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 ( Other foreign readers have reported good experiences with the following two Tokyo beauty salons, both of which have English websites: Elana Jade in Azabu ( and Nua in Omotesando (

Another reader, Sarah, recently checked in with some feedback from a column about where to find large-size shoes 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.