Being A Broad October 2009 #49
The monthly magazine for international women living in Japan
our cover girl: ALLIED PICKFORDS’ CAROLINE KENNEDY
home schooling in JAPAN recognising and SURVIVING domestic violence SIN DEN’S best tips for FAB HAIR
help do your bit to FIND LINDSAY ANN HAWKER’S KILLER with our pullout poster
helping to END BREAST CANCER with the PINK BALL celebrating 60 YEARS of CWAJ
Door to Door moving with Allied Pickfords. Allied Pickfords is one of the largest and most respected providers of moving services in the world. Move Allied to Allied. Door to Door. Call us now 03-5549-6200.
6 I had to giggle at Gabbi Bradshaw’s birthday article in this issue—my own birthday kiss with a stranger in a bar in 2003 turned into marriage not that long afterwards—you can read about her birthday night on page ten. Shana Graves shares Sin Den’s expert tips on dealing with all those annoying hair changes in Japan, and if you’re looking for a great volunteer opportunity, check out this year’s Pink Ball by the Run for the Cure Foundation. The College Women’s Association of Japan is busy this month too, with their annual Print Show and celebrating an incredible 60 years! If you’ve been considering getting some professional photographs done, then we feature Rebecca Letchford of Letchford & Letchford (check out their fantastic back cover advertisement) and our very own Kerry Raftis of Keyshots, who creates all of our amazing BAB covers. Plus lots more!
being a broad news BAB events, JANZ Ladies’ Group
our cover girl Allied Pickfords’ Caroline Kennedy
women of the world news from around the globe
things we love
small but significant—things we love in Japan
turning 40 in Tokyo
hair care tips from an expert
10 Tokyo girl 11 beauty
image: provided by Rebecca Letchford.
6 our cover girl
Enjoy! Caroline Pover BAB Founder
• fighting breast cancer with the Pink Ball • CWAJ celebrates 60 years in Japan
working we profile: Letchford & Letchford’s Rebecca Letchford
15 pullout poster
BAB supports Lindsay Ann Hawker’s family
the broads (and boys!)
The Japan Market Expansion Competition
using photography as a unique gift
• making the decision to go back to work • homeschooling in Japan
image provided by Janica Sims.
Publishers Caroline Pover & Emily Downey Editor & Designer Danielle Tate-Stratton Marketing Consultant Amy Dose Marketing, Sales & Distribution Consultant Sarah Baker Advertisement Designer Chris May BAB reps Kelsey Aguirre (Shonan) firstname.lastname@example.org Shaney Crawford (Tsukuba) email@example.com Aiko Miyagi (Okinawa) firstname.lastname@example.org Aurora Bonaiuto-Davi (Shizuoka) email@example.com Contributors Gabbi Bradshaw, Janica Sims, Monica Loheni, Shana Graves, Meg Nakano, Ingrid Toyoda, Rebecca Letchford, Karin Ling, Natasha Williams, Glen Steward, Tina Burrett Cover Model Caroline Kennedy Cover Photographer Kerry Raftis, www.keyshots.com Cover Makeup Naomi Saito, Sin Den Proofreader Jane Farries Printing Mojo Print Opinions expressed by BAB contributors are not necessarily those of the Publishers.
image: Kerry Raftis/www.keyshots.com
image: David Stetson
message from the founder
21 mothers 24
women’s health recognising and surviving domestic violence
political broad-cast an interview with Mizuho Fukushima: part two
26 she found love in Japan
after five minutes, he knew she was the one
26 she found love in Japan Correction: In the September, 2009 issue, in the article titled Surviving Through Art: Jane’s Exhibition, a woman was quoted as saying: “because I was raped too, 15 years ago by the US military.” In fact, the rape occurred 50 years ago. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience or confusion this error may have casued.
Being A Broad magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org www.being-a-broad.com tel. 03-5879-6825, fax: 03-6368-6191 Being A Broad October 2009
BAB supports Lindsay Ann Hawker A quote from the BAB book: My name is Lindsay Ann Hawker I was murdered in March 2007 and buried in a bath of sand on the balcony of Tatsuya Ichihashi’s apartment in Tokyo.
Ichihashi escaped from the police and still has not been found. If you have any information that may lead to his arrest, please call the Japanese police on 047-397-0110.
Please help my family find peace.
Being A Broad September 2009 #48
The monthly magazine for international women living in Japan
our cover girl: JAnette Dillerstone preparing to leAVe JAPAn enVisioninG the future with tHe 17s ProJeCt
settling in with WelCoMe FUrosHiKi pre- and post-natal YoGA with FUrlA
helping to CleAn KUGAnUMA beach
help do your bit to FinD linDsAY Ann HAWKer’s Killer with our pullout poster
how to buy a BrA in JAPAn...and enJoY it! Gabbi Bradshaw rUns For tHe CUre
www.being-a-broad.com Thanks for picking up this issue of Being A Broad. Like what you see? Then why not subscribe today? For just ¥4,500 you’ll get one year (12 issues) of Being A Broad delivered to your door. Email: editor@being-a-broad. com to subscribe today! Plus, we now have the past six issues of BAB on our website and will be adding more soon. Check them out at www.being-abroad.com, and let us know what you think!
In March 2007, Lindsay Ann Hawker, a 22-yearold English teacher from the UK, was found buried in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Tatsuya Ichihashi’s apartment after giving him a private lesson in a nearby coffee shop. Ichihashi escaped when police visited his apartment to investigate and has not been seen since. As part of a recent effort to catch Ichihashi, the National Police Agency has introduced a new award of ¥10 million (previously only ¥1 million) for information concerning his whereabouts. Based in the UK, it is so difficult for Lindsay’s family to maintain public awareness of the fact that Ichihashi is still missing—let those of us who live here do our best to help them. Please help the Hawker family find Lindsay Ann’s killer with our pullout poster on pages 15–18.
Japan has an extensive network of bus routes, both local and long distance. Local buses tend to be crowded, but take much longer than trains due to the busy traffic. Although the buses are numbered, the destination signs both on and in the buses are rarely in English and this can make it difficult to identify which bus you need, never mind when you have to get off. When you get on, you usually put your money in the machine next to the driver to whom you do not need to speak (a sign will tell you the fare for all destinations) and get off the bus at the side door. You can use PASMO or Suica on most buses as well. With some buses, you take a ticket when you get on and pay at the front when leaving the bus—the cost depends on how far you have travelled and there is a sign indicating how much you have to pay. Some buses only stop if you press a button to inform the driver that you want to get off. If you can’t understand the loudspeaker bus stop announcements, then, as with the trains, ask another passenger to help you. If this is a regular route for you, you should memorise the kanji on the front of the bus and become familiar with your destination as soon as possible. For long-distance bus journeys, you need to reserve a seat at a travel agency.
Please note: the BAB book is currently being reprinted. To reserve your copy, please email email@example.com. They will be released soon.
You can pick BAB up at the following locations: Shibuya-ku: • British School Tokyo • Boudoir • Sin Den
Notting Hill • Krissman Tennis • PAL International School •
• Furla Yoga • Nua Japan
ROTI Roppongi • Paddy Foley’s • Asian Tigers
Minato-ku: • Suji’s • Nakashima Dentist • TELL •
Kichijoji: Shinzen Yoga Koto-ku: Toho Women’s Clinic Bunkyo-ku: Joy to the World International School Suginami-ku: JUN International School Chofu-shi: American School in Japan Yokohama: Treehouse Montessori
Nishimachi International School • Gymboree • Global Kids Academy • Mitsubishi UFJ Azabujuban • Tokyo Surgical and Medical Clinic • National Azabu • Segafredo • Tokyo American Club • Nissin World Delicatessen • Crown Relocations • Temple University • Hulabootie •
Nagoya: St. George Academy Tsukuba: Through BAB Rep Shaney Shonan: Through BAB Rep Kelsey Okinawa: Through BAB Rep Aiko Shizuoka: Through BAB Rep Aurora (To contact your local BAB Rep for a copy, simply send them an email. All contact details are on page three.)
FEATURED COMMUNITY GROUP:
JANZ LADIES’ GROUP by Monica Loheni
Kawagoe town, a calligraphy exhibition, museum visits, and an ikebana exhibition. On their most recent overnight trip to Nikko, participants were also able to experience a different side of Nikko by visiting a reproduction of an Edo village. The highlight of the trip was an overnight stay at a samurai hideout, together with an open hearth dinner in the banquet hall reached by crossing a lantern-lit rope bridge over the river. Both the day and overnight trips enable foreigners to experience various facets of Japanese culture and share their views with Japanese members. Another aspect of the JANZ Ladies’ group is to support and contribute to society as an international women’s group. They have for many years donated Christmas gifts to Kodomo no Machi, a children’s orphanage in the Saitama Prefecture. They also recently launched a fundraising project to provide vaccines to children in developing countries who do not have access to adequate healthcare. The current membership consists of 172 women: 115 Japanese, 42 Australians, and 15 New Zealanders. History and Formation In November 2007, the JANZ Ladies’ Group celebrated its 55th Anniversary Reunion in Sydney, Australia, where more than 100 current
The JANZ Ladies’ Group often enjoys cross-cultural coffee mornings. BAB Event: Picnic with 37 Frames Being A Broad and 37 Frames Photography are thrilled to be spending a fall afternoon in the park with you! Join us Broads at Yoyogi Park and have your own mini photo session with Dee and Tracey. Mingle with new foreign women and relax in the beautiful park picnic-style. The event will take place on November 28 from noon–4pm (rain date: November 29, noon– 4pm), in Yoyogi Park (meet at the Harajuku Gates). The event, open to all foreign women in Tokyo,
includes a mini photo session, two professional digital photographs, picnic lunch, drinks, and lots of fun, all for just ¥3,500. Please let Sarah know if you’ll be attending by emailing her by November 20 at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, please let her know your name, email address and contact details, and preferred method of payment (PayPal or direct deposit via Mizuho bank). If you have any questions, please feel free to email Sarah at the above address or Dee and Tracey at email@example.com.
JANZ ladies navigate a samurai bridge in Nikko. all images provided by the JANZ Ladies Group.
he JANZ Ladies’ Group is a social organisation formed to promote friendship, goodwill, and understanding among the women of Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. JANZ Ladies’ offers support and camaraderie to Australian and New Zealand expatriates and Japanese nationals alike in their appreciation of cultural diversity. The group is open to Australian and New Zealand women residing in Japan and to Japanese women who have resided in either Australia or New Zealand for at least one year. JANZ offers members a range of activities including a book club, calligraphy, cooks-in-thekitchen, gourmet (restaurant reviews), golf, cross-cultural exchanges, movies, sumi-e, ikebana, and bridge, as well as day trips and overnight excursions. Two popular interest groups are their gourmet and golf groups—the gourmet group meets once month and enjoys lunch at different restaurants of various cuisines in and around Tokyo. The golf group provides an opportunity to play golf on some beautiful courses around Japan at reasonable rates. This group also arranges golf lessons for everyone from the beginner to the experienced player with a monthly practice at a nearby golf range. They enjoy fun outings including day trips to the Shiseido Factory at Kamakura, Tsukiji Market,
and former members gathered on the waterfront of the Sydney harbour. It was 1952 when Mrs Yoriko Gotoh, then the wife of the ex-Consul General to Sydney, took the initiative to form a women’s division within an organisation known today as the Japan-Australia-New Zealand Society ( JANZ Society—itself formed in 1928 with approximately 30 members, including well-known men from diplomatic and commercial circles). The inaugural ceremony for the women’s division was held in October 1952, and Mrs Hideko Inoue (the wife of the ex-Consul General to Sydney) was elected as the very first president of the JANZ Ladies’ Group, with a 45 members. The group remained part of the JANZ Society until they became independent in 1974. By that time, membership had increased to 153 members: 67 Japanese, 66 Australians, and 20 New Zealanders. Today, the JANZ Ladies’ Group continues the tradition established by its founding members. They welcome enquiries and are always on the lookout for new ladies interested in taking part in the group. For further information on membership or any of the activities, please refer to their website, www.janzladies.com, or BAB contact firstname.lastname@example.org. BAB Readers’ Survey: Do you pick up BAB occasionally or subscribe to get every issue? Love the magazine or wish you could have your hand in changing it? Either way, we’d love to hear from you! Please take a minute or two to answer our brief reader’s survey, which can be easily accessed at http:// tinyurl.com/y8o2x58. To thank you for participating, we’ll enter you into a draw for one of a few great prizes— plus your answers will help us serve you better!
Being A Broad October 2009
K E N N E DY
of Allied Pickfords Japan, cover photography by Kerry Raftis
feel that there is great support and friendship among the foreign women here... Ialso
image: Kerry Raftis/www.keyshots.com
our cover girl
Full name: Caroline Brenda Kennedy Age: 32 Nationality: Irish Grew up in: Dublin Time in Japan: 11 years Japanese level: I just passed Level One of the Japanese Proficiency Exam! It was quite a surprise as I found it very difficult and thought I would be applying to sit it again in December. I’m feeling very ambitious now and have just applied for the Business Japanese Proficiency Test, which I will take in November. Strange but true…I got quite a thrill from sitting the first exam! Japanese ability is a requirement of my job and I use it at work every day, liaising with staff, vendors, and clients, so a lot of my studying takes place through my work. Works at: Allied Pickfords Japan at our office in Roppongi. I am the director of client services, overseeing our Import, Export, and Shipping departments. I have been working at Allied Pickfords for six years now and very much enjoy my work. Working in the moving industry in a city like Tokyo is fascinating, and even now I am amazed at the number of people moving into and out of this city every single week. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t have a pack or delivery scheduled. Why did you come to Japan? I first came to Japan in my third year of university as part of my degree in International Marketing and Japanese at Dublin City University. It was a course requirement to spend one year in Japan and I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to study at Sophia University for the year. After I graduated back in Ireland, I returned to Japan and
spent three years as a CIR on the JET Programme, based in a small country town called Shiroishi City in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. I was very much taken with life here, though, so I returned again the year after I finished JET and have been living in Yokohama since. Why do you stay in Japan? Japan is normal life for me now… I seldom think of myself as living and working in a foreign country. This is just the way it is now! I enjoy my work and I love the opportunities living here presents for meeting people from all over the world, learning more about my own country, and appreciating it more by being away from home. I love Ireland and I am pretty sure that I will return there one day, so for now I am happy to stay in Japan. I’ve put a lot into building my life here and I am lucky now to be surrounded by great friends, both foreign and Japanese, and have a continuing interest in learning more about Japan and welcoming any of the new challenges life here sometimes brings. How do you manage to balance everything in your life? I try to be as organised as possible and prioritise the tasks that need to be completed each day. I don’t always succeed, but I hate a cluttered desk and going home without accomplishing what I set out to for that particular day. I sometimes work late in the evening and feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but for every tough week that I have, I try to get out that weekend and visit somewhere new or try something different. This helps me to reset and face each week refreshed and ready for new challenges! What do you do to relax? I like to get out of the city and visit different places off the beaten track and enjoy the local food and sights and sounds of that area. I love walking, too, so I often take long walks exploring the area around Yokohama, where I live. Since I used to live in a mountainous area in Northern Japan, I’ve also taken up snowboarding and look forward to fun weekends in Nagano every year. Best thing about being a foreign woman in Japan? Like many foreign women here, I feel safe and have always felt very welcomed by the Japanese people I have met during my years here. Some of the people I have met show great appreciation that I have chosen to live in Japan and learn Japanese, but I feel that I’m the one who
should be showing appreciation for the welcome I receive here! I also feel that there is great support and friendship among the foreign women here and I am lucky enough to have met some of my best friends because of the fact that we are BAB foreign women in Japan. A Day in the Life: 6:15am: Rise and shine! I often give in to the snooze button on my alarm clock, but make sure I am up and enjoying a bowl of muesli and catching up on the news by 6:30am, before getting ready and leaving my apartment for the commute to Tokyo. 9am: Once I reach the Allied Pickfords office and switch on my computer, a busy day of emails, phone calls, and meetings with my team begins. 12:30pm: I eat out for lunch every day and really enjoy the choice available in Roppongi. I usually go somewhere different every day and sometimes buy obento and sit out with my colleagues to people-watch and marvel at the sights and sounds of Tokyo. 1:30pm: Back to the office where I go through rate requests from other Allied offices around the world, check up on move operations taking place that day, and ensure everything is in order. I often try to visit our packing or delivery sites to greet clients and get a better sense of operations. Our office in Japan has been the top-ranking Allied office for customer service for several years now and we constantly strive to learn from our clients and develop and improve our processes. The vast majority of our clients have moved several times, often utilising different moving companies each time, and are a great source of information and inspiration. 6:30pm: Head for home and depending on the day will meet friends for dinner or a drink or will prepare a light meal at home before going for a power-walk around my area. I am trying to ease myself into jogging, but have found a variety of excuses to avoid it over the last few months. October will be the month though! (Maybe…) 11pm: Sleep gets the better of me and I try to get at least seven hours before the new day dawns.
WOMEN OF THE WORLD
compiled by Danielle Tate-Stratton
The Democratic Party of Japan is hoping to introduce a bill in early 2010 that would amend the 1947 constitution and allow married women to keep their own names. Their children would be allowed to choose which surname to use.
image: iStockphoto/Mie Ahmt
A recently launched campaign in Florida is hoping to add a new amendment to the Florida constitution through a vote in the 2010 election. The proposed ballot revolves around the concept of personhood and essentially states that a fertilised embryo is a person, privy to the same inalienable rights as a living person. Anti-abortion activists have been pushing such amendments around the country, although none have passed so far. Should the amendment be successfully passed, some forms of birth control would be banned, as would all forms of abortion, even in cases of rape. In order to find a place on the ballot, 675,000 signatures in support of the measure must be gathered. Following that, in order to change the Constitution, 60 percent of voters would have to vote for the measure. A similar measure was recently approved by Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock for addition to the November ballot in that state’s upcoming election.
Contractors protecting the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, have been accused of human trafficking for sexual purposes, often frequenting brothels and even bragging about the profit one could make for ‘buying a girl for $20,000.’ Many of the victims are young Chinese women who have been brought to Kabul against their will to work in the sex industry.
image:iStockphoto/ Izabela Habur
High-level officials in the US military are pushing to allow women to serve in submarines as part of a policy of widening opportunities for women within the service. Since being allowed into combat in 1990, women have been serving on some surface-based combat ships and aircraft, but as of yet haven’t been allowed under water.
image: Janet Munson
In what is being called a tragedy by the head of the UN children’s agency, 12-year-old Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, a Yemeni child bride, died following childbirth recently. The girl was just 11 when she was married to her 24-year-old husband, and the event highlights the physical dangers of childbirth at such a young age—girls who give birth under the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to die than a woman in her 20s. Though Yemen recently passed a law making it illegal for girls under the age of 17 to marry, some law-makers have been calling the bill un-Islamic, and trying to have it overturned. As a result, it has been sent back to the parliament’s constitutional committee for review. A school in England, the Bingley Grammar School in West Yorkshire, which has been open since 1529, has recently introduced a new uniform regulation that requires female students to wear trousers as the hemlines of some students’ skirts were so short they were beginning to elicit concern from both parents and members of the community. The change in the uniform policy applies to all but those in the sixth form, who are allowed to wear their own clothes to school.
The University of Rochester Medical Center has recently discovered that gabapentin, a generic drug traditionally used to treat seizures, helps improve the quality of sleep experienced by menopausal women suffering from hot flashes. The use of this drug could be beneficial as it lacks the dependency issues related to other sleep medications and also avoids the use of hormone therapy. A study from Indiana University has shown that women with higher ‘genital self-esteem’ are more likely to be able to orgasm, as well as visit the gynaecologist on a regular basis. Researchers found that women are concerned with the look and cleanliness of their genitals, a trend they attribute largely to marketing campaigns for products such as ‘sex wipes.’ One of Canada’s most celebrated writers, Alice Munro, recently became the winner of the third Man Booker International Prize, which comes with an award of 60,000 GBP and is awarded once every two years to a living author who has contributed internationally to fiction as a whole. Munro, 78, also recently withdrew her short story collection Too Much Happiness from contention for The Giller Prize, Canada’s national book award, saying that as she has already won twice she would prefer to give someone else a chance.
A charitable handout of flour during Ramadan turned tragic in a small, disadvantaged Pakistani town as 18 women were killed during a riot. The flour was handed out in a small, cramped building, and as the crowd panicked, guards pushed back forcibly, adding to the panic and leading to the tragedy. The private donor who was giving away the flour was detained for failing to give prior notice of the event to area police. A recent study has shown that among women with advanced cardiac failure, implanting cardioverterdefibrillators designed to detect abnormal heart rhythms and provide a life-saving shock, may not actually provide any measurable health-saving benefit. In an analysis of 934 women, there was no significant decrease in the rate of death amongst implanted women as compared to those on drug therapy. However, in a similar analysis of over 3,000 men, a significant increase in life span was observed. A study conducted in Colombia and published in The Lancet has shown that women 24–65 also receive a great deal of benefit from receiving the Gardisil vaccine and, provided they haven’t previously suffered from cancer-causing genital warts or cervical disease, are less likely to contract HPV than those who didn’t receive the injection. The Merck-funded study also showed the vaccine could prevent men from contracting the virus in up BAB to 90 percent of cases. Being A Broad October 2009
THE LITTLE THINGS
WE LOVE IN JAPAN a. I love small local Japanese ceramic shops, especially Wakamiya in Hayama. The shop is located off a side street from the main road, and has serving bowls, sets of rice and soup bowls, plates, teapots, teacups, dipping sauce plates, and vases; an endless variety of ceramics! Most pieces are reasonably priced and each has its own unique design and colours. Although the owner doesn’t speak English, it’s a very friendly shop and great for Christmas gifts! With all the recent earthquakes, he must be thankful his store is still intact. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Shin-Zushi station.—AD
b. BAB Rep Kelsey suggests: Burger King in Japan! There are a lot of great burger joints in Japan, but sometimes I miss Burger King from back home. This summer, they introduced the ‘Angry Whopper,’ which has five different levels of heat. I’ve only tried up to level two, but the jalapeños were spicy enough for me! I also love their cheap ice cream sundaes and onion rings. If you ever get that craving for Burger King, there are 16 locations in Japan, including Tokyo, Chiba, Kawagoe, and one recently opened in Yokosuka.—KA
c. Any golfing girls in Tokyo will love the sound of a new women’s golf league just getting off the ground. A group of women who love to play golf is starting a league in Tokyo to promote the sport to women. They have partnered with Gaijin Golfers, www.gaijingolfers.com to plan organised outings and group competitions. The league hopes to facilitate connecting interested women of all nationalities to learn about, play, and enjoy golf for business and friendship. If you are a seasoned golfer or new to the game, the women’s league is a great way to play and learn about the sport in a comfortable environment with other skilful women who enjoy inspiring new golfers. Play is scheduled for November 14. Contact Laura for more information: email@example.com.—LB
d. I love exploring Komachi Dori, which stretches from the east exit of Kamakura station through a little red torii gate. It’s here that you can find many restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops. The street is always thronged with young people and tourists enjoying some shopping. Running parallel to Komachi is Wakamiya-oji Street, which is the main street in Kamakura and leads up to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Dankazura Street is the slightly elevated walkway down the centre of the main street, and was built by Yoritomo Minamoto to pray for safe childbirth for his wife, Masako. There are cherry blossoms and azaleas blooming here depending on the season, and the promenade is decorated with lanterns during festivals, creating a delightful scene typical of Kamakura. Get off at Kamakura station on the JR line or Enoden line.—AD
image: Horizon League Network
e. I love having the chance to support the community through events such as the Tokyo American Club Women’s Group’s Annual International Bazaar. The bazaar is the Women’s Group’s biggest fundraiser of the year and will feature over 50 vendors, 12 of them ﬁrst-timers, selling their beautiful crafts and rare treasures collected from around the globe. Proceeds to beneﬁt local charities. The event, open to the public, will be held from 10am–6pm on November 5, and 10am–4pm on November 6 at the Tokyo American Club. For more information, contact the Women’s Group ofﬁce at 03-4588-0691 or visit www.tacwg.org.—DTS
image: Eric K Veland
f. I love the sound of the The Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese (AFWJ) Kanto Fall Luncheon in Tokyo, a great chance to make new friends and connections! AFWJ is a nationwide organisation offering friendship, fun, and support to foreign women with Japanese partners. The Kanto Fall Luncheon will be held at an Italian restaurant in Northwest Tokyo on Sunday, November 8. Prospective members are very welcome! For further details contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or tel. 090-6132-7970.—LW
g. Anyone interested in the International School of the Sacred Heart— or just having a good time—will love their Family Festival on Saturday, November 14 from 10am–4pm in Hiroo (exit 3). The event features international food, live entertainment, games and prizes, shopping, a used book sale, and the chance to enter a grand raffle with prizes including a trip for two on JAL (in business class) to Hawaii, with a stay at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, or a trip for two to Guam to stay at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, plus jewellery and other great prizes. Tickets are ¥300 and will be on sale until 2pm the day of the festival.—NW
h. BAB Rep Aiko suggests: I love Kyuusai Fiber Tsuujii Aojiru! Not only does it taste delicious (much better than any other aojiru I’ve tried!), but with seven grams of fibre per pack, it’s great for your digestion. Also, it’s a frozen type rather than the more common powder type, so you actually feel like you’re getting a good serving of nutritious veggies when you drink it. Possibly the best part is that you can get it delivered straight to your door, with no shipping charge. I learned about Kyuusai after finding a postcard in my mailbox saying to send it in for free samples, so if you find an ad featuring a tall, cool glass of something green, make sure you don’t throw it away! Otherwise, find out more on their website at: www.kyusai.co.jp/ products/tuji.html.—AM
i. I love unique Christmas gifts, especially ones that people won’t be expecting, and this seems like just the ticket! The Australian Koala Foundation offers the chance for you to foster a baby or adult koala, or a baby koala and its mum together, and offers photos, updates, a certificate, and the knowledge you are helping to contribute to the koala conservation effort. If the year-long commitment to a koala seems a bit much, you can also contribute through purchasing one of their adorable shirts, stuffed animals, a piece of jewellery, and more. For more information on how to get involved with giving this adorable gift, visit: www.savethekoala.com.—CT
Do you have a ‘little thing you love in Japan?’ If the answer is yes, email 50– 150 words about it, and a picture, to: email@example.com so we can share it with all the other broads reading BAB.
Being A Broad October 2009
THERE by Gabbi Bradshaw
...mused, “How will I turn 40?” And it was then I decided. Determined. “Not with a Iconsolation prize.”
I am not your consolation prize” is one of my favourite lines from the movie When Harry Met Sally, and frankly, I’ve had to use it a couple of times in my own life. Another one of my favourite lines is when Sally finds out that her ex-boyfriend is getting married. Harry comes over to her immaculate apartment to console her about still being single. Sally blubbers, “And I’m going to be 40!” Harry furrows his brow and replies, “In eight years.” Sally wails, “But it’s out there!” It always made me giggle. I could relate to Sally. I used to have my life planned out in increments of three. Twenty-one: graduate from college. Twenty-four: marry my college
And then this summer, I met somebody who shook up my thinking. Who changed me. An ordinary farm boy who made me realise that it’s not what I do at 40 but with who. Which shook me up even more. I’m somebody who hasn’t had a committed relationship for more than three months since college. That’s significant. And comforting. And scary as hell to now discover that I want companionship. On my 39th birthday, my friend Aya took me clubbing. To find a companion. And what better place than Muse. I met Aya at midnight outside the weather-worn red awning that looked like an entry to a Mom and Pop pizzeria, not one of the hottest places to be at 4am in Tokyo. We
to have my life planned out in increments of three... My plan didn’t include forty. Iused sweetheart. Twenty-seven: earn my master’s degree. Thirty: be the boss. Thirty-three: retire. My plan didn’t include forty. I just turned 39, and I’m single. I have my master’s and although I have been the boss, it sucked. And my financial advisor clearly stated that for me retirement does not exist in my 30s. Unless I marry my college sweetheart. And now, it’s out there. Forty. Next year. I am not laughing anymore. I know that 40 is a number. But it’s a number that stops me in my tracks. Unlike 30, I feel like I really need to assess my life and make changes to align myself with the end in mind. Looking back at my 30s, the years have been wonderful and horrible. Not working. Working too damn hard. Living abroad. Living in the Delta. Job promotions. The best team ever. The worst team ever. The best boss. The worst boss. Being the boss. Free to do what I want. Feeling trapped. Lonely. Connected. Disconnected. Restless. Content.
descended into the cavern of the bat cave. And just like in the other bars in Tokyo, I was invisible. We passed the techno room and made our way to the hip-hop room. It was slammed with people, smoke, and BO. Disgusting. I scanned the crowd and found one other gaijin girl. But wait, it was a Japanese girl with blond hair. I was the only one around. We staked a corner of the floor and danced Low Low Low to Flo Rida. In showing off how flexible and low I could get, I was pushed by two Japanese girls and fell forward on the sticky, concrete, floor. I popped up and was then shoved by a Japanese boy scuttling across the dance floor. “I am too old for this,” I thought. Space. I have space issues. Aya knew this and dragged me through the throng of sweaty bodies to a little space against the lonely wall. I held my breath and tried to enjoy myself; after all, it was my birthday. Dancing behind us in a most generous open space, there were three Western
boys. Two were cute. In my friend’s tequila shot state and determined to get me to stay out all night, she introduced me to the cutest one. Maurice and I tried talking, but the Black Eyed Peas or the vodka or the Redbull or his thick Swiss accent made it really hard to focus, so we danced instead. His blue eyes were bright and his butt-chin adorable. Not John Travolta adorable, but nice. Aya told him it was my birthday and when he asked how old, she said, without a skipping a beat, “Gabbi just turned 30.” I beamed at the deception. He beamed at the truth of the matter. It didn’t matter. “I’m 31. Let me welcome you to the 30s. What would you like to drink?” Maurice asked. “Vodka Redbull.” “That’s my favourite also.” Cute. And when I asked him to request a Madonna or Tone Loc song from the ‘80s, he ran his cute young bum to the DJ booth. “They don’t play songs from the ‘80s,” Maurice explained. I shrugged. Muse was not a place for dusty 40 year olds who had experienced LPs and 8-track tapes. Blame it on the Alcohol blasted from the megaton speakers. Maurice pulled me into his defined, muscular, solid, 31-year-old chest, and kissed me. And it didn’t matter that there were sweaty bodies around me. Or that we were pushed a million times more. Or that my hair would reek of smoke. I had my birthday kiss. At 5am, the lights told us to go home. Maurice and his Swiss buddies did the tourist thing and headed to Tsukiji Fish Market, and I headed for the train and my local McDonalds. Still gloriously drunk, I munched on a sausage and cheese McMuffin and mused, “How will I turn 40?” And it was then I decided. Determined. “Not BAB with a consolation prize.”
image: iStockphoto.com/Gen Kanai
TIPS FROM A PROFESSIONAL by Shana Graves
MANAGING YOUR HAIR IN JAPAN: Sin Den offers international stylists and products.
estern hair is fundamentally different than Japanese hair and therefore requires W different proteins and care.
says there are numerous things that affect the condition of one’s hair. One of the main reasons why the condition of your hair changes when you live in a foreign country is due to a change in diet; as your digestive system is forced to adapt to new foods, so is your hair. For example, increasing your consumption of fish is likely to stimulate hair growth and help hydrate dry or brittle hair, as fish contains a lot of proteins and natural fatty acids. Although this change in diet generally has a positive effect on your hair, there are also many factors that could have adverse effects on your hair. Residing in a large city such as Tokyo makes access to purified tap water quite difficult. As with
hair can withstand the procedure. That being said, straight perms are a great alternative to dealing with curly hair, especially if you use a hair dryer or a straightening iron on a regular basis. A change in season also requires a change in shampoo and thus the type of care you are giving your hair. In the winter months, in order to help control static Fabio recommends using a leavein conditioner and to avoiding washing your hair in hot water. Instead, he suggests washing with a low temperature and using only a teaspoonsized amount of shampoo, which is applied only to the scalp. Using this seemingly-small amount of shampoo is a practice that Fabio advises be carried out year round and not just during the
in climate and air quality also has a dramatic effect on the way one’s hair looks and feels. Achange
winter months, since over-washing and excessive use of shampoo tends to dry out hair. To ensure your hair is receiving the right proteins, Fabio also suggests that you change your shampoo when the seasons change, or at least a few times per year, in order to keep your hair healthy. Something to keep in mind is that overall, the maximum wattage of outlets in Japan is lower than that of Western countries, so even though you may be using the same hair appliances as you were in your home country you are not getting the same amount of power. This results in having to use said appliances for a longer period of time, which in turn dries out the hair. Fabio suggests using a metal or ceramic brush along with your hair dryer to accelerate drying time, since these materials tend to heat up when used in conjunction with a hair dryer. To avoid additional damage due to overheating, Fabio advises his clients to invest in professional hair dryers and irons since they generally operate at higher temperatures, which results in quicker drying and straightening time. Salon equipment may be a bit pricey but the product quality is far beyond compare to that of department store equivalents. For those looking for top quality hair care products and additional advice, Sin Den prides itself on carrying the best products on the market, including many hair colours imported from Western countries. Sin Den’s stylists are also fully experienced in caring for all hair types including Japanese and black hair. For a free hair consultation contact Sin Den by phone at 03-3405-4409 or visit their website: www. BAB sinden.com.
Photographer: Hiroyasu Masaki, hair stylist: Fabio Alfano, Sin Den, makeup: Naomi Saito, Sin Den, hair assistant Yuri Komine, Sin Den, model: Milena @Angel17.
hen moving to or living in a foreign country, probably the last thing on your mind is your hair. However, you may soon become aware of just how important hair care is, especially when you can’t understand your stylist or read the labels on hair care products. I recently had the chance to sit down with Master Stylist and manager of Sin Den salon, Fabio Alfano, to help set the record straight on why Western hair requires special attention, and gain suggestions for keeping your hair healthy and stylish while living in Japan. Western hair is fundamentally different than Japanese hair and therefore requires different proteins and care. After being in Japan for awhile, you’ll probably start to notice a change in how your hair looks and feels and you might ask yourself: “why is my hair different?” Fabio
many large cities around the world, the water in Tokyo has a high chlorine content, which tends to dry out one’s hair. For a temporary solution to dryness you can use conditioner, but Fabio suggests a more long-term solution, which requires investing in a filtered shower head that can be purchased from any department store. This will filter out much of the chlorine in your water, thus preventing much of your hair’s dryness. A change in climate and air quality also has a dramatic effect on the way one’s hair looks and feels. Many Sin Den customers site humidity as their biggest concern when it comes to managing their hair. As many of you know, the intense humidity during the summer months in Tokyo can cause hair to become frizzy and unruly, especially if your hair has any sort of natural wave or curl. Fabio says the best way to combat this is to avoid over-styling when heat and humidity are at a maximum and to keep the use of electrical hair appliances such as blow dryers and irons to a minimum. The best way to do this is to allow one’s hair to dry naturally; however, if you feel that this is not a viable option for you, you may want to look into getting a straight perm. Appointments for straight perms are usually booked before the rainy season starts and the perm itself will usually last for a few months, or at least until your hair starts to grow out. If you are seriously considering this as an option you will initially have to book a consultation with a hair stylist since, as is the case with a regular perm, a straight perm is a chemical process and your stylist is required to ensure your
Whether for day-to-day style or a special occasion, Sin Den offers hair care to suit. Being A Broad October 2009
THE PINK BALL by Meg Nakano
ctober is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the busiest fundraising month for the NPO “Run for the Cure®” Foundation here in Tokyo. The RFTC Foundation’s two main events are the daytime Run for the Cure/Walk For Life on October 17, and the evening black-tie dinner and auction event, the Pink Ball, held on Friday October 30 at the Westin Hotel in Ebisu. Both events are run and staffed by volunteers to keep the highest possible percentage of the money that has been raised going directly into the charity activities. If you can’t donate money, please do consider donating your time in the future. I spoke to the the co-chairs of the Pink Ball, Tim (T) and Jeanette ( J). The Pink Ball will raise money through sponsors, ticket buying guests, and auction sales. Key to the entire function are the volunteers who donate their time and energy. Can you explain what the Pink Ball is? T: The Pink Ball raises money for clinics that don’t have enough money to buy mammography equipment, and it supports their use for the first two years. But more importantly, the Pink Ball is a
reast cancer is a health issue that affects the person and their family both physically B and emotionally. Run for the Cure/Walk for Life, and I’m with the Pink Ball. J: I get a lot of joy in helping other people. I like doing work like this that I know is going toward a good cause. Also, I get to meet and work with a lot of interesting people. It is always a challenge, and I like having that in my life to grow into. Plus, it’s good for myself and my skills. There is just so much to get out of it. You spend the time and the effort, and the rewards that you get out of it are just fantastic. There is such a great sense of accomplishment when you’re finished, when it’s two o’clock in the morning, and the Ball is done, knowing that you have done something worthwhile. And then being able to hear that you’ve made it possible to buy a mammogram machine or two mammogram machines, and purchase an amount
not required. Please mark October 30 on your calendar, and let them know your dream job for assisting at a magical evening to help fight breast cancer by emailing pinkballvolunteer@gmail. com if you are interested in volunteering. The committee will need both ‘day work’ setting up on the afternoon of the 30th, and ‘at the ball’ work for three to four hours doing one of the more complex, or two of the simpler, jobs above (or more, if you wish) between 6pm and midnight on October 30. Orientation meeting notices and information on the jobs available will be sent out to people who email pinkballvolunteer@gmail. com. Also, please visit www.runforthecure. BAB org for event details.
here are a lot of first-class groups involved doing different things. Let’s come out as a community to T support this cause.
celebration of living on, of courage, of inspiration, and the empowerment of helping. J: It’s the largest fundraising event that Run for the Cure® does every year. It’s a gala event, a blacktie event, quite an exciting evening, an auction with great prizes, always some super-special entertainment. It’s quite glamorous and exciting. What is special about this year’s Pink Ball? T: We’ll be creating a magical evening—The Magic of Giving. There will be a chef flown in from Los Angeles, so great food… J: We have an exciting celebrity who will be performing, and it will be an evening for The Magic of Giving. For the past five years the program has been about the same, and this year it’s going to be different, it will be a new format. You need to come to see it. Why do you give the Pink Ball your time and effort? T: I am involved because breast cancer is a health issue that affects the person and their family both physically and emotionally. I saw this first hand in college when a girlfriend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, how the survivors and their families needed help dealing with it. I grew up in a big family, loving big parties, and in college my fraternity won the Best Community Service Award. Now I’m working in Tokyo, and this year the Foundation invited me to co-chair this, so my wife and I are both volunteering, my wife with the
of mammograms for women. Any message for Being A Broad readers? J: The Pink Ball is an exciting thing to be part of. If you really want to get experience in event planning or managing full fundraising and seeing how a charity works, the Pink Ball is a great way to do that. You get to work on so many levels, deal with sponsors, the hotel, the food, the entertainment, and with so many groups. There are so many ways you can get new knowledge and experience, and there is such a variety of things that you can get involved in. It is worth volunteering just for the experience. T: Come out to the Pink Ball, or next year’s Run for the Cure®. There are a lot of first-class groups involved doing different things. Let’s come out as a community to support this cause. “Please volunteer” is abstract, but not difficult. Jobs include set-up during the afternoon of the Pink Ball, as well as creating name tags for the evening’s guests. Volunteers to direct people during the event will be needed along with reception desk staff, raffle ticket sellers, silent auction attendants, cashiers, and live auction runners; assistants will be needed for the entertainers, as well as people to set up the food for the volunteers. They will need people to assist with the arrangements for parcel delivery, and people to help with clean-up of auction items. Prior experience is welcome but
Note: Early detection of breast cancer is vital. Although the incidence of breast cancer is one in every eight or nine women in the US and one in twenty in Japan, that number in Japan is up from one in thirty only five years ago. The survival rate here is much lower than in the US due to later detection. Less than ten percent of Japanese women get regular mammograms, generally every other year instead of annually, and there are rural areas where mammograms are simply not available. Government subsidies do not apply to women under the age of 40, and an internet search of open-market prices in Tokyo ranged from ¥7,000 to ¥15,000 for a mammography alone; a half-day or more for a complete physical including a mammography is much higher.
YEARS OF CWAJ by Ingrid Toyoda, CWAJ president 2009
CWAJ History: Creative Fundraising was born in 1956 following an exhibition by Elisabeth Keith, a well-known American artist living in Japan. This show was the forerunner of CWAJ’s annual, world-acclaimed Print Show. Keith was the first woman to master the Japanese technique of printing in the traditional manner of woodblock and colour etching. This first exhibit held at International House, Roppongi, resulted from the simple wish of a CWAJ member, herself a print artist and student of Japan’s distinguished artist Un’ichi Hiratsuka, to introduce Japanese artists to a wider audience. The subsequent success of the Print Show owed much in the early days to the support of Mr. Hiratsuka, and of writer and art critic Oliver Statler. In the mid ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, CWAJ attracted a large number of attendees to its many social events such as teas and luncheons, with a highlight being the Imperial Ball at the Hotel Okura in 1962. Socialising played a big role in boosting fundraising efforts with names like Haru Reischauer, CWAJ honorary president and wife of the US Ambassador, Broadway stars from the US, British potter Bernhard Leac, and Yukio Mishima, the Japanese novelist, to name just a few. Internationalisation changed Japan in 1964 with the Olympic Games held in Tokyo. The rapidly growing Japanese market began to attract foreign businesses, and advertisements from the ‘60s CWAJ Print Show catalogues recall some of the earliest foreign companies to start business in Japan. 1963 marks the beginning of CWAJ English language teaching, unique at the time. CWAJ’s native English speakers were trained to assist Japanese high school teachers. As the foreign community grew, so did the interest in learning more about Japan. In 1966 CWAJ’s cultural seminars developed into the annual Lecture Series, which over 37 years covered many important cultural topics and attracted the best speakers in their fields. By the end of the ‘70s, the economy was growing to new heights, and Japan as the
The 2009/2010 scholars with the CWAJ scholarship committee and president, Ingrid Toyoda, at far right.
Noboru Yamataka’s Narrow Path by the Storehouse.
All images provided by CWAJ.
he College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ)’s origins date back to the combined efforts of Japanese women and their American counterparts in alumnae clubs from US Ivy League colleges in Tokyo, just after World War II. Alumnae clubs from two American institutions in particular, Mount Holyoke and Wellesley, laid the foundations for what was first called College Women’s Club of Tokyo. This small group of ambitious alumnae ladies joined forces to raise funds for travel grants given to students who had places to study, but no means of getting there. Thanks to the efforts of these pioneers and their successors, this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of an organisation empowered by women for women, seeking excellence in education in order to pursue their dreams for a better world. CWAJ is an accomplished organisation with a distinguished history of outreach by energetic Japanese and foreign women to enrich the lives of a cross-section of society in Japan. Its main beneficiaries are women who want to further their education—Japanese and foreign— supported through CWAJ awards to make their professional dreams come true. Of course, volunteers with CWAJ also benefit from their time with the group. As Monita Griffiths says: “When I first arrived in Tokyo, I was at loose ends. Having always worked, no matter where we’ve lived, and not being able to find a job in which to progress professionally here, it became important to me to find an avenue through which I could develop interpersonal relationships and contribute to an organisation working for a greater cause. Volunteering to help with the annual Print Show and just knowing that the whole organisation will be pulling together for this massive endeavour is truly an amazing experience. But it’s not all work and no play. Joining the CWAJ has given me the opportunity to meet wonderful women from different backgrounds and attend monthly luncheons hosting fascinating speakers. I have enjoyed spending time and chatting with the ladies at the Japanese conversation group and the Hiking Group’s organised rambles in far away places.”
‘superpower’ became the world’s largest financial empire with the Tokyo Stock Exchange valued higher than Wall Street’s. Japan’s bubble economy was at its peak. From 1972 more Japanese companies expanded overseas and CWAJ started offering orientation programs for wives to prepare them for expatriate life. In the same year, the travel grants were replaced by full-time scholarships for women postgraduates only. CWAJ Scholarships: ‘Scholarships transforming lives...’ as one of their very first scholars Miiko Kodama has stated in a message to CWAJ. She embarked on her journey to America in 1972 with a $5,000 CWAJ Scholarship, and there she came to realise the importance of racial equality and the open minds of the people around her. Her experiences broadened her horizons and influenced her future life. In 1978, in recognition of the difficulties blind students face in Japan, a scholarship was founded for the visually impaired, open to men and women at all university levels, and in 1981 the scholarship program for non-Japanese graduate women (NGJ) to study at Japanese universities was established. Since that time all four categories of scholarships have continued to change the lives and aspirations of many scholars. This year, to celebrate their 60th anniversary, CWAJ awarded four special awards—Scholar Grants—to outstanding previous scholarship recipients, and for the first time awarded an Overseas Scholarship to a medical student in the Philippines, as well as their 11 regular scholarships! CWAJ Print Show: The Print Show’s 30th anniversary in 1985 was commemorated by a travelling show to leading art galleries in Honolulu, Washington DC, Chicago, New York, Salem, Vancouver, and London. Later, the prints were donated to the British Museum’s permanent collection of contemporary Japanese prints. The 50th Print Show was celebrated in 2005, and most of the prints were donated to the Library of Congress in Washington DC where they formed a major exhibition in spring 2007. For more information about CWAJ and their impressive annual fundraiser, the Print Show, which this year (its 54th) featured over 188 prints by 182 BAB artists, visit www.cwaj.org. Being A Broad October 2009
WE PROFILE: REBECCA LETCHFORD of Letchford & Letchford
Rebecca and Luke travelling around the world. on locations that vary widely from hot to cold: beaches to snow-capped mountains. From traditional, ornate homes to super-modern homes, our work is never dull and it constantly provides joy and challenges our creativity. How she found this job: Geoff and I first met in the fashion industry, working with magazines. He was photographing fashion and I was working in design. We would talk endlessly about creative concepts after work and we found we had similar philosophies to working, art, and design, but from opposite sides, so the synergy allowed us to make much more than two out of one plus one. Best thing: People often say to us that we have the best job in the world...I never argue with them! There are so many aspects of my job that I love. Professionally, the most exciting aspect is that working in so many countries with so many different cultures gives me an opportunity to be able to see design from a world-wide perspective and be able to offer that to clients with an understanding of its value to them. But personally, living life to the fullest, probably the best thing would be that I get to do what I love and travel the world together with my husband and baby. Worst thing: Honestly, it’s hard to find a dislike...If I had to list one it would probably be packing! No matter how much practice you get, things never seem to go back into a suitcase the same way they came out! Interesting stories: My life is not what most consider normal or easy, but it’s certainly not boring. Because of my commitment to ensuring my regular clients get what they want, when they want it, I am constantly putting myself into situations of ‘interest.’ A family who we photograph regularly, but who live all over the globe and therefore have small windows of opportunity to get together, asked if we could meet them in Cambodia for the two days they could be there. ‘Of course, I can,’ I said, not calculating that at that time I would be eight months pregnant. It certainly made for some interesting photos, not to mention looks from locals to see a heavily pregnant woman climbing 100 stairs to the top of a temple in 40 degree heat to get the best photos. Issues affecting her as a woman: I love being in charge of my career and my destiny. Working
Some of the beautiful pieces created by Rebecca and Geoff Letchford.
all images provided by Rebecca Letchford.
Name: Rebecca Letchford Nationality: Australian Qualifications: graphic and interior design Job title: creative director Employer: Self employed (Letchford & Letchford, www.letchford.com.au) Salary: self employed Time in this job: 12 years Job description: Personalised photographic design for private clients. Aiming at creating unique artwork more usually associated with highend corporate or publishing clients. Commissions from clients often range ten or more years, as I guide clients to a long-term approach to balancing their design style with their budget and taking into consideration long-term aspirations for their homes, family, and lifestyle. Working with my husband, a photographer, we create private photographic commissions for families all around the world. We work with families to record their family history in an artistic way. Once the images are created, I work with the family to design the photographs into art pieces. General requirements: Good knowledge of interior and graphic design, but more importantly consultative skills that allow me to work with my clients, and understand their personality and individuality. First and foremost you must listen to your clients and draw inspiration from them, so the piece, which is finally placed in their home, is certainly striking and artistic, but more importantly inspirational and comfortable for them. Japanese requirement: I love arriving in Japan…every time, I feel like it is a breath of fresh air. Art, culture, tradition, and respect are such a part of the fabric of life in Japan. Taking the time to understand the Japanese way of life is what I use as a base for my inspiration towards the design approach. Japan has many individualities and so too do the clients living here that we create for. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to communicate your ideas to those who you are creating for and also understand their ideas. General conditions: Travel is a major part of the job, and so is working closely with clients in their homes or other relevant locations. When doing our photography, we almost always work
for myself allows me to choose the type of work I want to do, and the clients that I want to work with. I believe that being free to make those choices means I can do the best possible job for my client. That is very empowering as a woman. When I became pregnant with my son many people told us that we would not be able to continue to travel and work throughout the world. Throughout my pregnancy I visited at least 11 countries, we took our first flight with our son at 5 weeks, and we have been continuing to travel as a family; Luke is now 16 months. There are certainly obstacles with our lifestyle, which we regularly have to navigate around, but our family is happy, healthy, and together almost every day of the year. Plus, at 16 months, Luke has friends around the globe, eats international food, and sees all cultures as his equal. I feel that a fulfilled and happy woman who can be her own person makes for a loving mother. Advice: If you’re unhappy in your career or dream of working in a different field, look into making the change. Our jobs and professions are a huge part of our lives and can affect our daily happiness. Career changes don’t have to be scary and abrupt; you can study after the hours of your current job and work towards living your dream job. Recommended resources: As a working mother I could not have lived without a book titled The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford. BAB
Please help my family find peace.
My name is Lindsay Ann Hawker
I was murdered in March 2007 and buried in a bath of sand on the balcony of Tatsuya Ichihashi’s apartment in Tokyo. Ichihashi escaped from the police and still has not been found. If you have any information that may lead to his arrest, please call the Japanese police on 047-397-0110. There is now a ¥10 milllion reward for information leading to Ichihashi’s arrest. If you know anything, please share it!
EXPANSION COMPETITION by Karin Ling
JMEC 15’s second place team (and their supporters) including mentor Tanja Bach and participant Lisa Chung.
image: provided by JMEC.
emember when you used to be able to get a four-year degree and then go on career cruise control for 30-some years? Ah, how times have changed. To gain a competitive edge in the workforce these days, the pursuit of continuing education is the way to go. One group of individuals who embraced life-long learning back in the ‘90s decided to create the Japan Market Expansion Competition, or JMEC. Sixteen years later, they offer one of the most unique training programs around for mid-career professionals seeking a challenge. Female professionals, largely a minority in Japanese corporations, are one group of individuals well suited to alternative ways of building a career portfolio. The program director of JMEC, Laura Loy, is proud that women make up 45 percent of its participants. Their interest in the program fits in with a larger trend. She says, “Here in Japan, for foreigners especially, remaining competitive means seeking out-ofthe-box solutions. At JMEC, we have seen an increased interest from both individuals and organisations who are looking for an opportunity to do just this.” The mini-MBA: Think of JMEC as a mini-MBA that brings together two mutually beneficial parties. It’s one part project, with clients made up of global-minded companies seeking a strategy for expansion, and one part education. These clients are partnered with JMEC participants assigned to teams to research and design their business plan. This follows weeks of intensive training and guidance from experienced mentors. Tanja Bach, the assistant program director, has taken part in JMEC through various capacities, first as a participant and returning later as a lecturer and mentor. A long-time advocate of the program, Bach describes it as “an accelerated, intense introduction to international business. The most unique part of JMEC is the chance for hands-on practice to meet a real company’s needs.” JMEC participants are a mixed bunch, including former JETs, entrepreneurs, and future business executives from around the world. The program starts with a series of seminars and workshops that take place on Saturdays. Participants discuss case studies with directors of corporations and hear anecdotes and advice from entrepreneurs. Examples of workshops from last year include: the crucial “Business plans: Where do I start?” and the cautionary “Eight successful ways on how to mess up your business in Japan.” Presenters are selected not only for their years of business experience in Japan, but also because they provide participants with applicable skills for working with project clients. Anne
THE JAPAN MARKET
Good, President of Eureka! and presenter of the “Effective Meetings” workshop, was impressed by the participants’ level of engagement. “It’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm and their great ideas. It is actually pivotal to the teams working together.” The next, and main, portion of the program has participants working in teams of five or six and assigned to a company based either in Japan or abroad. Companies that have desired a JMEC business plan for expanding in the Japanese market are diverse. Some of last year’s clients included the Crafts Americana Group, National Australia Bank, and Tokyo Sinfonia. For the companies, taking part in JMEC means receiving a quality business plan at an extremely reasonable price. The opportunity to tackle a real-world project can be both thrilling and daunting. A valuable source of support is the mentor assigned to each team. This person and the team consultant help to ensure the smooth running of the group’s project while sharing contacts and opinions backed by their years of experience. Teams are assigned to reflect a balance of professional skills and language abilities and, not surprisingly, members find an important source of strength in each other. No matter how much or how little experience individuals have when entering the program, this strong base of support ensures that each team produces a well crafted plan of professional quality. Working on the business plan takes place over 5 months with each team committing, on average, 1,200 total hours (on research, individual work on the plan, and participation in team meetings). The nature and intensity of the project guarantees that participants come out of the experience with a deep understanding of all the factors needed to bring a business idea to fruition successfully. This is a core skill that will take them far. So what about the ‘competition’ part of the Japan Market Expansion Competition? If working on a company’s expansionist ambitions is not exciting enough, you have the added
buzz of competing with about nine other JMEC teams for the recognition of designing the best business plan. Thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors, prizes range from laptops to flights and exclusive networking memberships. Why sign on as a participant or client? JMEC participants are known for their ability to think beyond traditional marketing campaigns to provide strategies with a creative twist. Female participants play a significant role, as they contribute a perspective not usually heard in male-dominated companies. This fresh outlook at a fraction of the cost of traditional consultants is one advantage of hiring JMEC for a business plan. Meanwhile, participants benefit from the unique structure of the program, which Tanja Bach describes as “a safe discovery ground where individuals get to take risks.” A timid member could step up to represent the team as the client contact person. A participant uncomfortable with numbers could offer to help on (and learn from) the finances portion of the plan. Bach says, “With the support of the team, you will get to know your strengths while learning how to work around your weaknesses.” Former JMEC participant Lisa Chung reflects on her experience: “My main objective was to prepare myself for when I either start my own company or propose corporate ventures. I also wanted to learn about industries I had yet to be exposed to during my career. In addition, I was able to build on a lot of soft skills such as teambuilding, motivating others, and presentation skills.” No matter what your background is or how you plan to draw from your JMEC experience, the skills and networking contacts you take away will be invaluable towards your BAB future pursuits. The deadlines for the JMEC 16 program (2009–2010) are October 23 for participants and November 27 for project clients. For application and fee information, visit www. jmec.gr.jp.
