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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

LIFELINES

Drugs, bikes, the hard cell


Where are they now?

Jim wonders what happened to the American Pharmacy, for years located in Yurakucho, Tokyo.

"When I was working here a few years ago, I used to pop in from the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan across the road. Now I am back and it's gone."

The American Pharmacy relocated four years ago to the basement of the Marunouchi Building near Tokyo Station (Marunouchi South Exit, across from the Central Post Office). Bit smaller maybe, but still the same range of goods and helpful English-speaking staff.

You can find the full address and contact details on the following Web site, which offers visitors an A-Z of useful information: www.frommers.com/destinations/tokyo/0085020390.html

Help for Bikeability

Laura Lockwood, project coordinator of Bikeability in the U.K., wonders if we can point her in the right direction toward setting up a particular project in Japan.

"I'm based in Wales, where I'm currently setting up an organization which provides opportunities for people with disabilities to go cycling. Essentially we have a range of special bikes, and we take these to adult day centers and to schools who work with children with disabilities."

Having spent a number of years working in Japan, Laura is generally aware of the low profile that people with disabilities tend to have here.

"That's why I am keen to see if it would be possible to set up a similar project in Japan. As far as I am aware nothing like it currently exists, but in a nation where so many people ride bikes, I would anticipate that a project like this could take off."

Laura is looking for contacts -- with groups who work with people with disabilities, with schools and with any other people who might have an interest in such a scheme. She has the address of the Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, but if readers can provide any other possible contacts, she would be grateful. you can phone her direct on (+44) 1792-541739 or make contact through us.

Don't take no for answer

Drew had trouble when he tried to buy a cell phone. He says was repeatedly refused and lied to by the sales assistants of at least three different stores. And that even with his passport, foreigner card registration stub, and certificate of alien registration, he was forced to leave empty-handed.

"They also tried to discourage me from getting a phone by claiming that anything other than a bank account could not be used for payment."

Finally, one store rang the regional DoCoMo office and confirmed that his paperwork was OK, and that he could use a credit card.

"My advice to other foreigners who meet this level of difficulty is to ask the clerks to call the head office. As long as you have those three pieces of paper (and your work phone number) you should be fine.

"If they insist on a bank account, remind them that a credit card is OK. Any store that makes it tough for you to do business doesn't deserve your money, but we have rights too, so don't take no for an answer."

If other readers are having difficulty -- or indeed finding it easier now -- let us know.

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


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