2020.07.06[Mon] 09:00

Rules & Manners(ルール・マナー) , Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健)

【Tanabata, the Star Festival】

In Japan, the 7th of July is known as Tanabata or, The Star Festival. This festival celebrates the meeting of the deities, Hikoboshi and Orihime, the stars Altair and Vega, who can only meet once a year on this day, according to legend. One popular Tanabata custom is to write one's wishes on a piece of paper, and hang that piece of paper on a specially erected bamboo tree, in the hope that the wishes become true. Personally, my wish is that everyone stays healthy for the rest of the year and that we, as humans, consider the ways we need to change to prevent something like the Coronavirus happening again. It's a bit serious, I suppose....What's your wish?


The plastic bag charge

Actually this next topic kind of ties into my wish for things to change! As of July 1st, 2020, plastic bags that you normally received for free when shopping at supermarkets and convenience stores, are no longer free. You will be required to pay a fee to receive one. This is a great chance to bring your “My Bag” or reusable shopping bag. No only will you be producing less waste, but you'll also be saving money.  If you've got a nice bag that folds up compactly and that you can carry on you, you'll be ready at any time for any shopping. Plastic bags are convenient, but with the amount that gets used, they have become a huge source of pollution in the ocean and have contributed to global warming. So, to reduce how much plastic gets needlessly used, we need everyone's cooperation. Before you take that plastic bag next time, really consider if it's something you need. Let's take this chance to rethink the way we live.


Be careful not to fall victim to heatstroke

As the days get hotter, I'd like to remind you to be careful about heatstroke. Heatstroke happens when happens when your body cannot regulate its temperature due to prolonged exposure to heat or intense exercise and the balance of water and salt in your body is off. Symptoms of heatstroke include headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea. If you do not recover after cooling down, drinking fluids and taking some salt, please dial 119 to call an ambulance.

Especially in July, as temperatures reach maximum highs, the number of emergency heatstroke patients increases rapidly. So as this hot and humid season begins, take care as your body has not yet acclimated. And this year, as we spend more time indoors to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, do not let your guard down as heatstroke can occur indoors as easily as outdoors. In addition, wearing a mask in the summer increases the risk of heatstroke and so you must take caution.

 So here are some tips to prevent heatstroke. First, drink water throughout the day. Ideally, you'll want to get about 1.2 liters per day. Barley tea or water are nice everyday drinks to stay hydrated with. Sports drinks are good if you are exercising. If you sweat a lot during the day, make sure you rehydrate with plenty of water and a bit of salt, as well. And try to use your fan or air conditioner as efficiently as possible so that the room temperature does not go above 28 degrees.

2020.06.29[Mon] 09:00


2020.06.22[Mon] 09:00

Rules & Manners(ルール・マナー) , Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健) , Community(コミュニティ) , Disaster(災害)

【My Dad】

Well, as you know, Father's day was just yesterday and it got me to thinking about my old dad. He'd be insulted hearing me say old though! He's a pretty cool guy, definitely has his faults, who doesn't, but I've learned a lot from him. Although I thought he was pretty annoying when I was growing up, making me help him out with things when I really just wanted to go out and play, looking back, everything he made me do has proved to be useful even though at the time I had no idea that it would be. I'm pretty handy around the house when I need to be thanks to him, I can repair small things, change the oil and tires on my car even though I don't have one now, take care of my bicycle, know how to work powertools, build a fire, set up camp....the list goes on. I'd say if there were ever a case in which we needed to survive on our wits and skills, my dad would be the first person I'd look to. I, of course, wished him a happy Father's day yesterday. It would've been nice to have sat down and had a beer with him, but without a dokodemo door or a Star Trek style transporter it's kind of hard. Virtually it is as well, he's not quite up with the digital times. Guess I'll have to save it for the next time I'm back in the US.

【Important information from Fukuoka City about disaster prevention】

Now it's time for a couple of announcements from Fukuoka City. The first is about disaster prevention. In Japan, from June to July we have a rainy season, a time in which there is a lot of rain. And due to all of this rain, this is also a period in which natural disasters easily occur.

In July 2017, in Fukuoka Prefecture, record levels of heavy rain caused a huge amount of damage. During heavy rains, do not go near rivers, coasts or cliffs near mountains as these become dangerous places. Please take actions that will protect your life.

You can take a look at Fukuoka City's Homepage to find information on hazard maps and disaster prevention. If you check Fukuoka Support for Foreigners, Fukuoka City's support page for foreign residents, you can also see this disaster prevention information.

Make sure you check, in advance, the evacuation centers and safe routes for the area that you live in, because you never know when danger will strike.

Important information is also posted on Fukuoka City's official Facebook page “Global Community Fukuoka” and on the Fukuoka City International Foundation's Facebook Page “Fukuoka City International Center/Attaka Fukuoka”. If you follow these pages, you will receive regular updates on important information.

 There is one more service to mention here from Fukuoka City. An umbrella sharing service called “Ai Kasa” has been put into place and can be utilized via LINE. The umbrellas are easy and cheap to rent and you'll find them in the subway stations and around department stores, so if there's a sudden downpour, you don't have to worry about being caught out in the rain!

For more information, please search for “Ai Kasa Fukuoka Shi” on the internet.


Information from the National Health Insurance

Next is information about national health insurance. In Japan, everyone is required to sign up for health insurance and I'm sure everyone has. By paying for insurance, you will reduce the amount you have to pay at the hospital if you need to go for an illness or injury. There are three types of insurance available but at this time, we're covering information for those who have national health insurance.

The insurance premium for that is decided every June and a notification will be sent in the middle of June. Please confirm your insurance premium when it comes and pay before the deadline.

Insurance premiums are based on your income from the previous year.

For households whose income has decreased due to the effects of the new coronavirus, please consult the ward office as you may be able to reduce taxes.

For households who have enrolled in national health insurance but whose previous year's income is unclear, a National Health Insurance Income Report has been sent.

If you have not yet submitted this report, please fill in the necessary details and post it or take it to your local ward office or branch office.

 If there is anything that you don't understand, you can consult by phone in 18 different languages. This phone number is 092-753-6113.  Again, this phone number is 092-753-6113. This phone number will connect you to the ward office after you speak with an interpreter. Please tell the interpreter which ward you live in and what you are calling about.


2020.06.15[Mon] 09:00

Rules & Manners(ルール・マナー) , Children & Childcare(子ども・子育て)

【What's the latest trend?】

So, today the topic I'm supposed to talk about is what is popular or trendy right now in the US. And if I'm honest, I don't really know because I don't follow the trends in the US. I still listen to classic rock and have been watching old episodes of Star Trek. Tells you how up-to-date I am! However, a little while back and then again last month, I saw some articles on how women are embracing being more natural, more specifically, not dying their hair as it goes grey and that some salons have even created hair treatments to really accentuate the color as it changes. I thought that was pretty cool, my hair has been going grey, actually white, for a few years now and the thought of using permanent dyes to maintain some kind of  hair color for 'my age', is just not something I can be bothered to do. I recently did a temporary dye for fun, it was a bright magenta that has faded over the weeks, but I am fully at ease with my normal hair color and its 'glitter' strands, as I've heard them called.  If this 'embrace the grey' is a trend that is happening in the US, I guess it's something that I can get on board with!

【Status report on the child allowance】

A child allowance is being provided to those raising children from the age of zero to the age that they finish junior high school. The amount ranges from 5000 yen to 15,000 yen per child, per month, based on the child's age and your income.

The money is paid three times per year, in June, October and February, for the 4 month period before the month of payment. In order to receive this child allowance, you must submit a yearly status report. In the first half of June, Fukuoka City sent the documents necessary to make the report to allowance recipients. Please fill the necessary information in and make sure to post the report so that it will arrive by June 30th. Please be aware that you will not receive a payment if you do not submit the report or if there are any sections left incomplete.

If there is anything that you don't understand, please check with  your local ward office. You can also consult by phone in 18 different languages. This phone number is 092-753-6113.  Again, 092-753-6113. This phone number will connect you to the ward office after you speak with an interpreter. Please tell the interpreter which ward you live in and what you are calling about.


【Information on riding bicycles】

Did you know that last year in Fukuoka city that there were 1770 bicycle accidents and also one resulting death? It is very important to follow the rules and keep your manners while riding bicycles. So from now, I just want to cover some of the main rules in Japan.

 In Japan, in principle, bicycles are supposed to pass on the left side of the road and pedestrians have priority while on the sidewalk. When you are on the sidewalk, please pass slowly along the side closest to the road. Also, remember to turn on your headlight at night.

If you leave your bicycle parked on the road not in a designated area, it will be taken away, so always park in a designated area. Finally, riding side by side is not allowed.

Fukuoka City has introduced a cycle share service challed Charichari. There are over 250 bicycle ports throughout the city and more are to be added in the future.

Use the Charichari application to rent a bicycle. After you are finished, just return the bicycle to your nearest port. It costs 4 yen per minute and you can pay using a convenience store or a credit card. For example, going from Tenjin to Hakata station takes about 10 minutes. Using the bicycle, that will only cost you 40 yen, so definitely try it out.

2020.06.08[Mon] 09:00

Rules & Manners(ルール・マナー) , Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健) , Other Topics(その他)

【Cooking at home】
Thank you for tuning in this morning! I guess that due to the coronavirus situation, many of you have been spending a lot more time at home and possibly even have started cooking a lot more at home. I like cooking and generally do so everyday, but I started to miss going out for a meal. In my house, I almost never fry food, I've done it a couple of times just in a frying pan and I hate the clean up after. However, I do like eating fried food sometimes and both I and my boyfriend were starting to crave some British style fish and chips. He's British and I guess I've eaten enough so that it's a familiar food to me! I actually have a small deep fryer in the house given to me by a friend and so we decided to pull it out for the first time ever, and see if we could actually manage to make something decent without burning the house down. The fryer was easy to use but we needed so much oil in it. As a result, we actually spent the week eating different fried foods, ton-katsu, kushi-katsu, kara-age...it seemed like a waste to throw away the oil after just one use. Speaking of waste...I'm sure my waist grew a centimeter after that one week! It was a delicious week but the next week was spent eating loads of salads and fruit and doing youtube exercise videos! What was your indulgent dish at home? I'm always looking for recipe ideas!

【Information from Fukuoka City about the Covid-19】
Next, I have some information from Fukuoka City in regards to the Novel Coronavirus.
The first is a request from Fukuoka City. Life in the time of the coronavirus means that we, the residents of Fukuoka, all must make some changes for our new lifestyle. Some of these changes include keeping the 3 C's in mind--meaning to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close conversation. Other changes include trying to maintain a distance of 2 meters from others, wearing a mask when outdoors and having conversations, and washing our hands and faces when we get home.

You may also want to consider some other things as you change your lifestyle. When shopping, either do so online or use electronic money to make payments at the store. If you want restaurant food, get takeaway or delivery, or if you are eating in the shop, sit side by side.

As a standard practice for your new lifestyle, wear a mask when you go out, especially when you are on the subway.

This next bit of information is for students and international students who have lost their jobs. Fukuoka Prefecture has quickly put into action, a project that creates short term jobs that you can apply for. And in addition, the national government has implemented a set of benefits payable to students who have seen a significant loss of income from their part-time jobs and meet certain requirements. For more information on that, please check the Fukuoka City website. Also on the website, information on the special fixed benefit relief money is updated from time to time so make sure everyone takes a look at that, by searching for “Fukuoka Support for Foreigners”

【Regarding Taxes】
Continuing with information from Fukuoka City, anyone that owned a motorized bike or light vehicle as of April 1st is required to pay the light vehicle tax.
Owners of motorized bikes or light vehicles should have received the tax payment notice which was sent around May 5th. If you have not yet paid this tax, please make your payment, which can be done at a convenience store or bank, as soon as possible.
And, for people who were residents of Fukuoka City as of January 1st, and if your annual income is over 1,000,000 yen, an individual city resident tax may be charged.
For those employed by a company, the tax amount will be withheld from your salary.
For those who are not employed by a company, tax payment slips will be sent around June 15th. Please make your payment at a convenience store or at a bank.
If you do not pay these city taxes, such as the light vehicle tax, you may encounter difficulties when it comes time to renew your resident status and you may also be subject to seizure of your property.
There may be some of you who, due to the effects of the Coronavirus, have seen a decrease in income and may have difficulty paying your city taxes. If so, please consult your local ward office. You can also consult by phone in 18 different languages. This phone number is 092-753-6113. Again, this phone number is 092-753-6113. This phone number will connect you to the ward office after you speak with an interpreter. Please tell the interpreter which ward you live in and that the call is to inquire about taxes.

2020.06.01[Mon] 09:00

Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健) , Other Topics(その他)

【Colleen's “Stay at Home” time】
I wonder where you are listening to me right now? In the car? On a morning walk or maybe at home? I guess a lot of you were and maybe still are spending a lot more time at home due to the Coronavirus. It was the same for me. Except for the time outside walking for exercise, going to the supermarket and occasionally doing jobs that couldn't be done from home, I was doing my best to stay home. I know for some, this time was a chance to binge-watch tv shows, learn a new hobby or just catch up on sleep. I did a little bit of all of that, and I made attempts at being productive. I pulled the weeds out of my garden...but they just keep coming back. It is a never ending battle. I also put some vegetables and flowers in and in addition to the weeds, now I have to battle the slugs who are trying to eat my hard work! I did eat some of the komatsuna I grew but had to pull two slugs off...at least I know it's fresh, right?! I actually found that despite being home, I was never not busy, there was always something, and in fact, some days I felt like I needed a few more hours! Hopefully you have been able to enjoy your time at home as well, despite the situation that put us there.


【100,000 Yen Government Relief Money (Special Fixed Relief Benefits)】
This next topic will no doubt be of interest to everyone, it is about the 100,000 yen relief money being provided by the government. For everyone, including foreign nationals, who were registered as residents of Japan by April 27th are eligible to apply.
For people living in Fukuoka city, the applications for that relief money have been sent, beginning from May 15th. If there is anything that you don't understand, for example like how to fill out the application, please call the following number for help. The helpline is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Nepalese and that phone number is 092-401-0826. Again, that is 092-401-0826.

Love FM has also been broadcasting a special 5 minute program to help you understand more about that relief money. The program is called “Life in Fukuoka Special Edition-Understanding the Fixed Relief Benefits in 5 Minutes" and it is on every Monday and Saturday at 1:53pm in English.You can also listen to this special program as a podcast at anytime on the Love FM Homepage so definitely check it out.

You can also look at the Fukuoka City Homepage and link to Support  For Foreigners to get information. On that page,  you'll find information not only about living in Fukuoka, but also information on other things like Coronavirus support services. Definitely take the time to access that page, it has a lot of useful and necessary information.


【Cloth Mask Delivery】
As you know, the Japanese government has sent cloth masks out to all of its residents. And in Fukuoka as well, these deliveries began on the 12th of May. For each household, two masks were sent. The masks are washable and can be used again and again. When you wash them, use regular clothes detergent and gently wash them by hand. Hang them out in a sunny place to dry.


【Mask & Ride】
I guess now that the state of emergency has been lifted for Fukuoka, the number of people out and on public transportation has increased. As such, Fukuoka City has asked that when you are out using the Fukuoka City Subway or the Fukuoka City operated ferries, to avoid the 3 C's that have been mentioned before and to always wear a mask. They also request that people, except in the case of an emergency, avoid having unnecessary conversations while on board the subway or ferry, and to stagger commuting times or work from home in order to reduce congestion.

2020.05.25[Mon] 09:00


An interview with a longtime Fukuokan from Greece

Tim Mastoris

Kensington Eikaiwa (http://www.kensington-english.com/)

2020.05.18[Mon] 09:00

Employment & Starting a Business(就業・起業) , Other Topics(その他)

【Hometown Flavors in Fukuoka】

So, with that, let's get to our topics for today. How long has it been since you arrived in Fukuoka? No matter how long, I'm sure many of you miss the flavors of your hometown. I know I do, and in some ways, I can get what we might call American food as there are plenty of fast food places in Fukuoka. Not exactly healthy though!

America is a big place and there are so many different cuisines, flavors, and famous dishes throughout the US, so it's hard to pinpoint what American food is exactly. It's not just steak, burgers and hotdogs!

Growing up in Detroit, some of my favorite things to eat in the summer were baked macaroni and cheese, barbecued chicken just dripping in a sweet smoky sauce, collard greens and cornbread. I won't lie, I'm a pretty good cook so the first three things I can do at home, but cornbread isn't easy to come by.

Fortunately, I have actually found some pretty amazing cornbread at The City Bakery, right in the second basement of Solaria Plaza. Apparently, The City Bakery was originally started in NY, so it makes sense that it has an American kind of flavor. When I first discovered the cornbread there, I was hesitant, and almost didn't buy it as I was worried it would only be an imitation of the deliciousness I grew up with. My first bite, however, threw my doubts out the window and I was ready to buy every last piece. I held back, that would only shrink my wallet and expand my waist.

But, I was happy to know that I could find a taste of home in Fukuoka. I'm kind of craving some cornbread now..hmmmm....

【Support for Foreigners on the Fukuoka City Homepage】

If you look at the official Fukuoka City Homepage, you will find a section on the site that provides support for the foreign residents in Fukuoka. It's simply called Support for Foreigners, and has information on living in Fukuoka and now has information in Vietnamese and Nepalese as well.

Just search for “Fukuoka Support for Foreigners”. Again, you just need to type “Fukuoka Support for Foreigners” into your search bar. It's a useful site with important information so definitely take a look.


【Information Regarding the 100,000 yen Monetary Relief from the Government】

This site will be a big help if you have any questions about that 100,000 yen relief money from the government that everyone is talking about, or if you aren't sure how to fill in the application form for that money.

 In addition to the information on “Support For Foreigners”, on the Fukuoka City Homepage, a special telephone hotline exclusively for foreign residents has been set up  to give consultations on the 100,000 yen benefit money. The hotline supports 5 languages, they are English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Nepalese. The phone number is 092-401-0826. Again, that number is 092-401-0826. Please call this number if, after checking the Fukuoka City homepage, there is anything that you don't understand.


【For Those Looking for Full or Part-time Jobs】

If you are currently looking for work, the Fukuoka City Employment for Foreigners section will help you with your job search. Consultations are available over the phone in English and Chinese. That phone number is 092-716-8608. Once again, for job search support, please call 092-716-8608. 

 If you are an international student looking for work, you should consult the Fukuoka City International Student Support Center. The Center will provide support for finding part time jobs and employment where you can use your translation and interpretation skills. That phone number is 092-725-9201. Again that is 092-725-9201.

2020.05.11[Mon] 09:00

Other Topics(その他)

【My Mother in Japan】

In Japan, and the US, Mother's day is the second Sunday of May, which was yesterday. So, what did you do for Mother's day? I gave my mom and call and sent her a few things that she wanted from Japan. She's actually visited me a few times here and always seems to enjoy everything that she finds. My mom is originally from Korea but has lived in the US for over 40 years now and she's pretty Americanized.

I remember the first time she visited me here, I let her loose on the city. I had to work that day and gave her directions on how to get around but, she got a bit turned around and had to ask for directions. She approached an older gentleman on the street and tried to ask him how to get to the subway. He seemed confused as to why she was speaking English and answered her in Japanese, she looks like she could be Japanese as well... so she tried again saying something along the lines of “hey dude, I don't speak any Japanese. I've got Korean or English. So, help. Where is the subway? You know, the uh..train. Choo Choo!” He looked really confused (she reported all of this to me after) and she said choo choo again. He made a funny expression on his face, but she didn't give up, she made motions with her hands pulling the steam whistle and doing the movement of the wheels with her arms, saying chugga chugga chugga.

Somehow, he understood her and pointed her in the right direction. After she came back and told me all of this wondering why he had looked at her so funny, I said that maybe he thought she was asking for a kiss...chuuu chuuu!

Ah, she said. Nah he wasn't her type. So that's my mom! What's your mom like?

【Information on “Support for Foreigners” on the Fukuoka City Homepage】

Next I'd like to mention that if you look at the official Fukuoka City Homepage, you will find Support for Foreigners, a site that provides support for the foreign residents in Fukuoka. This site has information on living in Fukuoka as well as support regarding the Coronavirus. Just search for “Fukuoka Support for Foreigners”. Again, you just need to type “Fukuoka Support for Foreigners” into your search bar. It's a useful site with important information so definitely take a look.


【Trouble With Living Expenses】

Due to the Coronavirus, there are no doubt a number of people who are currently unable to work because of temporary closures or have lost employment, and as a result are worrying about their living expenses. The Fukuoka City Council of Social Welfare isproviding consultation on special loans that are available for those who have been affected. For more information, please call 092-791-7266. Again that is 092-791-7266. You can also check the “Support for Foreigners” site on the Fukuoka City Homepage for more information.


【100,000 yen Monetary Relief from the Government】

The Japanese Government is planning to provide 100,000 yen per person to all residents, including non-Japanese residents, registered to the Basic Resident Registration Network System as of April 27, 2020. I know many people are wondering about this and details will be published as soon as they have been decided so please check the Fukuoka City Homepage for that information.

2020.05.04[Mon] 09:00

Medical Treatment & Health(医療・保健)

【A Japanese film I like】

I'm sure many of you have been staying at home quite a lot more these days under the state of emergency that Japan has declared. Catching up on books, organizing the house or even watching films? I've been doing all of that and am wondering, since you came to Fukuoka, what films have you watched? These days it's definitely a lot easier with so much available online. You can stay at home and pick from a huge selection of films! Have you found a new favorite film recently? I tend to watch a lot of comedy, and I like a bit of suspense and action at times as well. If I'm honest though, I don't actually watch that many Japanese films. I'm more of an anime fan and enjoy watching series...but recently, with the extra free time I've had, I decided to check out the anime film, Paprika. I actually looked up what Japanese movies were considered to be among the best and a few were anime. This particular anime was based on a novel and was directed by the late, great, Satoshi Kon. The movie went by surprisingly fast and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. In it, a device is created to allow others into someone's dream. A psychiatric institute is using it, but the device is stolen meaning that the criminal can enter anyone's dreams. The main character is a doctor who has an alter ego, a cheerful woman named Paprika. Without giving too much away, the doctor herself, as well as Paprika, go in and out of reality and dreams, to save the world before reality and dreams become completely intertwined.  I don't know if I'd call it my favorite Japanese movie, but I'd certainly watch it again and I might have to look at some of the other movies on the list I found.


【The state of emergency and the 3 C's

Right now our own reality is a bit strange, I think. Hopefully it will all get back to what we call normal, but it is up to all of us! I mentioned this before in previous weeks, but it's worth repeating as we are still under the state of Emergency that was declared in Fukuoka Prefecture to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. The prefecture has asked that people avoid going out unnecessarily until Wednesday, May 6th.  You aren't banned from doing things that are necessary for your daily life, like going to the hospital or getting groceries, but before you go out, consider where you are going.

There are three things you definitely want to avoid when you go out and those are:

Places with little or no ventilation

Places with many people around

Places where you're talking in close quarters with someone.

 Each and every action will lead to saving lives. Be aware of not only protecting yourself from getting sick but also recognize that there is the danger of transmitting the virus to others nearby and take the appropriate actions to prevent that as well. 


【Friday Ovation

There are many people who have been affected by the novel Coronavirus, and it's important to remember that the people who are on the front line working to fight against the virus and bringing in measures to help the rest of us are the doctors and nurses and others in the medical fields. They are there every day, around the clock, trying to treat and prevent the spread of infection but at a great risk to themselves. They are the people supporting our lives.

To show them support, and to show them some thanks for the work they've been doing, every Friday at 12pm, we'd like to ask everyone to give them a huge (!) round of applause. Let's show them how much we really appreciate their work with the Friday Ovation.


  • Colleen
  • Colleen
  • 誕生日:11月11日
    出身地:USA Detroit, MI
    特技:I can plan a party at anytime!
    好きな音楽:Almost everything, depends on my mood.