Earth Day Tokyo

Mikaela Breese
April 23, 2015

Normally for Earth Day back in America I don’t really do anything special to celebrate the occasion. Maybe turn off a light or two and make sure I recycle correctly. This year, however, I ended up working at Earth Day Tokyo through my IES field placement with an NGO called International Japanese Volunteer Center.

Earth Day Tokyo is actually a weekend long event and even though it didn’t fall on Earth Day this year it still drew a crowd of over 100,000 people in two days. It was located in Yoyogi Park in Harajuku and was a huge production; there were more than 80 NGOs, NPOs, and companies spread out over 5 “zones”, as well as an “Earth Day Kitchen” area and a stage with performers. Unfortunately I had to work the entire day and was only able to explore the event a little bit during my lunch break. I really would have liked to walk around more and actually check out the different booths.

In many ways there were things that I definitely expected to be at an Earth Day event: organic food tents, clothing made from all-natural materials, etc. But there were also plenty of booths that I never would have expected to be there. I saw North Face and a lot of non-profit organizations such as Amnesty International that don’t really deal with the environment. Since I haven’t really been to an American Earth Day event like this I can’t say whether or not this also happens in the US, but for me it was surprising to see. It seemed that there was a focus on not only environmental improvement but general quality-of-life improvement.

Overall, it was interesting to see how another country interpreted Earth Day. One thing that I recognized and connected with was the enthusiasm these people had for what they were doing. For the most part these were not people who just wanted to get out of their houses on a Sunday or students who needed volunteer hours; they were legitimately eager to be there. I was able to talk with someone from the booth across from us and although I couldn’t understand a lot of what he was saying when he was trying to explain what his organization did, I could clearly see that he was very passionate about it. And that is something that I could definitely appreciate. 

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Mikaela Breese

<p>Mikaela is a junior at Indiana University majoring in International Studies and East Asian Languages &amp; Cultures. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, she has spent the past few years enjoying life as a Hoosier while dreaming of the day she finally got to go abroad. Traveling is one of her greatest passions and she looks forward to exploring not only Tokyo but as much of Japan as possible during her semester abroad. She is actively involved in both her sorority and International Studies Honor Society, and enjoys reading, hiking, and drinking tea in her free time. She is so excited for the adventure that lies ahead and can&rsquo;t wait to share it with everyone!</p>

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