Vision

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。
化石燃料や原子力に頼らず、他国の資源を取らない、
自給自足な国へのトランジションを実現させてゆきたいです。

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Kai's Permaculture in Japan 2019 UPDATE

It's been awhile (as usual) that I've given an update in English about what I've been up to, so here it is! Most of my articles are in Japanese at Tokyo Urban Permaculture.


INTRO
My work is a mix of permaculture, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), integral nonviolence (inspired by the Ghandian Iceberg) , Zen and mindfulness (Plum Village tradition), and gift economics or giftivism (inspired by nature, Goenka's 10 Day Vipassana, Service Space, and everyday heros).

I focus on Japan because I felt a need, an opportunity, and I had a calling after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. While I'd love to spread the awesome happenings of Japan (impermaculture, natural farming, peace activism, simple artful living, etc), I've come to accept that I can't do more than I can do. If you can help on the media front and/or translate, drop me a line at tup.pollinator(a)gmail.com

Let's start with 2018 accomplishments and celebrations!!!


CHILDREN'S PERMACULTURE BOOK

Last year after about 3 years of creativity and drama, we finally published a children's permaculture book! Based on our first book, Urban Permaculture Guide, and infused with inspiration from the Whole Earth Catalogue, its my usual mix of permaculture, NVC, mindfulness, and giftivism. Beautiful art and I'm just amazed at how it turned out!

If we find the right people, we might be able to put it out in English.

 

The cover is a compost mandala that my friend Wakana Kawamura drew. A beautiful illustration of how kitchen "waste" is transformed by different microorganisms and worms, finally turning into vegetables.



Another dear friend, Niky Roehreke, created wonderful art pieces for each chapter (right side "Edible"). Left side is by the designer and is about the three permaculture ethics, EARTH CARE, PEOPLE CARE, FAIR SHARE.



Because we want children and adults to take action (not just read the book), we came up with meaningful fun activities that are quite radical for Japanese. This page is guerrilla seed planting titled, "go throw seeds without telling any adults".




Another one of Wakana's illustrations for the page "From Exchange to Gifting" (about the gift economy, aka gift ecology).



We wanted to make a book artistic, fun, while cultivating the foundation for permaculture thinking. This page is about various forms of energy.

It is a 144 page art piece and homage to permaculture!


I'm quite proud of our first permaculture culture book that a different team co-created with over 400 people involved called, The Urban Permaculture Guide.




Here is a bit about it: Japanese Urban Permaculture Guidebook is published!!!!


PEACE AND PERMACULTURE DOJO in Chiba prefecture



The Peace and Permaculture Dojo is my first land-based project and is located in Chiba prefecture (two hours by train from Tokyo). It is an old abandoned homestead (Japan is plentiful in this resource) of 0.9 hecters or 2.2 acres. We have been fixing the Japanese timber-framed house that is over 100 years old and slowly regenerating the soil with a method called daichinosaisei which literally means "earth regeneration". Daichinosaisei is spreading like wild-fire in the Japanese permaculture and natural farming circles. Some day when I'm motivated enough, I might write about it! But, basically, it's about creating healthy soil ecosystems by digging vertical and horizontal holes, filling them with interwoven biomass and porous tiles, and spreading lots of bamboo charcoal for microbial habitat. One of the passionate leaders of the movement, Takada, says its based on what farmers and landscape architects knew as common-sense before the US cultural reeducation after world war 2. Daichinosaisei is a lot about seeing the earth as a living system and taking care of air flow and water flow (veins) beneath the surface. I'll stop there for now, it's super deep!


Just a few recent highlights at the DOJO

  • Transitioning from a dictatorship (by me) to a cooperative model. Finally!
  • We ran out of money. Finally!
  • Last year I took on four youth and a family of five (and two goats) for my first batch of interns
  • This year, I'm hoping to have 2~3 interns for five months of training in permaculture, organic farming, NVC, mindfulness, and social change
  • We are going to have a monthly Day Of Mindfulness practice, and regular morning meditations
  • Starting to make a basemap for the site so we can do a proper permaculture design
  • Going to get more serious about daichinosaisei
  • In addition to our 6-day NVC trainings, we are going to have more activist trainings like a 2-day community organizing workshop, and a World Shift training
  • We wil also host a Permaculture Design Course for the second time

Although I am focused on training Japanese, if things work out, I'm happy to have non-Japanese to help out and experience neo-traditional Japanse living. I guess its just timing, matching needs and gifts, and how little extra work it will be for me! I can't even keep up with emails.

You can read more about it in my past blog posts CLICK HERE (link to all Dojo related articles)



COMMUNE 2ND ROOFTOP GARDEN in the heart of Tokyo



This was an experiment to create an urban permaculture garden in the heart of the Tokyo youth fashion district (Harajuku/Omotesando). The building was not intended for anything on the roof, so we started by climbing ladders, carrying wood to make a floor (when we first arrived, we were stepping directly on the foam insulation facing the sky), and lifting bags of soil on our backs. The project started with a worm bin, then I was invited to teach about urban permaculture, then we said let's make a garden! We are also doing monthly permaculture themed community lunches that features the seasonal harvest (little bit).

It's still a longways from the urban oasis I dream of, but despite my sporadic involvement, its still alive! Hoping to revamp the project and get more regular involvement, especially the fashion and tech-driven youth. Transforming consumers to producers.

