My Films

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An org to check out: People for Social Change

There comes a time in our lives where we feel that our lives are spiritual rich enough that a desire to 'give back' wells up inside. The challenge then comes in making a decision in which way can we give back. For some, there's always been sometime we've cared for: whether it's the environment or children. But for others finding that extra special cause can be challenging. One organization in Tokyo, People for Social Change, has taken on that challenge by organizing events to help people "move beyond issue awareness to actualize social change."

Once every two months, PSC holds workshops in which you can learn skills such as fundraising, letter writing and developing social justice lesson plans. Panel discussions and presentations are given by local NGOs.
So if you are looking to "give back" in 2007, perhaps attending an upcoming workshop or checking out their blog will give you some good ideas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Anthropology of Violence

One particular class that I am excited about this term is "The Anthropology of Violence." I think in my quest to create peace, it is important to understand what thoughts already exist on the reasons for violence. This class intendes to look at violence cross culturally, exmaining whether violence is unpredictable and inexplicable or its opposite. Anyways, I am hoping to do a better a job of writing my class notes/reflections in my blog. I've realized recently that I have done very little processing of the ideas and experiences I am having. This needs to be change. Anyways, here's what we covered from my first class:

So to begin, we started with some definitions:

"to commit the first act of hostility'

"hostitlity of attack upon another, whether overt, verbal or gestural."
"overt behavior with the intention of inflicting damage or other unpleasentness on another individual."

"rough or injurious force, action or treatment, an unjust or unwarented exertion of force and power."
"the inf liction on people of physical injury or death or the threat to do so."
"any attitude, word, action that treatens or destorys the human dignity of a human person or groups of persons"
"any act of agreesion of abuse which causes or intends to cuase injury. IN some cases criminal, or harm to a person, and to a lesser extnet animals or property."

So when harm takes a step further to injury and is goal oriented this is an act of violence.
How does human diginity factor into this? Do we include the injury/harm of human diginity in violence?
What are the methods of violent conduct?
Unlike other animals, humans have developed intra-species killing. Human have the inention to harm, to negate and destroy its own species. When animals attack other animals for food, that is considered predation and not violence.

This class will look at the possible deeper patterns of violene through examination of case studies from around the world. Its nice to be excited about a class, maybe a thesis idea will come from this.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Flat Stanley

A couple of weeks ago my second grade cousin sent me Flat Stanley in the mail. Stanley used to be a regular kid who is flattened by a falling bulletin board. Now that Stanley is flat, he is mailed across the globe to learn about other people and cultures. My cousin, Ana Sophia, in New Jersey, sent Flat Stanley to me and I took him around to see the more traditional side of Japan.
As a huge proponent for international experience, I believe that this is a fun way to give children a taste of other cultures when they can't get on a plane themselves. Anyways, I had to give him an outfit change so I made him a Hapi coat and Hakama pants. We took Stanley to a local Shinto Shrine where he met with kids dressed up for the Sichi-Go-San festival, a festival that is celebrates the health and happinness of kids 7, 5, and 3 years old.

If you are interested in starting a Flat Stanley project in your school, click here.

The Goi Peace Forum

On Thursday, November 23th, I attended the Goi Foundation Peace Forum held in Tokyo. The Forum was the culmination of a three day conference that brought 80 youth (16-35) from 28 countries to meet and discuss this year's theme: Creating a New Civilization.
The forum itself was divided into three parts. First, an award ceremony giving the 2006 Goi Peace Foundation award to Simple Velocity author Duane Elgin. Secondly, winners of the Goi Foundations annual speech contest presented their speeches. Thirdly, the youth participating in the conference gave presentations of their work and joined in a panel discussion with Masami Saionji (Chairperson, Goi Peace Foundation) and Hiroo Saionji (President, Goi Peace Foundation).
Unfortunately, I lost my notebook filled with notes of the forum itself but I had a friend participating in the three day conference and she snuck me into the reception afterwards. At the reception, I met with youth all consciously creating a more peaceful vision of the world. To find more about the Goi Peace Foundaiton check out this link.