Shikahama Nature Organization “Noraemon”

Representative Mr. Toshio Furutaka

There are children who are far away from the nature in the urban life. What made you to start your activity as an organization?

Throughout my teaching career, I strongly felt the activity of touching the nature was very important but not just looking at the surface through the video or printed word. I have joined the local nature observation group and I wanted to do something with using this experience. There is a word called “Satochi Satoyama” (undeveloped woodland near the populated area). When people get back to their hometown, people bring back agricultural products as for the souvenir. These vegetable and rice are produced in their hometown where is called “satochi satoyama”. We want people to pay attention to this area more and want them to realize this area is such an important place. In order to send this message, we opened the field in Fujiwara, Minakami-town.

At the end of each activity, all the children write their sentiments. One of the girls wrote “the wind felt so good” and this is the exact image of our organization. For the first couple of times, there are children who carry their portable games to the activity, but there are none of them to do this now. The senior children guide the new children very well. The communication between each child works better than with adults and the atmosphere becomes more comfortable.

What are the thoughts of parents?

Most of the parents want to join and learn the activities together with children. We do not ask parents just to send their kids to the activities. We want them to join and learn with the kids. The conversation of the parents and children will work in both directions throughout the common activity. This is not the nursery school where parents just pay some fee to leave children in the facility but this is a place both parents and children join participatory class together.

Are there any children who have changed throughout the activities?

There is a child who can take a leadership compare to before. He used to be a truant student. But he joined our activity positively. His parents took him to our organization first, but it had been changed. He can consider and understand how other children feel. Other children rely on him as well. I guess this is the place and time where he can show his feeling honestly and he can feel relaxed. There used to be the borders between each school, but there is none now.

We have a field in Fujiwara, Minakami-town, and there are many children who have different background. But they instantly get along together. The children who have difficulty expressing themselves and the truant children can get along together because the nature can be a mediator. We sit around the open hearth in the old folk house. We share very simple meal like just white rice and miso soup. We greet to the meal and enjoy the conversation. We wanted to contribute to the local area, so we tried local production for local consumption last year.

There is a child who did not come out to the ski trail for the first three years at the ski class. After the three years, he came out to the ski trail himself and enjoyed skiing. As the participants have changed and found their own place to stay, so maybe he felt safe. His personality became brighter and he can receive something with wide open mind.  He can join the activity in a positive manner.

What is it like in the actual activity?

We do rice planting, crop paddy, and make a straw festoon every year. We want children to know how the rice is cultivated since we eat rice every day. There are many of the teachers from the nursery schools and kindergartens to attend. They bring back some rice seedling and cultivate at their schools. And at the end of the year, we make a straw festoon and this activity is the most popular among the year. There were about 130 people to attend in 2016. As for the paddy field experience, farmers at Joso-city, Ibaraki cooperates us. 

We also breed some insects and fish. There are beetles in April, silk worms in May, and salmon in December. We hand out these creatures to the children in the kindergarten, nursery school, and elementary school as well as the members , and all the children seem very happy.

We visit the old folk house in April, July, and October. Last summer, there were about 30 people who stayed in there for an overnight. We had a great talk around the open hearth.

Two years ago, we climbed Mt. Fuji together with 24 members. As through accumulating these experiences of dealing the nature, stuff and member can see the next vision. We try to take in these wishes as much as possible.

Who would you like to participate in your activities?

As long as someone has a passion for the nature, I recommend to step into our world. It is not to receive something but to create together with stuff and children.

We keep in mind to experience the real nature. Let’s look, listen, and touch the real nature together with us!

What do you wish for the children who live in the future?

I would be happy to see the children who want to work in the primary industry. I want them to hold a value in the primary industry. People say it is the mature society, but the core part of the society is always “the place where people can eat meal safely as usual”. Therefore, the peaceful time of maintaining the same life every day is the most important thing. To maintain the peaceful time for a long time, people have to realize that the foundation is located in the agriculture, the forestry industry, and the fisheries industry. There is a life in the center, and all the societies are around it. This is the entire image of our world.


