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Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006
Birthday travel offers
By ANGELA JEFFS
In spring 2005, Marion availed herself of ANA's birthday special ticket, but has discovered the service not longer exists. "Is there any other? It was great. I went all the way to Fukuoka in Kyushu for just 10,000 yen."
It's true. ANA suspended this service January last. But something similar does continue -- if in a slightly different form -- with JAL. A JAL birthday special covers the week before your birthday and the week after, so 15 days in all. You can also take three other people with you, at the same price.
Apply from three months until 21 days before your birthday, and take along your passport or some other form of ID proving your birth date.
If your birthday falls within especially busy times of the year like New Year and Golden Week (in May) you need to push your travel forward or back. Unfortunately, there is no flat fare. Tokyo to Naha, Okinawa costs 13,000 yen; Tokyo to Miyokajima or Ishigakijima costs 19 yen, 300; Tokyo to Sapporo costs 12,300 yen. All these tickets are one-way. This may sound a lot until you realize that a one-way ticket to Okinawa can normally cost 50,000 yen.
Apply at all the usual ticket agencies. If you apply online, there is a further 2 per cent discount on the birthday offer, though the site is in Japanese only.
Hai for hibachi
J.M. and his wife recently bought an antique "hibachi," but they've been unable to find the ash (hai) that is required for using it as intended.
"Any suggestions?" he asks. "We live in the Tokorozawa area and can get to anywhere in and around Tokyo fairly easily."
For hibachi goods, Tokyu Hands is the best bet. On the 2nd floor of the Shibuya branch, J.M. will find packets of hai for 420 yen each.
Barbara Matsuura is teaching QiGong/Tai Chi daily in Yoyogi Park from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
For those who do attend, "bundle up and keep the top of your head heated to stay warm," she advises.
Those interested in attending can contact Barbara for details at the Reiki Zen Shiatsu QiGong & TaiJiquan Integrated Healing Arts Centre of Japan, which is located in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward.
The phone/fax number is (03) 3374 6925; the cell phone number is (090) 9132-6085.
The Osaka Gender Equality Foundation will hold a meeting on for English-speaking non-Japanese women on common problems facing foreign women, including those pertaining to cultural differences, employment and child care, on Dec. 16 from noon to 2 p.m. The meeting will take place at Osaka Prefectural Women's Center, or Dawn Center, in Chuo Ward, Osaka.
This month's topic is how to cope with "holiday shock" and homesickness.
Participants will discuss strategies to maintain inner calmness and a jolly holiday spirit.
The discussion will be facilitated by psychotherapist Joanna Sato. Participation is free and no reservation is required.
For more information, call the organizer at (06) 6910-8588.
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