• 29 May 2009 5:08 AM | Deleted user
    All's well with the Australia Society as of our Annual General Meeting heldIMG_0007.JPG May 29th. Presided over by President Michael Marlay and Secretary Judy Taylor-Boland, the meeting portion of the evening lasted a brief 10 minutes before moving on to dinner, drinks and discussion.

    The President's report was read and approved, the treasurer's report roundly applauded (we have money in the bank this year), and the election of new officers and committee members quickly dispatched with unanimous elections.

    We said goodbye and thank you to departing treasurer Maria Palmer and to committee members Rob & Allison Quinlivan and Craig & Mary Saphin.

    IMG_0016.JPGThe executive Committee for the coming year has a few new faces and role changes. Willam Young will be our treasurer. Alison Reynolds takes on the role of secretary as Judy Taylor-Boland moves into sponsorship. David Taylor takes a step up from news editor to Vice President, giving Kuniko Noguchi a turn at editorial. And finally, we welcome new committee members Johanna Stratton and Kiren Richardson.
  • 20 May 2009 8:29 PM | Deleted user


    The Australian Embassy in Tokyo has released the following bulletin:

    This is an ad hoc bulletin to advise Australians of the latest information concerning H1N1 Influenza.

    On 18 May, the Japanese government confirmed that a domestic outbreak of H1N1 influenza had occurred in Japan.  The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed that the number of cases in Japan had increased, reaching 159 on 19 May.  The outbreak appeared to be concentrated in the Osaka and Hyogo prefectures.  Newspapers such as the Daily Yomuiri have reported that several thousand educational facilities have been closed in the Osaka and Hyogo prefectures.  Some businesses have also asked their employees to stay at home.

    No confirmed cases have been reported in Tokyo but the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has established a Headquarters for Infectious Disease Control.

    The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare advised on 19 May that so far, symptoms among those infected have been mild and many are recovering.  

    To find out more information about H1N1 Influenza symptoms please refer to the following link:   For non-Japanese speakers, more information can be found from the Australian Department of Health and Ageing:

    If you think that you are displaying H1N1 Influenza symptoms and require medical assistance the Japanese Government has requested that you call special call centres set up by the prefectures.  The call centres will then direct you to a particular fever clinic.  A link to all the prefecture websites has been set up at:

    Australians travelling or living overseas should read the H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Influenza) Travel Bulletin and the travel advice for their destination.  More information concerning the H1N1 Influenza can also be obtained from the Australian Department of Health and Aging and the Commonwealth Health Hotline.  Links are below.

    ·        H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Influenza):
    ·        Travel Advice:
    ·        Travel Advice – Japan:
    ·        Department of Health and Ageing:
    ·        Commonwealth Health Hotline (calling from overseas): +61-8-8402-8833

    Australian Embassy Tokyo

  • 08 May 2009 4:34 PM | Deleted user

    President’s Update: May, 2009       


    This spring has already seen a number of great events hosted by the Society or the Embassy’s Social Club. The Spring Family BBQ in the Embassy Garden was a near perfect day for all, thanks in no small part to Jennifer and Alison, with the support of Khadija at the Embassy. ANZAC Day was an instant sell out and we thank the Embassy for allowing us to participate.


    Annual General Meeting

    Now that Golden Week has flashed by I ask myself what is happening to 2009? In fact what has happened to the past year? The Society’s AGM is approaching on Friday May 29, 2009 and for those who cannot be in attendance, I ask you to email me confirming that I can act as your proxy on the night. This is always a challenge and your support is appreciated so that we can conduct the formal part of our evening as efficiently as possible. If you wish to attend please register here.

    Thanks to Maria: Treasurer Extraordinaire

    As I prepare for the AGM and reflect back on the past year, I gain a greater appreciation for all the volunteers who give up their time in making the Australia Society Tokyo what it is. Sadly we have a few volunteers stepping down from the Committee at this AGM, including Maria who has been our Treasurer for the past two years. As she hands over the books to William, our new Treasurer, she does so leaving us in a very sound financial position.

