Wednesday, July 20, 2011

LGBT Resource Links collected by Stonewall Members

This list of resources were passed out by the Stonewall presenters from STONEWALL AJET, a group who provides support to LGBQT JETs who live in Japan. Soon, volunteers from the organization will be hosting a website here: xxxxxxx

Until the Stonewall website gets up and running, I'll keep these resources on my page for your reference.

Stonewall (English)
Stonewall AJET FACEBOOK Page

Also, see Old Stonewall, go to Download files and inside is an extremely useful guide, a little out of date but still freaking handy! Just open it up with Adobe, and make sure you download it before Aug. 31st, when the site goes down... Enjoy!

Stonewall google forum, Be sure to download the old, yet extremely helpful guidebook, which has a list of Gay bars/resources all around the country

Mixi (Japanese)
(gay/bi men’s mixi. Ask for an invite from
There are many women's groups here too. You can ask for the women's invite from me,

Utopia (both) Utopia Gay Japan resources

Gay in Japan (Japanese) Japanese website about gay life

Gaynet Gaynet

Ageha Club in Tokyo (largest gay event in Japan. Held about four times per year.)
Ageha, look for the gay nights in the calendar section

Nagoya Metro Club, once a month gay nights Nagoya Metro Club There is also a Metro Club in Kyoto.

Tokyo Pride Website Tokyo Pride
It is usually held in August, however this year, it will not be held.

“All about Japan homosexual” (Detailed lifestyle information in Japanese.) All about Japan Homosexual

QUEER JAPAN Book information Queer Japan

Sapporo Rainbow March Annual event in Sapporo, Hokkaido. 3rd Sunday of September (Japanese) Sapporo Pride

Kansai Rainbow Parade Osaka, October (Japanese)
Kansai (osaka) Pride
This event will be held this year, and is one of the biggest of the JET get-togethers for Stonewall members. Information will be posted to Stonewall group soon.

EXPLOSION Gay parties in Osaka (Japanese text only) EXPLOSION hosts a giant party during the weekend of the parade

Kansai Queer Film Festival: Sept and Oct, Osaka and Kyoto. Kansai Queer Film Festival

AIDS helpline: 0120-04-8840 Tokyo English Life Line: 03-5774-0992 (9am-4pm, 7pm-11pm)

HIV & Human Rights English Info: 03-5259-0256 (Tokyo- Saturdays 11am-2pm) 07-2043-4105 (Osaka- Saturdays 1pm-6pm)

Just in case you want some support from a professional:Professional Support

Rainbow Shoppers: Gay novelty shop with lots of items with quick delivery. (Japanese and English)

For the boys:

Iphone apps: Grindr (English)

Grindr Information

G2 (Japanese) G2

Jack’d (English) – iTunes store (free!)

Boyahoy (English) – iTunes store (free!)


Gclick (Japanese) Gclick (click on Japan room)
Jguys (Japanese/English)
Kiss Japan (Japanese/English)
Manhunt (Japanese/English)
Mensnet (Japanese)
Shibuya Gay bar has a list/map of gay bars in Shibuya
Bar Finder in Osaka and Kansai (good for bars in Osaka and Kansai)

Magazines: Badi (extensive club and event listings in Japanese.) “Kansai Time Out” (available in most bookstores).

For the girls:

Iphone apps:

Qrusher (English) Qrusher, the gaydar app for iPhone

Spindle (Japanese) Spindle, another gaydar app for iPhone Though most girls post in Japanese, there are more participants using it in Japan.


Bianbian (Japanese) BianBian, a social network for Lez girls (ask Lauren for an invite!)

Tokyo Wrestling (English) Tokyo Wrestling: News and Updates about lez life in Japan

LOUD (lesbians with undeniable drive) LOUD website

Dykenet (English) Dykenet registration: an email list of many Dykes in Japan, a place to go to seek information from women living in Japan. This is a great resource from everything from finding friends and girls living in your area, to asking questions about gay life in Japan. (Japanese)

(Japanese) Lists some lesbian bars in certain areas, but a little out of date Carmilla

one of the only sex shops in Japan run by women for women Love Piece Club

Candy Strap, bar scene in Nagoya Candy Strap

Some girl’s only events in Tokyo:
Goldfinger Girls Party in Tokyo
Grand Panache Girls Party in Tokyo

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who am I to say?

I am Toby. I came to Japan on the JET Programme on August 6th, 2006. I was 26 years old. I couldn't speak Japanese at all, except for the personal introduction recommended to us by the JET pamphlets.

