Biculturalism, accessories and recession


Greetings from Baghdad. It is a good place to appreciate all the blessings of Japan — peace, freedom, safety — all the things we take so for granted.

Sadly, the one country that could do so much for Iraq is strangely absent and seems bent on sending her military here instead of much needed infrastructure, legal and medical help.

Unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself.

Insurance help

I am new to Japan (from Canada) and have been trying to get my boss to make sure that I am on the Japanese unemployment insurance system and national health care, but he is refusing to help me.

This seems remarkable as in most western countries these kinds of services are usually automatically provided for full-time workers. Is there anything I can do myself to make sure that I have this coverage? — Lost Canadian

Dear Lost Canadian; The Japanese Company you are working for is required to put you on the insurance system. However, due to the very high cost of these, though some are not.

The best thing to do is to go to your local city office and sign up for both, giving the information of your company.

Before you go, though, please give Mr. Inomoto at call at (03) 3582-7482. He is a “gyosei Shoshi” who can help you with these as well.

The subject of National Health Insurance and retirement insurance is a very sensitive topic here in Japan among the international community, as many wish they had never joined.

We would like to hear from you are readers with your experiences, thoughts and suggestions.

Japanese classes

I don’t speak any Japanese, and really want to learn, especially as I’ve recently found myself with a lot of spare time. But how can I find a class? I’d also really like to find a choir to join and possibly a good singing teacher (“bel canto”) who speaks at least a little English — and a yoga class. Can you point me in any useful directions please? I live in Mukogaoka-yuen, on the Odakyu Line. — Mukugaoka Jane

Jane; you are in luck, for Japanese classes anyway. Your closest city office is Tama City. They have twice-a-week Japanese classes on Wednesday, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and Friday, from 7-8:30 p.m. on the 4th floor of the city office. Call Mr. Tanaka at (044) 935-3333. The Wednesday class is free, and the Friday class is a whopping 500 yen . . . per year! Get saving! Just ask for the “Tama Kuyakusho” and go there at the time of the class.


Trying to find a church in Tokyo? Try Tokyo Union Church at (03) 3400-0047 near Harajuku or St. Albans at (03) 3431-8534 across from Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo Baptist Church at (03) 3461-8425.

Also, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan at (03) 3433-5381 or www.accj.or.jp is a good place to get help if you are working in Japan.