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CAUSES

Chubu

Wanted! NIC disaster language volunteers: Registration and information session for disaster language volunteers and language volunteers on Sun., Jan. 15, 3-4 p.m. If a major natural disaster occurs in Nagoya city, language volunteers will be present at ward offices and evacuation centers in affected areas to interpret information for non-Japanese-speaking foreign nationals in need of help. If you are interested in becoming a Nagoya International Center-registered language volunteer, find out more at our registration and information session. Disaster language volunteers must be over 20 years old, with at least an everyday conversational ability in Japanese and another language, and a strong interest in disaster preparedness. English-language volunteers must have at least Eiken Grade Pre-1, or a TOEIC score of 750 or equivalent or higher; must be free on weekdays; and must also be able to register as a disaster language volunteer. Where: Nagoya International Center. Reservatio!
ns: Contact the Exchange and Cooperation Division before 5 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 14. Phone: 052-581-5689. Email: vol@nic-nagoya.or.jp. Web: www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/18418

Become a registered NIC volunteer! The Nagoya International Center is engaged in a variety of programs related to international exchange, international cooperation and multicultural coexistence. NIC is looking for volunteers to support the various activities of the center, which in turn help the community. If you are interested in becoming a NIC volunteer, and would like more information about becoming one, please come along to an information and registration session. Information sessions: Sat., Jan. 21 (1:30-5:30 p.m.) and Thu., Jan. 26 (1:30-5:30 or 6:30-8:30 p.m.). Reserve a place until Sun., Jan. 15 (5 p.m.). Contact: Visit the Exchange & Cooperation Division in person, phone 052-581-5689 or email vol@nicnagoya.or.jp. Web: www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/3634

Help orphans in Nagoya: If you are interested in spending time with some fantastic children and huge-hearted volunteers, both from the international community as well as local Japanese, we invite you to volunteer with Santa and Friends Nagoya. Please visit our website: www.santaandfriendsnagoya.com

NIC disaster language volunteers wanted: Volunteers need to be 20 or over and be able to communicate in both Japanese and a foreign language. Participants must also either live, work or study in the Nagoya area. If a major natural disaster were to occur in Nagoya city, language volunteers will be present at ward office and evacuation centers to interpret information for non-Japanese-speaking foreign nationals. If interested, please contact the Nagoya International Center’s Exchange and Cooperation section and be part of a valuable program. For more information, see www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/3634.

Labor consultations: Interested in improving your working conditions? Have questions about labor rights? Our offices in Osaka (please e-mail union@generalunion.org) and Nagoya (mail nagoyaoffice@generalunion.org) are open for consultations. Website: www.generalunion.org

Kansai

CARE — People Helping People: Standing for Children, Activity, Relationships and Enjoy, CARE is an international volunteer group here to help people becoming happier and healthier. From building self-esteem and confidence to participating in charity events and overcoming troubles as a community, the group provides a positive environment full of great opportunities. See www.meetup.com/CARE-People-Helping-People/ for information about regular meetups and events in Nishinomiya.

Osaka YMCA language center in Tosabori is seeking volunteers to teach language and culture in charity lessons in order to benefit victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Mail tosabori.language@osakaymca.or.jp or visit www.oylc.org.

Kumamoto

Operation Kumamoto: The Japan Emergency Team requires volunteers to assist with the relief effort after the earthquakes in the prefecture. The team is also asking for supplies including bottled water, canned and instant foods, tents, sleeping bags, home medical kits, canned milk, towels, shampoo, and for unused airline miles. Volunteers are needed to assist on site at disaster centers and in moving and distributing disaster supplies. For information on where to send supplies or to volunteer, please contact team@jhelp.com. To donate, please use Japan Post furikae (transfer) number 00160-7-162438. Also, you can donate here: www.buck4good.com/project/japan-earthquake-operation-kumamoto. Supplies can also be sent to: The Japan Emergency Team, Kimura, Kumamoto Taiyo Bldg 1F, 6-32-8 Suizenji, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 862-0950

Tohoku

Aid for Japan: We are pleased to report that our children’s charity, Aid For Japan, has now received its Charity Commission Registered Charity Number (1,159,233) in the U.K. Previously, H.M. Revenue & Customs had already confirmed that, for tax purposes, this is a charitable trust. Our aim is to provide long-term support to more than 250 children made orphans by the tsunami on March 11, 2011. We and the children very much appreciate all of your support. We work purely for the public benefit and we thank you for your great kindness. Website: www.aidforjapan.org.uk

Living Dreams is a Japan-based nonprofit organization striving to rebuild, enrich and empower orphans both in Tokyo and Tohoku. For more information, go to www.livingdreams.jp.

Volunteers and supplies needed: Operation Tohoku is working to assist the thousands of refugees still in temporary housing. Supplies needed include rice, canned and instant food, shampoo, towels, used laptop computers, hot water pots, gas and electric stoves. Volunteers needed for a day or more. Wire support to Postal Furikae Account 00160 7 162438, The Japan Emergency. For volunteer information, please e-mail team@jhelp.com.

Fukushima Future is a young NPO based in France also with a network in Japan. We are working for a better future in Fukushima Prefecture and the rest of Japan. Please help by joining us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Fukushima.Future. Phone: +33 (0) 6-4980-5731. Email: fukushimafuture@hotmail.com. Twitter: twitter.com/FukushimaFuture

Tokyo

Amnesty International Tokyo English Network (AITEN) gets together once a month to discuss human rights issues. Newcomers welcome — no obligation! Join us for information, action and fun. See www.aiten.info for directions and call 090-4744-7111 with any queries.

Tokyo Embassy Choir is Japan’s leading ensemble of Japanese and expatriate choristers. It has a broad repertoire and a reputation to match. Major concerts are offered with free entry, with collections for charity. Auditions twice a year. Visit www.tec.ac.

A Dream a Day in Tokyo provides weeklong, expenses-paid vacations to kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families. We welcome volunteers and supporters. For more information, please mail m-uehara@guesthouse.or.jp or see www.guesthouse.or.jp/english.

Living Dreams is a Japan-based nonprofit organization striving to rebuild, enrich and empower orphans both in Tokyo and Tohoku. For more information, go to www.livingdreams.jp.

