X-Pat Files - February 2007
to you by H&R Consultants)
The X-Pat Files Community
E-Newsletter provides a forum for
the spread of information useful for English speakers living in
Aichi. You can use the newsletter as an informational resource,
and of course you can send in information you would like to share.
This newsletter is a community service from The Japan Real
Estate and Relocation company, H&R Consultants
and is edited by
Sue Conolly (www.sueconolly.net).
Contents for This Edition
2. Snow Play - Heavens Sonohara
3. Getting Out There - Support Groups & Clubs
4. Natalia Language School
5. Pottery Classes
6. Hope International Events
7. Music Together
8. Meet & Greet Luncheon
9. Organic Supermarket and Cafe
10. Embracing Imperfection
H&R Consultants/ ReloJapan have been collecting information
on local exchange students who can speak English and work part-time as
babysitters for the expat community. We currently have some babysitters
who have registered with us and we can
send you their contact details for you to arrange directly with them
their hours and fees.
For more information please email:
Babysitting@relojapan.com or Babysitting@hrconslt.com
Snow Play - Heavens Sonohara
(thank you to Helen
for information contained within this submission)
We recently went to this place on the suggestion of our friend, and
really loved it! We took a large gondola from the car park to the
bottom of the ski slopes. Here there were some places to eat and
a few small shops, one of which was providing craft activities for
children. We then took a small chair lift to Kids World, where
there are a couple of special slopes just for kids to go
sledding. There is even a small conveyor belt to get them to the
top of the slopes which Josh (nearly two) could manage on his
own. Hello Kitty was everywhere to greet the kids in the
snow. It is not so far from Nagoya, and was an easy day trip that
was enjoyable for our whole family.
Editors Note: This snow park is
where the Washinkan Orphanage
children went with money from the Meet & Greet Christmas
party. Heavens Sonohara
has a website (Japanese), and Snow
Japan has its own page in English
Sonohara, where you can get
address and weather information.
Heavens Sonohara Snow
Address: 3731-4 Chisato, Achi-mura, Nagano Prefecture
Official website: http://www.mt-heavens.com
Access: 30 minutes by taxi from Iida Station on the Chuo Line, or 2.5
km from Sonohara Interchange on the Chuo Expressway.
Opening Times: 23rd December to 1st April, 8:30 to 16:30
Ticket Prices: 500 yen for entry into Kids World, and 500 yen for
sled rental, various
different prices for gondola lift passes, up to 4300 yen for a full
day adult pass. Children under school age ride the gondola lift
for free. To get a discount for lift passes, fill out this
form with your name, e-mail address, sex and the area in which you
live (uncheck the box beforehand if you do not wish to receive
promotional materials in your inbox), and hit send. Print this
out and take it with you to get the discount (from 4300 yen to 3800 yen
for a full day lift pass - up to five people can get the same discount
from one ticket).
3. Getting Out There -
Support Groups, Social Clubs, Classes
When you're new to town, it's so important to get out there and
meet people. If you're not a social butterfly, and you don't just
want to attend just anything, it pays to put some thought into what
kind of people you would like to meet. Once you've got that in
your mind, think about what you hope to gain from being a member of the
group, and what you've got to contribute. You only get out of any
experience what you put in, so get out there and start putting in!
Note: The following list of groups has been compiled by the
editor for informational purposes only. The X-Pat Files does not
take repsonsibility for good or bad experiences that you have when
contacting or joining these groups. However, we would like to
hear about your experiences, good and bad. Please e-mail:
1. ACCJ - American Chamber
of Commerce in Japan, featuring events in Chubu such as the Champagne
Ball in autumn, Charity Walkathon in May, and "Nomunication" meetings
scheduled. Click here for the Chubu page.
2. TJCS - Tokai Canada Japan
Society, co-hosted the Champagne Ball with ACCJ, holds monthly Street
Hockey events as well as other social events.
3. ANZCCJ - Australian and
New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, to promote business and
strengthen cultural ties between Japan, Australia and New Zealand. A
smaller group in Nagoya, this group mainly hosts social events.
4. CCEA - Cross Cultural Exchange Association (e-mail President
Joan Stewart for information: firstname.lastname@example.org). Half of the
membership is Japanese, half are foreigners. The main language of
this group is English and they hold monthly meetings on the first
Friday of most months. Within the group, there are smaller
interest groups such as bookclub, discussion group, ikebana, trips etc.
5. JALT - Japan Association for
Language Teaching - professional development and social networking
opportunities for English teachers. There is also a website for
the Nagoya group.
Foreign Mothers Group An essential group to belong to
if you plan to give birth in Japan! This group offers information
and social networking for young English-speaking mothers in
Nagoya. Run by a foreign mother, and an English speaking midwife,
it has supported new mothers over the years.
7. AFWJ - Association of Foreign
Wives of Japanese, a support group for if you are a foreign woman in a
long-term relationship with a Japanese man. Local events such as
ladies nights out and family days, national events such as the annual
National Convention, and a good number of special interest e-mail
groups. More than 500 members worldwide.
8. AMF -
Association of Multicultural Families, is mainly made up of Japanese
wives of foreign men, but there is no qualification for
membership. Events are held in Japanese. This group gets
involved in issues such as dual nationality for children and
9. Nagoya Players
Nagoya's premiere English theatre company have put on comedies, dramas
and even a musical. New members are always welcome, whether you want to
act, direct, design scenery, sound, lighting, props, costumes, make
up etc..... come and join the fun!
Writers Produces journal of collaborative work, "Nagoya
Writes". Next open reading is in March.
The name of the group comes from Swahili and it stands for "friendship
and art". Promoting international friendship and understanding
through art is the main purpose of the group. Marafiki is
composed of artists from various countries who have close ties to Japan.
12. NIPCC - Nagoya
International Personal Computer Club - meets at noon on the third
Saturday of every month to discuss PCs in English.
Macintosh Users Group - a group of individuals living in and around
the Nagoya area who are interested in Macintosh computers. Meets once a
month on the 3rd Saturday to discuss things happening in and around the
world of Apple.
International Club We are building a community in
Nagoya dedicated to international communication; where people of
different backgrounds can meet and connect at social events hosted by
members. Our members are Japanese people interested in international
people, and international people interested in Japan. Our events are
arranged and hosted by members and as a result, are as varied and
interesting as our members themselves are!
15. Nagoya Life
Nagoya-Life.com aims to be your source for what's happening NOW in and
around Nagoya, Japan. We will be providing fresh information about
entertainment, events and food & drink specials on a daily
basis. Also hosts www.MixerParty.jp
, where you will find information on upcoming and past parties and you
will also be able to register online.
16. Nagoya Friends
Club Find Japanese pen pals and pen pals from around
the world. International Parties in Nagoya!
17. Nagoya Barbarians
Rugby - Nagoya Barbarians are the only international rugby
club in Nagoya, Japan featuring players from Australia, Canada,
England, France, Fiji, New Zealand, Fiji, U.S.A and Wales.
18. Nagoya Luck
Luck Club A gathering of people who love nature and the great
outdoors !! Come and join us to meet new people and enjoy nature!
19. Meet and Greet luncheon (e-mail Helen Braithwaite:
email@example.com) - held on the second Tuesday of every month at
Shooters in Fushimi, this is a great place to meet new friends and chat
with old friends!
Francaise Association France-Aichi - L'Alliance
Française Association France Aichi (AFAFA) est née en
1979, avec l'aide de la Société Franco-Japonaise de
Nagoya (SFJN) .
21. Music Together
(Children's Music Group) Classes meet once a week for 45 minutes.
During the class you and your child will have the opportunity to use
your voice, your hands, your body, (and your heart!) as well as sticks,
shakers, scarves, and more! Dress comfortably!
