Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo
The Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo will discuss “Religion and Virtual Reality” with Zita Wenzel at their regular monthly meeting in April. Founded in Tokyo in 1965, the Unitarian Fellowship defines itself as a community of seekers rather than believers and does not require agreement with a creed for membership. The group, which includes Japanese as well as long and short-term foreign residents of Japan, discusses religion, morality, literature, international relations, art and more. It’s all part of the common search for truth and sharing what is found as part of that search. Visit their website for more information on upcoming topics and how to get involved.
Breakfast Toastmasters, a public speaking group that is part of Toastmasters International, offers members the chance to network while learning to become better public speakers. Bi-monthly meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month help members foster leadership and communication skills in a supportive environment. A second group, the Pioneer Toastmasters, meets on the second Friday of each month. Visit each group’s website to find out more information and how to get involved.
Tokyo Bus Display Overhaul
The Tourism Ministry recently announced that the number of foreign visitors to Japan in January 2017 reached 2.3 million, a 24 percent increase from the same time last year. This affirmed the need for national and local governments to continue efforts to make the country more foreigner friendly, and resulted in plans by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to introduce alphanumeric displays of bus routes. Starting in 2018, bus displays will be overhauled in order to make them easier to understand. The Transportation Bureau currently operates 129 bus routes represented by numbers and kanji characters for terminals. The new system will be displayed along with the traditional system.
Tambo Art in Soma
Join organizers and community members in Soma to plant this year’s design! Tambo (rice field) art is perhaps most famous in nearby Akita Prefecture, but this little town in Fukushima is bringing its own take on the practice. In an effort to boost community morale and continue to build on recovery efforts after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Soma residents are planting four different colors of rice in a pattern for the third year in a row. The first event of a series will be planting in May 13th, followed by viewing on July 29th, and finally, harvesting on October 28th. For a little bit of deliciousness and community, join the fun. For registration details, visit their website somatamboart.org
On the third Sunday of each month, head south past Yokohama and Kamakura to the port city of Oiso for the monthly Oiso Market. Visitors will find a lively market featuring a wide variety of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with any number of artisanal treasures made by local craftspeople. Vendors to watch out for include Lee’s Bread, Atsugi’s very own Sankt Gallen Beer, and Seisho Asobukai’s peanut dessert. A fine selection of food trucks serve ramen, Jamaican and Indian cuisines—treats to be enjoyed during live musical performances by local artists. In summer, the event transforms itself into a night market in order to beat the heat.
I Am Jane
A new organization, I Am Jane, proactively confronts the issue of rape and sexual violence in Japan. Started by Catherine Jane Fisher, a rape victim who turned her multi-year search for justice into a powerful statement against sexual violence, the organization was officially recognized as an NPO in January of this year. I Am Jane aims to educate the general public about the issue of sexual violence while offering a compendium of resources for victims, their families, and friends. Those interested in volunteering or offering support should visit the website for further details.
Tokyo Theatre for Children
Those who believe the world is a stage will be pleased to hear about the Tokyo Theatre for Children. Started by three international mothers, their first show was Hansel and Gretel in 1974. The all-volunteer community theatre troupe and nonprofit puts on English-language musical theatre productions geared for children and theatre lovers of all ages. Past productions have included the Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Treasure Island, and Peter Rabbit. Put that talent for building, sewing, acting, singing or organizing to work for a unique group in the Big Mikan. Visit their website for more information on how to get involved.
March for Science Tokyo and Tsukuba
March for Science Tokyo and Tsukuba will be held on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. Come be part of a global show of support for science and scientists everywhere and in every field! Whether medicine, agriculture, geology, physics, or meteorology, science is fundamental to society and fosters discovery and understanding. Visit them online and follow them on Twitter to find out how to get involved and for details on locations and times. www.facebook.com/groups/marchforsciencetokyo