As you are no doubt aware, 2015 is the year to which Marty McFly arrived in his Delorean time machine in the 1980s classic movie Back To the Future 2. Much has been made of the fact that we are not currently living in a world of hoverboards and flying cars. However, should you wish to see evidence that time travel is indeed possible, then you need to look no further than Inuyama’s open air museum and theme park, Meiji Mura. It is exactly like being transported back in time to Japan’s Meiji era
The Meiji Period (1867–1912) was a time of great transition for Japan. It marks the time in when the nation moved away from its feudal past and towards a westernised notion of law and governance. The era of the of the samurai had come to an end and the opening of Japan’s borders to allow international trade ended hundreds of years of isolation. In doing so, the aesthetic of the country shifted dramatically.
The architecture was greatly influenced by western buildings, and many examples of this literal representation of the assimilation of Western and Eastern technological cultures can be seen today at the village museum that is Meiji Mura (博物館明治村 Hakubutsukan Meiji-mura).
Overlooking picturesque lake Iruka, Meiji Mura is a lovingly recreated village displaying over 60 original buildings from this time of great architectual advancement. Following the rapid industrial expansion in post-war Japan, many of the older brick and stone buildings from the Meiji period were being torn down to make way for the advancement of newer buiildings.
Having been greatly distressed by the destruction of Tokyo’s Rokumeiekan building in 1941, perhaps the predominant symbol of the Meiji era’s dalliance with western style construction, architect Yoshiro Taniguchi petitioned his friend and then vice president of the Nagoya Railroad, Motoo Tsuchikawa, to assist him in rescuing some of these historical buildings. In 1962 a foundation was formed and using funds provided by Nagoya Railroad, the pair set to the task of finding and then relocating the buildings for their theme park-like museum.
Taniguchi and Tsuchikawa succeeded in rescuing and preserving buildings of particular cultural value from all over Japan and even from places as far-flung as Hawaii, Seattle and Brazil. The buildings are set out into five zones amongst the one million square meter grounds, and are representative of all parts of Meiji era life, from schools to police boxes, from butchers to a kabuki theatre, the latter still functioning for its original purpose and is one of the ten buildings designated as an important cultural property. Other attractions of interest include a prison from Kanazawa, a bath house from Handa and a steam locomotive train.
You can ride a Kyoto street car or hop on a bus to take you to the various parts of the museum. St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral still provides a wedding ceremony service and a sake brewery holds tasting sessions on special days. Most of the buildings are furnished or hold interesting exhibitions illustrating daily life, and during days of good weather it is pleasant to simply wander the authentically period gardened grounds.
Photo: Mark Guthrie
Once upon a time in Tokyo, celebrating Halloween meant dressing up in a costume and riding the Yamanote Line around the center of town drinking heavily and being unruly. Other than that weirdness, you really couldn’t tell October 31st from November 3rd, or any other average day here in Japan. More recently though, times have changed s it seems like every shop in town adopts a Halloween motif, often as early as September, while every bar and nightclub holds a costume contest or ball over Halloween weekend.
That is all well and good, but isn’t Halloween supposed to be about kids and trick-or-treating? Yes, of course, and to help you and your family celebrate the occasion we have prepared a short list of events you can bring the children to in Tokyo without exposing them to anything untoward.
Aichi International School’s annual Halloween Party cconsists of two parts. In the afternoon between 1-3.30pm they have a party exclusively for kindergarten aged students (2-6 years old). This event is totally FREE. Kids must be accompanied by an adult.
Then in the evening between 6-8 pm they offer a a party for elementary school students … its a bit more spooky and dark than the kindergarten event. Students can come with friends, and parents just need to drop them off at AIS and collect them. The cost for the elementary school event is 2,000 yen per child.
At both events students can play games such as bingo, bowling and roulette. Plus there are hundreds of scary and creepy prizes to be won ! And of course … we will inflate our infamous Frankenstein jumping (castle) for all to be able to bounce on.
Friday, October 27, 2017 (various times)
For tickets and any further information, please contact the school
The Yokai Kids Halloween Party follows on last year’s popular Kids Haunted Halloween. This year we will be holding two parties on Oct 30 and 31st from 4:00 to 9:00 both featuring our haunted bamboo forest – complete with a tunnel of Japanese ghosts and spirits. Kids are free to enter with a paying adult. Look here for the timetable which will feature magic shows, dancing by the Giant Steps Kabuki puppets, trick or treating, body art and much more.
Friday, October 31 from 16:00 and 22:00
Advance Tickets ¥2,500 • At The Door ¥3,000
The Haunted Halloween For Kids (Facebook Page)
Discovery International School Halloween Costume and Trick or Treat Party featuring lots of holiday crafts & games, and plenty of yummy treats!
Party Activities include:
Ages 1 – 12
Friday, October 30 4:30 – 6:00pm
Whether you are a dyed in the wool ‘egg chaser’, or totally new to the sport, now is the time to get really interested in rugby. With origins going as far back as ancient Greece, it gained popularity and codification in Victorian era Britain, and is enjoyed all over the globe. Right now fans of the sport are enjoying the Rugby World Cup 2015, which kicked off on September 18 and ends on October 31.
