Keep your eyes out for the January 2014 issue of Tokyo Weekender magazine on the shelves around Tokyo—we hope you can pick your copy up soon, or stay tuned and read our features as we post them online during the month.

You can also get the full magazine through the Apple Newsstand, which will bring a native reading experience to the iPad, or through Magzter.

January 2014 Editor’s Note

So, as we bid farewell to the Year of the Snake and welcome in the Year of the Horse, there might be those among you who wonder exactly how that snake ended up in front of the fleet horse. Well, in one of the old stories that they tell, the animals of the zodiac were given their heavenly progression according to how quickly they could arrive at a meeting place. (How that rat ended up ahead of the pack is a tale for another year.) As it goes, the horse was galloping at a decent clip, but shortly before he reached the meeting point, he came across the legless fellow and was startled long enough for the snake to take sixth place. If we can learn anything from this, we should keep in mind that 2014 might get off to a skittish start, but give it time, and keep an eye out for snakes.

For a New Year’s greeting, we visited with France’s Ambassador to Japan, Christian Masset, as he looked back at a landmark year in Franco-Japanese relations and ahead to a year of even greater cultural connections.

The beginning of a new year brings promises to start out right, and to help you with your new commitment we check out some of the ways you can get fit around the city, from the global exercise sensation of CrossFit to the stretching and balancing movements of Pilates. We look forward to seeing you in the gym.

Also looking ahead in the New Year is investigative journalist Jake Adelstein. His book, Tokyo Vice, was a hard-boiled look at the world of the yakuza, and getting the story nearly cost him his life. But this year, Tokyo Vice is being brought to life on the big screen, and we sat down with the writer to hear about production and find out just how much Japan’s underworld still influences society.

Heading out of Tokyo, we visit Akita for our fourth and final stop on the color tour of this prefecture to the north. Our journey ends with the snow white of frost-covered trees, skiing and snowmobiling through the winter drifts, and udon fit for an emperor. We get there on a picturesque railway through snow country, on a train line that takes us through the heart of Akita, and a few generations back in time.

We hope you had a happy holiday season and we offer you our best wishes for this Year of the Horse. Well may we run it!

Alec Jordan—TW Editor