Means to an end

Melanie C. Redmond' goal is to help you keep your resolutions this year.


New Year's resolutions… we all make them - and most of us break them. We start out strong and determined, but after a few weeks find our willpower waning. The first step to meeting your annual goals is to write them down and have a plan - the Japanese keep track of their New Year's resolutions with Daruma dolls, filling in the left eye when they make a goal and the right when it is accomplished. While putting your aspirations down on paper is easy, coming up with a creative, airtight plan of attack is a little more challenging in Tokyo. Whether you're saying goodbye to a bad habit or instituting a good one, read on. TC tracked down some people, groups and classes that may just help you keep your resolutions this year.

Go figure
Taking better care of your body is a common resolution. In fact, January is peak season for gym memberships as people try to work off pounds gained by eating too much holiday food. But there are other fun ways to get healthier this year instead of joining a gym. You could make an effort to balance your diet, buy a bike, walk the long way to work, take the stairs instead of hopping in an elevator, or go dancing. One of the hottest dances to learn in Tokyo today is the tango. Local professional tango teacher Gustavo Marchesi teaches lessons for all levels all over Tokyo. His schedule is as follows:

We all make New Year's resolutions with the best of intentions - but how long do we keep them?

Tropicana Bar
3-15 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5414-2792
Level: Beginners and intermediate students (group lesson)
Cost: JY2500/person (one drink included)
Time: Every Wed, 7-9pm

Canaro Tango Pub
1-37-17 Matsubara, Setagaya-ku
Tel: 03-3325-5424
Level: Beginners and intermediate students (group lesson)
Time: Every Sun except Dec 31, 6:30-9pm

Mr Marchesi's studio
1-8-11 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 042-279-2401
Level: Beginners and intermediate students (group lesson), private lessons also available
Cost: Call or email ( for rates.
Time: Every Thur from January 11, 6-10pm


Chill out

An admitted workaholic? Promise yourself you'll relax a little in 2001. Try visiting your local massage parlor, going to a movie theater, getting a manicure/pedicure, or taking some time to do something you've always wanted to do in Tokyo but never made the time for. Your nerves will thank you. For a great massage, try these suggestions:

Shinjuku Park Tower Hyatt branch
Tel: 03-5908-3255
If you're in need of a great massage, gp tp Temomin. They have 25 branches in the Tokyo area (go to to find out the other locations). They have a 10-minute and 20-minute course available (JY1000/JY2000 plus tax), as well as a 40-minute special massage (by reservation only; call for rates). Each branch is open 11am-9pm every day.

Tanton Massage (and acupuncture clinic)
Jinnan Kogyo Bldg 4F, 1-20-10 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5489-2213
Tanton is open11am-10pm, perfect hours for a quick massage at lunch time or an acupuncture session to relieve your aching back after work. Call for prices.

Having a word with God
If you're determined to be more spiritual this year, there are plenty of religious organizations willing to help out. Check the Townpage directory for more listings.


International Muslim Center Japan
Muto Bldg 202, 4-22-16 Haramachida, Machida
Tel: 042-732-8170

Japan Baptist Union
2-3-18 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku-ku
Tel: 03-3202-0053

The Jewish Community of Japan
3-8-8 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-3400-2559

Tokyo Union Church
7-7-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-3400 0047
TUC is an international, interdenominational Christian congregation.


Heal the world
Resolve to make the world a better place through volunteering. Even if you don't know any Japanese, there are many local groups that could use you. If you're not sure where your help may be needed, the third edition of the Foreign Executive Women (FEW) Volunteer Directory is a great place to start looking. It has listings for over 70 organizations, like Amnesty International, Greenpeace Japan, Refugees International, and the Tokyo Rape Crisis Center.

Most groups need English speakers, but there are also opportunities for those who speak other languages. And of course, FEW volunteers all this information by making the directory free. To get a copy of the directory, send your address and JY390 in postage stamps to FEW, SVAX TT Building, 1F-A Suite 161, 3-1-15 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001, Attention: Directory Coordinator. Or you can simply download the guide in PDF format from their website, Adobe Acrobat reader (free from is needed to view the directory.


Be crafty
There are many places in the Tokyo area that offer traditional Japanese craft lessons in English. If this is your New Year's resolution, browse through the following list for locations of a few classes around town.

Calligraphy (shodo)
Koyo Art School
7-35-10 Minami Otsuka, Toshima-ku
Tel: 03-3941-3809
Study the art of shiji and the cultural background of kanji and kana with renowned calligrapher Koyo Endo.

Flower arrangement (ikebana)
Ohara School of Ikebana
Ohara Ryu Kaikan 6F, 5-7-17 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-3499-1200
For Japanese students, lessons are Tue 1:30-3:30pm. For foreign students, Wed and Thu 10am-12pm (first time, 9:30am). For Japanese and foreign students together, Thu 1:30-3:30pm. Cost JY2000, plus about JY2000 for flowers. If you just want to observe the lesson, it will cost JY800.

Japanese mandolin (Shamisen)
Makoto Nishimura (private and group lessons)
1-10-5-103 Daita, Setagaya-ku
Tel: 03-3412-6096 (evenings only)
Free classes are offered in the evenings and on weekends, as well as Sunday workshops from 1-4pm. Call for more details.

Material art
Hodogaya International Information Center
Yokohama-shi Iwama Shimin Plaza, 1-7-15 Iwama-cho, Hodogaya-ku
Tel: 045-337-0012
Study the arts of washi (Japanese paper) making, origami or wearing a kimono.

Quit boozing
If you want to lay off the booze in 2001, Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA is a good place to go for a little moral support. There's an unofficial page on the Web available for those looking for an English-speaking AA meeting in the Tokyo area: AA in Tokyo ( This well-organized and informative site has an up-to-date listing of around 40 meetings, both open (for anyone that wants to come, whether they are trying to stop drinking or not) and closed (only for people that want to stop drinking). Each meeting is listed with time and day, a topic, type of meeting, and a map. If you don't have access to a computer, or want to talk to someone involved with AA before checking out a meeting, call the AA Hotline on 03-3971-1471.

quit smokin'

Put out your butt
Kicking the nicotine habit is a hard resolution to make and to keep. Quitting cold turkey doesn't necessarily work for everyone. Smoking cessation aids like nicotine gum or patches and herbal products can boost your willpower. As a first step, make a list of reasons why you want to quit, and always keep these reasons in the back of your mind. Another thing that helps is the knowledge that there are thousands of people out there who have tried before you - and succeeded. One online site, Quit Smoking Support ( has an "Ex-Smoker's Page" which lists the names and their quitting dates. A helpful online site with links, a free weekly newsletter, and emailed smoking tips three times a week, are available to assist you in kicking the habit. Methods for quitting, nicotine withdrawal symptoms, health benefits of quitting, bulletin boards and chat rooms can all be found here. Also, check out the Ash Kicker's Wall of Ex-Smokers ( You must be an member (free registration) to participate.

Cooking Nippon style
If you are tired of having to go to a restaurant whenever you get the taste for Japanese food, why not make a resolution to learn how to cook it? English classes are available in the places listed below; also, check your ward newsletter and Townpage telephone directory for other Japanese cooking classes in your area.

Japanese food

Konishi Japanese Cooking Class
3-1-7-1405 Meguro, Meguro-ku
Tel: 03-3714-8859
Learn Japanese cooking techniques in English from sensei Konishi Kiyoko. Class-size ranges from 4-8 people, and each class costs JY5000, including ingredients.

Sushi Daigaku
Maria Nino Bldg 1F, 2-3-8 Meguro, Meguro-ku
Tel: 03-5722-5055
A yearlong, sushi-making course will set you back JY1,600,000. Three- and six-month courses are also available.

There's nothing like the sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving a goal and sticking to your guns. When the going gets tough, as it probably will as the months pass, a little ingenuity will go a long way towards helping you keep those promises you made to yourself in January of 2001. Good luck!



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