The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be made out of recycled metals from discarded or obsolete electronic devices. It’s part of a commitment to make the Games sustainable in all aspect of planning and execution. Spokesperson Hikariko Ono said, “We believe this initiative will contribute to a sustainable Tokyo 2020 Games, and we are looking forward to the active engagement of partner organisations and the general public to help make it a success.”
The Hara Model Railway Museum in Yokohama is hosting Thomas the Tank Engine along with Percy and all the rest for a Christmas train extravaganza. Thomas and crew will be chugging along the museum’s diorama—the largest one in the world—while on the main floor a huge Christmas tree will be decorated entirely with Thomas ornaments. The Thomas the Tank Engine Winter Gallery will be on November 23 through December 31, but is closed on Tuesdays. www.hara-mrm.com.
The training of guide dogs will be improved after it was found that one in five blind people accompanied by guide dogs in Japan have accidentally stepped off a train station platform. This was found from a large-scale survey by the National Federation of All Japan Guide Dog Training Institutions. 21 percent of the 540 participants said that they have gotten stuck in the gap between the platform and the train, or lost their footing. The causes of such accidents will be investigated further.
Hibiya Park will host a food-filled and fun educational event where the focus is on teaching children (and maybe even some adults) where their food comes from and how it is grown. There will be games, short seminars, cute animals to pet, food to buy, and of course, snacks straight from the farm! On during the weekend of December 10-11, find out more about the peculiarly-named Farmers and Kids Festa at farmerskids.jp.
Wine lovers are planning their way to Hollywood Plaza in Roppongi Hills for the annual Yamanashi Wineries Fair. Some of Japan’s best vineyards will be present at this two-day gathering on December 16-17. Twenty-two wineries will be ready and waiting on the fifth floor with samples and workshops galore to educate the palette on flavor and pairings in two-hour sessions. Go after work on Friday 7:30-9:30pm, or on Saturday 1-3pm or 4-6pm. Buy advance tickets at www.ywf.jp.
The first annual comprehensive urban arts festival, Tokyo Metropolitan Festival, brings together a collection of international and Japanese artists for a feast of art of all types and styles. The festival includes plays, dance, open-air performances and concerts, including a group from the Toshima International City of Arts and Culture Program. On until December 18, find out more at www.tokyo-metropolitan-festival.jp/en.
After the third fatal car accident in Japan caused by drivers playing Pokémon Go, the game has been disabled when at driving speed. Niantic Inc., the company behind Pokémon Go, have adjusted the game so players won’t be able to spin Pokéstops or see Pokémon appearing when the smartphone senses it is moving at a certain speed. This took effect following pressure by local government and police in central Japan after the death of a 9-year-old-boy in Aichi Prefecture in late October.
The Saitama Triennale, running since September 24, will come to an end on December 11. This was the first annual international art festival around Urawa. The theme, “Envisioning the Future,” offers interactive experiences around various installations, video projects, plays and dance. Local artists and art supporters are encouraged to participate by organizing their own events as part of this larger one for an ever-growing creative endeavor. saitamatriennale.jp/en.