I had a great time this week. It may have been just the same work schedule, but I got to meet new people and see some familiar volunteers again. It was lovely chatting with some of them (Specifically the ones I could understand a little). I always make sure to introduce myself and give a proper greeting to the new people . I like making the work environment a little less uncomfortable for newcomers by telling them about myself, using some humor, and asking questions about them. On time a guy came in with a name that, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t pronounce. I remember his name starting with an “E” and asked if it was all right if I just call him Mr. E. it didn’t occur to me until after I said it out loud that the words mystery and Mr. E sounded very similar. We had a laugh about it and got to work. He was fine with me calling him Mr. E from then on. I think these little interactions are what I might miss most about Second Harvest Japan. I’m also going to miss the staff who gave me such a wonderful experience and made me feel like part of the team.
When I was talking with Charles McJilton, the founder of Second Harvest Asia, I asked what he thought the biggest issue in Japan is. His answer surprised me a little. As the CEO of an NPO whose goal is to create a food safety net, I expected him to say something in regards to food. He said it was the population. There’s not enough people. He even told me that getting a job here (specifically if I was proficient in Japanese) would be relatively easy. Even Second Harvest Japan is short staffed. His answer made sense to me once I realized that you can’t create a food safety net if there’s no one to help you build it. He also told me that we don’t see many of the problems that other countries have when being associated poverty. Other countries might have drug problems, criminal activity rise, and other dilemmas. However, Japan didn’t have any of that. In comparison to other stories I’ve heard about countries with poverty, this sounds pretty good.
However, Japan itself is another matter. I don’t know how to approach the question, “would you go again?”. It sure is an interesting place, but I arrived at one of Japan’s record breaking heats. Sweat was dripping down the small of my back every time I went outside. Not even ten minutes would pass and you might feel inclined to ask me if I was in a sauna or in the rain. But I was in neither. I was in Tokyo. Despite the weather, I had a many days eating out with Emma and Connor and loved sharing my day with Aoki-San. Recently, we went to Yokohama and visited China town, the small amusement park (that seems to come out of nowhere), and the cup noodle museum (we would’ve gone to the cup noodle museum if we weren’t so exhausted. The museum is insane and I don’t understand why some things were there. There was an unnecessary little show using shadows and fake grass, but it didn’t seem to have anything to do with cup noodles…I wonder why. I’m approaching my final day in Japan. I’ll fill you guys in on my final thoughts before leaving.