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Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Divorce and a taste of France

More on divorce

A reader offers advice to the American reader wondering about the process for divorcing his Japanese wife.

The U.S. Embassy Web site mentioned in the previous Lifelines column makes the important point that in the United States, divorce is a matter of state law.

This means each state sets its own conditions for divorce and recognition of divorces that occur in other places.

As divorce in states of the U.S. is generally a judicial act, some concerns arise as to whether a particular state would recognize a Japanese "ward office divorce," as it is not conducted by a court.

"The safer approach for both parties," AO says, "would seem to be going through the Family Court system. In such a situation, consulting a Japanese lawyer would also be prudent. The Tokyo Bar Association offers counseling on this subject in Japanese, English, and Chinese for a nominal fee.

Information on this is available at www.toben.or.jp/english/english_legal.html

The U.S. Embassy Web site has a list of lawyers, and several of them mention a specialty in family law, divorce, etc. That's available at japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-tokyolawyers.html#tokyo

AO says that he personally has never heard of any requirement that a Japanese spouse must be divorced in the country where the marriage occurred. "But that's a question better posed to a Japanese lawyer."

True taste of France

Sophie needs help. Her Japanese friends are convinced that the crepes they eat in Shibuya are authentic. "But I am French. And they are not (authentic). How can synthetic cream and over-the-top fillings be authentic? Where I can take them to eat real French crepes?"

Thanks Sophie. This gives me the chance to plug one of my favorite comfort zones.

Au Temps Jadis in Shibuya specializes in crepes (sweet) and galettes (savoury). Typically you could order Galette Popeye (a crepe filled with spinach and an egg, for 1,200 yen), followed by Crepe Abricot (smeared with apricot jam and a sprinkling of sugar for 700 yen) and a bowl of cafe au lait (700 yen).

The staff are sweet, the music French jazz, chanson and pops. Plus you experience the ambience of a traditional French farmhouse kitchen, with walls lined with gleaming pots of jam and preserved fruit, and a sense that everything a good cook needs is on hand.

There is even a small outside terrace area, well protected by being below street level. As for the toilets, "formidable."

Au Temps Jadis is at Royal Palace Harajuku B-102, 4-5-4 Jinnan, Shibuya (03-3770 2457).

It's a bit hard to find, as it's on a corner and below street level. Coming from Shibuya, walk past the fire station and turn left. Cross over the road, and turn right at the second turning; there's a bright red clothing store on the corner. Cross over, turn the corner to the left and there it is.

If my directions are a tad confusing, you can find a map, in English, at www.tokyo.to/temps/tempsmap.html

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

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