|Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan|
The Foreign Correspondent's Club was started in 1947 by reporters living in Japan covering the Occupation and General MacArthur. To this day it continues to host visits from cultural and political figures and provide valuable services to journalists working in Japan.
Of course, they no longer offer overnight accommodation. And as lively as some of the guests may seem today, it seems the club has known some livelier times. According to one regular, "Shots have been fired on the premises," reports Henry Scott-Stokes, "by a New York Times correspondent."
Today, the club is in its third location, in the penthouse of the Yurakacho Denki building. The 20th floor has the restaurant, meeting rooms, a bar/cafe, and a sushi bar. The 19th floor has a library and workroom.
The membership is comprised largely of businessmen, mostly Japanese. It can be a great way to meet and socialize with other businessmen. According to the American club model, you can only fraternize there as a member, or a guest of a member.
If first heard about the Foreign Correspondent's club flying to Finland. Sitting next to a University professor from Tokyo, he suggested I might find the facilities useful and the people stimulating. In fact, it turns out to be a wildly useful place for a journalist. For a confirmed journalist member, they will host a mailbox (important if you plan to be moving around Japan). The library downstairs has access to a number of online databases. They provide clipping services - ask the helpful librarians about religion, or fashion, or youth culture, and they've got a stack of articles for up to the last 15 years you can browse. There are a rich number of books provided. And you can plug in a laptop for a high speed Internet connection
And of course the people. Authors, writers, many of the folks providing commentary from and about Japan drift through there; some work there on a daily basis. The conversations can be lively and informative, and a welcome break from piecemeal Japanese.
Between the movie nights, author lectures, informative speakers, and regular denizens of the bar, you could make this your hangout. It's quite conveniently located near the Hibiya, Ginza and Yamanote subway lines, near Ginza and the Hibiya station.
The club has an aging membership it seems. So they offer a radically discounted membership fee for journalists under the age of 35. And, if you coordinate your application with me, I could get a free dinner! Hah hah! MAKE FREE DINNER FAST FROM HOME. I applied to be a member in October 2001, shortly after arriving, approved to join in November. By April, this place was my home. I was serving on two committees (technology and speaker nominations) and writing articles for the Club paper, the "Number 1 Shinbun:"
A Press Club sandwich overlooking the Press Club bar.