22. Anointed and Brighton Mass
Choir Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more
information on joining this choir which has branches all over Japan.
23. Chubu Hiking
International Club (CHIC) - caters for nature enthusiasts and
those who wish to make new friends in the Nagoya area. There is no
obligation when coming for a hike with CHIC as a visitor and they have
hikes suitable for all levels.
24. Shonai FC
(Nagoya Soccer League) the friendliest and best amateur
football team in Nagoya, made up of people from all over the
25. Social Tennis
Club in Toyota Recommended age group: 18-45, NTRP
2.5-5.0. Welcomes both males and females of different nationalities.
Cooperative Playgroup - established in April 1987 with the
intention of bringing together families who required an English
speaking environment for their children. English must be one of
the main languages used at home.
27. Nakamura English Playgroup - meets Saturdays
(excl 3rd Saturday of the month) from 10:00 to noon at the Nakamura
Lifelong Learning Center. All foreign & bi-cultural families,
returnees, & other parents dedicated to raising their children
bilingually are invited to join; 300 Yen per child, the first time is
free! To join, please fax 052-412-2514 or email email@example.com
28. Fukiage English Family Group - fostering bi-lingual
& bi-cultural child-raising through socialization & academics
with activities such as swimming, skating, & sleepovers. For
children of aged 6 to 12 from families which have at least 1
non-Japanese parent, or recent returnees; meets the 2nd & 4th
Saturday at Fukiage Sports Center; 500 Yen per month. For more
information call Nasci at 090-2944-4954.
International Association The AIA was established
to promote exchange and internationalization of this region and to
promote friendly relations and mutual understanding among people of
foreign countries and the citizens of Aichi. Includes Japanese
classes and a volunteer system.
30. Seto City
International Association - includes Japanese classes and a voluntary homestay system
31. International Ladies
Club - website is only in Japanese, but this group holds
regular meetings and is a good way of meeting Japanese people.
32. Knights Templar
With all the conflict in the world, both political and religious based,
the Knights Templar strive to be a becon and force for good. As Knights
Templar in Japan, we come from different occupations and races, and we
understand that differences in race and religion can be erased by love
and understanding, to lead to peace for all of society.
33. Karate/Fitness Classes call Pat Taniguchi
International Development Agency HOPE
extends compassion to the neglected poor. In more than 30 years of
service to the poor, HOPE has raised 200 million dollars in support of
sustainable development projects that have forever changed the lives of
more than 13 million people. HOPE's Japanese office organizes
fund-raising events to this end.
35. Democrats Abroad in Japan Tokai Chapter - Democrats Abroad
Japan supports the goals and ideals of the American Democratic Party.
We are the official Democratic Party organization for American citizens
living in Japan. Contact us for: voter assistance, concerts, film
screenings, speaker events, and other politically-focused events and
resources connecting Americans who are interested in pragmatic
progressive politics. e-mail for information:
Anonymous (support group in English) - Alcoholics Anonymous is a
fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and
hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help
others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for
membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for
A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization
or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither
endorses nor opposes any causes.
37. Nagoya International Al-anon Family Group - Are you
troubled by someone's drinking? Al-anon is for you! Al-anon is a 12
step program for family and friends of alcoholics. Meetings every
Wednesday at 6 p.m. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Christ International Church www.meitochurch.com
(Sacred Heart) International Catholic Center Nagoya
40. Other church groups, groups and activities around Nagoya can
be found on the International
Center website bulliten board.
4. Natalia Language School
(Thank you to Erin
Sakakibara for this submission)
I recently visited
the shop of a friend of mine, Gaby
Oi from Mexico. The shop name is Natalia, in
front of Shin-Moriyama Station on the Chuo Line, and it sells
accessories (jewelry, handbags, shoes, scarves etc) from Mexico as part
of her import business, Mejore.
However, I was also interested to see that attached to the shop is a
school that teaches English and Spanish. Now Gaby tells me
that they have also started hosting Japanese classes from
January. The classes are on Monday evening from 6pm to 7pm.
Natalia Language School
One minute walk from the JR Chou Line Shinmoriyama
Address: Nagoya, Moriyama-ku, Shinmoricho 14, 1 Floor
Phone Number: 052-795-5922
5. Pottery Classes in Seto
Hiroshige Kato is
a twelfth generation potter in the Akazu area in Seto, whose family
made pottery for the shoguns in years gone by. However, his
greatest quality is his dedication to the profession and his wonderful
smile. His lovely style of teaching pottery in English makes one
reminisce of Pat Morita in the Karate Kid - wax on, wax off! He
is obviously a master at the wheel (watching him work is like a
dream!), but he never condecends to his students. Learning at
this studio is a beautiful and quintessentially Japanese experience.
Icing on the cake is that Kato-Sensei is more than willing if he has
the time, to take you on a tour of "his" mountain. The Seto area
is one of only two districts in Japan where the clay is so pure it can
be dug straight from the earth and used. From the earth you can
actually see broken pieces of pottery which are left over from the
remains of the 400 year old Kato kiln, decorating the ground just
beneath the family altar which looks off the mountain right over Nagoya
to the twin towers. You can actually imagine standing there and
having a view of the old Nagoya Castle in the days before Nagoya Castle
had an elevator!
Pottery classes cost 2500 yen for adults, and 1500 yen for
children. Each piece that you keep will cost you extra, starting
from 500 yen per piece. You choose the glaze and design for your
work, and Kato-Sensei will call you in about a month when it is ready.
e-mail Kato Sensei directly for more informaiton at:
email@example.com, or call on 090-3554-4462. There is a website in Japanese.
Editors note: I am also writing
an article about Hiroshige Kato and the Akazu area for the upcoming
edition of Avenues. There are two events coming up in Akazu - the
third Saturday and Sunday of April is a display and market of all the
local potters, and the second Sunday in May is an open day for all the
potters’ studios. Don't miss this beautiful display of Seto
pottery and potter hospitality!
6. Hope International Events
HOPE at the Hilton Week: March 4th -
Travel Leisure & Charity Auction
Browse and bid on our collection of travel and leisure items worth of 5
million yen. Products include:
2 Business tickets to San Francisco (courtesy of United Airlines)
2 economy tickets to Guam (courtesy of Northwest Airlines)
Overnight Stays at over 30 Hilton Hotels in Japan & overseas
A CAR (courtesy of Motorworld Corporation), and lots of other great
All proceeds go to HOPE for work with the poor. There will be a special
gift for those who bid on site at the Hilton. You can also bid on line and
keep track of what items are selling for. Bid Early and Bid
Often. There will be special gifts for everyone who bids on the
2nd floor of the Hilton.
Hilton Nagoya 2F:
3/4 - 11: Noon to 6:30pm
3/4 - 10: 24hr Open &
3/11: until 6pm
Auction closes at 6:30pm on 3/11(Sun).
Date: March 5th (Mon)
Time: 10am to 6pm
Venue: Hilton Nagoya 2F
For men and women!! Courtesy of some of Nagoya's top hair stylists, you
can get your hair cut for only 1,500 yen and help the poor at the same
time. Please make a reservation by phone (0561-54-5560) or email
Dine at the Hilton Nagoya and help the
March 4th - 11th
Enjoy a fine meal at The Terrace or The Seasons (2F) all week, and 5%
of your bill will be used to eradicate poverty around the globe.
7. Music Together
(thank you to Asarel Herr for this
Music Together is an
internationally recognized early childhood music program for infants,
toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who take care
of them. It pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally
appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes
and facilitates adult involvement.
Music Together classes are based
on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can
learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, learn to develop rythm and
participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that
their early environment supports such learning.
Research done out of the University of Toronto by Sandra Trehub shows
that the average North American family knows only 3-5 songs to sing to
their children. These few songs often include that sturdy classic,
"Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall". Even if you could settle a
baby to sleep by the time you got to, say, seventeen bottles of beer on
the wall, you'd have to wonder if this where the best you could offer
the coming generation. There's a timeless quality to singing to a
child. That's why my husband and I decided to go to Music Together.
Taking classes with Liz Sato in Music Together is the best thing that
could have happened to us. She is very dedicated to the children, fun
and energetic you can see she takes pleasure doing this. If you come to
Nagoya and take her class, not only does she include you into the class
but also helps you adapt into the Nagoya environment. I have seen how
welcoming she is to all the newcomers in the area and how she tries to
make everyone miss home a little less.
Her classes are phenomenal. They are fun and it's for children all
ages, fathers and grandparents are always welcome and this makes a nice
environment for families to participate together. Some women go with
both children so that siblings can share the music class. Others are
pregnant and feel how the baby moves to the music.
I particularly like the singing and playing of rhythm instruments is
always done for joy and adventure of it and is not associated IN any way with "performance" or doing
it "right". We are making music together - no child (or adult!) is put
on the spot to perform in front of others. I guess I would say that the
atmosphere is one of celebration rather than performance.
The music making is almost always accompanied by movement- marching,
dancing with beautiful scarves, shaking various rhythm instruments,
etc. I've learned a lot about how to create such
whole-body-music-expression for my child. I want not just his fingers
and brain to hear and play music but for it to be part of his core
sense of Self. I want him to both feel joy and to know how to express
that fully and articulately, thus my delight in gaining tools at Music
Together for sharing this with my son at home. The program it's self
enhances the child's learning and development skills through the book
Classes are both fun for me as an adult, and age appropriate for the
toddlers on up in our class.
I like the variety of instruments, etc. that we all (kids and adults)
play in each class and I like the variety of colors of things we use.
(scarves, music books, etc.) I enjoy the music as well as the variety
I also like the other parents in the class and the location with easy
parking. There is also a wide variety of classes offered during the
mornings and evenings each week.
I highly recommend the Music Together classes which I have been taking
with my 14 month old son. I have learned a lot from these classes about
how to bring the musical dimensions of the human adventure into his
world in a way that is fun for both of us.
Phone: 052 931 5898
8. Meet & Greet
(thank you to Helen Braithwaite for
Are you new to town? Do you want to get out and meet new
people? Or do you just want a nice lunch in a quiet, relaxing
atmosphere where you can chat with new friends and old friends?
The Meet & Greet lunch is held on the second Tuesday of the month
at Shooters Sports Bar and Grill in Fushimi.
Date: Tuesday, 13th of February
Time: 11:30am -
Price: 1500 yen for buffet lunch and a drink
RSVP: Please RSVP by Saturday the 10th of February
to Helen Braithwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 090-2186-3717
during office hours.
Shooters has a relaxed atmosphere and is closed during the day
except for our event, so we have the run of the place. This means
that it is a VERY easy event for mothers with babies or small
children. It also means, however, that I must ask for an RSVP so
that Shooters can cater for the correct number of people. Since
they are opening the restaurant especially for us, I want to keep these
Meet & Greet lunches well attended as they are a valuable resource
for newcomers to the area. Please mark it on your calendar -
every month on the second Tuesday, and let me know if you can come.
9. Organic Market and Cafe
(Thank you to Marie Langlois for this
been going to Poran Cafe
in Issha for 4 or 5 years now and it just keeps getting better. Every
Friday after my yoga class I look forward to dropping in for a relaxing
late lunch and having a selection of delicious healthy food made with
care. I'm always greeted with a smile and given a glass of water
or tea, (whichever I prefer) while I wait for my order, which never
takes long. They change the goodies with the seasons so there's
always something new to try. The interior of the restaurant is a
light honey-coloured wood with windows on each wall so it's not only a
bright, cheery place to sit and eat but also extremely relaxing.