Being A Broad October 2009
PHOTOGRAPHY AS A
UNIQUE GIFT by Natasha Williams
Custom holiday cards are a great taste of Japan.
riting this on a beautiful sunny day at the end of September, it seems unbelievable that the winter holiday season is just around the corner, but with the habit life has of galloping on, it is, as hard as it may be to believe, time to start thinking ahead for the holidays. This is especially true if you’ll be shipping gifts home to friends and family living overseas. One great option is to have a family photo shoot carried out in Tokyo and then have prints shipped back home to your loved ones. (Or keep some for yourself as a beautiful record of your time overseas!) Not only is it a great, personalised gift, but for grandparents or other relatives who don’t get to see the kids too often a professional portrait is a great way to update them on how quickly everyone is growing up. In Tokyo, a fantastic option for such a portrait is Keyshots, run by Australian photographer Kerry Raftis, who has been working actively in Tokyo and the surrounding community for the past nine years. She says: “Over the years, I have strived to bring a bit of a homestyle (Australian, American, and European) personal touch to the way in which
all images provided by Kerry Raftis/www.keyshots.com
Picturegraphs offer a unique way to use your photos. I not only do business, but also to the services and products that I provide.” To that end, she offers all kinds of photoshoot styles, from mini half-hour sessions for holiday portraits to longer sessions allowing for a larger variety of poses, individual shots of each family member, different background colours or themes, as well as location shoots in a park or at client homes. All of her sessions are tailor made to suit whichever style of photography clients desire. Herself a foreign woman living in Japan, Kerry is uniquely able to understand the concerns so many of us have before getting in front of the camera, and work to allay those concerns, all without any sort of linguistic or cultural barriers (both English and Japanese are OK at Keyshots). Kerry promises: “Being a woman I feel that I’m more in tune with the nuances of how women perceive themselves and relate to all of the insecurities we all have at all times of the day, month, or year in our various roles as friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and coworkers. Using this knowledge I make it my own personal challenge to show all of my clients in their photos just how beautiful, stunning, smart, fun, professional, or sexy they can be without turning them into a potential Madame Tussauds exhibit.” She goes on to say: “My service prides itself on making people feel good about themselves. Too often I hear women (and men) complaining that they never have any good photos or are just not photogenic—my goal is to banish this common complaint from photo day. I work with my clients to not only show them how to pose (during our
photoshoot) but also how to pose in general for any photo to get a better result.” Exclusive to Keyshots are the Picturegraphs products Kerry has recently started to offer. She explains: “Picturegraphs can be made from photos taken during a Keyshots photoshoot or can be totally made by using your own photos, digital, negatives, or prints. Simply bring them to our studio and we will turn them into digital images plus give you a bonus CD for free with all of your images to keep when ordering a Picturegraph from us. Frames are optional.” Also exclusive to Keyshots is a new range of Japanese-themed holiday cards, which would also be perfect to share with loved ones back home. In addition, Kerry offers canvas prints, coffee table books, professional frames, and a photo art series design service, which turns your photos into pieces of art. For more information or to book, visit www.keyshots.com. And, for Being A Broad readers, Kerry is offering five percent off all photoshoots (does not apply to Holiday Cards BAB or Picturegraphs).
by Stephanie Kawai
Stephanie and her son do lots of different activities together, even though he also spends time in day care. image: provided by Stepahnie Kawai
hould I go back to work? Is putting my child into day care really the best thing for him? What if he ends up rejecting or hating me because of it? Should I just quit and be a stay-at-home-mum? For many of us who have become mums for the first time and are considering whether or not to return to the workplace, the above questions are just a small fraction of the number that we ask ourselves day in and day out. Of course, there are some mothers for whom returning to work or not is not an issue at all. Either they are desperate to go back to the work place to regain their sense of ‘this is who I am’ or they feel perfectly content in their role as mother. They are the lucky ones in my mind. For me, and for other mums I’ve met through the Tokyo Mothers Group (www.tokyomothersgroup. com), this decision was perhaps one of the hardest ones I’ve had to make in my life. Pre-baby, I was happy teaching English at a university in Tokyo. The work environment was quite a relaxed one, each class and each day was different and varied, which suited me, and the vacation time allowed me to travel and go back
After talking with my husband, I applied for a place at a local Japanese day care facility through my city office. We had taken a look around it a few days earlier and I was quite impressed with
a funny feeling to see your child happy without needing you there, but also liberating. It’s to the UK for extended periods to visit my family there. Would I say that it felt like my vocation in life? No. But it was a job I was content with. After my son was born, my life was thrust into a whole new world of experiences—some of them draining and exhausting, but the majority of them unbelievably amazing and awe-inspiring. Watching your child make his first smile, take his first steps, and say “mama” for the first time is incredible. And watching him look at things for the first time, seeing the wonder in his eyes, makes you see things afresh, too. Simple pleasures, but they are the best kind. During the first year of my son’s life, I was on child-care leave from work (up to a year is given in Japan for working mothers). As the year came to a close, the thought of returning to my old job started to play on my mind and I dreaded the thought of it. The only way I can explain it is that I just didn’t really feel ready. I wasn’t ready to leave my son at a day care facility full-time and I certainly wasn’t ready to leave the network of mum and baby friends I had made here as they were such a big part of my and my son’s life. However, at the same time, as much as I hated the thought of going back to work, I also wasn’t ready to say I wanted to quit and become a stayat-home mum permanently. The extra salary would come in useful, I reasoned, and I felt that I didn’t want to regret not seeing what it was like as a working mother. Maybe I would feel more satisfied and fulfilled.
what I saw in terms of activities for little ones, how the staff interacted with the children, the type of food offered at mealtimes, and the overall atmosphere. If I had to leave my son in day care, then that was the best we saw. However, a few weeks later, we received notification that there were no places available at that time and that we had been placed on the waiting list. Relief flooded through me. The decision, for the time being at least, had been taken away and I was even able to get an additional six months of child-care leave from work because of it. Still, the decision to return to work should a child-care place become available was still there (as reluctant as I was about it). During those extra six
I was quite fortunate to know a number of other working mums and also very relieved to hear that they all went through similar thoughts of whether they were doing the right thing or not in returning to work, and that they were happy once they did. It made me feel even more comfortable in my decision to return when my son finally did get a place in day care and started. We were fortunate to have a month’s settling in period for him there before my job was actually due to start again. The first two weeks were tough. It was horrible to see him cry as I left him for the day—to him, it probably felt like abandonment. However, as the days went by, I could see he was getting comfortable in his new surroundings and then, when he simply walked into the playroom of his own accord, I knew he’d be fine. It’s a funny feeling to see your child happy without needing you there, but also liberating. I have now been back at work for six months and can finally say that my decision has been a
really feel that my son and I both enjoy our time together more and we do a much wider variety of Iactivities that perhaps we wouldn’t have done otherwise. months I had with my son, we had plenty of fun and lots of wonderful moments. But as he was getting older, he was also getting much more demanding, stubborn, challenging (to name a few words), and I started to really crave time without my son around, as much as I hate to admit it. Also, I wanted time where I didn’t have to keep all my senses on highalert to make sure he didn’t do something that would cause me to have a coronary. Returning to work started to seem like the better option. Maybe it would give me more patience with him when we did spend time together and maybe I would start really enjoying everything about motherhood again.
good one. I really feel that my son and I both enjoy our time together more and we do a much wider variety of activities that perhaps we wouldn’t have done otherwise. He really does seem to be thriving at day care, as many people told me he would. On a personal level, it is nice to sit on a train and read a book instead of dealing with a toddler who refuses to sit in a stroller and wants to climb all over the seats. It’s also nice to chat with other adults about nonchild related topics, whatever they may be. And, it’s especially nice to know that I don’t have to BAB feel guilty about it. Being A Broad October 2009
IN JAPAN by Sarah Baker
all images provided by the Russell family.
s a parent, you build a lot of factors into your decision-making process when deciding how and where your child will attain the best education possible. Geographical location, money, school reputation, curriculum, trust, religion, time, distance to and from school, control, etc. The choices available to families may vary slightly from place to place, but most parents are able to choose from an assortment of public schools, private schools, international schools, boarding schools, or home schooling. Gene and Raeni Russell recently moved to Japan. The Russells are firm believers in home schooling and have done so with their 7 children, Ryan (18), Noah (17), Benjamin (15), Gabriel (13), Rebekah (10), Elijah (8), and Zach (6). They have lived many places, including Nevada, New Jersey, Italy, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, and now Japan. They have home schooled their children ever since their now 18-year-old eldest was a baby. I interviewed Raeni to find out more about her decision to home school, and what it is like to home school in Japan. What key factors made you decide to home school your children? When I was pregnant with our first child, Ryan, I made a list of all the things I would like him (and all future children) to know. I included character traits such as honesty, integrity, confidence, kindness, gentleness, self control, respect for others, and generosity. I wanted my kids to have a fluid knowledge of biology, physics, history, math, and geography. I also wanted them to love classical music and opera and to learn a foreign language. I wanted them to love God and live a life that reflected that love. About three years later I heard a speaker at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) who home schooled her children. I had never heard of home schooling, at least not since pioneer times. I was very excited about it immediately and I shared this new idea with my husband, Gene. He was excited about it, too. He agreed that our list might be better accomplished
Extra-curriculars such as music are part of the day.
through home schooling than any other method of education. We became home preschoolers! What type of home schooling are you doing (curriculum-based/unschooling/a mix, etc.)? We use a handful of ready-made curricula for math, science, and English. We also use a method called ‘unit studies,’ which incorporates many areas around a single theme. Sometimes a particular piece of literature, a Godly/moral attribute, or a time period is the theme. Then we study the geography, history, art, science, people, events, etc... surrounding that theme or time period. We enjoy finding our own resources to discover information, rather than reading a chapter or paragraph from a textbook. We love
you are not living in one particular state? It is completely our (the parents’) responsibility to meet those standards. Here in Japan, with the SOFA and under DODDS [military designations], we don’t have a ‘state requirement.’ This forces us to choose a state or go with national standards. I want the adults who leave our home school to be prepared for whatever God has planned for them. I have a son who is a freshman in college, studying to be a youth pastor. He is in the honours program, due to his high test scores (ACT and SAT) and good high school grades. I have a son who is an amazing artist. He is interested in psychology. Because this requires a college degree (or two or three, depending
field trips and experiments and anything where hands-on learning can teach us something. We read a lot of books and try to glean wisdom from the great minds of the world by immersing ourselves in their writings. We also take advantage of films that depict true stories or give glimpses of a historical time period. Anything that makes a subject come alive is fodder for our home school. Where are you getting your curriculum from? We buy our curriculum, usually through the internet, from various outlets. When possible, we have bought ‘lightly used’ curriculum from other home schoolers. There are hundreds of curriculum providers. We don’t buy anything from a state curriculum provider, per se. Most of our supplies come through the mail. If someone were to ‘Google’ or do an internet search of home school supplies or teaching materials they would find everything they need, from actual supplies to blogs and advice. Although you don’t unschool, what is the concept of unschooling? The idea behind unschooling is that children are naturally curious about the world and everything in it. So, it is a child-driven education. If the child is interested in mummies, go all out and study Egypt, the geography, the history, all one might want to know about mummies, etc... Go and see the local (or not so local) Egyptian mummy exhibit at the museum. For most unschoolers, I think there is no formal, ‘sit down and really learn this material’ time in a normal school day. It is a philosophy of letting the child’s curiosity take charge and allowing them to discover what they will. I am sure there is a huge variety in unschoolers’ methods, and I am not familiar enough with them to describe them. How do you make sure you meet statespecific graduation requirements? Does living in Japan complicate the process since
on what he chooses to do), he needs to be prepared for college. One son loves math and science and has the ‘knack.’ Yes, we think he will be an engineer. Again, he needs to be prepared for college. And the truth is, it doesn’t matter if the eleventh grader wants to go to college now; my job is to prepare him for college entrance and success, whether he enters college at 18 or 25. Of course, it is not all about college, it is about preparing them for life. I don’t want my kids to be limited in their choices because of the education they received in our home. I will be more specific here about graduation requirements. A good idea for anyone homeschooling a student in seventh grade or above is to look at the requirements for different states or even a few colleges. Many colleges want to see a high school transcript include four years of social studies, two to three years of science and two to three years of math, two years of a foreign language, and extra curricular activities. To graduate from any high school, one needs to add at least one year of art or music, two years of physical education, and four years of English instruction. Sports, Boy Scouts, ROTC, speech, drama, student leadership activities, and volunteer work all look good to colleges and scholarship committees. I suggest parents create a well-rounded plan for high school and plan in advance for those years to complete all those requirements. Some people choose to use an umbrella school to ensure the graduation requirements are met. This school will do as little as oversee a home school program’s content, give advice and guidance where needed, or as much as provide a curriculum, keep records of tests, and even grade papers. An umbrella school gives accredited diplomas to graduates. There are a variety of umbrella schools, so pursuing this option for
ur time with our children is so precious and fleeting. Home schooling makes that flying time O together time.