Welfare Select Shop “Iseya”

Representative Mr. Hiroyuki Fujishiro

I have heard that you are creating and finding jobs for the disability people. What exactly do you do in regard to that?

When companies enroll disability people, there are a lot of issues that they need to solve. I consult these companies in order to pursue the path of development regardless of enrolling disability people or not.

For example, there is a project called “Stop the Disaster of a Fall!”, which is a higher-grade proposal related to barrier-free. I have a strength in proposals from the multiple perspective like a walking stick, a wheelchair, and a mobility scooter. I try not to overlook even a small point, and all the proposals should be based on the theoretical foundation.

Could you tell me the catalyst of your business?

I have met a few disability people who exceeds some abilities over healthy people. If everyone can see the disability people without the filter of “disability”, there are some ways that companies can use their ability at the maximum extent. Then, this world will go smoother. That was the catalyst of my business.

I love to observe people, things, and money. I used to work at the customs handling drugs, guns, fake products which are all abandoned or controlled to import. I have trained my sixth sense through the surveillance, control, anti-terrorism policy, custody for the bonded district, and assessment and collection of the customs and consumption tax.

I privately conducted an undercover investigation as “Chirimen Tonya at Echigo” and “Adventure Kin-san” so that I can brush up my sixth sense. Through this activity, I have found that people only look at someone’s title or appearance. I would like to play a game with my ability not the fixed frame like a title or an appearance. Therefore, I try not to talk about the past. A boast or a heroic story talked by the people who do not have a confidence of their current status is such a frivolous activity.

I feel like there is not much of relationship between disability people and healthy people. How do you hope to change this relationship in the future?

I think there are issues on disability people as well. When healthy people talk to disability people, it will not last long if there are not variety of topics. Then, healthy people start finding a topic to talk about. It would end up talking about the reason of disability which is not the one disability people want to touch.

Disability people need to train their strength on showing not the title of “disability” but their ability. 

On the other hand, people in the overseas often ask “May I help you?” in order to open up the conversation towards the future. As for this aspect, it would be great if healthy people and media could change their attitude.

You play an active role in the pictogram art. What would be possible in the world of pictogram art?

Pictogram is usually composed with just one picture, but I combine with more than two pictures to make a stop motion or moving image of storyboard. I work with a designer, Ms. Kei Ishikura to create original pictogram.

Pictogram art makes it possible to send a message to anyone without language barrier. Since it is a visual message, hearing-impaired people, dyslexia people, and intellectual disable people can understand. The actual moving image is updated as YouTube video on the above-mentioned HP, so please check it out. If there is narration in the video, it would work for the visually impaired people. But we intentionally did not include any narration or sound.

There are two feasible worlds together with pictogram art.

The first one is creating a wide variety method for utilization of art because of replacing pictogram to illustration and also inserting music, narration, and captions.

The second one is applying pictogram art to Pepper and digital signage related to the guide sign for the foreign tourists and Tokyo OlympicParalympics.

I wanted to use the bathroom at the airport in the overseas before and asked some people where it is located. But they did not understand what I said even though I spoke English and other language. In this situation, we can set up the pictogram art guide for the bathroom so that tourists do not have ask anyone. We can apply the same for the derivation in case of evacuation, rule, and manner in general.

Therefore, pictogram art is useful for not only the people from overseas but also for the disability people, children, and elderly people.

What would you like to start new in the year of 2017?

I would love to put more effort on sports. For me, work, art, and sports are the three important elements shaping myself. There are many things that I would like to focus on around me, and I am doing my best every day.

 Please send the audience last message.

Since you (interviewer Ms. Kadowaki) is the professional executive coach, your questions were spectacular compare to other medias. I think they were spectacular questions and spectacular responses.

People say it is the age of diversity, but people usually have a very narrow outlook on things because of the articles and videos came out with labels and unsubstantial contents.

I hope everyone would try to look at possibilities and abilities without putting on labels of women, disability people, and foreigners but not the spectacle.