I love it there and look forward to Fridays knowing I can rest in "my
sanctuary" and enjoy a great lunch that won't leave me feeling heavy or
throw me into a sugar coma after teaching 2 yoga classes in a row.
This is a map to Poran
Cafe and the sister organic goods (food, books, clothing, homeware)
store, Sonne Garten.
In the same street is a bread shop called Sonne, and in the same chain
is a bread shop in Hoshigaoka called Meister Kakinumas
Backstube, in between Hoshigaoka Bus terminal and Chikusa Sports
Center (click here for a map).
Hours of Operation for all stores: 10am to 7pm (around 6pm on Sundays
On Saturdays only, Poran Cafe is open until 8pm.
All Stores Closed Thursdays
Sonne Bread Shop Tel/Fax(052)703-4467
Deadlines are breathing down my neck. A weight loss
marathon that I undertook for breast cancer is being threatened by my
old friend Mister Donuts as he helps me to work my way through the
week. I have sick friends in hospital. I am missing my
children's all important school presentation on Friday to be the
president of a Board Meeting for which I have not yet read the
agenda. The house is not too
messy, but definitely too messy for visitors. Too bad that it's
my daughter's birthday party tomorrow after school. I'm not sure
how many children she has actually invited. Perhaps eight.
Still I can see the beauty of my situation. My husband's not
coming home from work until late so an easy dinner and a hot bath are
waiting for me and the kids. The deadlines might be strangling me
right now, but give me three days, and the deadlines will have come and
gone whether I have met them or not, and I probably will have.
The weekend ahead of the Board Meeting involves a lot of friends,
healthy food and an onsen.
Life is still good.
Letting go of perfection is not only essential in my current situation,
it's actually a good idea for my own mental health. I can choose
to focus on my short-comings, or I can see that I am doing the very
best that I can in a tight situation. I can beat myself up for
missing the kids school presentations, or I can remind myself that I
have made several rather breakthrough career choices in order to
provide a warm and loving home for my children. What I am writing
for these deadlines - what they may lack in word length they certainly
make up for in heart.
Do you think you need more reasons to let go of your obsession for
perfection? Try these on for size:
* The less perfect you are, the more comfortable people will be
around you. Perfect people are irritating!
* More imperfections = more opportunities for growth
* Passing the perfection gene on to your children is actually a
curse - who actually aims to lower a child's self esteem?
* When you put a lot of thought into something, when you do your
best, it doesn't matter if the outcome is less than perfect - you'll
get pay-offs in other ways
* The less perfect you are, the less demanding of perfection you
are in other people. That makes you a whole lot easier to be
* The more perfect you aim to be, the bigger the crash when
expectations don't meet reality.
Try sitting down to think in what ways you expect perfection from
yourself. Then, deliberately think of some ways that you can
challenge that personal view. If you are supposed to be the most
productive in your office, take a day off work just because you have
some holidays accrued. If your inner demons are telling you that
you can't leave the house without make-up, leave the house without
make-up anyway. What could be the worst that could happen?
Embracing imperfection is not the same as slacking off. You know
in your heart of hearts, that just because you haven't reached your
weight loss goal it's not in your best personal interests to plough
through three buckets of ice-cream. The difference is that when
you embrace imperfection, you are accepting yourself warts and all, as
a member of the human race. And what could be more perfect than
That`s it for this
edition of the newsletter. We hope you found it informative - please
let us know what you would like to see in future editions, and we will
attempt to address your issues.
A disclaimer - While we
do try to check submissions when they come to me, we do not take
responsibility for the accuracy of any donated information. Nor
do we take responsibility if your experience of places and services you
find through this newsletter are not as rewarding as they were for the
person who originally sent in the information. Obviously everyone`s
experience is different.
If you would like to
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