Tagged: One Young World

Diary: 01/19/2013 Sat.

Second day of my short trip began with American breakfast at the hotel. As it was a buffet-style restaurant, I couldn’t help picking up too much food (but of course I ate all). My friend picked me up at 1pm and she took me to the lunch. The place was unique, cos it was a dinner using a renovated building of a church. She said in Pittsburgh Catholic has a plenty of donation and built so many churches, and some of them are now not used for in an original way. I ate a buffalo burger(I’ve never eaten it). In the afternoon I attended an event which she organizes and aims to empower young adults with disabilities and their parents. She and a few other presenters showed dynamic presentations and told attendees about networking. I talked with her in person various things, including an encounter at the One Young World Summit last year, my impression at the summit, public perspectives and attitude around disability issue, her motivation and passion, and so on. Time passed so fast, but it was so wonderful trip. On my map of U.S.A., one another place has been added with which I can imagine visible face of friends.

ホテルのビュッフェで朝食。アメリカの食事、シンプルでけっこう好きだな。ものっすご繊細な味付けの純和食を前にした時のような緊張感がなくて楽っちゃ楽。毎日続くと飽きるし太るだろうけど。味が単純だからついたくさん食べちゃう。気温もほどよく高く、いい天気。お昼すぎに車で迎え手に来てもらって、お昼は教会をリノベーションしたダイナーで食べる。ピッツバーグはカトリックが強くて、資金も潤沢だから教会施設をたくさん建てたんだって。それで余ったり老朽化した施設をこうしてリノベーションするわけか。バッファローバーガーってのがあってそんなお肉食べたことないから注文してみた。まぁまぁ美味しい。食事中、移動中、イベントの前後、今日は二人で色んなことを語った。去年出たサミットは、人が多すぎて、時間も短すぎたね。当時僕が会場へ投げかけた質問の意図とか、彼女自身その時、あるいは日々感じる視線とか、日本やアメリカで心身の障害を持つ人を取り巻く環境のこととか、彼女がピッツバーグで、僕が石巻でやってきたこととか、彼女を前へと推し進める動機とか。良かった。もう一度会って、話せて本当に良かった。夕方は、彼女が主催するイベントへ。障害を持つ若者とその親御さんを対象にしたエンパワメントのイベント。それから、ピッツバーグで一番評判が良いという日本料理のレストラン(こっちではSushi Barという)へ。イベントで軽食が出たから握りを4貫だけ頼んだけど、想像してた以上に美味しかった。日本酒はイマイチだったけど。他のみんなはカリフォルニアロールとか食ってた。あっという間の2日間。明日の昼便でNYへ帰る。大きな大きなアメリカの地図の中に、友達の顔が思い浮かぶ土地が、一つ増えました。ピッツバーグ。またね。

Diary: 01/18/2013 Fri.

My short trip started from 125th street of Harlem, under the perfect blue sky with cotton candy-like clouds. Destination is Pittsburgh. This is the first time to use LaGuardia Airport, Queens. Only one and half hour flight took me back to Pittsburgh again. My purpose of this trip is to meet again one of the delegates of the last year’s One Young World Summit and attend her event. As it was busy event last October, this is first time to see and go around downton of Pittsburgh during the day-time. Though it was only a couple of hours, I enjoyed myself. At night I meet with her and her friends and have dinner at a German style restaurant. She booked a room at a hotel for me to stay tonight because as she previously got a free voucher. I really thank her kindness…

125th Street、ハーレム発のバスでLaGuardia Airportへ。週末ショートトリップ、目的地はピッツバーグ。去年の秋のお話の続きを。綿菓子のような雲に澄んだ青空、パーフェクトスカイ。1時間半のフライトでピッツバーグに到着。空港からバスに乗ってダウンタウンへ。到着したのは4時過ぎ。2時間ほど町内を散策してから、その会う予定だった女性と、彼女の友達と合流して夕食を。観光と言ってもそれほど見るものは無いのだけど、穏やかで景色も美しくて、住むには良い街なんだろうなと思う。ドイツ風の料理を食べながら2時間ほどみんなで会話を楽しむ。ご飯、ご馳走になっちゃって、更に夜は彼女がホテルの一室を予約してくれてそこに泊まることに。他の人の家に泊めてもらう予定が、その人が夜外出することになって合流が難しくなったから相談したら、イベントでタダ券もらったし、自分では使う機会がないからって、わざわざ手配してくれた。かたじけない。もともと泊まる予定だった人のところには翌日お世話になることに。異国の地でも親切な人々に助けられちゃって…かたじけない。

Diary: 10/21/2012 Sun.