I was extremely excited to begin this new adventure of teaching English in Japan, though I was quite worried about what my social life would be like since I was a queer girl stepping outside of her comfortable sphere of the gay friendly Bay Area of San Francisco, California.

On the first 3 days of Tokyo orientation, I was a nervous wreck. I wanted to learn as much as I could about teaching, living in Japan, and learning Japanese culture. I was also worried about making friends, as I didn't know a single person in the JET programme or Japan. I was completely alone.

I was extremely delighted when I found the Stonewall group at my Group B Orientation. I attended the presentation and listened to all the advice given by my sempai. Later on, the "night out" was scheduled. This night out conflicted with the "night out" given by my prefecture, however I decided that I would eventually get to meet all of them, so I chose to go out with the Stonewall group to Nichome.

Ultimately, I was glad to have made that decision. I met alot of cool people out that night, and was surprised to see the difference of gay night life from what I was accustomed to in San Francisco. Nichome is much smaller than, let's say, Castro. The lesbian bar that we visited was near empty and the streets, not-so-crowded. After all, it was a Monday night. However, I was able to bond with several of the members of the group and establish some good friendships that would last over the next few years.

Although I had a wonderful time, and enjoyed every minute of the brightly lit walk through Shinjuku, mesmerized by the night view of Tokyo's busiest district, it didn't come without consequences. The next day, most of my prefecture seemed to have become best friends with each other overnight.Everyone seemed to have already bonded and made plans from the night before, and I can't lie to say that I felt left out.

However, after some time, I was able to make a lot of great friends with the neighboring JETs in my prefecture.

During the presentations, there was a lot of concern from people about whether or not to "come out". The advice remains the same 5 years later, come out to those you know and trust, and take some time to gauge the surroundings before you share that part of your personal life. It was easy to come out to fellow JETs. Especially now, most people are open, accepting, and have experience with having gay friends. However, that's not to say that there wasn't the occasional pitfall. I had been outed to by friends to people I wasn't yet ready to out myself to, such as common Japanese friends. Also, I found that a few of the overzealous religious JETs struck up some uncomfortable conversations, which I could easily defend since I deal with the same things from many of my family members.

Yes, I've come out to my family. It was not an easy journey, as it happened before the current stage we are in now, in the times of changing legislation and the "it gets better" campaigns. Although, you should be aware that in Japan, many Japanese gays are NOT OUT.

I've talked about this with many, a many of my Japanese friends, both male and female. Though I know a few who are out, who even have married with foreigners, have even started families, it is still not common when I compare the statistics of those people I know. This topic interests me greatly, and I'm a "listener", so I've asked many people about their views and experiences regarding "coming out".

I hate making blanket statements about topics such as these, so I won't. However, a lot about gay culture in Japan on the topic of being "out and proud" can be learned by joining a Gay Pride. Every parade has a section of marchers that march behind a sign that says "No photos allowed", in this section, many are wearing sunglasses, costumes and veils that show that they don't want to be outed in the public sphere. This section of the parade always has a large amount of people.

That being said, coming out in Japan is harder for people in Japan than it may be in other countries. Although it is not against the law, or even discouraged by AJET Stonewall, it is something to pay attention to.

As for other topics at the Stonewall presentation, people asked questions such as the following:

1) How do I find my local gay community?
2) What kinds of gay related events are put on by Stonewall?
3) What about Bisexuality in Japan?
4) What cultural differences exist in gay relationships in Japan?
5) Who can I talk to if I have a problem, but I'm too shy to share it with my straight friends or prefectural advisor?
6) How do I respond to offensive remarks regarding my sexuality?
7) What is the etiquette in a Japanese gay bar?
8) What are some of the "must know" gay-related words in Japanese?
9) How do I navigate the Japanese gay websites?
10)What do I do when I'm introduced to my boyfriend's/girlfriend's parents?

I added a few questions to the list of things that I had eventually wondered after living in Japan for a while. I think it would be good to have a message board on the Stonewall website where these questions can be posed, and other members are free to answer and give their lived-through advice.

Also, I plan to become more involved in talking about gay life here on my blog. I was quiet about my lez life here on my site for a long time. I wrote very carefully because I was paranoid for my employers, the JET programme, to find it. However, I no longer work for them, and I am slowly becoming more comfortable to share my personal stories and all the things I've learned from living and dating in Gay Japan for 5 years.

