Yearly Archive 2017

Dec 26, 2017

Toyota Memorial Hospital in Aichi Prefecture, Toyota City

Toyota Memorial Hospital – トヨタ記念病院

Branch of medicine: General practice (Internal, surgery, orthopedic surgery and others)

Telephone:             (0565) 28-0100

Address:                1-1 Heiwa-cho, Toyota



  • When you make a call, please tell the operator the patient’s name, age, sex and details of the hospital’s ID card (if previously issued). Additionally, please make sure to bring the patient’s health insurance card (the hospital will not accept a photocopy).
  • Please confirm whether English speaking doctors are available before you go to the hospital.
  • Taking a bus from Tsuchihashi Station or Toyotashi Station is the simplest way to visit the hospital.



Use this map to find other doctors in Toyota City

  1. You can click on any icon to get more information (this info is also listed below the map)
  2. Each location has its own page with more information about it.  You can access this specific location information (such as English ability, etc) by clicking the “JIS Info” link.

Ladies Clinic/Child Health=Yellow
General Hospitals=Red

Dec 26, 2017

Motomachi Dental Clinic in Toyota City

Motomachi Dental Clinic – 元町歯科

Branch of medicine: Dentistry

Telephone:         0565-26-1010


Address:             6-48 Kakimoto cho, Toyota City

Open Hours:


  • Reservation is recommended.
  • The dentist speaks Basic English but requires a translation over the phone.


Use this map to find other doctors in Toyota City

  1. You can click on any icon to get more information (this info is also listed below the map)
  2. Each location has its own page with more information about it.  You can access this specific location information (such as English ability, etc) by clicking the “JIS Info” link.

Ladies Clinic/Child Health=Yellow
General Hospitals=Red

ByMark Guthrie
Dec 26, 2017

English Speaking Yoga in Nagoya

With its combination of strength, stamina and flexibility, there are very few forms of exercise that gets your body into peak physical fitness like yoga. Having originated in India, the discipline has spread throughout the world and it continues to grow in popularity, with one 2016 study showing that 20.4 million Americans practice it, up almost 20% from 2004.

If you are one of the many millions who prefer posing as a mountain to climbing one, or for whom their favorite type of dog is the downward variety, living in Nagoya should not preclude you from continuing the pastime. There are many yoga schools in the city, a few of which hold classes in English*. So, whether you are just a fresh faced new ‘warrior’ or someone for whom the ‘wounded peacock’ holds no fear, you are likely to find a studio that caters for you.

*Be aware that at the schools listed below not all of the instructors speak English, so it is a good idea to contact them ahead of time to confirm your needs.

Energy Body

Near Hisyaya Odori subway station is the yoga and pilates studio, Energy Body. As well as Ashtanga and Hatha yoga classes, there are various courses that focus on breathing, energy flow, mother and baby yoga and even belly dancing courses. If you want to get your energy levels up before a day of work, try out one of their early morning classes. Not all instructors speak English, so check beforehand.

  • Where:  7th Floor, 5th FPS BLDG, 3-19-23 Marunouchi, Naka-Ku (map)

Bikram Yoga

For those of you who like it hot, the Sakae branch of the Bikram Yoga school should be right up your alley. While the originator of this studio, California based Bikram Choudhury, is considered somewhat controversial, his style of yoga continues to be extremely popular. Though practicing yoga in a 40 degree Celsius (104F) room may sound like torture to some, many devotees of the style swear by its ability to aid in flexibility and improve postures with no warm-up needed. Some courses are conducted in English. Enquire to find out when.

  • WhereWV SAKAE 6F 3-27-1 Sakae, Naka-ku (map)

My Soul 8

Another Sakae yoga school with a couple of English-speaking instructors is My Soul 8. With views overlooking Central park, this studio is as relaxed as you can get considering the hustle and bustle of the central location. Catering for all levels from beginner to advanced, you can study various yogic styles including Ashtanga, Hatha and Vinyasa.

  • Where: Pacific College Building 1-23-37 Izumi Higashi Ward (map)

As well as the above yoga centers, if you are comfortable with Japanese – or perhaps consider the form of the body to transcend language, here are a couple more places you might want to try.

Yoga Studio Haano

In a light and airy studio in Nishiki, Yoga Studio Haano offers Ashtanga and Vinyasa classes for all ability levels.

Hot Yoga Loive

In Meieki you can find Hot Yoga Loive [sic], a class for – you guessed it – practitioners of hot yoga. There are classes for all levels, with five different programs.

  • Where: Nakamura-ku, Meieki 4 – chome 26 – 7 Meieki UF Building 3F (map)

For a list of a few other yoga spots in the city, check out this page on the always excellent

By Mark Guthrie

Image by Hamza Butt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Photographers site

Image by Jean Henrique Wichinoski (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

ByJason Gatewood
Dec 26, 2017

How to Bitcoin in Japan

No doubt you’ve heard of the digital currency Bitcoin in the past few months thanks in part to its meteoric rise in value over the last part of 2017. While some have likened it to a computerized form of the Tulip Craze of the 1600’s, the technology underpinning it, the “blockchain”, is what makes it the world’s first stateless,trustless and open-source form of money. Here in Japan, Bitcoin was elevated to the status of “E-Money” just like Edy and Suica earlier this year. As a result, there are many businesses starting to accept payments using Bitcoin here. But how do you get started and is it really risky?

Hey, can you spare some bits?

Let’s clear something up right away: Bitcoin was never meant to be a store of wealth nor an investment vehicle. It was created to be the digital equivalent of cash money, with all its pros and cons. Just like cash, you can simply swap Bitcoin for services and goods without needing an account at a bank, but also like cash, it can be stolen without little recourse if you’re not careful. How much or how little security you use to store your bits is up to you. With that in mind, here’s how you can grab some for yourself.

