A Sunday in Sendai – to TEDxTohoku


Today is a beautiful autumn Sunday.  I left Tokyo for Sendai early in the morning to participate in TEDxTohoku. 

ImpactJapan has been supporting TEDxTokyo since three years ago, but it was a while since I met Patrick and Todd, the organizers, last time.  This particular event, TEDxTohoku, was initiated by the young people as actions to respond to the great disaster.  The venue of this event is the kawauchi Hagi Hall at the Tohoku University.  It is a very good hall.

By the way, quite surprisingly, I came across Mr Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister, in the Shinkansen bullet train. Mr Abe was on his way to the coast line of Iwate Prefecture to deliver a lecture.  I asked him “If it is all right with you, would you like to stop by at Sendai upon your return and give us a small talk?”, but of course, this sudden invitation did not suit his itinerary.  I wished he could come, though..

Each speaker told wonderful stories and these talks were broadcasted live on the Ustream.  I think you they will be posted on internet soon.  The speakers were actually quite good story tellers.  One of the presentations I particularly liked was the one by Ms Hideko Oikawa , the president of the Oikawa Denim (in Japanese)  of Kesennuma city, and the ordeal of her,three sons and the company  The story itself was very moving but the way it was told – in a simple stammering manner -  was another element that so much moved us. The last presentation was given by Mr Paul Bennett of IDEO, who came all the way from California.  It was a message to Japan in metaphor using four animals. Unfortunately, the powerpoint slides did not work smooth enough so it made the speech a bit distracting.

Sendai is indeed the city of forests.  I enjoyed the beautiful autumn daylight and refreshening air outside the hall.  I joined in the reception, and left the place earlier to go back to Tokyo.

I very much enjoyed spending the day with youths who are working together to make Tohoku, the disaster stricken area,  a drive force in bringing changes in Japan.