Nationwide

I Am Jane tackles rape pandemic: No other crime is handled so badly by the criminal justice system as rape and no other serious crime is more under-reported. I Am Jane is a new organisation officially opening on Jan. 1, 2017, providing solutions to the growing rape pandemic. Anyone who has questions, wishes to inform us of any incidents or wants to advise us on useful information is welcome to join. Details of incidents and confidential information will not be published. Visit our preliminary website — www.respect-for-me.org — and our new website: www.iamjane.org. Check out our recent post: iamjane.org/legal/97-out-of-100-rapist-facing-court-walk-free

Wanted: used books and DVDs for Charibon. The resale value will go to Shine On! Kids, an organization that supports children with cancer and other serious diseases. Fill out the online form (www.charibon.jp/donation/action.cgi) to request pickup from anywhere within Japan — free for five or more items! See www.sokids.org/?p=20309 for more details in English.

Adopt a rescued pet: There are many kittens as well as dogs available in shelters and many more out there waiting for rescue. Please consider opening your home and heart so that we can bring another in from the cold, lonely streets! Contact us today about fostering or adoption, in order to find a friend and save a life. Visit japancatnet.com.

The Japan Helpline: 24 hours a day, from anywhere about anything, from a simple question to emergency assistance since 1975. Visit www.jhelp.com and press “help” or call 0570-000-911. To volunteer or donate, mail team@jhelp.com.

Used stamps wanted (full postmarks where possible) to raise funds for a cancer hospital charity in Sri Lanka. Send to: 574-0011 Osaka-fu, Daito-shi, Hojo 2-16-35, Kokusai Rentai. (Acknowledgements will be sent by e-mail.)

Aid for Iraq: The Japan Emergency Team asks the community to help with its efforts by donating used laptop computers for use in Baghdad, Iraq, to assist in resettlement and relief efforts for the nearly 500,000 refugees. Any used laptop computer with Wi-Fi function can be sent to: Operation Baghdad, The Japan Emergency Team, Box 65, Tokyo 106-8691. E-mail help@jhelp.com for more information.

Stop Nukes Japan: APC Japan (an NGO in Japan working with two major national networks and social movements) provides relevant information to the world in English, and has set up a joint project, Stop Nukes Japan, on Twitter at twitter.com/nonuke_jp. It includes information in English from Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, Green Action, Friends of the Earth, Japan, NINDJA (Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan), No Nukes Asia Forum, Japan, The Takagi Fund for Citizen Science, Alternative People’s Linkage in Asia (APLA). Updates on the Fukushima nuclear crisis can be found at 2011shinsai.info. I hope you can help us by letting your friends know and following @nonuke_jp on Twitter.

Peace Boat is a Japan-based international NGO/NPO that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. Peace Boat seeks to create awareness and action based on effecting positive social and political change in the world. For more information, visit www.peaceboat.org.

The template for peace was set 69 years ago, but most of the world either doesn’t know about it or ignores it. One year after World War II, U.S. Occupation forces rewrote the Japanese Constitution. Article 9 states unequivocally that Japan will never again make war. Japan has not made war in 69 years. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is now sponsoring a movement in the U.S. to bring a version of Article 9 as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. With Article 9 in the U.S. Constitution, America and Japan can lead a coalition to bring full support to the United Nations to abolish war-making as a political/economic tool. Please see our website at www.hibakusha-ourlifetolive.org and sign our petition at signon.org/sign/the-end-of-war-making.

EDUCATIONAL

Akita

PanSIG 2017 — call for papers is now underway for participation in the PanSIG annual conference. The conference, running in Akita from Fri., May 19, to Sun., May 21, will bring together leading scholars and practitioners in language education from Japan, Asia and throughout the world. This year’s edition is meant to be smaller and more intimate than the annual international JALT conference, to facilitate networking between SIG members. You can apply until Jan. 15. The organisers of PanSIG 2017 are already beavering away to put together yet another stellar conference. Japanese and English version of the papers are available here: bit.ly/jaltpansig2017. Web: www.osakajalt.org. Email: osakajalt@gmail.com

Chubu

Nagoya International Personal Computer Club meets at noon on the third Saturday (Dec. 17) of the month in Fushimi, Nagoya. Call 070-5152-2662 or visit www.nipcc.org for details.

Sakae Toastmasters Club: An international club that aims to develop leadership and English communication skills in a no-pressure atmosphere. We meet on second and fourth Wednesdays (Dec. 28) at 7-9 p.m. at Nadya Park in Nagoya. Attend one of our club meetings. Contact Rina 080-3647-6996 or email sakae-tmc@freeml.com.

Children’s Story Book Time: Listen to foreign volunteers in the Nagoya International Center’s 3F library as they read storybooks in their own languages from the library’s vast collection of international children’s books. Participation is free, and no reservations are required! Upcoming schedule: Sun., Jan. 8, at 2-2:30 p.m. (English) Website: www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/10998

Shirayuri Association provides educational and cultural services to both Turkish and Japanese societies in order to promote the Turkish community in Japan and further friendship between Turkish and Japanese communities. Located in Yabuta-cho, Moriyama-ku. For information, call 052-710- 9808.

Free educational counseling services at the NIC: A child’s educational matters are a high priority for parents — and justifiably so. The Nagoya International Center offers an educational advice and counseling service to assist children and their parents every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the third floor of the NIC building. Professional counselors are on hand to provide advice and information on education for children of Japanese and foreign nationality, including information about schools, school admissions, daily life and potential problems. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 052-581-0100 on Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Hiroshima

Hiroshima Language Exchange: Join English and Japanese speakers at regular get-togethers to make international friends and meet new people. With meetups two or three times a week, steady improvements and strong friendships are undeniable. See www.meetup.com/Hiroshima-Language-exchange for meetup details.

Japanese and English Language Exchange in Hiroshima: This group is for those who want to learn Japanese and English. All ages and levels are welcome. Our meet-ups are every other Sunday, 5-7 p.m. Location: Fukuya Yaleyale A-Kan Shopping Center, Floor 11 food court, 9-1 Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku. See www.meetup.com/hajele

Kanagawa

“Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight” with director Lucy Craft on Tue., Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. (doors open 6:30). Venue: Benney Decker Theater, Yokosuka Navy Base, Kanagawa Pref. Admission: Free. Open to public. Language: English. Co-Sponsored by Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan Campus. Those without access to the Yokosuka Naval base should RSVP ASAP with their name and nationality to info@ycaps.org for information about registration and assembly. Director Lucy Craft will join Yokohama Council on Asia-Pacific Studies (YCAPS) for a screening of her award-winning film about Japanese war brides’ experiences, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight,” which documents the stories of the more than 40,000 Japanese women who married American service members during the post-World War II Occupation. Ms. Craft will first provide brief remarks about the making of the film, then the film will be shown, and then Ms. Craft will lead a Q&A session. Those with base access a!
re welcome to come without an RSVP, but we would appreciate a short email to info@ycaps.org or a “going” click on the Facebook event page (www.facebook.com/events/324545087926818) so that we can gauge audience size. Film:  www.fallsevengetupeight.com. YCAPS: www.ycaps.org. ICAS: www.tuj.ac.jp/icas and www.facebook.com/tuj.icas

Free English with Church of Latter Day Saints in Fujisawa, every Thursday, 7-8:30 p.m. Goeigo Eikaiwa is a free English conversation class. We can offer this service because the buildings are donated and the staff are all volunteers. 60-90 minute lessons every week focused on conversation learning to speak real English with real English speakers. Our teachers are fluent in both English and Japanese. Most are from America or other English-speaking countries. Event site: Church of Latter Day Saints, 2-27-7 Shonandai, Fujisawa. Phone: 0466-43-4236. More information at ishonan.com/event.php?function=showEvent&event_id=4984.

Kansai

One World Festival for Youth: High school students in Kansai area are playing a central role and holding an event to deepen the understanding of international exchange and international cooperation under the theme of “Your View will Change! The World will also Change!” On Fri., Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be booths of international exchange and international cooperation, a fashion show of traditional costumes, movie, essay competition, workshops for high school students, and a “Cafe One World,” where you can try different foods of the world. Let us deepen our understanding of international exchange and cooperation through the programs prepared by high school students. This event is open to all high school students and the general public. Where: International House, Osaka. Admission free. For more details, visit the event’s website at www.owf-youth.com or call the Osaka International House Foundation for inquiries on 06-6773-8989.

International Picture Book Readings “AI-AI”: The I-house volunteers will read picture books in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean for children. The reading sessions are free, and all families with children can attend. They take place on the third Thursday (except in December) and fourth Saturday (Dec. 25) of the month. Reservations are not required. Volunteers also sing a birthday song for children who have their birthday on the same reading session date. We look forward to your participation! Admission: Free. Venue: Exchange Space in the Information Center, I-house, Osaka. Web: www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english/international/post_9.html

Learn Japanese Culture and Expand your Circle: To be able to play an active role in the world stage, aside from language proficiency, being able to share and make people understand Japanese culture, the foundation of our identity, is also important. A variety of courses, each of four lessons, will be offered where you can learn about Japanese culture and how to share it in English. Course: Japanese Sake Course (Thu., Jan. 26, to Sat., Feb. 18). Most sessions for all courses are on Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Venues: Osaka International House and other places. For details, please visit www.ih-osaka.or.jp/news/20160518_3714. Inquiries and applications: Information Center, Osaka International House Foundation (phone 06-6773-8989; fax 06-6773-8421)

Hailstone Haiku Circle: Kansai-based group founded by Stephen Henry Gill (based in Kyoto) with about 50 members, both foreign and Japanese nationals, who compose, critique and publish haiku in English (and related forms). The circle holds regular seminars and workshops, as well as occasional walks, readings and other events. Email: Tito at aquahaiqua@yahoo.com. The circle’s Icebox: www.hailhaiku.wordpress.com

Let’s Learn Japanese — Fureai Salon: Enjoy learning Japanese with experienced volunteer teachers at the Osaka International House Foundation every Saturday, 2-3:30 p.m.! Initial class is free. No booking needed. Registration fee: ¥500. Participation fee: ¥2,000 (12 sessions, valid for a year). Venue: Osaka International House Foundation, Meeting Room. Web: www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english/international/post_6.html

Kodomo Hiroba: We are holding classes on Japanese and other subjects for children aged between 6 and 18 years old who have foreign roots. In this class, students can learn reading and writing in Japanese, review their school lessons or do their school homework and read books. The lessons will take place every Monday from 5-8:30 p.m. Please call us before joining the class and come to the first class together with a parent or guardian. Admission: Free. Venue: Osaka International House, 1F Conference Room. Contact: Information Center Osaka International House Foundation. Phone: 06-6773-8989. Fax: 06-6773-8421. Website: www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english

Language teachers, please join the Osaka JALT email list www.osakajalt.org for free announcements of various ESL events in the Kansai area. Also join our Facebook group (Osaka JALT) and follow us on Twitter (@osakajalt), too! You can join the Japan Association of Language Teachers officially online via www.JALT.org.

Community House & Information Centre is a nonprofit community organization committed to meet the needs of the international community in Kansai, located at the RIC Central Tower, 3rd floor, 5-15 Koyocho Naka, Higashinada-ku, Kobe 658-0032. CHIC is a place for Japanese and the international community to socialize in a casual, fun atmosphere. We offer classes (language, cooking, arts and crafts, children’s focus), day trips (sightseeing, Japanese cultural experiences, shopping tours, and special events (coffee mornings, carpet auction, holiday bazaar, China Pete’s pottery sale). Hours of operation: Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., closed national holidays and during summer between mid-June to August. For more information, look us up on Facebook: Chic Community House & Information Centre (CHIC), visit www.chickobe.com or email information@chickobe.com.

Osaka YMCA language center in Tosabori is seeking volunteers to teach language and culture in charity lessons in order to benefit victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Mail tosabori.language@osakaymca.or.jp or visit www.oylc.org.

Shikoku

Kenji Miyazawa Lovers: Anyone who loves Kenji Miyazawa’s books, poetry — even a single word or sentence — is eligible for this group! Join other fans in this book club dedicated to the great writer’s works. The group meets in Takamatsu. See www.meetup.com/Kenji-Miyazawa-Lovers for information about meetups.

Tokushima English & Japanese Speak Exchange Culture Meetup: This is a good opportunity to talk in English and Japanese with new people, and also to exchange the culture of your country. All nationalities are welcome. We usually have free conversation or discuss some topics. This group is open to everyone who is interested in English and Japanese conversation or cultural exchange. We look forward to seeing you! Web: www.meetup.com/Tokushima-English-Japanese-speak-exchange-culture-Meetup

Tokyo

Nerd Nite Tokyo: Nerd Nite is “the Discovery Channel with beer,” a worldwide monthly event series that mixes presentations, performances, trivia, demos, music and, of course, drinking. Where : Good Heavens Bar in Shimokitazawa. Admission: ¥1,500. Website: tokyo.nerdnite.com. Email: tokyo@nerdnite.com. Future dates: Fri., Dec. 16.