Taking place in England*, the sport’s spiritual home, the World Cup is being competed between 20 teams; from the minnows of Uruguay and U.S.A. to the undisputed favourites, the All Blacks of New Zealand. One of the lower ranked teams that has already made a big impression is Japan, shocking the rugby world with a surprise victory over the Springboks of South Africa in a game that has been described by some as the most entertaining in the history of the tournament.
So, whether the Rugby World Cup in has been indelibly inked on to your diary, or you just want to get a jump on those Johnny-come-latelys in 2019, you’ll probably want to know which bars in the capital are showing it.
*Due to being held in a nation that is currently eight hours behind JST, venues may be showing games ‘as live’. Contact bars for exact details.
If you want watch a British sport, its probably best to watch it in a British Pub, particularly when this year’s hosts are second favourite to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy. Hobgoblin has three locations serving award winning craft ales, ciders and lagers and most games will be shown live with next day replays.
Pretty much wherever you turn around in Tokyo you can find a branch of one of these ubiquitous British pubs. They have plenty of screens which show sports almost any time of the day. However, baseball most definitely takes precedence, and if it is not a Japan game, don’t necessarily expect to be able to hear it.
The sign outside of this British Pub reads “Respect all football fans” and that seems to refer not only to supporters of Association Football (soccer) but also to fans of Rugby Football. Showing up to six soccer games in one day, often simultaneously, the Ebisu location of this chain is a great place to watch sports, but do confirm that any rugby games do not clash with big soccer games.
Perhaps Tokyo’s preeminent American sports bar, Legends has a plenty of screens, all of which are purposefully placed for viewing, no matter where you sit or stand. It’s a relatively small place, but that just adds to the atmosphere.
As you would expect for a sport that has a long and illustrious history, rugby has a myriad of rules and regulations. However, for the uninitiated, below are a few basic rules to get you started.
Main photo: flickr.com "rugby world cup 2011 NEW ZEALAND ARGENTINA" by jeanfrancois beausejour (CC BY-SA 2.0) -Modified
“My Number” is what the new social security and tax identification number system in Japan is called. The new numbers will begin shipping to all registered residents, foreign and domestic, in October of 2015.
The system will begin to require the individual number for administrative procedures related to social security, taxation, and disaster response in January of 2016. More tasks utilizing the system will follow as they are introduced.
The stated goals of the My Number program are three fold:
The numbers will basically be used like a “unique identifier” in a database, which is pretty much what it is. This number will represent you and your data will be shared throughout the system. This will create that “fairer and more just society” by preventing improper evasion of payment responsibility and unfair receipt of benefits, “improve administrative efficiency” by saving time and labor inputting data and link multiple operations for data sharing, and “enhance public convenience” by simplifying administrative procedures and reduce the number of required documents, for procedures.
More information will be placed here as we obtain it, but the following is some basic information on the new “My Number” social insurance number that every resident of Japan, old or young, will be receiving during mid-to-late October and early November this year.
There are obvious security concerns related to this new system, and the government of Japan is taking slow but certain steps to implement the system in phases with the appropriate level of consideration for everyone’s privacy. It would be best to expect that there will be glitches along the way, as many scenarios have not yet been considered, and the treatment of foreigners among the system doesn’t have the highest priority right now, as implementing things for the general population is the focus.
For more information: www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/bangoseido/pdf/en2.pdf
Japan is slowly coming to accept credit cards, but it is still largely a cash society, and that cash is yen. If you need to exchange yen into a foreign currency or vice versa there are a number of options for you to employ. You can buy yen at some banks, major post offices, international airports, and in some limited cases money exchange is available in hotels and department stores.
Buying yen with major currencies is pretty straightforward, but buying foreign currencies with yen is a little more complex. Most of these options simply do not keep a large amount of foreign reserves on hand. In practice, this means you can get your currency exchanged at many places, but most will ask you to come back in a week to pick up your money. If you can wait, or require a fairly small amount of cash exchanged, there is a fairly exhaustive list of providers that may be of assistance through the link below.
If you are in a rush, or have a large amount of cash to exchange your options are very limited. The best place to go to in Nagoya to foreign currencies is an MUFJ branch with a a dedicated foreign exchange desk.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Nagoya Chuo Shiten
Hirokojidori is the main street through Sakae and Fushimi. Going from Sakae towards Fushimi this branch is on the right side of the road. This branch is the main foreign exchange branch for UFJ in Nagoya. It is most likely to have cash, and larger amounts of foreign cash on hand than any other branch.
Google Map http://goo.gl/maps/Q2aPg
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Sakaemachi Branch
The Sakaemachi branch is located on B1 of a building near Skyle and Melsa. It has a dedicated foreign exchange desk, but if you need large amounts of cash the Nagoya Chuo Shiten above is a better bet.
Google Map https://goo.gl/maps/gDxRH
These private companies also exchange foreign currencies. If you need your cash on a weekend, these may be your only option besides the airport. These will cost you more money than other options.
Ticket Station Sakae
Goggle Map http://goo.gl/maps/KRK9x
Travelex Japan Nagoya Sakae
Google Map http://goo.gl/maps/ZekAl