The space is semi-public, and it's a bit tricky to invite strangers up there, but if you have skills and want to be involved for a few months (commitment makes a big difference), you can try dropping us a line at tup.pollinator(a)gmail.com (we are all super-active volunteers so our communication can be slow and sporadic!).

Commune 2nd Official Website (our project is not featured because it is underground)




NONVIOLENCE COMMUNICATION TRAININGS

What does it take to create a world of active peace?

A culture of integral nonviolence?

A country of people who are devoted to caring for each other, and living as a society that works for everyone?


Those are some of the questions that lead me to start the Peace and Permaculture Dojo, and experiment with NVC practice retreats.

A team of NVC trainers and I have been holding 6-day NVC trainings for youth and activists twice a year. Inspired by the NVC Leadership Program (now on hiatus), these have been deep explorations into nonviolence, authenticity, and empathy. We have also been incorporating cooking together, chopping wood, taking out the humanure bucket as a way to root the NVC training with living nonviolently.

This year, we are going to add two more trainings. A seven-day training with an assitant program much like the NVC Leadership Program. And a social justice and diversity themed NVC retreat with the former lead trainer of the NVC Leadership Program, Roxy.

Although the NVC Leadership Program no longer exisits, it was a magical community experiement in nonviolence, and I really felt like I started to taste the essence of nonviolence. These retreats are both to expand our ecosystem of peace activists, and to bring us back to the consciouness of nonviolence.


ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS MOVEMENT: from a global economic system to localization


This is a whole can of worms so I won't go into much detail, but I'm working with director of Local Futures, Helena Norberg-Hodge, and long-time Japanese activist, Ooiwa Keibo, to build a solid vbirant localization movement that can transcend the tsunami of the global economic system. This has been an evolution of my activism in Japan which started with the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, climate change, then issues of war and US bases, and now the whole global economic system! My role in the activist scene in Japan has been organizing and training youth (there are very few of us out there!), and creating a more holistic social change culture.


The pieces that I'm integrating into this is
  • post-Fukushima nuclear meltdown Japan
  • US occupation in Japan (US-bases, post-war treaties undermining the Japanese constitution, and heavy US influence in Japanese politics)
  • efforts to change our pacifist constitution, specifically Article 9
  • the recent shift to actively develop and sell weapons
  • political apathy and one-party rule (Liberal Democratic Party)
  • hyper-consumerism
  • privitization of public services (most recently our water system)
  • widespread abuse of youth and women, particularly what we call "power harassment"
  • disempowerment and subordination
  • disconnection

For more on Economics of Happiness, check out this book and website Local Futures

BYRON BAY GATHERING (Feb 2019)
I was part of an awesome team that discussed the future of the global localization movement (sounds like an oxymoron!). We discussed what we mean by "localization",  sticky issues such as terminology and modern technology (specifically block-chain and cryptocurrencies, AI,  Google/Facebook), and how we can foster a vibrant movement that is relevant to everyone. We also explored the possibility of creating a Schumacher College inspired education center that engages with the global economic system and politics.

The people who gathered were very inspiring, and challenged my preconceptions and understandings in many ways. Particularly Camila from Brazil and Manish from India. Its sometimes hard to remember that the Western worldview is not a universal worldview, and many of the challenges of our times have grown out of the Western cultural experiment (like Cartisianism). Anyways, check out the profiles of the characters that gathered. Really awesome stuff!

Big Picture Activism for The Economics of Happiness


MINDFULNESS AND BEING PEACE


What more to say?

Change yourself, and the world changes

This year, we are having monthly Day Of Mindfulness practices in the tradition of Plum Village. Many of us are also vipassana meditators so there is talk of having regular morning sits.

Mindfulness is the foundation of all of what I do, so I'm trying to create a regular community practice to cultivate that energy in me and in our community. It's so easy to get busy, frustrated, depressed, and unhappy when diving deep into the tragedies of violence and oppression. So, its essential to have an oasis of peace in our hearts, and in our community where we can take refuge.


TOURS (aka activist trainings)

As a way to refresh my mind, reconnect with fellow activists, and train Japanese activists (at least that's what I secretly call them), I organize two overseas trips.

One is to Schumacher College in the UK, to spend time with Satish Kumar and experience holistic education.

The other, my favorite project, is a permacultture-themed tour to the Pacific North West of the US. We go to the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, where I was an intern for two years, then to Portland and Seattle. In Portland, we experience the City Repair movement and all the amazing permaculture themed social change projects like an ecovillage by homeless people (Dignity Village). We also go to Seattle to see some of the large-scale permaculture projects like the Beacon Hill Food Forest.

Some of the tour participants continue to work closely with me.


IN CLOSING

There are lots of other things, like raising a beautiful child, but I'll end here for now.

Here are a few online resources in English for more information on what I want to spread in the world

1. ABOUT ME (a bit outdated)


2.  Living the Gift Economy




3. TEDx talk called "An Invitation to Stop"


4. The Permaculture Podcast : Peace, Permaculture, and The Gift with Kai Sawyer

Thanks for reading

moved by love
Kai

3 comments:

  1. hello :) lovely to read your blog. we are a couple travelling japan this june-july 2019 and would love to get involved in some permaculture voluntarily. do you offer any volunteering opportunities or involvement with permaculture over in japan? thank you, peace and love :)

    ReplyDelete