To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。

Thursday, July 14, 2016

JULY 24, 2016 Karma Kitchen Tokyo & My mini update

QUICK UPDATE (Karma Kitchen is below)

Hey all
So much to share but just haven't gotten around to posting in English. Sorry! But, if you use google translate and check out Tokyo Urban Permaculture, you might get a glimps....or maybe its finally time to learn Japanese!

I recently visited Satish Kumar at Schumacher College, spent over a week at Plum Village France, went to an AWAKIN CIRCLE in Paris, and finished it off with my first visit to Hunderwasserhaus! So much inspiration.

When I came back the community garden I decided to start the day before I left for my trip was bumpin with food! Yes! How to design yourself out of projects you start, that has been the edge I'm exploring. Nation elections were also happening so I helped anti-war, anti-nuclear power, peace and democracy advocate Miyake Yohei (reggae musician) try to get votes. He didn't make it but he has sparked an interesting youth-centered participatory democracy movement. And and, it looks like we are going to seal the deal soon with the landlord of the future Peace and Permaculture (nonviolence) Dojo in Chiba. Next year I'm hoping to take on some interns, and do a few longer-term workshops like a PDC, nonviolent communication retreat, mindfulness retreat, etc. Japan is happening!!!!!

Oh yeah, Tokyo Urban Permaculture Website is almost in full swing!


(English below)



手話が公用語のスープカフェ「Sign with Me」で



日時 :7月24日(日)

第1部 11:00〜13:00
第2部 13:30〜15:30

場所 : Sign with Me 2号店 
地図 :

メニュー(お申し込み時に選択してください) :

お申し込み :



Warm greetings! You are cordially invited to join us at the 14th Karma Kitchen event on 24th July. This is a lunch event where guests interact with each other over a meal. Step into the restaurant and you will be treated to a meal, paid by our previous customers. You have no obligations to pay, but you are free to send your kindness and regards to the next customer. Experience “paying forward”.

At this Karma Kitchen event, all you need to do is to receive a gift to you from previous participants and enjoy your meal. After your meal, you will be given an envelope. You are free to put in any amount of money you wish to pass on, or you could express your gratitude in any shapes and sizes, by performing a song, doing a good deed and so on.

The 14th Karma Kitchen event will be held at a soup café called “Sign with Me”, where the lingua franca is Japanese Sign Language. Don’t worry, of course, if you don’t know sign language. It is also an opportunity to experience diversity. Anyone and everyone is welcome! 

(Please note that you are required to fill up the form below for official registration.)

Karma Kitchen Homepage:

Date: 24 July (Sunday)
Early Lunch: 11:00 ~ 13:00
Late Lunch: 13:30 ~ 15:30
Venue: Sign with Me second branch
※ The Place has been changed.
2 min walk from Kasuga Station A2 exit (Toei Mita Line, Oedo Line)
5 min walk from Korakuen Station 4b exit(Marunouchi Line)
5 min walk from Korakuen Station 6 exit(Nanboku Line)

Please choose your menu when you sign up for the event:
1. Grilled pepper patty stew set
2. Hokkaido vegetables soup curry set (Vegetarian)

Sign up by choosing early or late lunch and fill up the form below.
Early Lunch(11:00〜13:00):
Late Lunch(13:30〜15:30):

The time stated above is for general reference.
Feel free to drop by any time of your convenience once you have signed up.

Do note that you may not be allowed entrance without reservations, due to the limited space in the restaurant. We highly recommend you to sign up if you wish to participate.

Please cancel your reservation if you are not able to make it due to any reason, so that we can allow more participants to join us.

Hope to see you on 24 July!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tokyo Urban Permaculture 2016 Plans!!!

Update on plans for 2016!!!
Permaculture, nonviolence, gift economics, and more!!!
(most links are to Japanese pages)

I’ll just share the highlights for now since the longer I write the less likely I’ll finish the post. 

I’ve been putting a lot of energy into teaching things I love (e.g. permaculture, NVC, mindfulness, etc), doing experiments (e.g. guerrilla gardening in Tokyo, gift economy inspired book and tour), and connecting with lots and lots of people. Now I think we’ve done enough soil building to start planting a forest garden of social change.

From Tokyo Urban Permaculture (which is not actually limited to Tokyo, Urban, or Permaculture) being “my” project, I am shifting it to be a more community-based endeavor. A fun three-letter umbrella that can be used to connect people, provide legitimacy for projects, and propagate the idea that permaculture is not just about rural self-sufficiency.

What happens under the name of Tokyo Urban Permaculture (TUP) is a mix of 
(urban) permaculture 
nonviolent communication
gift economics
political activism
media activism
youth empowerment
and most importantly fun!

This year, we (TUP) are hoping to creating more opportunities for people to activate, get their hands dirty, and know there is a physical place they can go to (so far its just been my blog). 

I will return from India! 
Currently, I’m in Goa in an area lightly developed for tourists (not a hint of the rave scene that most people associate with Goa). What has been quite pleasant to see is cows roaming around, even in the main street, and lots of fruiting perennials. Tons of coconut trees in gardens, common spaces, and along roads. Many mango trees, guava, banana, papaya, pomegranate, cashew, and other ones I don’t know. Wonderful to be surrounded by fresh food (the fruits not the cow)!


*(perma) Culture-Building*
Murmur magazine (who published the Urban Permaculture Guide) will publish a special on permaculture. They have a young alternative dedicated readership so I think it will boost curiosity and commitment. They’ve also interviewed Masanobu Fukuoka’s grandson in the past, who inherited part of Masanobu’s legacy but has made some fundamental changes. No time to discuss that now.

We’re also planning to make a comprehensive permaculture manual featuring traditional and emergent Japanese designs (ethno-ecological and socio-cultural) in the next year. Not sure yet if we will design the book for just domestic use or for an international audience. We will see.

Permaculture has been featured more and more in the media, even in Casa Brutus (a mainstream magazine that is sold in most convenience stores….meaning almost everywhere in Japan). We just need more physical examples to inspire people.

*Collaborating with All-Stars*
Phil Cashman, Kyle Ho, and I will be launching a PDC at PAWA in Chiba! I think only Permaculture Center Japan (PCCJ) has been offering PDCs in Japan, so this will be a great chance to add diversity and increase opportunities to learn about permaculture design. Phil and I have been talking about how many opportunities related to permaculture are coming to us, but we don’t have time and energy to receive them all. The problem is the solution! We need more permaculture teachers and designers. Yes!

I’ve also wanted to collaborate with Phil and Kyle for several years so this is a dream come true! It’s going to be a multi-cultural PDC in Japanese with permaculture home stays at 3-different sites. The course filled up soon after we posted the ad so looks like we’ll need to do another one soon. At the same time, all three of us are more into hands-on stuff then lecturing about design, so we’ll see what happens after this first one.

*Micro Community Garden in the Heart of Tokyo*
Commune 246 is a Portland inspired multi-purpose space in the heart of the youth fashion district in Tokyo. It’s more commercial than I enjoy, but it’s a dynamic multi-cultural gathering place with many young creative professionals. The space is a mix of Portland-style food carts designed by architecture students at Tokyo University, a co-working office space, and Freedom University (like free school in the sense of “free” topics but Tokyo prices). 

After a year of talking about urban permaculture, building relationships, thinking and proposing designs, we finally got the green light to install a roof-top garden! Yah mun!!! They already have food carts and a marginally used worm bin, so all they need is a bump`n garden. The design will focus on inspiring aesthetics (looks are essential here), producing edibles for the food carts, and cycling organic matter (food-cart, compost, garden, food-cart). My hope is that this will lead to more opportunities to make community gardens in Tokyo, and mobilize media, social and financial capital. 

Homepage of Commune 246
Here is the ad for the garden making class (also filled up in a few days)

*The Next Phase*
I’ve always wanted to have a physical place to grow a forest garden and learning community. Inspired by places like the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead (Washington), Casa De Paz (California), Plum Village (around the world), Schumacher College (U.K.), and Pun Pun farm (Thailand), it’s time that I start a longer-term land-based project. My focus is to explore what Satish Kumar phrases as the trinity of our time, soil, soul, and society.

Like the Bullocks, I want to offer a skill-building residential program particularly for youth, which in the permaculture field seems to be non-existent in Japan. I also want to explore and practice ahimsa or nonviolence, and experiment with social activism (i.e. changing educational, political and economic institutions). So, this will be a big experiment, to integrate permaculture, NVC, mindfulness, giftivism, and FUN! A place to be the change we wish to see in the world.

At the moment, I’m looking for land on the East-side of the Boso Peninsula, Chiba. Mainly because I want to work with Phil who lives in that region, and I want to have access to Tokyo (my target population). But, Shonan (South Kanagawa) is tempting and is also a possible area. More on this to come.


Empathetic Communication (basically NVC) 6-day retreat at Permaculture AWA (Phil’s place) 
A chance to explore nonviolence in practice, and jam-out with those dedicated to NVC in Japan, in a permaculture setting. Hoping to organize regular retreats and practice groups in the future. April 17~22

Awakin Circle Tokyo
Awakin circles have deeply moved me and I think it will really help the development of my consciousness around nonviolence and giftivism (gift economy). It’ll be another great chance to practice giving from the heart, and developing the gift economy in Tokyo! Starting April or May?

Tour to learn with Satish Kumar at Schumarcher College. Satish has been a huge inspiration to me since my days at University of California Santa Cruz, and now I have a chance to take people to spend a week with him. June 5~11

Then an optional tour to Plum Village France for part of the 21-Day retreat exploring engaged buddhism. They also have started garden/permaculture projects which I’m quite curious about. June 12~21

West Coast Permaculture Tour
Annual tour to the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, Portland’s City Repair and ecovillages, and Seattle’s urban permaculture scene. One of my favorite things to do! Many of my close collaborators in Japan are former tour participants. 

Traditional Japanese Living and Permaculture tour for English-speakers
Lots of cool places I’d love to share like Yoshiki Hayashi’s projects in Kamogawa, Chiba, the Kabata culture featured in  the documentary Satoyama, and the premier natural farming school Akamejuku. I was thinking of a 10~14 day tour in October. What do you think?

Or I might help out with a tour to take Japanese activists to Bioneers, and tour around Bay Area activist hubs. Hmmm….

End of the year I will probably go to Thai Plum Village to translate and help with sangha building. Hoping to also visit Pun Pun farm again and facilitate an empathetic communication retreat.

Monday, February 15, 2016



Here are some inspiring TEDx talks on urban gardening and more! I think its really important to propagate not just gardens and gardeners, but stories of possibility. Growing a culture that encourages life! And while these are both amazing projects with powerful speakers, there are billions of stories and acts of active hope that are happening across the globe. Keep spreading the stories, and planting seeds.

RON FINLEY: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

PAM WARHURST: How We Can Eat Our Landscapes
What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

BRITTA RILEY: A Garden In My Apartment

Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles — researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious.

more to come.....much more!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


a few inspirations from around the world.

more to come from Tokyo this year!












under the asphalt and concrete is life waiting to spring back into action!

when we stop paving it over, Tokyo will return to forest....or a field of daikon.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year 2016 and I will do two talks in Bangkok on Jan 8th!

Happy New Year!!!!!!
Happy New Day!!!!
Hope you are enjoying your moments.

Just finished a nourishing retreat at Thai Plum Village, and now heading to Pun Pun in Chiang Mai. I've heard quite a bit about Pun Pun and Panya in permaculture and other alternative circles.

For those who are curious
"Punpun is a small organic farm and learning center in north of Thailand, where we practice sustainable living through seed saving, natural building and appropriate technology."
See below for an amazing TEDx talk by one of the founders.

After that, will ride a sleeper train back to Bangkok and do two talks. One at SUAN MOKE temple. Another at a new community center by a engaged buddhist activist friend (still waiting for details). Below is the ad for Suan Moke. I'm planning to talk about urban permaculture in Tokyo, Portland, mindfulness experiments, nonviolence (ahimsa), and how to transform urban culture through the giftivism (gift economy activism).

 "Finding Peace in the Inner Landscape"   

Kai Sawyer, a permaculturalist and practicing engaged buddhist now living in Tokyo has been working to help find peace in ourselves and in the metropolis.   In Bangkok we face similar challenges, confronted both in our minds and in our city with pollution, chaos, and distraction.   

Here from this young inspiring practitioner/ activist about his journey in this process and how he is helping others to wake up to the possibilities.

- In English with Interpretation to Thai 

8 Jan 2016, at Suan Moke, Bangkok   Proposed time.  14:30- 17:30  

14:30- 15:00-    Registration- complimentary herbal beverage provided.

15:00- 16:00- Kai Sawyer present a bit of his journey supported by slides (and interpreted)

16:00- 17:20- Open interactive discussion and/ or inner peace/ outer peace practice led by Kai- Q/A

17:20- 17:30- Thank you and conclusion.

Be happy~

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dec. 4, 2015 Kai Sawyer on Nonviolent Communication - Systems Thinking - Social Change (TOKYO)

Hi Everyone
Been busy transforming myself and looking for deeper ways to bring about radical (root-level) social change. Deepening my understanding of non-violence (ahimsa), systems thinking, and gift economics. I've spent lots of time sharing permaculture, urban permaculture, mindfulness, gift ecology, activism around Japan in many interesting communities. I've just started to realize ho japan is such a diverse country! 

Next year, I'm devoting my time and energy to develop a permaculture and nonviolence dojo somewhere in Chiba. A place for refuge, especially for activists, and a site for training agents of nonviolence. Hope to grow a vibrant forest garden, media center, and training program inspired by places like Schumacher College and the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead. More on that later!

Here is a rare English language event. 
Share widely

Nonviolent Communication* - Systems Thinking - Social Change
An introduction to the world of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and an exploration into radical social/organizational change. The goal of the workshop is for each of us to look deeply into what “moves” us, what “moves” others, and how we can connect deeply to that energy of life. 
How do we communicate in our full authenticity while holding others with loving care? How do we shift from a power-over paradigm to a power-with paradigm, where all life matters equally? We will explore these questions through powerful interactive practices.
Please note that the language of this event is English only.
Price: Donation (gift-economy based)
Please read what we mean by donation
Financial or other resources for support are welcome!
Kai Sawyer is a peace activist, student of nonviolence, and permaculture educator. He completed a NVC International Intensive Training (IIT) in 2011, and a year-long NVC Leadership Program in 2014. He is now an assistant for the NVC Leadership Program and teaches Empathetic Communication (aka NVC) workshops all over Japan and the world. Through his project Tokyo Urban Permaculture, Kai teaches NVC, permaculture, mindfulness, systems thinking, youth empowerment, and gift ecology. Currently, he is experimenting with gift economics and he offers almost all workshops and services as a gift (no set price or obligation to pay) to all those interested. 
*Kai is not a CNVC "certified" trainer.


Nov 29 Join the Global Climate March

28th in Tokyo
29th in Kyoto
for more info about Japanese events →

Published on Nov 18, 2015
On the eve of the most important global climate meeting of our lifetime, hundreds of thousands are hitting the streets worldwide, with love and hope, to show leaders how to lead, and fight for a beautiful, equitable, post-fossil fuel 100% clean energy future. Find your march here:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Interview on Permaculture Tonight with Matt Powers

During the Gift Ecology Pilgrimage, this guy Matt Powers wanted to meet me to interview me for his podcast "Permaculture Tonight". We met at the Sebastopol Permaculture Skills Center, and did an impromptu interview, you can hear the Japanese pilgrimage crew chowing in the back.  

I don't always know what I'm talking about, but every once in a while I'll manage to say something meaningful. These interviews help me organize my thoughts a bit. I also get to feel uneasy about some of the things I said (thats now public!). 

