by Nicole M., Japan outreach participant
A couple days before we left Japan we met with two influential people here in Tokyo. Our first meeting was with the director of Second Harvest Japan (2hj.org). Second Harvest is an organization that distributes surplus food to orphanages, women's shelters, community centers, and soup kitchens. It was exciting to hear the changes that they are making not only in the community but also in the country of Japan.
After meeting with the director of Second Harvest, we had the chance to sit down with the director of Not for Sale Japan (notforsalecampaign.org). Not for Sale Japan seeks to mobilize all of Japan, starting with Tokyo, to do their part in stopping human trafficking and modern day slavery. It was especially eye-opening to learn more about the specifics of human trafficking, both around the world and in Japan. The work against human trafficking is just starting here in Japan, but because of the amount of gangs and violence surrounding the issue there is not much action that can be directly taken. The focus right now is raising awareness of the dangers that lead to human trafficking such as pornography, which is highly prevalent in Tokyo and Japan.
Tuesday was filled with preparing for an international party, which we held in the evening at a local community center. We collaborated with some of the friends we had made there and were able to represent a variety of nations (America, Mexico, Thailand, Mongolia, Fiji and Japan). The people from each nation created an exhibit using pictures, facts, items, etc. from their country as well as preparing a dish from their country. Others decided to participate by performing songs and dances from their native cultures. A favored attraction among everyone was the piñata, which we had as the closing activity. It was fun to see people's faces light up as they hit the piñata and candy fell out! Those who attended the event really enjoyed learning from others cultures and being in community with one another. It was a unique and fun way to reach out to the neighborhood and also to experience different nationalities!