Gimme your “wallet”.

A wallet is actually the program that you use to store your BTC in. My personal favorites are Blockchain and Mycelium. There are many others out there available for your smartphone or PC, but these are the most secure in my opinion. Also remember, just like you wouldn’t walk around with high amounts of cash in your actual wallet, never do the same with Bitcoin! There are ways to store high amounts offline and then withdraw from them when needed.

Get cashed up virtually.

There are 11 government licensed to exchange Japanese Yen for Bitcoin through a “furikomi” wire transfer from your bank account. I like Bitflyer’s offering best because they have been quickest to innovate and also offer services in English. There are also a few ATMs around if you don’t mind searching them out.

Spending spree!

There are lots more places where you can buy things using some of those “digital duckets” around Japan. Here in Tokyo, The Pink Cow Cafe ws when dining on any of their fantastic Cal-Mex creations back in 2013. Now that Bitcoin is hitting the mainstream and Japan is on a drive to attract more overseas tourists, many big stores are allowing transactions in the currency. Bic Camera accepts Bitcoin for transactions up to ¥300,000; Megane Super takes BTC if you need to get a new pair of eyeglasses; department store chain Marui started taking it recently and apparently a large amount of shops in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district are jumping at the chance to take Bitcoin. There’s so many coming online in fact, the best way to stay up-to-date is to use a service like which keeps a constant database of venues around the world.

Where is the support?

Yes, this is (still) a brave new world when it comes to cryptocurrency. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes ironing out of standards and growing pains ahead as the new form of money gains traction. Remember, no company or country “owns” Bitcoin; it’s open-source, so there is no “call center” if you get stuck. But there are tons of people out there just like you who are very knowledgeable and will be happy to show you the ropes. Even better, Japan has always been at the epicenter of Bitcoin development and the financial authorities are very open to see it continue. As such, there are a lot of people in the know that are willing to help. I personally recommend coming to any of the meetups in Tokyo and meeting IRL with people who know what they’re doing and are willing to help anyone who wants to know how to use it; they’ve been meeting since 2011 and are a friendly bunch. Also drop a question in the Bitcoin Subreddit and you’ll definitely get a response, and likely some hilarious comments from the peanut gallery as well.

Look into my crystal ball

No one can say what will happen with Bitcoin in the future. One thing is for certain: the virtual currency technology underpinning Bitcoin is here to stay and is constantly being improved upon everyday. If you decide to get into the game, make sure you act responsibly (like any other investment vehicle) and know your own limits.

(Full disclosure: I own some cryptocurrency and have been dabbling in the scene since 2011.)

— by Jason L Gatewood

Image by Duncan Rawlinson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

ByJason Gatewood
Dec 26, 2017

Nakano Broadway: Tokyo’s “other Akihabara”

No matter how you slice it, Tokyo’s modern image is the stuff of cyberpunk dreams. We are the city of giant robots, iron gollums, and Godzilla. So of course most people’s image of “Cool Japan” is found in Akihabara, our city’s major electronics district and hub of all things anime and video game related. Of course you gotta head over there and check out “Akiba”; its truly one-of-a-kind… Or is it?

Situated just west of Shinjuku, Nakano Station is at the center of the namesake borough of Tokyo which became home to the actual studios that output the majority of Japan’s animation and comic books to the world. Because of that, it’s become a sort of mecca to those who are so steeped in “otaku” culture that those in the know would tell you “Only tourists bother with Akiba; if you want the real deal, check out Nakano”. Specifically Nakano Broadway, which is located north of the station at the end of the Sun Mall shopping arcade.

Opened in 1966, Nakano Broadway’s first 4 floors are a hodepodge of many different shops, services and restaurants. The basement has both a Seiyu supermarket and a Daiso 100 yen shop. There’s a great ice cream place and a bunch of ramen and udon shops as well. If you’re into palm reading and fortune telling, there’s a whole hallway in the basement dedicated to just that. But what “The Broadway” is known for best is it’s huge amounts of toy, game, hobby and comic shops in the upper levels.

Up on the 3rd floor, Mandarake serves as defacto anchor for all the character related stores. Started in 1987 right here in Nakano Broadway as a simple secondhand comics shop, it has grown into a large chain of stores dealing in literally anything having to do with anime characters. While you can find a branch of Mandarake in every large city in Japan (and at least 6 other branches in Tokyo alone), this store is pretty special for being the first. If you are looking for vintage Japanese comic and animation goods, start here.

The smaller shops on the upper floors are gold mines as well; there’s even two stores dedicated to those who collect original animation cells! Good news for Japanese toy fanatics: There are at least 4 different shops selling everything from Takara Tomy cars and Pla-Rail to vintage Voltron (oops, I mean Go-Lion) playsets. I’ve even managed to find a mint condition 1980’s era Transformers Megatron toy here… You don’t wanna know the price though, trust me.

Audio/video creation geeks aren’t left out either thanks to the Fujiya Avic store on the 2nd level. If you need DJ turntables, a Moog analog synthesizer, and a Blackmagic camera rig to shoot your next feature film, you’ll drool over it here. And if you’re in to timepieces, Jackroad will make sure your wrist walks out with something unique; they’ve been here for 30 years!

There’s something for everyone and then some at Nakano Broadway, whatever you’re into. The smaller size and cozy atmosphere makes it more inviting than its east-side rival Akiba across town according to some; but don’t take their word for it… Check it out yourself!

  • Nakano Station (JR Chuo Local/Rapid, Tokyo Metro Tozai lines), North Exit
  • Map
  • Website


–by Jason L Gatewood

Image Nakano Broadway Entrance courtesy Nakano Broadway Shopping Complex

Image Sun Mall courtesy Jason L Gatewood  (own work)