volunteer

Spirit of volunteering strong for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but data suggests something may be off

Outstanding Japanese student participation may not be what it seems.

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Half of Tokyo’s universities to use credits to “convince” students to volunteer in 2020 Olympics

Whatever happened to the spirit of volunteering?

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Japan ministry urges universities to adjust curriculum to accommodate student Olympic volunteers

The shortage of capable volunteers is causing the government to turn to universities for resources. But does it really help?

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Tokyo Olympics is looking for volunteers, may have a hard time finding them

You don’t get many chances to be a part of sports history, and judging by the standards for volunteers set by the The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this isn’t one either.

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Modern-day samurai patrolling Tokyo’s streets to fight against the evils of littering 【Video】

”Hearts without morals shall be punished!” declares group, which is recruiting new members.

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You party, we tidy — Volunteers, kids hit Shibuya streets to clean up after Halloween hijinks

Remember when everyone’s minds were blown by images of Japanese fans tidying up their section after the World Cup? Well what might seem amazing to some is totally atarimae (obvious and expected) to the typical Japanese mindset. As your mother may have told you as a kid; you make the mess, you tidy it up! And the day after the massive Halloween party at the famous Shibuya crossing last weekend, volunteers were out in droves this year again with plastic bags and gloves to make the streets all sparkly again.

But just how many of them actually even contributed to the mess to begin with? According to reports on Twitter, not too many—and boy, are they angry…

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Tokyo schoolgirls invent eco and cost-friendly portable toilet for disaster relief【Video】

Although we explored public restrooms the world over in a previous article, we left out the fact that many refugees, natural disaster survivors, and other displaced people have no access to the modern plumbing many of us take for granted. For those living in areas where public toilets are unavailable, a trip to the bathroom is at best a chore, and at worst a major sanitary concern.

Luckily technological advances are being made in order to help remedy these problems, and so far 2015 has been a promising year in that regard. UK researchers and volunteers were able to successfully create an urine-powered outhouse, while over in Japan a high school girls’ volunteer club recently came up with a new economic and hygienic portable toilet option.

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Photohoku: helping northeastern Japan rebuild, one picture at a time 【Photos】

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, Tokyo-based photographers Brian Scott Peterson and Yuko Yoshikawa were frustrated by the limited impact of volunteer options close to home, so they decided to head up to Tohoku with the vague idea that people in temporary housing might be interested in having family portraits taken.

Clearly, that tapped into an unmet need, because four years later that one-off trip has become Photohoku, a ballooning volunteer organization that takes monthly trips to Tohoku, has gifted over 10,000 instant family portraits, and has even inspired similar groups overseas.

Today, as we remember those who lost their lives in the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami four years ago, we take a brief look at how this truly inspired project continues to bring a little bit of extra sunshine into the lives of those who survived one of Japan’s greatest natural disasters.

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Town in Hiroshima now offering exciting… snow-shovelling tours?

To someone raised in an area that receives little to no snow in the wintertime, living in a snowy region might seem like a lot of fun, what with all the sledding, snowball fights, and easy access to ski resorts. But it’s not all fun and games when you need to shovel through feet of snow just to leave your house or to get your car out of your driveway.

But maybe to someone who hasn’t grown up having to shovel heaps of snow each winter, snow-shoveling could be a fun experience too. At least, that’s what the Akiota-cho Sightseeing Association in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, seems to be hoping as they try to lure city-dwellers to their 4th annual “Heavy Snow Region Experience Tour“. However, this tour has some net-users questioning why anyone would want to pay 5,000 yen (approximately US$50) to shovel snow for someone else.

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Volunteers clean up Tokyo after huge Halloween party, get called hypocrites for their service

This year, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood made a major push to establish itself as the place to celebrate Halloween in Japan’s capital. Things got off to a pretty low-key but still impressively creative start with a costume contest on one of the local train lines, but that was nothing compared to how jumping Shibuya was on the night of October 31.

Unfortunately, when you funnel that many people into one place, some of them are going to exhibit some pretty poor manners, as evidenced by the mounds of litter some revelers left behind. In response, volunteers sprang into action cleaning up the trash, but instead of a pat on the back for their hard work, some Twitter users decided to take them to task for what they felt was a shameless play for attention.

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Tohoku aid charity Knit For Japan attempts world record blanket

More than three years on from the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, there are still roughly 260,000 people living in temporary housing facilities. Since Tohoku gets mighty cold in the winter, sending these evacuees some lovely hand-made afghans is a woolly hug that lets them know they are not forgotten.

But that didn’t go far enough for Yokohama-based knitting teacher Bernd Kestler, who wanted to send them the biggest blanket the world has ever seen!

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Don’t judge a cat by its back, it’ll catch you unaware and send you into a giggling fit!

When we were young, most of our parents or teachers probably taught us not to judge a book by its cover. Well, here’s the continuation that we didn’t see coming. Don’t judge a cat by its back.

The HOTAC (Heart of Taiwan Animal Care) recently chanced upon a really unique cat that made their staff burst out in laughter. Are you curious to find out why? Photos of the funny feline after the jump!

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Used undies, rotten food, expired meds and other disaster “aid” Japan doesn’t want

Although it has been more than two and a half years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, much of the area is still in need of disaster aid for the recovery efforts. But before you look around your house for items to donate, take a look at what volunteer groups, local governments and aid recipients themselves would rather you keep at home. And you might be very surprised to what else Twitter users have deemed the most “unnecessary things at a disaster zone.”

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Pay it forward and experience the kindness of strangers at Tokyo’s Karma Kitchen

Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward? The one where 11-year-old Trevor has an idea to change the world for the better by, rather than repaying a favour like a debt to the person who did you that favour (pay back), the idea is that you “pay it forward” by doing something for someone else just for the sake of it. In the movie, the result of paying it forward was a miraculous chain of giving.

As great as it seemed in the movie, in practical terms it’s difficult to pay it forward and know that the kindness is passed on. But a small restaurant in Tokyo has embraced the idea and allows customers to literally pay their kindness forward to the next guest. Our Japanese reporter headed over to Karma Kitchen to gave it a try!

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1 Year After Tōhoku Earthquake FujiFilm Reports Over 1,000,000 Photos Rescued and Cleaned

Like with many natural disasters, governments and large corporations throw money and supplies in relief efforts.  Although the aid is greatly appreciated and needed by the victims, there is always this lingering cynicism that these donations were done out of self-serving motives.  Especially when said company releases an ad tooting their own horn about the contributions they made.

However, a largely unsung gesture by FujiFilm has recently celebrated its milestone of restoring over 1,000,000 photos recovered from earthquake devastated areas.  The cynic in you may ask what the big deal is about cleaning some photos when these people need food and shelter.

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