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Jude Brand
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Apr 6, 2003
Your passport to the Belgian brews
Belgium is a relatively small country and yet it boasts more specialist and boutique breweries than any other nation on earth. Tokyoites have, for more than a decade, been enjoying Belgium's finest at a handful of Belgian beer bars, like the original Brussels and more recent Belgo chains -- though, without...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Mar 23, 2003
The secret life of Marc Romance
Marc Romance is my favorite alias for the master of Pousse Cafe, a stylish wine bar hidden away in Jiyugaoka. He has used many names, including Mac, Kota and the unlikely Alien J. Perkins -- most adopted for the convenience of his foreign friends but some, like the latter, as a nom de plume for writing...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Mar 9, 2003
Women of all types get the golden touch
Gold Finger is a fantasy party for women -- and women only. The event remains faithful to the formula that the organizer, Chiga, first encountered 15 years ago at the Fridge in London.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Feb 23, 2003
Try to score a pint here
Sports bars and pubs were big business during the 2002 World Cup Soccer finals cohosted by Japan and South Korea. Many opened in Tokyo just in time to milk the influx of fans. But for the three partners who teamed up to create the Clubhouse in Shinjuku, the soccer was simply a bonus. Their target had...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Feb 9, 2003
Turning the heat waaaay up in Roppongi
If you've had enough chilling this winter and you could use a little heat, why not get down to La Rumba, Roppongi's latest Latin hangout? And you don't have to wait for the weekend. La Rumba offers dance classes most evenings till 9 p.m. -- an excellent way to warm up.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Jan 26, 2003
One trip to Never Never Land, and you're hooked
Hiroshi Matsusaki is not a big Disney-film fan. His imagination was captured, however, when he read a Japanese translation of "Peter Pan" -- understandable for a child whose life's adventures began in the lush natural reaches of Kyushu, before his family moved on to Saitama.
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Jan 12, 2003
Legato's sky lounge serves up its cocktails from on high
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Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Dec 15, 2002
Close encounter with a UFO navigator
By the time you read this, Raphael Sebbag will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of his arrival in Japan. He will not only be able to reflect on how much he's seen change in that time, but he will also be able to take responsibility for having engineered some of those changes as a DJ in Tokyo's club...
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Nov 24, 2002
Sweet remedy for the ills of a metropolis
Mishiku, to Shibuya's west, offers a variety of interesting little bars along the meandering network of back streets between Ikejiri and Sangenjaya. If one knows where to look, it is possible to find everything from chic little wine bars secreted behind unmarked doors to full-on, in-yer-face rock dives...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 27, 2002
Shake a leg down to Yotsuya for imported carnivale
Saci Perere is a remarkable little Brazilian nightspot -- not only for having survived for more than a quarter of a century, but also for having done so with never-diminishing energy. I think of the bar, which takes its name from a mischievous one-legged ghost in Brazilian folklore, as one continuous...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 20, 2002
Put on your party hat and escape to Oz
At the mini five-ways down the hill behind Almond in Roppongi, one will find a pleasant second-floor bar in a building on one corner. Though small, it takes full advantage of the building's glass exterior walls, with every seat at the bar offering a view of the street. It feels spacious and safe from...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 13, 2002
Crowd aside, Department-H parties are never a drag
Gogh Imaizumi, a skilled cartoonist, left his hometown, Sapporo, at age 20 with the dream of becoming an illustrator. He took with him these words of advice from his mother: "Whatever you do, don't be a nuisance to anyone."
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Oct 6, 2002
Into the night at Meguro's Saka Bar
When a friend took me on a tour of his favorite bars in Nakameguro, Saka Bar was the scheduled last stop. It scored this slot on the tour because of its notoriety in the area as a late-night hangout. On that first visit we arrived at 5 a.m. to find all stools at the bar taken -- though in an eight-seater...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Sep 29, 2002
Father, son mix it up in Yokohama
Yokohama was once the undisputed headquarters for foreigners in the Kanto region. Its wide accommodating port facilities were the destination for postwar U.S. fleets arriving to establish their presence in Japan. And, as with any port town, many bars and restaurants sprang up to cater to the ebb and...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Sep 22, 2002
The true soul of Roppongi
Most of what passes for entertainment in Roppongi is only skin-deep. And while the area itself may appear to be a dense maze of bars stretching for miles, it is only a facade, barely extending more than one block off the strip. The 4-chome area, in particular, which fills the blocks behind the bank at...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Sep 15, 2002
In the realm of the senses and spirits
Tantra is a fabulously atmospheric retreat from the mundane. Here -- in a darkened corner illuminated only by candlelight -- one may ponder and explore the spiritual aspects of corporal desire. The name itself refers to one in a series of Hindu texts collectively known as the Kama Sutra; the Tantric...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Sep 8, 2002
Tsukasa sings the blues, etc.
Word of mouth is still the best way to find cool new bars. The downside, though, is that such tips are usually accompanied by verbal directions. A customer at Gosse (reviewed last week) told me about a hip-hop bar called Tina near Meguro Station. It sounded easy enough to find, but after scanning every...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Sep 1, 2002
An oasis in the Meguro desert
Naka-Meguro and Meguro proper are worlds apart. The former is a boomtown of cool little bars and the latter a backwater of pachinko parlors and karaoke snacks. And while the two areas may sound geographically close, they are not. It takes almost an hour to walk between the two along the darkened stretch...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Aug 25, 2002
Far from the tanning crowd
The beaches between Zushi and Enoshima were buzzing with activity as my friends and I sped southbound along the strip. They were not only crowded with sunbathers, but also choked with oversize beach bars, lined up cheek to jowl along the foreshore. Some of these bars are extravagant multistory structures...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / BEST BAR NONE
Aug 18, 2002
A good place to keep cool
It really is too hot to wander far from home -- unless, of course, you're heading for a beach. Even the government recognizes this fact, with the official four-day summer O-bon holiday being one of three officially sanctioned and nationally observed annual vacation periods (the other two being New Year...

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The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan