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Beauty, shoes and music to round up 2013

by Louise George Kittaka

Lifelines is playing catch-up this week, with some feedback from previous columns and a reader hoping for a little bit of Christmas magic to help him reconnect with his musical past in Japan.

A few months ago, a reader reported on her less-than-satisfactory experience at a major Tokyo beauty salon that refused to help identify a few kanji characters on their sign-up forms, even though her Japanese is otherwise near-native (www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/08/26/how-tos/returnee-livid-after-ugly-treatment-at-tbc-beauty-salon-in-tokyo) Other foreign readers have reported good experiences with the following two Tokyo beauty salons, both of which have English websites: Elana Jade in Azabu (www.elanajade.com) and Nua in Omotesando (www.nuajapan.com).

Another reader, Sarah, recently checked in with some feedback from a column about where to find large-size shoes in Tokyo (www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/06/04/how-tos/hunting-for-big-foot-large-shoes-tough-to-track-down-in-tokyo) She highly recommends Bershka, a fashion chain connected to the Zara brand but with its own twist. There are a number of stores in the Kanto and Kansai areas, she writes.

“They sell shoes up to size 27 cm / 41 EU size and they are reasonably priced. I stumbled across them by luck, and just couldn’t believe that the store hadn’t advertised them, since it’s an absolute nightmare finding a decent larger pair to fit.”

To wrap up, here’s a request from Anthony, who was stationed in Okinawa with his family as a teenager in the mid-1960s. He was briefly involved with a Japanese singing group and wonders if they are still around.

“I think their name was Sing Out Japan. It was a group of young people and they asked if I would play my accordion during their shows. I remember going up to Tokyo and we were put on TV.”

Although he was only 14 at the time, Anthony says he has great memories of his time performing with them. Does anybody know anything about this Japanese group?

Happy holidays from Lifelines!

Kiwi Louise George Kittaka has been based in Japan since she was 20. In the ensuing years she has survived PTA duty for three kids in the Japanese education system and singing live on national TV for the NHK “Nodo Jiman” show, among other things. Send your comments and questions to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp.