Join a Club, Get a Life

At first it’s exhilarating. Moving to a new city. Setting up house. Exploring the neighborhood. Getting the hang of a new office. But after a few weekends the glow begins to fade. “Can we really bear another Saturday night with the boss? How can we meet new people in a town like this?”

Well, chances are there’s at least one club, association or special interest group that caters to your persuasion, no matter how bizarre, conventional or obscure it may be. Whatever your “thing”, you can probably amuse it, indulge it, reform it, exercise it, educate it or militate it right her in Tokyo.

Exhibitionist tendencies?

Strut your stuff and improve your public speaking at one of the many local Toastmasters’ Clubs. Or tread the boards with Tokyo International Players. Maybe sing it out with the Tokyo International Singers.

Want to change the world? Keep it as it is? Take your pick from Friends of the Earth, Republicans Abroad, International Feminists of Japan, Democrats Abroad and Amnesty International. Care to celebrate your ethnicity? Contact the St. Andrew’s Society, the Irish Network, the African Descendants Friendship Association, Tokyo Canadian Club and…well, your clan probably has a group here, too.

Crave wind in your hair? The Harley-Davidson Riders’ Group will take you out on the highway. Or supply the power yourself and find like-minded folks through the Cycling Information Center. Want to meet women? Assuming you’re one yourself, contact the College Women’s Association of Japan, the Australia-New Zealand Ladies’ Group, the Canadian Women’s Club or Foreign Executive Women. If you want to stop and smell the roses, Ikebana International can help.

Seeking a Good Sweat

One look at the fees for the Koganei Golf Club will do it for most people. Don’t sweat too much, though: they won’t let you in unless you’re Japanese. But hey, you can still play if someone brings you as a guest.

Things are more accommodating at the Tokyo American Club, which has the city’s best athletic facilities. Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club is great for raqueteering. If you’re willing to travel and like rugby, the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club crowd are very friendly.

Eager to make professional contacts? Join your country’s chamber of commerce. I belong to both the Canadian and American chambers and would highly recommend the excellent range of events they offer.

Perhaps you’re just plain thirsty? The Foreign Correspondent’s club has the best private bar in town, complete with grizzled vets who’ll relate (for the millionth time) how they covered the Inchon landing in ’53. Safari suits optional.

Care to contribute? Tokyo English Life Line will tell you how to get involved with the many volunteer bodies around town.

My favorite is an obscure body that meets every Tuesday night at The Rising Sun in Yotsuya. The Belial Symposium’s sole purpose is the companionship of good friends. Isn’t that what it’s all about? That’s all the room we have, but Tokyo has much, much more to offer.

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