Finishing school for grown-ups

Seven subjects for those just turned twenty and beyond

Finishing school for grown-ups

January’s Coming-of-Age Day celebrates those who’ve turned twenty the previous year. Whether a ‘newly-minted’ adult or not, there are a few fields of study suited to both novices and those looking to improve their knowledge. Listed below are some ideal classes for beginners as well as more challenging pursuits. Whichever ‘discipline’ you choose to follow, you’ll no doubt find aspects of it applicable to your everyday adult life.


Amongst other factors, one of the main points when appreciating wine is to understand its geographical history, culture and climate. It doesn’t stop there, however; to become a true wine connoisseur, you’ll also need to learn which foods each wine is best served with as well as other characteristics. Don’t know where to start? L’école du Vin’s free 1-day wine tasting seminar aims at helping beginners further their enjoyment of wine. Taught by full time wine tasting experts, it's a lesson in which you’re sure to learn something new.

L’école du Vin, Free 1 day Wine Tasting Seminar
Address: Suzuki Building 1F, 3-21-14 Higashi, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (0120)844 055
When: See the website or call for future dates and reservations
Admission: Free
Aimed at: Absolute beginners

Sake (Japanese rice wine)

If you know what you’re talking about when it comes to sake, you’ll no doubt enjoy comparing a multitude of different varieties with like-minded souls. Ginza‘s Fukumitsuya stocks traditional Kanazawa specialty rice wines and allows tasting at its standing bar, located on the first floor. Don’t miss the free tasting sessions held on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fukumitsuya Sake Shop, Ginza
Address: 1F, 5-5-8 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3569 2291
Open: 11am-9pm, Sun, nat. holidays until 8pm

Sutra Copying

Eager to get in on the next big thing after yoga? Head over to a class at the Yakushiji Tokyo Branch Temple to take part in some Japanese sutra copying— an activity that’s reported to be gaining popularity amongst the city’s women due to its relaxing benefits. Reservations aren’t necessary as classes take place every day. Plus, it doesn’t really matter if your writing style is actually any good or not. Simply let the quiet atmosphere dissolve your worldly thoughts as you concentrate on copying out one of the Wisdom (Hannashin) Sutra Scrolls.

Yakushiji Tokyo Branch Temple
Address: 5-15-17 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3443 1620
Admission: Participants are asked to make an offering depending on the type of sutra (Hannashin (Wisdom) Sutra Scroll ¥2,000, Kusushi Sutra Scroll ¥4,000, Yuishikisanjuuju Sutra Scroll ¥5,000)
When: Daily 9am-5pm
Reservations: Not required


Serving guests with tableware you’ve made yourself is one way to both impress them and create a great conversation starter. In classes offered by Daikanyama’s Tobou Terra, participants use either a manual or an electric pottery wheel to make one of a number of pieces such as a tea cup, small bowl, ceremonial green tea bowl, mug, salad bowl, lamp shade or earthenware pot. If there’s something in particular you’d like to make, you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re flexible enough to listen to just about any request.

Tobou Terra Daikanyama
Address: Hillside Terrace C1, 29-10 Sarugakucho, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3464 6877
Admission: ¥3,000 plus a variable fee for firing (approx ¥700 for a teacup or ¥900 for a small bowl)
Duration: 1 hour
Reservations should be made by telephone. Note: Please specify a preferred date and time, the number of participants, and whether you would like to use a manual or an electric pottery wheel.

Tea Ceremony

Learning about Japanese tea ceremony etiquette is one area where you might even be able to surpass your Japanese peers. Shinjuku’s Urasenke Wood Sadoh School offers free tea ceremony classes for those with no previous experience. Participants learn basic etiquette for serving and consuming tea and confectionary from young instructors. Plus, some of the skills taught here —such as bowing and how to hold a brush — are relevant not only to the tea ceremony, but can also be applied to everyday activities.

Urasenke Wood Sadoh School
Address: Four Seasons Annex Building 4F, 2-4-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3341 8846
Admission: Free
When: Every Tuesday (excluding nat. and school holidays), from 7pm and 8pm (each session lasts approximately 1 hour)
Aimed at: Complete beginners
Things to bring along: A change of socks (can be lent to those without)
Reservations should be made by telephone

Traditional incense-smelling

As aromatherapy becomes more widespread, associated limelight also falls on the traditional Japanese art of the incense-smelling ceremony. In its most basic form, the practice involves burning naturally aromatic woods, such as sandalwood, and enjoying their fragrances. However, the Japanese tradition is to specifically choose aromatic woods in order to express themes or subjects from Japanese tanka or fables. Once a month, Azabu Kogado opens a beginners’ class entitled ‘Experience Incense.’ Participants are invited to experience a blend of aromatic fragrances that have been meticulously chosen to conjure up images from the renowned Japanese fable ‘The Tale of Genji.’

Azabu Kogado ‘Experience Incense’
Address: 3-3-5 Azabu-juban, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3452 0351
Admission: ¥3,000 (includes all materials and a souvenir)
When: Sat Feb 20; 10am-12noon
Aimed at: Absolute beginners
Reservations should be made by telephone

Otona no tashinami plan (Etiquette for adults plan)

When it comes to the business scene, knowing the correct dining etiquette can be key. At Keio Plaza’s Soujuan restaurant, you can choose to learn more about general dining etiquette, Japanese cuisine or sake, and have a professional from your chosen discipline instruct you personally. What a chance to further your enjoyment of food, through better appreciation of the correct etiquette that traditionally accompanies it.

Keio Plaza Hotel 2F, Traditional Kaiseki Japanese cuisine at Soujuan restaurant
Address: 2-2-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: Keio Plaza Hotel restaurant reservations on (03)3344-0111
Admission: Lunch or dinner ¥12,000 per person (incl: lecture, food, drink, tax and service charge)

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By Ai Terada
Translated by Brin Wilson
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


1 comment Add a comment

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Posted by forex robot on Feb 27 2010 10:56

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