home schooling requires parents to examine closely the philosophy of each school, what they offer, the cost involved, and the end result. Diligent homework on the part of a parent will find the right match for their home school. For us, in answer to the second question, no, living in Japan does not complicate the process of meeting graduation requirements. It does make some of our electives more fun to pursue. As we look at world history, it is very cool to go to the Edo palace and tour the grounds. As we study Asian cultures, Japan is a great jumping-off place for examining those ideas up close. What are the top three pros and cons and/or benefits and challenges to home schooling? The number one benefit is time. Our time with our children is so precious and fleeting. Home schooling makes that flying time together time. Also at the top of the list is being with our family for years and really knowing them, being the greatest (meaning largest) influence in the lives of our children. One of the cons of being with the family all day means Mom, in particular, gives up certain other things, but this is true for every person. We make choices and there is always give-and-take, sacrifice, and consequences. My personal feeling is that homes chooling is an amazing privilege. I get to spend lots of time with my kids. I get to watch each face as he or she reads his or her first word and sentence. I see those little triumphs that make teaching a series of special moments for anyone who gets to do it. I am also there for failure and see each child choose to keep working or to take a break and tackle the obstacle again later. I get to counsel them and see the hormonal hills and valleys that happen throughout a day, a week, a month, and over the years. I asked my kids this question and they came up with this benefit: as a home school student you get to master the material. When you fail or struggle in a subject area, your parents will help you and allow you to struggle until you master it. They see this as very positive in education. One son said fewer people hear the things you say that embarrass you. I translate this to say there is less negative peer pressure in the home environment. One of our goals has been to create positive peer pressure in our home and home school. Little boys that encourage their younger siblings to wash their hands before meals, after using the bathroom, etc... Kids who remind others to be polite. These things happen in most home schools. Challenges to home schooling: I think it is intimidating to think we have to feed, or teach, our children a mountain of information. Truly, this is faulty thinking. Good teachers don’t just lecture. Students have to accept the responsibility
The whole family works together on subjects such as math.
of learning the material. We give them tools, books, we teach them skills in reading, writing, and thinking critically. Even veteran home schoolers can be confused and discouraged by this. The teacher, usually the mother, dedicates much of her time to the home school organisation, preparation, and actually teaching. It is a full time job, and there is no monetary paycheck. For some families, this makes the choice to home school a huge financial decision, not just a lifestyle choice. I spend zero time thinking about the cons to home schooling on a daily basis. The challenges just come up sometimes. Then they are dealt with. Right now my biggest challenge is juggling soccer, completing our academic goals daily, and having time to prepare good meals for lunch and dinner. One of my solutions this week is frozen dinners that take about thirty minutes or less and the kids can stir them on the stove! I know, it is a small challenge, but the victory is sweet. What are some of the benefits unique to home schooling in Japan? Japan is an amazing place to live or visit. It changes your world view and it makes the world a smaller place to live in a foreign country. Japan has a very different culture in many ways compared to the American culture. On the other hand, we have a lot in common with the Japanese, especially the younger generation. Living here, we have an opportunity to see through the lenses of Japanese eyes. Our family took a trip to Fujisan and Mt. Hakone. We were taking pictures by the steaming mountain when I saw a little Japanese boy holding his eyelids straight up. He was looking at me and trying to get his face to look and feel more like my face. I thought of all the times I had seen Caucasian children do the same thing to little Asian children. For the first time, I realised that kind of imitation was not rude. He was curious, and
I was enchanted with that adorable little boy. His parents and grandparents and my family all laughed together on the mountainside. That was a cultural experience. Travelling to Tokyo is a fabulous experience for the whole family. It is such a cosmopolitan destination and still Japanese at heart. We have met people from all over the world here. Challenges? I have noticed it sometimes takes closer to eight weeks to receive supplies I order from the States. That is only slightly annoying, not a big challenge, and not insurmountable. Also, like many other Americans home schooling overseas, we do not have all the English-language educational stores that are available in the US. This is our second time home schooling overseas, so I am not as bothered—read ‘challenged’—by it as I would have been. Have you had any reactions from local Japanese about your home schooling? If so, what have their reactions been? Yes—the Japanese people to whom I have spoken are very positive about home schooling. Some have said this sounds like a superior way to educate their children. Some have expressed their disappointment with the state schools in Japan. One woman told me no one home schools in Japan (or at least no Japanese people do). I assured her some do! I have met a few Japanese home-schooling families. How can other foreign mothers interested in home schooling begin to do so? What are some of the resources they need to be aware of? A good website to visit and research is www. hslda.org in order to contact the Home School Legal Defense Association. The Kanto Plain Home Schoolers Association (www.geocities.com/ yokokphs) is a great resource and serves many people in our area and has information available to BAB prospective home schoolers. Being A Broad October 2009
by Glen Steward, Credentialed Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Victim Advocate
jobs or money; verbal abuse, yelling, insults, putdowns, humiliation, etc; child abuse or neglect; elder abuse, etc. Laws against domestic violence may vary for each country and culture, so please verify the laws with a legal representative, a local shelter, or police. Domestic violence often occurs in cycles. First is the tension-building phase, followed by the acting-out violence phase, and finally the apology and honeymoon phase, which tends to repeat itself if the cycle is not broken. Frequency can be occasional or chronic, go on for years, and vary in forms and severity.
reveal only what they think a person wants or needs to hear so as not to burden them with their emotions or problems. Gaman suru, they keep things to themselves. Domestic violence has always been considered a family matter in Japan and is rarely dealt with outside the home. But outside intervention may be what victims need to explore their options, e.g., safety planning, counselling, legal advice, government assistance, shelters, information, referrals, or support, so they can make an informed decision about what to do next for their safety. The good news is that Japan has started to take more proactive steps to address the devastating effects of domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect. Victims are beginning to break the silence in record numbers, seeking help from counselling centres, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centres. The outcry has put pressure on government agencies, community centres, clinics, hospitals, shelters, churches, NPOs, etc., to recognise and address the chronic problem of domestic violence and to actively provide information, education, and resources about the dynamics of domestic violence and the various ways in which victims can get help. But what is domestic violence, exactly? It is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another person(s) regardless of race, age, religion, economic status, or gender. Domestic violence can happen to anyone! Domestic violence includes physical violence: hitting, pushing, shoving, strangulation, etc; sexual abuse, unwanted or forced sexual activity (intimate partner, marital, or date rape); emotional abuse, intimidation, coercion, manipulation, threats to take or harm the children, or harm the victim, self, friends, family, destruction of pets and property, isolation from family, friends, school, work, etc; economic abuse, controlling or denying access to
The reality is that domestic violence is a personal choice! An offender may blame his or her violent behavior on stress, anger, alcohol or drugs, financial, work, or personal problems, etc., For example: “I hit (yelled at, humiliated, insulted, isolated, or strangled) you because I had a bad day at work, I didn’t like what you said, the tone of your voice or response you gave, dinner was late, or…” The excuse are endless. The bottom line is that by not taking responsibility for their own personal behaviour, offenders choose to use violence against their victim (the person they are supposed to care for and love). How many offenders who have had a bad day at work abuse their employers? Probably not many, for obvious reasons and because they choose not to! Bottom line—domestic violence is a personal choice. Domestic violence victim advocates throughout the US and in the US military are trained to be ‘hearts with ears,’ active listeners who provide emotional support, information and referrals, explain reporting options, and provide support in autonomous decision-making. They provide crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and coordinate with case managers in developing appropriate plans of assistance or intervention for the safety of the victim and at-risk family members. They also assist in securing medical treatment for injuries, provide information on legal rights and resources, and liaise between other helping agencies for the victim, as well as evaluate needs and establish a detailed, individualised safety plan. Advocates also accompany victims to appointments as a source of support. A reporting option unique to the US military (for ID card holders) is called Restricted Reporting, which means a victim can make a Restricted Report to a victim advocate, which is private, and receive counselling, advocacy, and medical care without informing the alleged offender or law enforcement (there is no investigation). This option gives victims the support and time they may need to gain power
y not taking responsibility for their own personal behaviour, an offender chooses to use violence B against their victim...
and control back in their lives so they can make an informed decision concerning their personal safety. A Japanese national (non-ID card holder) in a dating relationship with a military member is also eligible for limited counselling, advocacy, law enforcement, and medical services on a US military base on a humanitarian basis, depending upon the nature of the allegations. A victim advocate will also provide a victim with a comprehensive list of Japanese support services available off-base. If you or someone you know are/is in a violent relationship and would like to break the silence and get help, but don’t speak Japanese or hold a military ID, there are still options available to explore. Please contact the Tokyo English Life Line (03-5774-0992), that provides free, anonymous, and confidential phone counselling services in English from 9am to 11pm, 365 days a year, and also offers professional face-to-face counselling to the international community in greater Tokyo in English, Japanese, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. To make an appointment, tel. 03-3498-0231. If you are in imminent danger, please contact the Japanese police at 119. If you are in an intimate partner relationship with a US military member, you can contact the Japanese police or make a report to the law enforcement at the base where the military BAB member is stationed. Domestic Violence Checklist: Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts, or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse. Does your partner: • Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs? • Look at you or act in ways that scare you? • Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go? • Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family? • Take your money or Social Security, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money? • Make all the decisions? • Tell you you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children? • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it? • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets? • Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons? • Shove you, slap you, or hit you? • Force you to drop charges? • Threaten to commit suicide? • Threaten to kill you? If you checked even one of these, you may be in an abusive relationship. Please don’t hesitate to contact one of the sources listed in the above article.