Episode 7 - Kai Sawyer on Zone Zero & Japanese Urban Permaculture
June 10th, 2015
Talking with Kai Sawyer about zone 0, ourselves, our emotional, spiritual, physical states. Before we even embrace Permaculture we need to be ready - Zone 0 needs to be fertile or at least open for enrichment. Kai Sawyer is leading the urban permaculture movement in Japan. He recently organized over 30 authors and crowfunded an urban permaculture book especially for Japan. 
Kai Sawyer's TED talk: 
Kai's blog & book:

Matt Powers, author of The Permaculture Student, has been teaching in private & public schools in various roles for almost a decade. Matt has a BA in British & American Literature from New York University as well as a MA in Education from National University. He retains his English & History California teaching credentials as well as a permaculture design certification from Geoff Lawton’s online permaculture design course. Matt has worked one on one with some of permaculture’s greatest educators in the process of creating The Permaculture Student and now in his podcast Permaculture Tonight - such as Geoff Lawton, Rosemary Morrow, & Elaine Ingham.

Vision Statement for Permaculture Life School (Sebastopol, CA) – 
“For the past four years I’ve been working at an award-winning charter high school and speaking at conferences teaching teachers about what the future of school will look like and how they can prepare their students for that future. I focused on student choice, problem solving, critical thinking and pattern literacy, but it always fell short of my expectations. When I wrote The Permaculture Student, I realized that permaculture was the backbone of what education should be globally and later I realized: not just curriculum is needed but a new kind of K-12 school.” – Matt

Visit the Indiegogo Campaign for the Permaculture Life School

Permaculture film INHABIT and thoughts on social justice


Hey all
Back in Hayama, Japan. Its such a beautiful place with ocean and forest (sort of reminds me of Santa Cruz, CA). The garden I left for a month is bumpin with veggies, surprise! Plant it then forget it....and come back to abundance. That's the power of permaculture design.

While on my life-changing Bay Area tour that included, visiting activists, Gift Ecology Pilgrimage, and the Nonviolent Communication Leadership Program, I was taken by my co-revolutionary Eri to a showing of Inhabit at Impact HUB Oakland. It was quite a culture shock just coming back from Japan, seeing African-American women on stage talking about social justice (especially in the wake of a series of high profile police violence incidences and media attention on persistent structural racism) to a mostly white audience. The theme was permaculture and it was an interesting discussion although I was too culture shocked and jet lagged to fully appreciate it (it was the day after I arrived from Japan).

Below is the event description.

TOPIC: "Evolving the Voice of Permaculture: Race and Gender Inclusivity"
Moderated by Calgary Brown, Impact Hub Oakland & Permaculture Student at the Regenerative Design Institute

The event description:

The culture shock for me comes from the fact that I basically only see Japanese people every day, and social justice seems like a very niche subject in Japan. When I talk about it people sort of stare at me like they sort of get it or like I'm an alien that speaks really good Japanese. The recent tension around US bases in Okinawa might be growing awareness about social justice issues and structural discrimination.

From my experience around permaculture circles, I haven't really heard much about politics x permaculture, and social justice x permaculture. But it seems so fundamental! If permaculture is to have a major positive impact on society and civilization, its hard to imagine not having evolutionary engagement with these pernicious thrones that continue to wound us. Harmful politics and oppressive regimes won't just fizzle out (with or without collapse).

Things do seem to be changing though. And Oakland is a great place for this dialogue to be cultivated, along with many other cities like Detroit and LA (sorry for being US-centric, its where I'm most familiar with). The problem is the solution. We can do this, if our hearts are really into it. A world for the 100%.

Back to the movie.....

The movie INHABIT was really amazing and I wanted to share this far and wide (although I don't know if many people read this blog). Please do share this in your own capacity. Its super beautiful done, concentrated with wisdom, and an exciting (US-centric) mix of permaculture practiced in different contexts. In two words, "its awesome!"

INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective from Costa on Vimeo.

Before the feature film, they showed the video below. Its a Oakland hip hop style garden and interview with humor and important issues woven in. I'm excited about the diversity of people that permaculture is inspiring. The plants don't discriminate and the Earth accepts all life.

As a bonus, below are my permaculture teachers back in the day. Meet them if you haven't! Its missing Yuriko Bullock who is an expert of happiness!
*the Bullocks start at 3:10

If you haven't seen the other Global Garderners videos, definitely check them out. Bill is brilliant and it's nice to see examples of permaculture in various contexts.