Since 2006, I've attended countless gay events, eventually partaking more in lesbian events. In 2008, I started dating my girlfriend who opened my world in so many ways. I've met so many awesome LGBT folk here who have also taught me much about life in Japan. I'm not going to lie, what they tell in you in orientation about culture shock, is very much true, and I've gone though some very dark and lonely times, however, I've also experienced some of the best times of my life here in both regular and gay Japan. I look forward to meeting with you all and sharing whatever I can to help you get along in this fabulous country.

Remember, all of the things you find here in my blog are just my opinion and aren't necessarily endorsed by Stonewall AJET. I'm just a girl, just a human, is all.

Stay Tuned: for more posts answering these questions and translations of relevant news regarding gay news, events, politics and more. I've studied the Japanese language extensively since I moved here, speaking nothing. I went through all 3 of the CLAIR provided language texts. Despite that, I still lack in language skills when it comes to chatting in a bar, but my point always comes across, and i'm often understood. I now practice Japanese by studying off of social sites, such as Mixi, Bianbian, and Spindle. I am working on learning more "natural" Japanese. It's my goal to translate news and event info for you, as well as making frequent posts on gay-related Japanese language "must-knows".

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

How to use Kanji plug-ins to navigate Japanese websites

Which browser do you use?
Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.

Well, I use google chrome only because of the convenience of easily turning on and off the rikai-kun kanji reader. If you look at the picture, you can see the on/off button in the upper-right corner of the screen shot.

I took a screen shot of how I usually navigate around Japanese social networking sights. Anybody can open a Mixi account. It is the like the Japanese Facebook. However, certain other websites are by invite only, such as the lesbian site called BianBian.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Question from Reader

Dear Tee,

Where on earth did you find this information? I have tried many google searches about events but few of this information. It appears that some of the websites haven't been updated in years.


Dear Google Fail,

Ya, I know. Google be crazy, yo. But, I suppose I should now ask you some questions. Have you been searching using English? A lot of these websites are in Japanese, so sometimes it can be hard to navigate.

By the way, I'm still burdened by the lack of kanji skillz. So, I now use the Google chrome browser with the rikai-kun automatic kanji reader. This helps you navigate Japanese sites more easily.

Link to Google Chrome
You have to install the Rikai kun app afterwards.

Rikai kun App download link

You can also do this on Firefox and run Rikai chan instead.

The next question I'm gonna pose to you is: Do you use Facebook? Did you keep track of gay related events by what your friends and group members posted?

I'm assuming you are nodding your head. Well, here, Mixi is the social network tool of choice.
One of the best ways to practice your Japanese is to try to cut the time you use on Facebook, and spend it here instead. By joining various gay groups, you'll become more in touch with what's going on.

If this sounds hard, you can start off by making an account. Then find me by searching my name, Toby Siguenza, then check out some of the groups I belong to. By looking at my groups, and the groups that belong to that group, you will soon find the groups around your area of Japan. Believe me, there are groups for where you are. I'm still in the process of trying to find the community where I just settled a few months ago.

Also, if you aren't a Softbank customer, I suggest you become one and get the iPhone. Besides being incredibly useful for navigating Japan, figuring out Japanese language mysteries (by using kanji readers, dictionaries, flash card lists) It will also become a great social tool.

You didn't specify whether you are a boy or a girl, Google Fail San, but Spindle (for L girls) and Qrushr (for L girls), and Grindr (for gay boys) is quite handy. Finally, they've invented Gaydar.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Events of Interest in Gay Tokyo

Some events coming soon.

Asian Queer Film Festival
July 8-10 and July 15-17
Asian Queer Film Festival English Link

Ageha's Shangri-la Gay Night Theme "Muscle Beach"
One of the biggest clubs in Tokyo has a gay themed night
Free shuttle buses leave from Shinjuku to the venue
July 16th, 2011

More information about Ageha's Shangri-La

More dates for this party below
8/14---Summer Splash
9/17---Tribal Journey
12/23---White Ball



Sapporo Pride March
Sapporo Pride Info ENGLISH


Kansai Rainbow Parade (Osaka Pride)
Osaka Pride Blog on planning---Dates to be released soon. JAPANESE ONLY

Tokyo Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival
Usually in the summer, but postponed because of the energy shortage.
English Site


Diamond Cutter
Diamond Cutter Website
First Friday of every month
Club Arch
Club Arch's Map

Grand Panache Website
3rd Saturday of every month

Address below: Google map it!
Fukao Bldg. 1F, 1-4-5 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Last Saturday of every month.
Hijo-guchi bar
2-12-16 1F Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo