Greenmarket Sumida, the latest monthly farmers market from Daikanyama Works, Inc., is up and running. Just across the river from Senso-ji in Asakusa, the market is a collaborative effort between the three-year-old company and the Sumida Ward government. Held the first weekend of every month, the market aims to bring fresh vegetables and fruit to this historic downtown.
One of the best skateparks in Tokyo, the Musashino Street Sports Plaza and Mitaka Skate Park, will be closed from December 28 and reopening in the new year on January 3. Set on the grounds of the Musashino Sports Complex, the plaza is a popular spot for skateboarders, inline skaters and BMX riders to hone their technique and style. Open seven days a week, it is worth noting that Saturdays from 10am to 12pm are reserved for elementary and middle school students only. Check the website for more details: www.musashino.or.jp/sports/_1109.html.
Public libraries remain a relatively untapped asset for foreign nationals living in Japan. Getting a card at the local branch is as simple as stopping in with your foreign resident card and asking for one. While foreign language books may be scarce at some branches, membership is worth it for meeting people, accessing information about local events and children’s books in Japanese (for language study for kids of all ages). Finding a local branch is as easy as Googling toshokan and following the map!
A recent survey by online shopping website, SoooooS, a division of Yarakasukan Company, found that more than one in three recognize the value of goods that go beyond legal obligations to be environmentally friendly, people conscious and socially responsible. Of the 500 people aged 20–60 who took the survey, 65 percent said these qualities encouraged them to purchase such environmentally and socially responsible products.
Finding Wi-Fi just got a little bit easier in Japan with the Japan Free Wi-Fi app. Download the app from the website, and then any internet-enabled device will be able to log on at nearly every convenience store, train station and airport without having to re-register in each area. According to the site, new locations are being added all the time. Available in twelve languages, the app is ideal for visitors or keeping data usage for the month down. Head on over the website and get registered. www.ntt-bp.net/jcfw/en.html
Yokohama’s Chinatown will celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and Spring Festival starting on January 28. Starting with the colorful Lion Dance (Tai-ching), the fifteen-day celebration carries on with dragons, lions, fireworks, a little dancing and plenty of tasty food at other events and performances scattered throughout the area. bit.ly/2hlW4eh
Long-term foreign nationals residing in Japan should be paying attention to recent conversations about the Overseas Assets Reporting (OAR) law. Those here for more than five years within the last ten with overseas assets valued at 50 million yen or more are affected. While most of the information on the 2013 law is only available in Japanese, foreign nationals should get in touch with their local tax office and a tax professional in order to learn more and avoid late fees.