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Archive for the ‘U.S.-Japan’ Category

We met with Mr. Nao Suzuki, editor of greenz.jp. greenz.jp, a self-described media activism, sustainability think tank, visionary’s network , focuses on creative activism, green business, global affairs and sustainable community, both in Japan and worldwide.

greenz1

greenz.jp staff

The setting was the Lounge greenz, a laid-back loft-like restaurant bar with plenty of exposed wood and potted plants (and, ironically, a cigarette vending machine tucked away in one corner).

Mr. Suzuki was joined by Ms. Hiromi Matsubara, greenz.jp’s global relation’s manager and creative director Yoshihiro Kanematsu.

Over a lunch of rice, red beans and fish, Max, Casey and Valerie immediately connected the folks from greenz.jp.

greenlunch

Lunch!

“So far it’s fantastic,” Max said, commenting on his experience in Tokyo so far. “This last meeting we just did (with greenz.jp) was incredibly inspiring. It was great to see a parallel movement with regard to what we’re working for in the United States.”

Later on the bus on our way to meet Mr. Satoshi Yasui, head of design planning at Muji, Casey summed up his experience thusly: “It’s been really enjoyable to go around and meet and experience all these different people that have something in come with us. I’m starting to understand how this movement is interconnected and growing and coming to life.”

Valerie stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings.

“No matter how global you conceive of your self, there’s nothing like having conversations on terra firma in a real space to make you understand the context of your actions,” she said. (Daniel Rosenblum)

Like-minded people from US and Japan

Like-minded people from US and Japan

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Trouble ahead, trouble behind?

Trouble ahead, trouble behind?

Watching Wall Street implode from Japan last September, it was easy to hope that after a couple of bailouts life would quickly return to normal.  

Clearly, that’s not the case.  As I prepare to return to Tokyo next week, I wonder how the people and the city are holding up under the strain of a seemingly intractable global recession.

At Japan Society last night we hosted a program with Nomura Holding America and the Women’s’ Bond Club of New York on the impact of the Obama administration on Asian economies, particularly Japan.

During the discussion, it became clear the outlooks for both the U.S. and Japanese economies were none-too sanguine. 

Panelist David Resler, Managing Director & Chief Economist at Nomura  Securities International, Inc., correctly predicted that U.S. GDP numbers for the fourth quarter coming out today would show a strong contraction. 

That number, released this morning, showed the economy shrinking 3.8 pct, the biggest drop in 27 years.  

And what of Japan’s fourth quarter GDP? 

Resler suggested a drop of 9 pct or more.  Indeed, the decline of  9.6 pct in Japan’s December preliminary industrial production, announced on Friday, doesn’t bode well.

The darkest hour before the dawn?

(Daniel Rosenblum)

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今年2月に、当協会の招きで、日経ホールで行われたシンポジウムに出席するために来日したアキュメン・ファンド代表のジャクリーン・ノヴォグラッツさん。5日間という短い滞在期間の中、シンポジウムだけでなく、企業とのミーティングから、非営利団体ETICとの共催で日本の若い社会起業家との朝食会や、大学生や社会起業家を目指す若者を対象とした講演会、新聞や雑誌の取材も精力的にこなしました。特にETICで行われた講演会では、「夢はなるべく声に出して語った方が良いのよ。そっちの方が現実になる可能性が高いから。」と出席者を励まし、自分の夢は「世界から貧困を無くす事。あなたたちも世界を変えることができる。」と力強く言い切るジャクリーンさんの言葉に皆、深い感銘を受けたかと思います。

「貧者の救済に必要なのは施しではなく、尊厳である。」と考えるジャクリーンさんは、2001年に非営利団体アキュメン・ファンドを立ち上げ、アフリカとアジアで貧困に苦しむ人々に飲料水、住宅、教育等を供給するビジネスへの投資を行ってきました。アキュメン・ファンドは投資先に資金援助とアドバイスを行い、社会的な利益還元を第一に目指します。

そんなジャクリーンさんの現在までの軌跡を描いた著書「The Blue Sweater」が来年3月に発売予定だそうです。英語です。私はまだ読んでいませんが、期待できる内容かと思います。いづれはビル・ストリックランドさんの本のように日本語訳が出て、なるべく多くの人に読まれるようになると嬉しいです。

本のタイトルの青いセーターについてですが、ジャクリーンさんの講演会に出席した人は、青いセーターにまつわるエピソードをすでに知っているはずです。こちらは本で読んだ方が良いかと思うので、内容には触れません。ただ、このエピソードが、彼女が世界観を築いていく上で、非常に深い意味を持ったということだけは付け加えておきます。

(Fumiko)

© Kenzo Sai

© Kenzo Sai

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While I was reading Seth Godin’s new book, I came across with Jacqueline Novogratz’s name for more than a couple of times. Just like Godin, I am a big fan of Acumen Fund‘s work. I knew that she was working on a book about her endeavor as a social entrepreneur. I checked Acumen’s website and found out that her book The Blue Sweater will be published next March. How exciting. I also want to see this book translated into Japanese and many other languages. I will not tell what the blue sweater is all about since it is better that you read her book.

I will be writing the same post in Japanese tomorrow. I am sure a lot of people are going to be excited about this news.

(Fumiko)

blue-sweater

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bills-book

I just found out that the Japanese translation of Bill Strickland‘s book Make the Impossible Possible was published in Japan from Eiji Press. I AM THRILLED! It is a wonderful book about Bill’s life story in which he explains how he ended up creating a job-training and arts organization in Pittsburgh for the underserved community. The book was translated by Hiroki Komazaki, also a member of our network, who started an organization in Tokyo to help working parents with sick children. I hope Bill’s book will be widely read not only by aspiring social entrepreneurs but also by young people in Japan.

We first met Bill in June 2006, when we held a retreat at SY Partner‘s office. Then we decided to invite him to a retreat in Tokyo in January 2007. It was his first trip to Japan. Last February, he gave a speech at Japan Society. Here is a link to a summary of the event.

Congratulations!

(Fumiko)

©Satoru Ishikawa

©Satoru Ishikawa

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Daniel Pink of the Whole New Mind speaks at Japan Society on Monday, October 6. Dan, a Japan  Society Media Fellow, will be talking about his recent journey into the heart of the manga industry in Japan – including into the underworld of the manga fan – as well as about his new book, “The Amazing Adventures of Johnny Bunko”.   The evening comes complete with refreshments and a book sale and signing (magic chopsticks included!).

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We recently added videos to our Innovators Network’s channel on YouTube.

Please check it out!

The interviews were all filmed during and after a retreat that we held in Kyoto in November 2007.

Here is the link to our channel.

InnovatorsNetwork

ユーチューブのコンテンツを更新しました。

2007年11月に京都で開かれた会合の参加者の皆様に

イノベーターズ・ネットワークについて伺いました。

下記のリンクをどうぞご覧になってください。

InnovatorsNetwork

(内容は英語です。日本語のインタビューは英語字幕付きです。)

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