News

  • 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 http://www.lfj.jp/lfj_2009e/ 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: http://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/catalog/pdf/200905.pdf .

    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:

    http://www.ooedoonsen.jp/higaeri/english/index.html

    http://www.manyo.co.jp/mm21/yu/ (only in Japanese)

    http://www.setaonsen.co.jp/english/index.html

    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: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/topics/tokyo/jnto/83dn3a000000dpwx.html 

    Sumo

    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:  http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/.

    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: http://www.designfesta.com/index_en.html

     

  • 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 http://www.australia.or.jp/english.

    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  http://www.tokyogoannas.com/index.htm.

    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.

    Michael

  • 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”.

  • 30 Mar 2009 7:17 PM | Deleted user

    From the Boudoir: Spring Clean

    By Marilyn Klein, Boudoir Day Spa: www.boudoirtokyo.com

    Skin Care tips

    Seasonal beauty – Adapt your skincare routine to suit the season. During the hotter summer months you may find that you will need a lighter, oil-free moisturizer. As your skin becomes drier in winter you’ll probably switch to a creamy cleanser and a richer moisturizer.

    D-Solve It - If using a cream cleanser, massage it into you skin and leave it for a minute. This will help to allow make-up to dissolve. Remove the cleanser with a facecloth or cotton wool. Always remember to cleanse twice for best results.

    Don’t Sleep On It – It is essential to remove your make-up before going to bed each night. It can take up to 25 days for the skin to naturally rid itself of make-up and impurities.

    Full Steam Ahead - Deep cleaning the skin will revitalize complexions and shift impurities. Aim to steam your skin once a fortnight or once a week if you have problem skin. Boil a kettle of water then pour the steaming water into a heat resistant bowl. Place a towel over your head and so it covers the bowl. Aim to have your head at least 10cm away from the bowl and remain like this for 3 minutes. Try adding essential oils or herbal extracts to the water.

    Mask It - For best results try slathering on a facemask after steaming your face. If you don’t have time to steam then place a very hot face cloth over your skin to prepare it for the application of the mask. Our favorite mask is Guinot Mask Essential Nutri Confort. This mask contains rosemary, lavender and thyme and is suitable for all skin types. Use this twice a week for best results.

    Kissable Lips - Lips have 3-5 layers of skin compared to the rest of the body, which has 15. Use a lip balm daily to protect your lips but be careful of petroleum based balms, although effective they can be addictive as the lips become accustomed to the ingredients and you’ll need to constantly re-apply the product to reap the benefits.

    Eye-Eye Captain – The skin surrounding the eyes is very delicate and susceptible to the visible signs of ageing so it’s essential to protect and hydrate properly. Opt for eye-care products enriched with sun- protectors during the day and reparative at night.

    Your skin throughout the years!

    Our faces reveal a lot about our personalities and the way we live. Our laughter lines, freckles, wrinkles, bright eyes give our faces character. It’s important to take care of your skin from your early 20’s and do not neglect your facial requirements. The condition of our skin is a gauge of inner health - reflecting both our emotional and physical well-being. Tending to your outer beauty needs and inner health will result in a radiant complexion and paves the way to growing old gracefully. By the time we reach 50, our cell turnover will have decreased by 50%, the skin will have become considerably thinner and it’ll be less resilient. So all you youngsters out there - start taking care of your skin NOW! Invest in proper skincare products and treat your skin to regular facial treatments. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

    After 20’s – After those pimple-plagued teenage years, your skin can go through a calm patch. Young people tend to not use sunscreen and only start to use good moisturizers after they see the first signs of ageing. Keep dry skin and wrinkles at bay by investing in high end products and start using an eye crème in order to maintain your young beautiful skin for longer!

    After 30’s – Fine lines and wrinkles will start to appear due to the degeneration of collagen and elastin, the key components of the skins connective tissue support system. The skin around the contour of your eyes becomes thinner and more delicate, you may even begin to notice some pigmentation marks, age spots and broken veins and an overall drier feeling to your skin. Monthly facials are essential and never leave home without your broad-spectrum sunscreen.

    After 40’s – Lines deepen and frown lines appear, this is due to the loss of elastin. Your skin may also lose its cushion-like ability to bounce back. During the early stages of menopause, you may find that your skin becomes more sensitive and spotty due to hormone fluctuations.

    After 50’s – Post menopause, your hormonal levels plummet and you will find your skin is drier, with more deeply etched lines and wrinkles. Sun and age spots appear and the skin begins to sag. Don’t give into gravity. When you are applying skincare preparations always work in upward motions.

    Wow Brow

    Perfectly arched eyebrows can transform your face from plain to plain-fabulous! Your brows structure the proportions of your face and frame your eyes. Get an instant eyelift with a good brow wax, It can take years off!

    To minimize the pain, try plucking after a hot shower and always use natural daylight. Try to keep your natural shape, always use a pointed or slanted tweezers and pluck a little at a time. Have your brows waxed by a Boudoir Day Spa professional, and then pluck the stray hairs daily to maintain the perfect arch.