The East West Discussion Group meets on Thursdays, 7-9 p.m., for an English presentation followed by a discussion. Upcoming schedule: “Casablanca (film)” by Isao Takizawa on Dec. 22. Venue: Room 104, Waseda Hoshien Seminar House, 2-3-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku Ward 169-8616 (phone 03-3205-5411). See www.hoshien.or.jp. ¥700 Japanese, ¥500 non-Japanese and students. For details, mail Shigetomi Imai at sigetomii@yahoo.co.jp

FCCJ Toastmasters Club: Learn how to step up your game and become a confident speaker. Please be our guest at the next meeting at FCCJ Toastmasters Club. Our meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop. Everyone gets a chance to participate. You can improve your speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere. Meeting participants give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings and become better speakers each time. From 12-1:45 p.m. on every second and fourth Monday (Dec. 26) (moves to Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday). Venue: Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Yurakucho Denki North Building 20F, Yurakucho 1-7-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0006. Admission price: ¥5,000. Web: www.fccj.or.jp and www.fccj.toastmastersclubs.org. Email: admin-1362687@toastmastersclubs.org

Tea ceremony experience: Would you like to learn more about Zen-ism, Japanese gardens and Japanese architecture? Would you like to escape from your hectic daily life? Come and join our monthly tea parties! We hold tea ceremonies on the first Sunday of each month (Jan . 8) at Otowa-Garou (1-15-12 Otowa, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo; tel: 080-2158-4400. The fee is ¥1,500 per person (with teas, Japanese sweets included). Bookings are essential. To book, or to find out more, please contact Asako on asakomiyata@hotmail.co.jp. Please note that the event will not be held if less than three bookings are received.

Tokyo Writers Workshop has been meeting for over 30 years, usually on the third Sunday of the month. Those who wish to have their work — mostly poetry and fiction — critiqued may post manuscripts to the group’s site for review before the next meeting. Website: www.meetup.com/Tokyo-Writers-Workshop

Children with an autism spectrum disorder can find it hard to connect to peers. Are you aware of a family looking for another family to organise, for example, a play date, Lego play group or a swimming date for your child? They can connect here! Not only for Tokyo Neuropsychologist clients. See www.tokyoneuropsychologist.org/playdates-for-asd-kids.html

The Tokyo International Children’s Choir (TICC) is a not-for-profit children’s choir. The TICC provides elementary and middle school children with a fun and high-quality opportunity to learn musical and life skills over the course of the academic school year from September through May. Rehearsals are held at St. Paul International Lutheran Church in Iidabashi. Find out more about TICC at www.tokyochildrenschoir.com or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TokyoInternationalChildrensChoir.

Keio University students want a reduction in their fees when they ask for one-year gap in their studies. Currently, the university asks students to pay ¥300,000, and students think this is excessive if they want to take a year off to study abroad or do internships to be better qualified in the future. The students have started a petition at Change.Org. As a parent, I want my son to progress and be a pillar of society in the future. It is imperative that Keio University reduce the cost of absence years and keep students’ places so they can graduate. I call on all faculty members, professors and students to support this initiative and sign the petition here: chn.ge/17WWspB. Please do it now — they need your support!

Akasaka Nihongo Club is offering a beginner’s and intermediate-level Japanese class taught by volunteer instructors every Saturday in Tokyo from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Venue: Akasaka Iki-iki Plaza, a four-minute walk from Exit 6 of Akasaka Station, on the Chiyoda subway line. To sign up for membership, please call 080-5432-4306 or 03-3401-4306 (evenings only)

Want to learn about humour? Want to be funnier in life, with your friends, or just in general? Maybe you even want to try getting on stage? Come to the Tokyo Comedy Store’s Standup Comedy Workshop! For more information, see www.tokyocomedy.com/standup_workshops.

Time Forum (English discussion group): Time Forum is a weekly English forum to discuss current topics. It provides an arena in which the participants can exchange their views freely and candidly and aims to enhance their knowledge and awareness of current topics, communication skills in discussion and mutual understanding through discussion. Anyone interested can participate in Time Forum, which meets from 10 a.m. till 12 noon every Saturday at Hokutopia (usually on the eighth floor) in Oji, Kita Ward, Tokyo, near Oji Station. The participation fee (which goes to paying the room rent only) is ¥200 per forum (per person). For further information, please contact Yoshihito Kurasawa at prehend@ma.kitanet.ne.jp.

English-speaking women’s group: College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ) is an organization for women committed to education, cross-cultural exchange and friendship. CWAJ holds monthly luncheons with interesting speakers and has several special interests groups such as hiking, Japanese conversation, trips and tours, music and ceramics. It’s a great way to meet new people and become involved! See www.cwaj.org.

Public lectures at TUJ: Temple University, Japan Campus’ Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) hosts more than 40 lectures and symposiums each year. Please visit www.tuj.ac.jpicas/events/upcoming for details. Temple University: www.tuj.ac.jp

Aikido in English: Join Seidokan Aikido of Tokyo, a modern style of aikido taught in English every Saturday from 1 p.m. till 3 p.m. We welcome men and women, foreign and Japanese. The first month of instruction is free. In Itabashi Ward, on Toei Mita/Saikyo lines. See www.tokyoseidokan.com. Email dojo@tokyoseidokan.com for details.

Yokohama

New Acropolis’ “Discover Yourself”: Would you like to learn and share ideas about philosophy, culture, art, ecology, volunteering, science, literature, history, ancient civilizations? Would you like to discover your best potential, increase your self-knowledge, open your mind and harmonize your emotions? Would you like to talk more about our modern world and its problems, and what we can do to make it better? The Meetup “Discover Yourself!” is a group of New Acropolis Cultural Organization and we promote free admission lectures every week in Yokohama/Tokyo as well as many fun activities. Website: www.acropolis.jp

Volunteers provide Japanese language support for non-Japanese parents and preschool children on the first or second Thursday of the month (Oct-March) at 2-3 p.m. Enjoy learning Japanese with fun material such as picture books and flashcards. No reservations required. Please come directly to the venue: Nonbirinco Training Room, Kannai Station-mae Certe Bldg., 9F. For inquiries, call 045-663-9715.

Nationwide

Poetry Kanto is Japan’s longest-running bilingual poetry journal, and has been publishing for 30 years with the support of Kanto Gakuin University’s Kanto Poetry Center. The journal was founded by William I. Elliott and Shuntaro Tanikawa. Website: www.poetrykanto.com

Malay-kai English writing training organization: Includes actual business experience. Make friends and receive advice on how to improve TOEIC score and business writing. Cost: Free. Email: tatsuguc@gmail.com. Facebook: bit.ly/malaykai

University teachers: Uncertain times at work? Isolated? Don’t know where to turn? We’re stronger if we stand together. Contact the University Teachers Union (National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu) via www.utu-japan.org.

SHARED INTERESTS

Chubu

Nagoya Writes: A literary circle that provides writers both aspiring and seasoned the opportunity to participate in open readings, which are held about once a month. See www.nagoyawrites.wordpress.com for more information.

Japanese home cooking, ikebana, tea ceremony in English: Learn to use the different sauces and spices common to traditional Japanese home-cooked dishes. Flower arranging and tea ceremony lessons available; private or group lessons OK. Call Hideko at 052-211-2586.

Free Sunday soccer in Nagoya: Whether you are a beginner or Lionel Messi, you are welcome to join in for soccer every Sunday in Nagoya. The playing starts at 2 p.m. at the Shonai Ryokuchi Koen, Nishi Ward, just by Shonai Ryokuchi Koen Station on the Tsurumai Line. Everyone is invited to join the kickabout games, but for the more serious players, Shonai FC has regular training and competitive games. For more information, please email sundayshonai@yahoo.co.uk or visit www.facebook.com/shonaifc.

Kanagawa

Want to watch some fresh stand-up comedy? Want to try your hand at making an audience laugh yourself? The Mad Cows of Tokyo give you the chance to do both. There are regular shows in Tokyo, Yokohama and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Pref., including an open mic show where newcomers and old hands alike can try out new material in front of a friendly, supportive crowd. For details of shows and performance opportunities, email bignightout@madcowscomedy.com.

Weekend shogi tournament in Fujisawa at Fujisawa Shogi Center most weekends. Venue: Mitsuhashi Bldg 4F, Fujisawa 532 (call 0466-27-3107). Times: opens at 12 p.m., starts at 1 p.m. For details, see ishonan.com/event.php?function=showEvent&event_id=4412.

The American Village in Misaki, Kanagawa, is seeking new members. Located on the water only one hour from Tokyo, the Village is perfect for sailing, beach and family time for the international community. For further information, e-mail amakusashiro1@msn.com.

Kansai

Australian football in Osaka: We are the Osaka Dingoes Australian Football Club. We hold weekly training at Osaka Castle Park. We have regular games with teams from Tokyo and Osaka. Male and female teams. See www.facebook.com/OsakaDingoes, www.osakadingoes.com or mail osakadingoes@hotmail.com.

Okinawa

Creators’ Meetup: A recently formed group in central Okinawa that seeks to link together artistically inclined individuals. See www.meetup.com/Creators-Meetup for information about meetups.

Tokyo

Breakfast Toastmasters: Does public speaking make you cringe? For over 25 years, Breakfast Toastmasters has been helping our members to become both better public speakers and leaders. Meetings are held in English. When: Second and fourth Thursdays (Dec. 22) of each month — no meetings held in August or last week of December. Time: 8-9:30 a.m. Where: Dai-ichi Hotel Annex 3rd floor meeting room, 1-5-2 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8621. Cost: ¥3,400. Website: breakfast.toastmastersclubs.org

Pioneer Toastmasters Club welcomes you to join club meetings as a guest. An NPO for education, the club is part of Toastmasters International, which helps people of various backgrounds improve their communication and leadership skills using a proven education system. We meet every second and fourth Friday (Dec. 23) at Aoyama Lifelong Learning Center, Omotesando (A4 exit), Tokyo. Visit www.meetup.com/pioneertmc for further details.

Tokyo Book Group is a casual discussion of fiction, held in Shibuya once a month. For further information, please mail jeffdjp@yahoo.com

Tokyo Vegan MeetUp Book Club is held once a month (time and place varies). Please check the Tokyo Vegan MeetUp calendar for more details. Cost: Free. Everyone is welcome — vegan or not. So, if a book takes your fancy, please come along! Web: www.meetup.com/vegan-389

Wine seminars and cooking classes in Tokyo are monthly events with wine tasting and gourmet food. Admission price: advance reservation ¥11,980 plus tax; ¥14,980 plus tax. Website: bit.ly/1ARoQkN. Contact email: wineandcooking@gmail.com

The Tokyo International Children’s Choir (TICC) is a not-for-profit children’s choir. The TICC provides elementary and middle school children with a fun and high-quality opportunity to learn musical and life skills over the course of the academic school year from September through May. Rehearsals are held at St. Paul International Lutheran Church in Iidabashi. Find out more about TICC at www.tokyochildrenschoir.com or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TokyoInternationalChildrensChoir.

International Adventure Club Tokyo (IAC-Tokyo) is an international club managed by volunteers. The club provides fantastic ways to explore the outdoors of Japan and meet great people whilst having fun — hiking, rock-climbing, walks, camping, skiing and more. Once you become a member, you can participate in events and even organize them yourself. We are looking forward to sharing many great adventures with you. Check out our website for more information at www.iac-tokyo.org.

Genesis Art Workshops presents a Sunday drawing class in the traditional gardens of magnificent Shinjuku Gyoen, every week, 1-4 p.m. Ideal for all ages to learn how to draw in nature using fun intuitive techniques. Community picnic followed by 90-minute drawing session. Price: ¥1,500. More details at www.genesiscards.com/workshop-schedul/ or phone: 090-4122-6626.

Tokyo Embassy Choir is Japan’s leading ensemble of Japanese and expatriate choristers. It has a broad repertoire and a reputation to match. Major concerts are offered with free entry, with collections for charity. Auditions twice a year. Visit www.tec.ac.

Dance with the Disabled: Body & Mind is aiming to open our body and mind through dance. Under the guidance of Natsu Nakajima, a professional Butoh dancer, anyone, including the intellectually disabled, can participate. Three locations in Tokyo, classes are held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Each class consists of movement for relaxation, group-work and improvisation dance. Yotsuya class: second and fourth Saturdays, Yotsuya Hiroba Gallery Lamp. Suginami class: first and third Saturdays, Koenji Shogaisha Koryu Kan. Machida class: first and third Wednesday, Tamagawa Bunka Center. Fee: ¥1,500 per class. For more information, see www.geocities.jp/mutekisha/index1-e.html, email nnakajima7@ams.odn.ne.jp or call 042-391-4087.

Want to watch some fresh stand-up comedy? Want to try your hand at making an audience laugh yourself? The Mad Cows of Tokyo give you the chance to do both. There are regular shows in Tokyo, Yokohama and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Pref., including an open mic show where newcomers and old hands alike can try out new material in front of a friendly, supportive crowd. For details of shows and performance opportunities, email bignightout@madcowscomedy.com.

Love Shakespeare? Amateur group in Tokyo meets once a month to celebrate our love of the Bard. Come to read or just to listen. All nationalities welcome, and no experience is necessary! Visit groups.yahoo.com/group/Shakespeare-sama.

Tokyo Theatre for Children has been bringing the magical world of musical theatre to kids, young and old, for over 35 years! We are an English-speaking, adult community theatre troupe and nonprofit always looking for volunteers. Can you paint? Build? Act? Sing? Sew? Dance? Want to work backstage? No experience? No problem! How about being a patron of the arts? Production costs are extremely high. Please help us keep Tokyo Theatre for Children alive and bring the world of make-believe to life! Please contact Carla at ttfc.japan@gmail.com or check out www.tokyotheatreforchildren.com

Support the Tokyo Sinfonia: We welcome anyone who is interested in supporting the Tokyo Sinfonia as volunteers. There is one area where the assistance of a volunteer would be extremely helpful. We would love to hear from someone who would like to keep our website updated every couple of weeks. If you are interested, please contact 03-3588-0738. For tickets or further information, please email tickets@tokyosinfonia.com. Website: www.tokyosinfonia.com

Want to learn about humour? Want to be funnier in life, with your friends, or just in general? Maybe you even want to try getting on stage? Come to the Tokyo Comedy Store’s Standup Comedy Workshop! For more information, see www.tokyocomedy.com/standup_workshops.

Choir practice takes place every Thursday from 7:30 p.m. till 9:30 p.m. at Tokyo Metro Church in Tachikawa. Each session includes English pronunciation practice by native speakers, breathing techniques and lots of singing. No experience necessary. For more info (in Japanese), please call 042-548-0132, or (in English) e-mail englishattmc@yahoo.com.

Women’s network: Women in Tokyo, we welcome you to join our network For Empowering Women (FEW), and to begin building your professional and social network. We offer monthly events incorporating many different topics from lectures to social outings and volunteering. For more information, please visit www.fewjapan.com.

English-speaking women’s group: College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ) is an organization for women committed to education, cross-cultural exchange and friendship. CWAJ holds monthly luncheons with interesting speakers and has several special interests groups such as hiking, Japanese conversation, trips and tours, music and ceramics. It’s a great way to meet new people and become involved! See www.cwaj.org.

Square and Compass Masonic Lodge #3 meets Sundays in Kunitachi, Tokyo. Meetings begin 1 p.m. with lunch at 12 noon For info, contact Wm. W. Burgos at wm@square-compass3.org.

Tokyo American Club: A home away from home for the international community since 1928! Call 03-4588-0670 for information on special packages to fit your needs or visit www.tokyoamericanclub.org.

Tokyo Canadian Club for Canadians and friends of Canada. Join the club for events with Canadian nostalgia and a monthly pub night. Visit our website at www.tokyocanadianclub.com.

Aikido in English: Join Seidokan Aikido of Tokyo, a modern style of aikido taught in English every Saturday from 1 p.m. till 3 p.m. We welcome men and women, foreign and Japanese. The first month of instruction is free. In Itabashi Ward, on Toei Mita/Saikyo lines. See www.tokyoseidokan.com. Email dojo@tokyoseidokan.com for details

Overeaters Anonymous can be contacted on (03) 5605-9425, by emailing oatokyo@yahoo.com or visiting www.oaintokyo.org.

Yokohama

Knit & Crochet Coffee Club: A social get-together of like-minded knitters, crocheters and crafters who meet at cafes around Yokohama. Grab your coffee, get cosy and starting stitching! Find out about future meetups at www.meetup.com/Yokohamaknitcrochetcafe

Nationwide

Kyoto Journal has a fiction and poetry section, the latter of which is edited by Lois P. Jones. KJ showcases poetry that is Asia-related and “out of the ordinary.” Submission guidelines are available here: www.kyotojournal.org/submit-to-kj. Website: www.kyotojournal.org/fiction-poetry

Kamihikouki Magazine: An artist-run bilingual publication based in Kansai. Each issue of Kamihikouki has a uniting theme and features a variety of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Website: www.meetup.com/kamihikoukimag

Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese supports foreign women with Japanese partners. See www.afwj.org for more information.

SOCIAL

Chubu

Nagoya International Partying Meetup: Organising various parties around Nagoya, this meetup is a great way to talk with people from various countries and make friends in a fun environment. It’s a great chance for Japanese people to talk with foreign students from Nagoya University, GSID, Nanzan, Meijo, among other universities, and for foreigners to make some local friends. Visit www.meetup.com/international-party/ for information about future meetups and join the fun!

Nagoya Meet and Greet: A monthly lunch where more than 40 women of various nationalities, interests and ages gather to meet, eat and greet. Great for new arrivals and those seeking new friends. Children’s play area available. English is the language of communication. E-mail: nagoyameetandgreet@gmail.com

Hiroshima

Hiroshima International Group Jam: Have fun and establish friendships with people from all over the world at our regular meetups. You will be able to learn and practice Japanese, English and other languages for free while enjoying yourself and learning about other culture. For more information on future meetups, visit bit.ly/hiroshimajam

Japanese and English Language Exchange in Hiroshima: This group is for those who want to learn Japanese and English. All ages and levels are welcome. Our meet-ups are every other Sunday, 5-7 p.m. Location: Fukuya Yaleyale A-Kan Shopping Center, Floor 11 food court, 9-1 Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku. See www.meetup.com/HAJELE.

Kansai

Community House & Information Centre is a nonprofit community organization committed to meet the needs of the international community in Kansai, located at the RIC Central Tower, 3rd floor, 5-15 Koyocho Naka, Higashinada-ku, Kobe 658-0032. CHIC is a place for Japanese and the international community to socialize in a casual, fun atmosphere. We offer classes (language, cooking, arts and crafts, children’s focus), day trips (sightseeing, Japanese cultural experiences, shopping tours, and special events (coffee mornings, carpet auction, holiday bazaar, China Pete’s pottery sale). Hours of operation: Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., closed national holidays and during summer between mid-June to August. For more information, look us up on Facebook: Chic Community House & Information Centre (CHIC), visit www.chickobe.com or email information@chickobe.com.

Kobe Club is a nonprofit, private-membership club serving Kansai’s international community. Featuring fine dining and a wide range of events and activities, it is a center of social, cultural and family life for the transient and long-term expatriate as well as the internationally minded local resident. Email kobeclub@office.email.ne.jp or check out www.kobeclub.org.

FEW Kansai is a networking organization for foreign women in Japan. Dinner meetings feature a variety of guest speakers, usually held at the Hilton Hotel Osaka in Umeda on the last Thursday of each month. The organization also organizes monthly events that provide professional and personal support. Email few@fewkansai.com or visit www.fewkansai.com.

Tokyo

Nerd Nite Tokyo: Nerd Nite is “the Discovery Channel with beer,” a worldwide monthly event series that mixes presentations, performances, trivia, demos, music and, of course, drinking. Where : Good Heavens Bar in Shimokitazawa. Admission: ¥1,500. Website: tokyo.nerdnite.com. Email: tokyo@nerdnite.com. Next nite: Fri., Dec. 16.

