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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LIFELINES

Mr. Mung; being big in Japan


Remembering John Mung

Marcia Caron is organizing a book club for her son's elementary school in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

"One of the books we will be reading and discussing is 'See! Sea! She!' — the story of John Mung. I would like the children to write letters to the Welcome John Mung Society but do not know where to address them. Any help much appreciated."

John Mung was the nickname of Manajir Nakahama (1827-1898), also known as John Manjiro. As one of the first Japanese to visit the U.S., he proved to be an invaluable interpreter and translator during the opening up of Japan in the early Meiji Era.

The John Mung Welcome Society is based in Tosashimizu City, where Manjiro was born. As a young fisherman, he was shipwrecked off the coast of Japan in 1841 and rescued by whaling captain William Whitfield of Fairhaven. Whitfield brought him back to Fairhaven and New Bedford at the end of the trip, and Manjiro spent several years there before eventually making his way back to Japan. Because of this history, Tosashimizu became the sister city of both Fairhaven and New Bedford in 1987.

The current chair of the society is Hiromi Tanaka. I suggest you write to her care of The John Mung Welcome Society, City Office, Tosashimizu-shi, Kochi-ken, Japan. Hopefully the letter will find her.

The Manjiro Society for International Exchange, based in Virginia, has a lively program connecting the two countries. See www.manjiro.org/newsletter1-2.html for more information.

Good news on big blues

John in Australia writes in reference to "Super-size me" (Lifelines, March 25).

"I needed to replace a shirt at short notice when in Tokyo in 2004. After the usual 'Help, it's a foreigner!" response from shop assistants, I was directed to the King-Size department of Daimaru at Tokyo Station, where there was a wide choice of suitable garments. Hope this helps.

Mike has also come up trumps with info. Depending on where Gavin is in Japan, he thinks CostCo might be helpful. According to the locations at www.costco.com/ they are now located at Makuhari in Chiba, Hisayama in Fukuoka, Sapporo in Hokkaido, Amagasaki in Hyogo, Kawasaki, Tamasakai in Tokyo, and Kanazawa Seaside in Yokohama.

"I'm only familiar with the Amagasaki one, but they do carry some clothing. A Gold Card Membership is ¥4,000, I think, and good for one year at any CostCo worldwide.

Mike also suggests contacting the company Flying Pigs ( www.theflyingpig.com/ ).

"They buy and ship CostCo products anywhere in Japan. While their Web site doesn't seem to include CostCo clothing, I know they try to respond to customers, and that CostCo has clothes."

Curves revisited

It appears, thanks to Anon, that the 30-minute workout Curves is now Curvesmaster, the "master" bit of which is a tad odd since it is for women only. Check out their Web site at www.ladiesonlygyms.com.

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


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