    New Sponsorship Program

    In the coming months you will see us starting to reinvest some of these funds into upcoming events, marketing and our new charity sponsorship program.On this note we are looking for recommendations for a charity that the Society can support on an annual basis for the next two years. If you have a suggestion please email me directly with details. Additionally if you would like to volunteer to help with our new charity sponsorship sub-committee please email Judy directly for more details as to how you can contribute. Likewise if you are interested to learn how you can become a sponsor of the Society and contribute to our new charity please also email Judy.


    Jacqui is eagerly updating membership information after having had to be out of the country for several months due to family issues. We apologize if this has impacted our ability to update your status or respond to membership questions; however please email Jacqui directly if you have any outstanding issues. We aim to have these all cleaned up for our report at the AGM.

    Coffee Morning

    Mary Hanami will be hosting our monthly Coffee Morning at the Oakwood T-Cube Residence, Roppongi. If you are new to Tokyo stop by and meet some locals. If you've been here for awhile stop by and give the newcomers the benefit of your experience. It's free, but please register here before the date.

    Other Things for Your Consideration

    Considering international travel? Read Kristen's experience while waiting for the official swine flu all-clear after landing at Narita; To Sneeze or Not to Sneeze.

    Kuniko tells us how the Hanami picnic went, and has put together a few suggestions for how to keep busy with some interesting events happening in May.

    Jacqui, our VP and membership orgniser, is also our in-house footy cheerleader and for those of you interested in signing up for the upcoming State of Origin series or any the footy Grand Finals please email Jacqui and look out for more details on the web site.

    Lastly, for those interested in a bit of Jazz, take a look at the Australian Embassy Social Club Jazz Concert on Saturday 30 May, 2009.




  • 07 May 2009 10:41 AM | Deleted user

    Cherry Blossom Picnic, Komazawa Koen, April 4th, 2009

    By Kuniko Noguchi

    Cherry blossoms in full bloom and the gentle spring sunshine…Yes, it was a nice Hanami 1.jpgpicnic day! People were probably tempted to the great outdoors by usual Japanese signs of spring (especially the sakura) and we had people from diverse cultures and age groups.  In additions to familiar faces we had new members and visitors come to say hi who were interested in joining the Australia Society. Apparently most of our crowd had never met, but they got along like old friends and shared great conversations: sport is always a good conversation starter, and our Japanese members shared their experiences in living in Australia. As the Aussie drinks were consumed, the Hanami 2.jpgconversation went back and forth, and our party relaxed under the delicate sakura blossom, the time shared by the green kangaroo flag passed so quickly!          

  • 04 May 2009 5:04 PM | Deleted user

    Australian Embassy Social Club Jazz Concert - Saturday 30 May

    The Australian Embassy Social Club hosts a Jazz concert in the Embassy garden on the 30th May from 5.30-8.30pm. please click here for details.


  • 04 May 2009 4:50 PM | Deleted user

    Swine Flu Check Causes Delays

    By Kristen McQuillin

    Arriving at Narita on a flight from the US on April 29th, our plane was boarded by pirates…oops, wrong current events' story. We were boarded by Japanese health officials dressed in paper gowns, rubber gloves, and the must-have N95 masks. Seemingly unprepared for their task, they spent much time running up and down the aisles and conferring with themselves while they handed out questionnaires in awkwardly translated English asking for contact details, travel plans and a few health related questions (i.e. “Have you taken anti-phlogistics or anti-febriles in the last ten days?”). One functionary walked through the plane, using a hand-held thermographic scanner to check for hot-headed or feverish passengers. After nearly an hour of their ministrations, including taking a few temperatures of the warmer travelers, they collected the questionnaires and allowed us to leave the plane.
    For flights from less-infected locales, there was a thermographic scanner on the way through quarantine and a sign alerting anyone arriving from Mexico to please stop for further instructions.
    I recommend that if you are returning from North America in the near future, be sure to use the toilet before landing.

  • 04 May 2009 4:15 PM | Deleted user

    Spring Family Barbeque: Heaven on a Stick (or in a Bun)

    By Alison Reynolds


    ali's%20phone%20001.jpgWe suffered a week of will it? or won’t it? It didn’t and we were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather for the Spring Family BBQ held on the plush turf of the Australian Embassy garden on 26th April. Even the previous day’s downpour couldn’t dampen spirits or the grass enough to prevent everyone from spreading their picnic blankets in the shade of the trees in anticipation of a great afternoon. They then settled down to chat with friends and family while supping back the beers, bubblies and wines chilled for consumption courtesy of the hard working and never tiring volunteers. Even the Oz Soc President made himself useful while his family enjoyed the proceedings.

    All the while there was the obligatory atmospheric smoke wafting across the gardens bringing with it the delightful smells of the toils of our truly wonderful Tongmasters. Added to the delicious cooked morsels were the fabulous salads and trimmings to fill your plate with ‘Good Old Aussie BBQ Fare’. ali's%20phone%20006.jpgMuch to the children’s delight there was ice-cream and fairy bread for afters – apologies to all the ‘little children’ who missed out!

    After all this lovely food, the adults sank further into the shade and the children ran off their sugar rushes.  The latter was helped by a selection of games: bubbles, pirate ships, traditional egg and lime races, sack races and the ubiquitous wheelbarrow and piggy back races. All in all a great Family Day out enjoyed by everyone. It was especially satisfying for the organizers to see a goodly number of grown-ups without any small children!!
  • 03 May 2009 11:28 AM | Deleted user

    Golden Week and other May Activities

    By Kuniko Noguchi


    Hello Folks.  How are you enjoying the Golden Week holidays?  We are now in the middle of the holidays and if you are wondering what to do in the next few days here are a few suggestions. 

    La Folle Journée au Japon

    ~Days of Enthusiasm Music Festival 2009 Bach and Europe~

    This is a classical music festival which has been a popular Golden Week event since 2005, and this year runs from May 3rd to 5th at the Tokyo International Forum.  About 1,500 top artists will gather from all over the world and perform the music of Bach, the father of modern music. The very reasonable admission fee makes this a tempting event for Bach fans!  Please visit for more details!

    “Open The Park” at Tokyo Midtown

    This event has something for everyone.  Even though this event started at Tokyo Midtown on April 24th, it runs through to May 6th, so there are still lots to see.Here again, world-class jugglers, circus acts, trapeze artists will entertain you. There’s even free outdoor yoga lessons.  For the details, please check out the link: .

    Hot Spring Resorts in Tokyo

    If you wish to finish off your holidays with relaxation, you may want to head to an onsen.  There are many hot spring resorts in and around Tokyo. I would personally recommend Ooedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba or Manyo No Yu in Minatomirai, Yokohama if you want to enjoy a Japanese atmosphere in addition to the hot spring bath.  Also, a little-known place I would recommend is Seta Onsen if you would like to unwind in a natural green setting.  When you go to Seta Onsen, please take your swimsuits as it has a few large outdoor mixed baths.  It also has a poolside bar beside the top outdoor bath so you can have a refreshing beer or cocktail while soaking in the bath. Check out these onsen with the following links: (only in Japanese)

    There are more events and activities to enjoy during the holidays which you may want to check out on the internet or in the free listings magazines.  I hope that you use Golden Week as an opportunity to explore Tokyo more.  The weather is great, so get out and enjoy it!