Tokyo Comedy Store’s Improvazilla show is held on the last Friday of every month (next Jan. 27) except December. An improvised comedy show with music and games from audience suggestions. Smoke-free venue with table service and food. Doors open 7:30 p.m., show is from 8-10:15. Venue: Crocodile, Sekiguchi Bldg. B1, 6-18-8 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001. Phone: 03-3499-5205. Web: www.crocodile-live.jp. Event: www.tokyocomedy.com/improvazilla_main_stage_show. Contact: chris@tokyocomedy.com

International Adventure Club Tokyo (IAC-Tokyo) is an international club managed by volunteers. The club provides fantastic ways to explore the outdoors of Japan and meet great people whilst having fun — hiking, rock-climbing, walks, camping, skiing and more. Once you become a member, you can participate in events and even organize them yourself. We are looking forward to sharing many great adventures with you. Check out our website for more information at www.iac-tokyo.org

Genesis Art Workshops presents a Sunday drawing class in the traditional gardens of magnificent Shinjuku Gyoen, every week, 1-4 p.m. Ideal for all ages to learn how to draw in nature using fun intuitive techniques. Community picnic followed by 90-minute drawing session. Price: ¥1,500. More details at www.genesiscards.com/workshop-schedul or phone 090-4122-6626.

HIV Peer Support: Tokyo peer support grew from a need for peer support programs in English. We offer peer support for any person living with HIV every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Waseda university. We work with Japanese HIV support Organization Place Tokyo, to provide ongoing peer support groups and workshops where you can get together with other people in the same boat as you. People who understand. We operate in a safe, considerate and 100% confidential setting to discuss what’s on your mind, ask questions and make new friends. For questions, email info@peersupporttokyo.com or visit www.peersupporttokyo.com.

Women’s network: Women in Tokyo, we welcome you to join our network For Empowering Women (FEW), and to begin building your professional and social network. We offer monthly events incorporating many different topics from lectures to social outings and volunteering. For more information, please visit www.fewjapan.com.

Need a good laugh? There’s standup, open mic, improv and more! The Tokyo Comedy Store hosts shows in Shibuya and Asakusa, with the entrance fee ranging from free to ¥2,000 (drinks included). Reserve by emailing Chris Wells (chris@tokyocomedy.com) or please visit www.tokyocomedy.com/schedule.

English-speaking women’s group: College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ) is an organization for women committed to education, cross-cultural exchange and friendship. CWAJ holds monthly luncheons with interesting speakers and has several special interests groups such as hiking, Japanese conversation, trips and tours, music and ceramics. It’s a great way to meet new people and become involved! See www.cwaj.org.

Nationwide

The Canadian Alumni Association in Japan (CAAJ) holds monthly events that are designed for networking between people who have studied in Canada and those who are interested in doing so. For more info, contact 03-3224-0944, e-mail membership@caaj.jp or check out www.caaj.jp.

SPIRITUAL

Chubu

Bait ul Ahad, the Japan Mosque hosts Friday Prayer at 1 p.m. and is open for all five daily prayers. You can also study the Holy Quran, Arabic and Urdu, use the Islamic library and communicate with Muslims. Address: Aichi Pref., Tsushima city, Hiruma-cho Miyashige 526. Email: anees1978@gmail.com. Phone: 052-703-1868. Web: www.ahmadiyya-islam.org/jp

Nagoya Orthodox Church in Showa-ku, near Subway Tsurumai Line, Arahata Station or Tsurumai Station. Vespers held on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. and Holy Liturgy on Sundays at 10 a.m. Call Father George Matsushima on 052-734-9000 or e-mail nagoya@orthodox-jp.com. Website: www.orthodox- jp.com/nagoya

All Nations Fellowship is an international bilingual (English/Japanese) worship service. Our Bible-based teachings are focused on the gospel and the doctrines of grace. We meet every Sunday at 10:30 in Nagakute, Nagoya. We offer bilingual Sunday School for children aged 4-12. Please visit us at www.allnationsfellowship.net for more information.

Kanagawa

Shonan-Yokohama-Tokyo Thich Nhat Hanh Meetup: Interested in mindfulness practices inspired by teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh? Let’s come together as a community. We focus on enjoying the mindfulness practices inspired by Plum Village tradition, gentle and peaceful in every way possible, free of ideology or beliefs. We welcome all ages, nationalities, genders, faith or of none. “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” See bit.ly/ThichNH

Faith & Victory International Church Yokohama has church services in both English and Japanese. Activities: Sunday Worship (from 2 p.m.), Gospel Choir Practice (7 p.m. Wednesdays), Gospel Choir Practice (10 a.m. Thursdays), Variety Night (7:15 p.m. Fridays). Place: Yokohama, Nishi Ward, Minamisaiwai 2-16-20, Ochuu Yokohama Building 9F (5 mins walk from Yokohama Station, West Exit). Phone 045-479-5060, 090-9813-3545 or mail naokiatanda@yahoo.com.

Kansai

Anglican/Episcopal Kawaguchi Christ Church offers the Holy Eucharist every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. (at the side chapel) and 10:30 a.m. Address: 3-8, Kawaguchi 1-chome, Nishi-ku, Osaka. Phone: 06-6581-5061. Map: www.nskk.org/osaka/church/kawaguchi

Jewish Community of Kansai: Congregation Ohel Shelomoh, 4-12-12 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe. All Jews throughout the world are welcome to attend our shabbat services. Friday night services begin at sundown, Saturday morning services begin at 10 a.m. A kiddush meal follows each service. Orthodox Mizrachi (Sephardic) tradition. For more information, email Moshe Gino moshegino1@gmail.com or visit www.jcckobe.org.

Nara Episcopal Church offers English Sunday services. All denominations are welcome. For additional information and map, see www.nskk.org/kyoto/nara.

Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Japanese) church: The Holy Protection of Most Holy Theotokos Church in Osaka. Phone 06-6388-4512. Address: Yamate-cho-1-8-15, Suita, Osaka. For more details, email osaka-orthodox@sutv.zaq.ne.jp or visit www.sutv.zaq.ne.jp/osaka-orthodox.

