at www.naturalhealingcenter.com/creative/barbaramatsuura.htm

eBye

Peter comments on advice given in Lifelines : "You wrote 'try auctioning albums on eBay -- the Japanese eBay if you can hack it.' "

He thinks readers will find find that eBay is no longer in Japan, having gained insufficient market share compared to auctions.yahoo.co.jp/

It's true -- eBay Inc., one of America's great success stories of the Internet bubble period, was unsuccessful in Japan, closing up business here way back in 2002.

eBay has not left Asia, though, but right now in Japan, Yahoo! Japan Corp. operates the number one online auction site in this country.

Cheaper

Brendan says there's a myth about using the Narita Express, and that the private Keisei line runs two services that are much cheaper than JR. "I've been using them for years and they completely changes the equation of the JR Pass."

If using a JR Pass, he suggests that depending on the length of your stay, not to activate it until you are ready to leave Tokyo. "For traveling small distances (even from Narita to Tokyo) you can do it cheaper with a combination of regular tickets/the private lines."

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


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