(Provided by the National Domestic Violence Helpline in the US.)
omestic violence in Japan is a chronic problem that has gone relatively unreported for centuries and affects thousands of people from all walks of life, primarily women and children (though men are also victims) every year. There are countless reasons (fear, guilt, shame, self-blame, denial, humiliation, cultural barriers, family pressures, isolation, loss of income, support, family, friends, children, etc.) why a victim of domestic violence never reports the abuse to Japanese police or tells anyone at all. A unique cultural phenomenon known as honne to tatemae has taught the Japanese to
by Tina Burrett
Tina Burrett with Mizuho Fukushima.
ince my meeting with Social Democratic Party of Japan leader Mizuho Fukushima early this summer, Japanese politics have undergone a seismic shift. On August 30, after more than fifty years of almost uninterrupted power, the LDP was expelled from office by a public grown tired of policy paralysis and pork. In its place comes a DPJ-led coalition government, which includes Fukushima’s
government must find a way to change Japan’s Labour Law and remove this incentive for cheap labour and employment. “We must equalise the rights for all types of workers: there’s no justification for having different rights for different types of workers,” she says emphatically. The issue of working conditions is particularly important for Japanese women and young people,
SDPJ as a junior partner. Although the DPJ won 308 seats in the Lower House election—enough to gain a stable majority in that chamber—it does not control an outright majority in the Upper House. For the DPJ government to pass its legislation and make good on its manifesto promises, an alliance with the SDPJ is required; an inconvenience giving the diminutive socialist party far greater power than its seven Lower House and five Upper House seats would otherwise suggest. For Fukushima, new DPJ Prime Minister Hatoyama’s need for her Party’s votes in the Upper House has led to a seat in the Cabinet. As the newly appointed Minister for Consumer Affairs, Fukushima has an opportunity to deliver on the SDPJ’s pledge to put the interests of Japanese citizens back at the heart of government; a much needed change after the business-focused, crony capitalism of the LDP era. It is clear that Fukushima sees herself and her party as the moral compass of the coalition. “The DPJ does not advocate social democracy and on its own will not redress the balance of power in favour of the people. It may offer some change, but that change will not be substantial without the influence of the SDPJ,” she says. At the heart of Fukushima’s programme for change is improving the working conditions for Japan’s non-regular workers. In Japan, temporary, contract, and part-time workers account for 37.8 percent of the total workforce, the second-highest among the world’s advanced democracies after the Netherlands. Japan also has the second-highest level of poverty among advanced democracies—second only to the USA. Fukushima sees a link between these two factors and blames former Prime Minister Koizumi for the current situation in Japan. She explains, “about ten years ago, Koizumi imported Thatcherism to Japan. The Labor Law reform his government introduced widened the gap between rich and poor by making it easier for employers to take on non-regular workers. Non-regular workers are normally on half the salary of regular workers, receive no benefits, and can be dismissed much more easily.” Fukushima believes that the new
as half of those in these two groups are in nonregular employment. Fukushima explains that for Japanese women, finding a regular job was a struggle long before the onset of the current recession. “Some Japanese women become doctors, lawyers, and business executives, but most do not. Journalists are not surprised when women cannot find a suitable job or any job at all,” she laments. “As a result, women have become invisible in our society; their difficulties are not routinely reported in the media,” she says. Even organisations devoted to fighting for workers’ rights often sideline problems specifically relating to women. Fukushima outlines the problem: “although many women’s organisations are affiliated with the trade union federation Rengo,
see it. Now, with the economy in real difficulty and unemployment growing for men as well as women, people are finally acknowledging the truth about poverty in Japan.” Increasing the number of female politicians in Japan is one way of ensuring that women’s concerns are included on the political agenda. But Fukushima worries that women are put off standing for office by Japan’s male-dominated political culture. “Many women think the political world is a man’s world,” she says. Based on her own observations, she explains, “although we
few women are in top positions. Women are equally absent from among the senior officials at the Labour Ministry and as heads of large corporations.” It is this trinity of power—trade unions, government, and business—that decide labour policy and practices in Japan. “For the past ten years,” Fukushima explains, these maledominated institutions “have not been able to agree on how to reform our labour laws.” Some of the biggest losers from this lack of consensus have been women. However, Fukushima believes that the Japanese public is beginning to wake up to the reality of poverty in the country; no longer accepting the myth that everyone in Japan is middle class. She states, “when women cannot find work, no one is very surprised. But at the moment, many young men can’t get jobs and their parents are very shocked. Japanese people generally are very surprised to see that young men can become poor and homeless.” The bad economic situation in Japan has brought the poverty of the few to the attention of the many. Fukushima continues, “only one year ago people couldn’t see the poverty that has developed among many young men. The problem has existed in society for a long time, but unfortunately, people couldn’t
have many female scholars, activists, and lawyers in Japan, they do not think of entering politics. They think politics is a very specific world, a kind of kabuki world, where everything is theatrical and unreal.” Fukushima is confident that things are slowly improving, but adds that, “political parties must do more to make politics fit with women’s lifestyles.” Fukushima’s own party sets a good example on equality: “I am very fortunate that the SDPJ does not hesitate to elect a woman leader,” she says proudly. “Before me, the Party was led by the inspirational Takako Doi, who in 1986 became the first woman ever to lead a Japanese political party.” Although women were promoted to the Cabinet under the LDP, Fukushima is sceptical about the contribution they were able to make; “women were present for PR purposes and rarely given important positions,” she says. Her poised self-confidence, sharp intellect, and penchant for speaking in ordinary words instead of the usual wooden political jargon make Fukushima a compelling communicator. If Hatoyama is to keep the faith of the Japanese people, he would do well to put Mizho Fukushima BAB front and centre.
image: provided by Tina Burrett.
omen have become invisible in our society; their difficulties are not routinely reported in W the media...
MIZUHO FUKUSHIMA ON WOMEN AT WORK
any women think the political world is a man’s world... they do not think of entering politics. They think M politics is a very specific world, a kind of kabuki world...”
Being A Broad October 2009
she found love in Japan
by Janica Sims
his is the story of Dave and Janica, who met in Tokyo, have been married for three years, and have lived in Japan for ten-plus years. “Dave and I met through a friend’s introduction at a fashion event.” That’s the sugar-coated story that we tell our family, but the truth is, it was just a classic case of two total strangers meeting each other at LaFabrique, a nightclub in Shibuya. The “friend’s introduction” part does have a bit of truth. My friend Emmie’s friend Bevan worked at the same company as Dave and we were briefly introduced. My version of the night we met: Dave asked me for my number and I declined to give it to him at first, since I had just gotten out of a relationship. He was persistent and said that he was in the same situation and just wanted a cool friend to hang out with from time to time. With that, I gave him my number on a napkin and wrote, “friendly dinner.” Dave’s version: Janica thought I was totally hot. She came up to me, begging for my telephone number. She seemed nice enough, so I gave it to her. She gave me her number as well and I wrote “Jennifer” down as her name. It was a gyaku-nampa (reverse pick-up, where the girl picks up on a guy). Note: The “Jennifer” portion of Dave’s story is the only correct portion of his version. The rest of the story: Dave then left LaFabrique with his friends. OK, now for the part of our story that will give you chills. After just talking to each other for five minutes, on the cab ride home he told his friends, “I am going to marry that girl.” (His best man DC, who was with him the night we met, told this story during his speech at our wedding). True story. The following week, he asked me out for dinner. At dinner, I learned that he was the youngest of six children and the only boy in the
Janica and Dave’s beautiful wedding at the Sydney Opera House. image: provided by Janica Sims.
FOREIGN WOMEN: IT IS POSSIBLE TO FIND LOVE!
out all the time. He is true to his word, never puts on airs, and has the Australian trait of being easygoing and fun. I first came to Japan when I was in sixth grade, then again in junior high, and have been here continuously since high school graduation. I
fter just talking to each other for five minutes, on the cab ride home he told his friends, “I am A going to marry that girl.” speak Japanese and have worked in television and educational radio for about ten years. Shortly after I met Dave, I received an offer to be a columnist for Seventeen magazine. I wrote about relationships for Japanese teenagers and would always give a fun and international perspective. I themed the column like a manga comic and every issue was the continuation of an imaginary story of a Japanese teen girl, Yuka, who had fallen in love with a foreign exchange student. I named the student “Dave” and cast a mannequin to play his role in my manga-style column. Dave
ave proposed on the beach in Noosa in December of 2005. I had never seen him nervous before and D don’t think I will again. family. This was an instant bonus. With five older sisters, there wouldn’t be any female drama he couldn’t handle! I myself have five siblings. We had a lot of similarities growing up. We both had to work very hard for our success and nothing was given to us on a silver platter. We both took an interest in Japan at a young age and spoke Japanese fluently. I loved his Australian accent (Americans love Australian accents!) and I knew instantly that he was a good guy. Also, he was in great shape! Dave has been active in triathlons for many years and loves to keep fit. I loved that his hobby was triathlons, and not women and going
ladies. And quite often, like the case of my own father, foreign men will find their true love to be a Japanese lady (my step-mother is Japanese and totally awesome, I must say). Japanese women in general are petite, polite, and an excellent help in getting around Japan. Sometimes, it can be a bit
was always (almost always) a really good sport about my articles. Gaijin sometimes get a bit of celebrity status when coming to Japan, especially guys. “Joe Blow! Wow! You practice ‘ladies first’! Joe Blow! Oh... Your eyes are blue! That is amazing! Joe Blow! You look just like Brad Pitt! Joe Blow, let’s speak English together! Hey everyone! I am dating Joe Blow. He is a gaijin!” Of course, I am saying this jokingly...There are a lot of beautiful Japanese girls who are attracted to this more international type of guy and so foreign men tend to have their pick of a good selection of really pretty, nice Japanese
challenging for a foreign woman, like myself, to find love in Japan. I feel lucky to have found my true love here in Japan. For about two years, Dave and I dated. We travelled together, met each other’s families, and eventually got to the point where we began talking about the future. I fell in love with his family instantly. His father is like a living Santa Claus and his mother like Betty Crocker. His five sisters are all very talented and outgoing and, instead of giving me the third degree five times, they talked to me like I was their best friend and made me feel like part of the family right away. Dave proposed on the beach in Noosa in December of 2005. I had never seen him nervous before and don’t think I will again. We were married at the Sydney Opera House on August 5, 2006, in a ceremony celebrated together with 100 of our closest family and friends. On February 6, 2008, our newest addition to the family, Isabella, was born. On Isabella’s first birthday, I started a foreign entertainment and children’s modelling agency, J-Cast (www.j-cast.biz) and am enjoying running a company as well as being a mother in Japan. We bought a house last year and plan on being here for quite a while. The nightclubs in Shibuya days are well and truly over and we are enjoying a more relaxed, casual family lifestyle BAB here in Tokyo.
Being A Broad Resources
Being A Broad October 2009
Being A Broad Resources BEAUTY:
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HEALTH & WELLNESS:
Being A Broad October 2009
Being A Broad Resources
GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL
“Offers the most in-depth account of Japanese international schools available.”
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age, gender mix, student nationality • class & school size • history, goals, ethos, curriculum facilities, hours, semesters, vacations • key staff backgrounds & qualifications • awards & recognitions languages taught & language of instruction • services for bicultural children special needs & gifted child programs • level & placement tests held • religious affiliations lunch policies • disciplinary procedures • sex education • school buses & parking • security homework • trips & special events • extracurricular, after-school, & summer programs expected parental involvement • alumni activities • fees, discounts, & scholarships application procedures & acceptance criteria
Being A Broad Resources
Being A Broad October 2009
The October, 2009 issue of Being A Broad magazine