November 2017 Community News

November 2017 Community News

Second Harvest Japan Increases Food Pickup to Twice a Week Second Harvest Japan, Japan’s first food bank activity organization, is expanding its Pantry Pickup services to offer food directly to those in need from two to four times a week at the Asakusabashi office. This increase in pickup days allows twice as many people to […]


PC: flickr/BjorklundJakob

Second Harvest Japan Increases Food Pickup to Twice a Week

Second Harvest Japan, Japan’s first food bank activity organization, is expanding its Pantry Pickup services to offer food directly to those in need from two to four times a week at the Asakusabashi office. This increase in pickup days allows twice as many people to receive the service, up from 120 to 240 households weekly, from this location. This service is also extended to families in need during the school break, when children have no access to school lunches. Pantry Pickups occur at the Asakusabashi office and other locations in Kunitachi City and Yashio City in Saitama Prefecture. Second Harvest Japan also shares its knowledge and experience with food supplies with other NPOs and churches that are already involved or interested in offering similar services. Second Harvest Japan estimates that over two million people in Japan are at risk of food insecurity, and they are one of the places people can turn to when they struggle to have access to food.

International Ladies Benovolent Society Christmas Charity Fair

Searching for the perfect holiday gift just got a little easier. The International Ladies Benovolent Society (ILBS) is gearing up for their annual Christmas Charity Fair on Saturday, November 18 at Tokyo American Club. Membership in the club is not necessary for attendance, so don’t be shy. Over twenty booths will be ready and waiting for visitors featuring everything from Christmas decorations to jewelry to baked goods. A raffle starting at 1:30pm offers even more delights with prizes from Bulgari Japan, Uyeda Jewelers, The Imperial Hotel, and many more. Proceeds from the event are awarded to both domestic and international welfare projects. The ILBS was founded in 1953, and the Christmas Charity Fair has been one of their premiere events since 1980. Email for further inquiries.

ILBS Christmas Charity Fair, Saturday, November 18, 11am–2pm, Tokyo American Club

Japanese Pension Update for Non-Residents

Starting in August 2017, anyone who has paid into the Japanese pension system for a total of at least ten years is now eligible to collect. (Previously, it was 25 years.) The new ruling applies to both the national pension system and the employees’ pension system. The amount participants are eligible to receive depends, of course, on how long they paid in. If you paid in for the full forty years (Otsukaresama), then roughly 780,000 yen a year will be the amount. However, if you paid in for a shorter amount of time, then the amount will also be less. It is well worth investigating, though, as every penny (or yen) counts in the end. If you didn’t pay in for ten years but did for at least six months, you are still able to withdraw a lump sum. This allows you, essentially, to claim up to 36 months’ worth of pension contributions in one fell swoop. There are certain conditions, though, such as applying for it within two years of leaving Japan and not be enrolled any longer in any Japanese pension system. If you choose this option and return to Japan in later years to work, you will be starting from square one.

www.nenkin/ (PDF in English for accessing pension) (Lump sum withdrawal information)

Japan Official Travel App Gets People Out and About

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) recently released a free smartphone app that allows travelers to look up destinations, restaurants, trains, and free Wi-Fi spots. It also includes guidance about tax-free shops, ATMs, and hospitals with services in foreign languages as well as embassy contact information. Offered in English, Korean and Chinese, JNTO coordinates the app with other useful websites offering helpful instruction about what to do during an earthquake, tsunami, or bad weather. Users will find a number of useful and informative articles curated by JNTO about rules and Japanese etiquette along with information about a range of events in surban and rural areas. It can be used on- and off-line, and transportation searches are tailored to be compatible to the Japan Rail Pass.

Download at

Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC)

For over twenty years, the Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) has fostered entrepreneurship in Japan. Started by the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, JMEC is now supported by a total of 18 Chambers of Commerce. JMEC is an English-language business training program with a business plan competition at its core. Teams of future executives are assembled and assigned to help JMEC clients formulate business plans. The goal of the competition and the program is to guide future executives while also benefiting foreign and domestic organizations doing business in Japan. Teams present their plans to three senior JMEC judges who select the top three plans for prizes. Nearly 230 plans have been completed and more than 1,100 people trained. For more information about JMEC, please visit:

Tokyo Art Beat

Tokyo Art Beat (TAB) is a fully bilingual Japanese-English clearinghouse of information and articles about art in and around Tokyo. Covering everything from galleries to art museums to competitions large and small, Tokyo Art Beat aims to help people discover and rediscover art and design around the city in venues of all shapes and sizes. Produced by GADAGO, a non-profit, TAB is run by three staff members and part-time translators. Interns come on board every four months to help edit listings and create their own projects. Volunteer contributors and site developers also help bring the blog, website, and various apps available to life.

Coaido 119:
Heart Attack App Saves Lives

Knowing what to do in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death, and a new iPhone app from Coaido aims to help save lives of those suffering heart attacks. An ambulance and its crew may take time to arrive and reach the patient. In the meantime, experts state that survival rates fall by about 10 percent each minute after the emergency arises. The app helps those in proximity to someone having a heart attack take action as soon as possible. If the victim is unresponsive and unconscious, the app urges the user first to call 119 for help, and simultaneously contacts facilities equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) so that a trained professional will bring the device to the scene. It also informs users of pre-registered volunteers — doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers and others — trained in CPR that are in the vicinity and lets them send an alert requesting aid. The user may then communicate with the volunteers via video, voice or text messages. If victims are in less serious condition, the app suggests users call #7119 to talk with an operator who will ask a series of questions to help assess the situation.

Klassik Underground in Tokyo

A new collaboration between the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (GHO) commences with the 2017–2018 season. The first Klassik Underground session to take place outside of Europe brings musicians from Boston and Leipzig together with the Japanese artist Akiko Nakayama. Following highly successful Klassik Underground shows in the Moritzbastei Club Leipzig, this musical event comes to Tokyo to fuse classical music with contemporary urban nightlife. The artistic collaboration with visual artist Akiko Nakayama, well-known for her Alive Painting, promises an entirely new and unique 21st-century concert experience. Works to be performed include: String Quartet No. 9 Op. 117 by Shostakovich and Beethoven’s Sextet for Two Horns and String Quartet Op. 81b. Violinists Elita Kang (BSO) and Camille Gouton (GHO) join Tahlia Petrosian (GHO) on viola, cellist Gayane Khachatryan (GHO), and James Sommerville (BSO) and Andreas Pöche (GHO) on horn.

November 10, 7:30pm

Navit Helps Find a Way Out

Wandering aimlessly around a Tokyo subway station can be stressful and frustrating. Navit Co., founded by Yasuyo Fukui, was born out of just such an experience. As a result, she gathered data on 256 subway stations in the metropolitan area and created maps to help users find their way. Maps showing exits, elevators, and other useful information are posted in stations throughout the Tokyo Metro system. A series of 3-D maps of stations and airports is currently underway and will include updates on restaurants and supermarkets.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
Aims to Set Record

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will feature up to 4,400 athletes competing in 537 medal events in 22 sports. According to Yoshiro Mori, Tokyo 2020 President, this will set a new record for female competitors. “The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) decision will lead to the highest ever representation of female athletes at a Paralympic Games, with at least 1,756 slots now secured for them. This clearly demonstrates the IPC’s drive to achieve a better gender balance at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and will ensure the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games helps further promote the Paralympic Movement,” said Mori. Mori also cited the increased number of slots for Boccia, a game similar to bocce ball, which became a Paralympic sport in 1984. “I believe it is an impactful decision to further advance the IPC’s initiative to provide increased opportunities for athletes with high support needs.”