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Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Camping, reflection and cream clover

Dropping off the kids

Yoko, who is married to an American and recently returned to Tokyo from the U.S., asks about summer camps in Japan for their children.

"They enjoyed such wonderful camps in America. Is there any- thing here?"

Well, we know that Dave Paddock is busy with bookings for English Adventure's 5th Annual Chichibu Summer Camp (July 30-Aug. 3) and the first Izu-Oshima Ocean Camp (Aug. 22-25).

Each camp offers two programs: an English Immersion Course as favored by returnee kids, international-school students, and children of international marriages who speak some English at home; and the English Beginner's Course, which has the same camp activities, but with English lessons that kids can apply right away.

Focusing on nature education, plus hiking, stream or ocean play, sports, crafts, campfires, barbecues and so on, groups are kept small (around 10) and leaders are from many countries.

Cost is inclusive of transportation, lodging, insurance, and all of the activities.

As Dave says, "We strive to create a North American summer camp experience here in Japan."

His site in English and Japanese is at www.english-adventure.org.

We'd like to hear about summer camps all over the archipelago, especially those that come highly recommended.

Further reflections

We heard again from TC, who was seeking pedestrian reflectors.

He thanks us for the tip, but in the meantime he has solved the problem.

"I found a company that apparently specializes in importing pedestrian safety goods from Scandinavia with the catchy slogan 'For a Safer Walking Life.'

"The company — Scanjap Inc. — seems serious and explains quite a lot about reflectors on their Web site ( www.scanjap.com ), though only in Japanese (got help from my wife with translation) as the English link didn't seem to function."

It seems Scanjap also has a Web shop, where he could — finally — get reflectors for his family.

On the same subject, Annie writes: "Yesterday I was in a 'shugei-ya' (the name for shops that sell all kinds of supplies for handcrafts such as fabric, yarn, notions, etc.) Standing at the register waiting to get checked out, I happened to notice they had pedestrian reflectors, in various shapes such as hearts, diamonds, plain strips."

Not sure how effective these would be, but maybe a lot better than nothing if sewn to kids clothing and bags.

Thanks for the tip, Annie.

What the heck is that?

MS writes that she was driving in Shonan recently and saw a sticker on a car that she did not recognize.

"It was a four-leaf clover, but cream not green, on a blue background. And the bottom of the stem was curled up like a hook or the handle of an umbrella. Is it something local?"

Actually, this is a nationally approved logo ("shintai shogaisha hyoshiki") to indicate that the driver is disabled — physically challenged — in some way.

Being Japanese in design, I could only find it on Japanese Web pages, such as the National Police Agency's site ( www.npa.go.jp/koutsuu/hyousiki/htm ). This has written information, plus the sign as a PDF file.

The following Web site in English shows international road signs and instructions as used in Japan and, providing your eyesight is good, is clear and explicit: www.cfay.navy.mil/Traffic/roadsigns.htm

The clover leaf, however, is not on this Web site.

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