Japan and Pacific Islands Countries face similar problems— self starters solve them

japan 01NOV 09, 2015 - This very different issue of The Kaselehlie Press contains six articles based on a visit to Japan by five Pacific Islands' senior journalists who were invited by the Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC). Details of the trip were organized by Japan's Foreign Press Center.
Though many of Japan's challenges are similar to those of Pacific Island Countries, their responses are also quite different.
For instance, Japan is the home of square watermelons grown specifically to fit more conveniently into refrigerators.
Japan's advanced public transportation system can get a passenger almost anywhere they need to be precisely on time. The sidewalks around those transportation centers have raised bumps, a sort of "Braille for the feet" for passengers with visual impairments.

Journalists heard a robot play a convincing performance of "Pomp and Circumstances" on a violin at the Toyota Plant in Toyota City. We later watched other robots performing the hundreds of repetitive welds necessary to build several different models of Toyota vehicles.
Japan has smart cars, smart houses, and even smart parking meters.
Some of the technology you will read about in this issue may someday help the FSM with problems like fossil fuel importation, the same problem that Japan faces.japan 02

If the APIC tour had been about Japanese braggadocio, the stories in this issue might be interesting only in a, "Hmmm, I didn't know they could do that," sort of way, but none of them would have mattered to you much.
But the journalists also had visits with people who thought big and who took one small step, and another, and another until their dreams were realized for the good of their people and for themselves.
You will read about Michi Ogawa and her business, Kyoto Association of Women which teaches interested foreigners about Japanese tradition and culture, including international Heads of State and Hollywood actors along with "regular" people.
You will read about Hiroshi Kogachi and his organization that decided in the 1990's that if the Okinawa government wouldn't do recycling, they would, and they did.
japan 03The FSM has its own self starters; people who have decided to do whatever is needed in order to get things done. Like Japan's self starters, even the big technological self starters, those people had a dream and started taking small steps with or without government support. They didn't sit around waiting for someone to do it for them. They did it themselves by taking baby steps.
In the FSM, schools, river restoration projects, domestic violence and gender education programs, conservation projects, trash projects, and many others have begun because self starters didn't wait for someone to do it for them. Those "projects" may have needed help from "the outside" but they have started.
If the APIC visit had one overriding message it would be that sometimes all it takes is a big idea and baby steps.
I hope this issue serves as encouragement for all of the self starters in the FSM.
Bill Jaynes
Managing Editor
The Kaselehlie Press

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