Meditate in Osaka: “Living in the moment, learning to be mindful.” Drop into any class and enjoy listening to practical, down-to-earth advice to help solve your daily problems such as those related to anger, attachment or other negative states of mind. Location: Cafe Natura, New Shinmachi Building floor 2, Osaka Shin-machi 2-17-10, Nishi-ku. See map: kyousoucafe.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-8.html. For upcoming events, visit www.meetup.com/Meditate-in-Osaka. Phone: 06-6537-7882

Tokyo

Christmas Eve Service and “Sviata Vechera” Supper on Fri., Jan. 6, 6-7:30 p.m. The St. Jude Ukrainian Orthodox Mission will celebrate the Nativity (Christmas) with a trilingual (English, Japanese, and Ukrainian) Vesperal Liturgy, followed by a traditional, family-oriented Christmas Eve Holy Supper. All welcome! If possible, please bring a lenten (no meat, dairy or eggs) dish to share. Admission: Free. Location: St. Alban’s Church, 3-6-25 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Web: Email: father@stjude.jp. Phone: 0422-43-5424. Web: www.facebook.com/events/1280239142019788 or www.stjude.jp

The Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo meets at 3 p.m. every second Sunday of the month (Jan. 8) (except in July and August) for stimulating discussions on topics of faith and social justice at International House, near Roppongi or Azabu-Juban stations. Contact us for more info on 03-3470-4611 or at unitarianfellowshipoftokyo@gmail.com.

Enhance Your Element through Meditation: Mindfulness Meditation 12-week program every Wednesday, 10:30-11:45 a.m. Venue: Concept Studio veda. Admission price: ¥4,000. Location: Omotesando .Web: Find Your Element Workshop at www.findyourelement.jp. Email: info@findyourelement.jp. Phone: 090-3962-9646

Weekly prayer meeting at the Diet: Since 1991, there have been weekly prayer meetings alongside Christian members of the Japanese parliament at the Diet in Tokyo. The meetings take place every Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. over lunch and end promptly at 1 p.m. Attendees must join promptly every Wednesday at 11:45 in order to receive ID at the Diet. Venue: National Diet Building, Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Send information to team@jhelp.com for details.

Orthodox Christian services: St. Jude Ukrainian Orthodox Mission celebrates Divine Liturgy in downtown Tokyo every other Sunday. Ukrainian, English and Japanese spoken. All sincere people welcome! Location: 3-6-25 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011. Web: www.stjude.jp. Phone: 0422-43-5424

International Buddhist Congregation holds Sunday service in English every week from 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m at Birthplace Hall, 1-15-1 Wada, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, two minutes from Nakano-Fujimicho Station’s exit on the Marunouchi Line. Ceremony, dharma talk, dharma circle sharing and social time. Friendly atmosphere. For more information, call 03-5341-1230 or visit www.ibc-rk.org.

Foundations for Christian Life at St. Alban’s Anglican-Episcopal Church (3-6-25 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011) every Thursday at 7 p.m. Foundations for Christian Life can help you to say an even deeper “Yes!” to the life and love our God offers you in the Church and world now, and in God’s eternal Kingdom. For further information, please see our website at www.saintalbans.jp. Email stalbans@saintalbans.jp or call 03-3431-8534 for details.

Contemplative Prayer at St. Alban’s Anglican-Episcopal Church (3-6-25 Shiba Koen Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011). Please join us for Still Prayer (or Christian Meditation) at St. Alban’s. We meet for Still Prayer on Thursdays 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the parish hall. Still Prayer is simply resting wordlessly in God’s presence. It’s the most natural thing in the world and all human beings were created to share in this kind of communion with God. For more information please contact our website at www.saintalbans.jp. Mail stalbans@saintalbans.jp or call 03-3431-8534.

Choir practice takes place every Thursday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Tokyo Metro Church in Tachikawa. Each session includes English pronunciation practice by native speakers, breathing techniques and lots of singing. No experience necessary. For more info (in Japanese), please call 042-548-0132, or (in English) e-mail englishattmc@yahoo.com.

Introduction To Christianity class at St. Paul International Lutheran Church, Tokyo. For a map to the church, please visit www.spilchurchtokyo.org. All are invited!

NOTICES

Kansai

Free legal counseling for foreign residents: Consultations are strictly confidential and are 40 minutes per person. Appointments are necessary. General interpreting assistance can be provided. (Languages: English, Chinese and Korean.) When: Every first and third Wednesday (Dec. 21) of the month. Venue: International House, Osaka. Appointment telephone number: 06-6772-1127 (Information Center, Osaka International House Foundation). Web: www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english/information/counter.html

Free visa consultation for foreign residents: We hold a free monthly consultation with an immigration lawyer on visa procedures. Consultations are offered twice a month on the second and fourth Wednesdays (Dec. 28). Available languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. Consultations are confidential. 40 minutes per person. Admission: Free, but appointment necessary. Venue: Osaka International House. Contact: Information Center, Osaka International House Foundation. Phone: 06-6772-1127. Web: www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english

Multilingual Consultation Desk for Foreigners: We offer free consultation and general advice, over the telephone or in person, for issues related to life in Osaka in four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. Also, we provide interpretation assistance for foreign residents who visit Osaka City Hall, ward offices and other affiliated municipal institutions via a three-way telephone line. Using this function, telephone calls made to the Osaka International House Foundation can be connected to a municipal office/institution, allowing you to talk with a municipal officer and interpreter. Web: www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english/information/counter.html, www.osaka-livinginfo.jp/en (FAQ page)

Kamigamo Shrine in Kita Ward, Kyoto, offers daily tours with English-speaking guides. Participants should be at the shrine at 9:30 a.m. Tours at other hours available on request. Cost: ¥500. Please check in advance that tour for the day will take place. Please call 075-781-0011 or visit www.kamigamojinja.jp for details.

Tokyo

See Tokyo through the eyes of an English-speaking native! Our guides might not speak perfect English, but their hospitality, spirit and cultural insight will make your Tokyo experience heart-warming and memorable. They’ll show you around your favorite neighborhood for free. Call Kimi Information Center on 03-3986-1604. Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Web: www.kimiwillbe.com/guide

Nationwide

Multilingual Living Information website for foreign residents in Japan: Take advantage of this site — hosted by The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) — which provides a wealth of information on topics such as resident registration, marriage and divorce, work and training, medical issues, pensions, childbirth, education, taxes, emergencies and more. Information is available as downloadable PDF files in English, German, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Russian, Japanese (with furigana to help with the kanji) and easy Japanese. Visit www.clair.or.jp/tagengo for an app version of this site for iOS and Android mobile devices.

“The Expat’s Guide to Japan” is an online guide that covers all the basic yet essential info to help make living in and around Tokyo and Yokohama more pleasant and convenient. Printed copies also available free of charge. Contact info@mais.co.jp or see expatsguide.jp.

Washington office available: Office in Washington, D.C., across from Union Station/Capitol Hill with kitchen, conference room, gym available for Japan-based organizations and individuals to use when in Washington. Contact help@keikyo.com for further information.