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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LIFELINES

Going clubbing in the capital


By ANGELA JEFFS and KEN JOSEPH JR.

New to Tokyo, T.B. is trying to make friends and wants to know if there are any clubs that he can join to meet new people and get involved with the international community.

There are, but it very much depends on what kind of place you are looking for. One of the oldest and most convenient is the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, located near Yurakucho Station on the Yamanote Line and Hibiya Station on the subway's Hibiya Line. The telephone number is (03) 3211-3161 and you can get information on joining by mailing front@fccj.or.jp or via their Web site at www.fccj.or.jp. The club has an "associate member" program for those who are not foreign correspondents but wish to join.

The International House of Japan in Roppongi (phone (03) 3470 4611; Web site at www.i-house.or.jp) was founded as a place for visiting academics to meet their Japanese counterparts. International House has a wonderful library, and is a quiet getaway right in the heart of the city. Featuring a beautiful traditional garden, it was recently refurbished and is now very smart. Once a member, you can also stay there, and accommodation is very reasonable priced.

The City Club of Tokyo caters very much to business clientele. An International Associate Clubs member, it's pretty "high-flying" in terms of both its membership and its fees, and is located in Akasaka (call (03) 3401-1121; fax (03) 3401-8550; Web site at www.cityclub.co.jp ).

The Tokyo American Club — the oldest club of them all — is currently being rebuilt, and has been temporarily relocated to facilities near Shinagawa. The TAC (www.tokyoamericanclub.org) operates as both a business club and a family club, and the two very different groups as each assigned their own separate space. There are a number of membership programs tailored for short-term and long-term residents, and, for example, retirees.

Despite the name, the club is open and international, and not for American citizens only. See TAC's Web site for the full range of facilities, which include an outdoor swimming pool and an indoor spa (call (03) 4588 0381 or e-mail tac@tac-club.org).

There are, of course, a bewildering number of clubs and groups that meet up all over Tokyo, devoted to particular nationalities and interests. The Tokyo British Expats Meetup group, for example, get together in a pub on a regular basis. See brit.meetup.com/323/.

Wannabe or published writers can swing along to the Tokyo Writers Salon (writers.meetup.com/648/) where they can review work, trade literary tips, make friends and have fun.

The Pink Cow in Shibuya is a restaurant/art bar that has an ongoing schedule of interesting, funky events. Their Web site is at www.thepinkcow.com.

There are an infinite number of ways to meet new people in Tokyo. Check out weekly listings magazines and Web sites for the full range of possibilities.

Ken Joseph Jr. directs the Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com and (03) 000-911. Send questions, queries, problems and posers to community@japantimes.co.jp


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