    Life in Tokyo doesn't finish with Golden Week. Other events you may want to think about a little later in the month are:

    Sanja Matsuri
    This is one of most famous festivals in Tokyo’s calendar which features more than 100 portable Shinto shrines (mikoshi) trekking through the streets of Asakusa, after leaving Senso-ji temple. This is from May 15-17 and is free. Nearest station is Asakusa.
     Look here for details: 


    The gogatsu basho (May Tournament) starts May 10 and runs through to May 24th. Everyone should see Japan’s traditional sport at least once.  The bouts start at 9am each day, but the stars aren’t usually on until around 3pm. It’s held at Ryogoku Kokugikan, 1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku. The nearest station is Ryogoku. Details at:

    Design Festa
    This is a (now) huge biannual arts event held at Tokyo Big Sight. It features arts, crafts, interior goods, fashion and accessories, film, video and music: just about anything vaguely artistic. It is on May 16-17, 11am-7pm and the cost is very reasonable at ¥1,000 for one-day or ¥1,800 for a two-day pass. Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition West Halls 1, 2, 3, 4, Atrium & Outdoor. Nearest station is Kokusai-Tenjijo. Details at:


  • 01 Apr 2009 1:33 PM | Deleted user

    Dear Australia Society Tokyo Member

    This March we retire our monthly PDF newsletter and launch a new interactive update that allows you to quickly and easily stay up to date with all of our events, find links to more details and to sign-up to help, all in the one place. By clicking on the hotlinks in red the sections that interest you will ben in a new window. Sometimes, however, the area will be for members only so you will be prompted for your login information.

    After closing our accounts for our Annual Australia Day Charity Gala, we are excited to announce that we raised some ¥7 million for our two charities this year. We would like to thank all sponsors and our members for their support in these challenging economic times. We are in the process of planning next year’s Gala now, and if you are eager to do your part or have a charity that you would like us to support, please email me directly.

    Spring is in the air and for those interested in celebrating the beauty of the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in true Aussie style with your family and friends, we are gathering at Komazawa Olympic Park in Meguro-ku on Saturday April 4 from 12 noon to 4pm for our hanami get-together. Drinks will be supplied by the Society but please BYO picnic and blanket. Download the map here. To get you in the mood, Kuniko Noguchi tells of taking a visiting Aussie around Tokyo on an early hanami tour. Read her report here.

    The Australian Embassy will host the ANZAC Day Service again this year on Saturday April 25. Australia Society Members have been extended an invitation to attend their Gunfire Breakfast at the Embassy before sharing a bus to the Commonwealth Cemetery, Hodogaya. Details are still being confirmed at this time, so watch out for updates shortly. Click here for details.

    Thanks to the hospitality of the Oakwood T-Cube Residence our monthly coffee mornings are becoming the talk of the town. Catch the gossip on April 23 in person. These events are free, but you need to register here.

    On April 26 from 13:00-16:00 the Australia Embassy Garden will be the venue for our Spring Family BBQ. This is a great day for the entire family at a truly impressive venue. If you are interested to help out on the BBQs please contact Jennifer or Alison and receive discounted entry on the day. Register for this event here from Friday, 3rd April.

    The Australia Society Tokyo’s AGM will take place on Friday May 29. If you would like to attend please sign-up and if you would like to volunteer to serve on the Committee or even host an event this year please email the Secretary, Judy Taylor, to express your interest.

    We are actively seeking sponsors for a host of Society events throughout this year. If you would like to explore opportunities please contact Judy Taylor for more information.

    There are some announcements from the Australian Embassy regarding crime in Japan, Tax Pack supplies, elections in Tasmania and the Daylight Saving Referendum in Western Australia. Don’t forget to keep in touch with what is happening here in Japan and at home in Australia via the Australian Embassy in Tokyo

    Tokyo’s own Aussie Rules team, the Goannas, have been cooling their heels all winter and have finally returned to their smiling selves now that the season has officially started. Their first Tokyo game is May 24, but for their full schedule and all information check out their very impressive website

    Ben Distel presents a short report on his participation in this year’s New Zealand Ironman now that he has his breath back.

    Take the opportunity to look your best for the AGM, or at any time during the month, by taking in this month's advice from Marilyn Klein at Boudoir here.

    Please remember that you can always look at our yearly calendar of events on the website.

    Have a great month.


  • 30 Mar 2009 7:41 PM | Deleted user

    Ironman New Zealand

    By Ben Distel

    In March last year I was at Ironman China (not competing) feeling out of shape, out of energy and 5kg overweight. I guess being around fit bodies and the excitement of the spectators makes you make irrational decisions, so I made one: I decided to give Ironman one more try. Ironman start.jpg

    When you really think about it, Ironman is just stupid: 3.8km swim in open water (the warm-up), 180km solo cycling (the meat) and then a marathon run (the icing on the cake).  Some say you would be out of your mind to enter, but somehow the challenge just calls to others. Ironman is to triathletes what Everest is to mountaineers; Lamborghini is to car lovers, the World Series is to baseball lovers ….. you get the idea. Ironman is also called “the toughest day in sports” and participants and supporters take every opportunity to show off their toughness, witnessed by the best T-shirt of the day saying: “If Ironman were easy it would be called Rugby

    Upon my return from China I bought a nice bottle of wine, cooked an especially good dinner for my wife, Monique, and broke the news that I wanted to do another Ironman. The announcement was met by a profound silence, the reason being that we had both trained for Ironman Florida in 2004 and she knew what the decision entailed. We had put our lives on hold for 10 months to focus on training: no parties, less indulgent dinners, champagne brunches replaced by hours spent cycling the lonely roads of Wisconsin, and after-work drinks replaced by runs along the lakefront. When it snowed we’d be doing 3 hour training sets on our indoor bike trainers and I can’t begin to count the times we were in the pool at 6am. Competing in an Ironman is hard, but the year of committed training makes it especially tough and without your family’s support it is impossible. Fortunately, my wife is a wonderfully understanding woman and was quite excited by the prospect. Also, without a full time job I would have the opportunity to train well and still have reasonable amounts of family time.

    Training for an Ironman requires about 9-12months, depending on your fitness level, so the first quarter of 2009 was the earliest I could do it. The event in New Zealand in March was chosen as I prefer racing in a moderate climate, we could tag on a family holiday after the race, and I knew I could get the nutrition I required there.

    Ironman New Zealand, the world’s oldest international Ironman, is held in the waters and on the streets in and around the beautiful town of Taupo in New Zealand’s North Island. This year it celebrated its 25th anniversary and there were a record 1500 entries of which over 1300 turned up: 1235 made it to the finish. Two of the Kiwi participants had raced each of the previous 24 editions; one entrant put us all to shame announcing he was racing his 107th Ironman; 7 time winner Cameron Brown was there to defend his crown and 6 time female winner Joanna Lawn lined up hoping for victory number 7. Legendary Aussie Ricky May was at the start along with a strong contingent of athletes from Japan, including my swim partners Eric Hermand and Richard Kimber, and a slew of fast looking Japanese who were determined to kick our behinds.Bike leg finish.jpg

    I won’t go into details about the race because quite frankly, unless you are in the race yourself a grass growing contest is more interesting. The race started at 7am and we made it to the finish line sometime before midnight. Heartbreakingly, 2 athletes just missed the midnight cutoff finishing time: they both did the same hard work we all did but sadly don’t have the official finishers’ medal or t-shirt to show for it. Cameron Brown won his 8th New Zealand Ironman (new race record of 8:18:05) with Joanna Lawn coming in 2nd of the women, being pipped by Gina Ferguson.

    After the race Monique and I had a great week’s vacation in Kiwi-land. We indulged in cheese and wine, saw some of the most amazing landscape we’ve ever seen and enjoyed the heck out of it.

    My next event is the Tokyo Marathon but I can’t get the other great T-shirt out of my mind “You run marathons? How cute. Ironman”.

The Australia Society Tokyo. © 2014 |  Email Us or find us at: The Australia Society Tokyo - Facebook | Privacy Policy |
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software