  • 30 Mar 2009 7:12 PM | Deleted user

    2009 ANZAC Day Commemoration Service

    ANZAC Day – April 25 – marks the anniversary of the landing by Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli in 1915, during the First World War.  ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

    Each year the Australian Embassy and the New Zealand Embassy join to host an ANZAC Day commemoration service at the Hodogaya Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama.

    This year, Australia will coordinate the commemoration service, which will be held on Saturday 25 April, starting at 9:00am and finishing at around 9:50 am.  The commemoration will involve a small service and wreath laying ceremony at the Australian and New Zealand / Canadian sections of the cemetery, followed by tea and biscuits.

    Everyone is welcome to attend. To assist friends and family of the Australian and New Zealand community with return travel to the commemoration service in Yokohama, the Australian Embassy Social Committee is proposing to organise bus transport (for which a small contribution will be payable), departing from the Australian Embassy in Mita, Minato-ku.

    Departure from the Embassy will be preceded by a Gunfire Breakfast at the Embassy’s Ray Simpson VC “Bunker Bar”.  Further details on the Gunfire breakfast will be provided when details are to hand.

    For more information on the Hodogaya Commonwealth War Cemetery, please visit the Australian Embassy website (www.australia.or.jp/english/tsudou/hodogaya/index.html).

    To register for transport or the Gunfire breakfast , please contact Mr Robin McKenzie, First Secretary (Trade and Economic Section) and President of the Australian Embassy Social Committee (email robin.mckenzie@dfat.gov.au

  • 30 Mar 2009 7:07 PM | Deleted user

    From the Embassy

    By Khadija Haq, Australian Embassy Tokyo

    (1) TaxPack Publication Supplies
    The Australian Taxation Office has taken the decision to not provide bulk printed stocks of TaxPack publications to the Australian Embassy Tokyo (and all other overseas missions) this year. The Tax Office advised that the decision had been reached as a result of careful analysis of the trends in paper tax return lodgement and printed publication usage, which showed a rapidly increasing uptake of electronic tax return lodgement, and electronic access of associated publications. As a result, it was determined as ineffective and undesirable to supply these publications in bulk and in advance of a specific, individual taxpayer's request.

    The Tax Office advised that taxpayers who need access to the publications could first attempt to lodge their tax return via e-Tax, the Tax Office's electronic tax return lodgement portal at: http://ato.gov.au/individuals/pathway.asp?pc=001/002/014
    The Tax Office also advised that if e-Tax was not a suitable option, then taxpayers could download or order their required printed publication through the Tax Office's website at:
    http://ato.gov.au/individuals/content.asp?doc=/Content/00145272.htm  
    Printed publications can be ordered from the Tax Office by calling +61-2-6216-1111 and asking for the publications distribution service.

    (2) Crime in Japan
    You may have noticed a travel advice update from the US Embassy and resultant media concerning drink-spiking in entertainment areas in Tokyo.
    See the following Warden’s message for the full text http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-warden20090317-01.html  
    We remind you of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advice on Japan (http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Japan) which notes the following under the Crime section:
    "Japan generally has a low rate of crime.  However, drink spiking, often resulting in theft and assault, occurs in bars and other entertainment venues.  Sporadic incidents of bag snatching and pickpocketing of foreigners in crowded shopping areas, on trains and at airports have occurred."

    (3) Tasmanian Legislative Council Elections
    The Tasmanian Legislative Council Elections for the divisions of Derwent, Mersey and Windermere have been announced for 2 May 2009.  

    You can access the application form for a postal vote on-line from the Tasmanian Electoral Commission (TEC) website.  The website link is as follows: www.electoral.tas.gov.au.  
    Once you have completed your application form for a postal vote, please fax it to the TEC on +61-3-6224-0217 by 6:00pm (AEST) 28 April 2009.  Ballot papers will then be posted to the elector for completion.  Ballot papers must be completed and postmarked by Saturday 2 May 2009 and be mailed so as to be received by the TEC no later than Tuesday 12 May 2009.
    For those voting from Japan, please note that you would need to apply for your postal ballot paper well in advance of the 28 April deadline in order to receive your ballot paper and vote before the 2 May deadline.
    Please note that the Australian Embassy Tokyo and regional Australian Consulates in Japan cannot process in-person votes or postal votes.

    (4) Western Australian Daylight Saving Referendum
    The Western Australian Referendum on Daylight Saving has been announced for 16 May 2009.  
    Postal voting services will be available through the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) in Australia for Australians overseas who are eligible to vote in this referendum.  Postal vote applications are available on-line on the WAEC website at:
    http://www.waec.wa.gov.au or via email on waec@waec.wa.gov.au, or telephone: +61-8-9214-0400.

    Application forms must be completed and returned to the Western Australian Electoral Commission before 6.00pm on Thursday 14th May 2009.  Ballot Papers will then be posted to the elector for completion.  These must then be mailed, postmarked prior to 6.00pm on polling day, Saturday 16 May and received at the Commission by 9.00am on Thursday 21 May 2009.
    For those voting from Japan, please note that you would need to apply for your postal vote ballot paper well in advance of the 14 May deadline in order to receive your ballot paper and vote before the 16 May deadline.
    Please note that the Australian Embassy Tokyo and regional Australian Consulates in Japan cannot process in-person votes or postal votes.

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