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Labor troubles, testing for STDs and settling in

by Angela Jeffs

Labor troubles

First, an urgent message to J.S. in Yokohama, whose restaurant employer is not paying him the full amount agreed.

Contact the Labor Advisory Service for foreigners working in Japan. The Labor Department of Kanagawa Prefectural Government offers advice on wages and working conditions, contracts, sudden dismissal and resignation, and injuries sustained in industrial accidents. All these advisory services are free and confidential.

For help in English, go to the Yokohama Labor Affairs Center on the first and third Thursday of the month, between 1-4 p.m. Address: Kanagawa Roudou Plaza, 1-4 Kotobuki-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama. Phone (045) 662-1022.

Others readers might like to know that advice is also given in Chinese, Korean and Portuguese, and that there is a similar service at 2 3-1 Mizuhiki, Atsugi, which can be reached at (046) 0221-5774.

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STD testing

An English-speaking foreigner is looking for information on options for STD testing in Tokyo.

Basically, you need to go to an STD clinic (“seibyo-ka”). For men, the alternative is an urology clinic (“hinyoki-ka”) or a dermatology/urology clinic (“hifu/hinyoki-ka”). Women could try a gynecology clinic (“fujin-ka”).

Again I would refer you to Kodansha’s “Japan Health Handbook,” which has an excellent section on the subject in pages 110-111. It lists the various types of STD, explains their prevalence in Japan and describes the various forms of treatment. Call AMDA, Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. In Tokyo on (03) 5285-8088; Kansai (06) 636-2333.

These international medical information centers offer staff and trained interpreters in eight languages.

Check their homepage at: www.osk.3web.ne.jp/~amdack/

If you fear you may be HIV-infected — and numbers, while still low compared to many parts of the world, are rising — contact the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s telephone information service (0120-08-5812 in English; 0120-49-4812 in Thai). Pre-recorded messages give information on various resources, including where to go to be tested in the capital.

Tokyo English Lifeline (TELL) HIV/AIDS Hotline on (03) 3968-4073 (Mon-Fri, 7-10 p.m.) has trained counselors offering free confidential information on HIV transmission and testing.

The Japan HIV Center HIV/AIDS Hotline offers a service in English on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Call (03) 5259-0255.

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Cultural exchange

Sonia recently moved to Isehara City, on the southwest border of the Kanto plain. “There seems to be quite a community here of Brazilian Japanese, but since I don’t speak Portuguese or much Japanese, it’s hard to make friends. How can I meet other foreigners roundabout?”

Go to the City Office and local library and check out all the leaflets on display. There may be something in English. Look especially for news of any so-called International Cultural Exchange (“kokusai koryo”) programs.

There was a Global Citizens Festival in nearby Odawara on Feb. 16, for example, with exhibitions, discussions, world foods, performers from Thailand and the Ukraine, and the chance to wear Mongolian traditional costume.

In my city, Zushi, there is a different event on March 18. This “kokusai koryo” encourages groups with an international slant — girl scouts, rotary club, Japanese-teaching volunteers, etc. — a chance to promote themselves.

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Gripes

Tim had trouble with the online address given for the Ocean Liner Society’s Liners list. According to Liners List Master Steve Swanson, the correct Web address for the Liners List is groups.yahoo.com/group/linerslist

Once on the Web page, you will need to click the JOIN THIS GROUP in the upper right corner in order to participate or join in conversations.