One Young World Summit 2012 Day 4

Today was the final day of the summit. Many of the contents were interesting, but I felt a little uncomfortableness with an explicit political direction of the organizers, selection bias of the guest speakers and delegates, and innocent mood. At the beginning of the session on the second 2, the organizers asked us a question about which Obama or Romney we prefer, and we had to choose one by a hand device. Then they said the result of the voting would be on the Sunday issue of Wall Street Journal. Having delegates voting to one candidate itself was political, bur it happens in such an event. But what was terrible, the female organizer pointed directly the face of Obama on the screen during the time we were clicking the botton! The result published today was, 87% for Obama and 13% for Romney. Ok, ok, the result itself was not surprising. Here is Pittsburgh where democrats are strong then republicans, and most of delegates coming to such an event may have liberal and progressive viewpoints. I’m neither a democrat nor republican, and not for Romney. But… when the female organizer loudly said “You are smart!” by showing the result with dominant votes for Obama, I felt it was totally inappropriate and unfair manner as the organizer. Ok, I can easily guess the organizers and event sponsors are for Obama, and I’m not so fool to be surprised to know the result of the voting. And of course I know it is impossible to completely eliminate a bias. Every people have a particular political preference and bias, including me. But at least we should be aware of our own bias and should make efforts to be as fair as possible. But, she explicitly showed her, or the summit’s own political direction and made tacit pressure to vote for Obama. How did those who voted for Romney feel when she said “You are smart!” (obviously this ‘you’ meant those who vote for Obama, not Romney). At many sessions, both organizers and speakers emphasized the ideal values such as ‘equality,’ ‘diversity’ or ‘respect.’ when they talk about ‘social’ issues such as education, health and poverty etc. But their innocent optimism seems to make them blind or unaware about their political tendency and making tacit pressure or mood for voting. That may have created a kind of dubiousness I felt during the summit.

司会を担当するオーガナイザーの二人が、2日目のセッション開始時に、オバマとロムニーどちらを支持するかという投票を僕たちにさせるということをした。スクリーンにオバマとロムニーの顔が映され、手持ちのデバイスで1か2のボタンを押すという形式だ。それ自体政治的なんだけど、まぁ許容範囲として。「うわぁ…」と思ったのは、女性の方のオーガナイザーが、僕らが投票ボタンを押している10秒ほどの時間に、スクリーンの下に駆け寄って、オバマの顔を指さしたのだ。暗にそちらへの投票を促すようなジェスチャーである。「それ、どうなの?」と思ってたら、この投票結果は日曜日(つまりこの日記が記している10月21日)のウォール・ストリート・ジャーナルに載るということだ。あぁなるほどな、と。で、今日午前のセッション開始前に、僕らにも結果が見せられた。オバマ87%のロムニー13%だったかな。まぁ、結果自体は驚くことではないよ。ここはピッツバーグで民主党優勢だし(ピッツバーグ単位でのdelegatesも参加していた)、こういう意識の高いサミットに集まるような若者は、そりゃオバマ支持派が多いだろう。しかしさぁ、オーガナイザーが明確に自身の政治的嗜好を壇上で示して、その方向へ露骨に誘導するってのはどうなの。開票結果がスクリーンに写った途端、前列の座席に座るdelegatesは無邪気に喝采を上げていて、それでもってその司会のオバサンが声高に”You are smart!”って言ったのね。おいおい、そりゃないだろ。ここでのSmartって明らかにオバマに票を入れた87%を対象にしていて、ロムニー支持の13%はsmartではないってニュアンスでしょ。それまでのセッションでさんざん「平等」とか「多様性」とか「尊敬」とかいう綺麗な言葉で、貧困問題やジェンダーマイノリティや障害者の問題を語っておきながら、最後にこれかよ、と。平等や多様性はどこへやら。僕もそこまで馬鹿ではないから、スポンサーや主催者の政治的趣向がこういうイベントに反映されることはままあることだって分かっているし、自分含め誰もがバイアスは持っていてそれを完全に取り除くことが出来ないということも分かっている。しかしさぁ、少なくとも自分の持っているバイアスに自覚的であるべきだし、なるべくフェアである努力はすべきでしょ。とりわけこういうイベントなら。表向きはアメリカの選挙や政治とは関係のないテーマのイベントなのだから、主催者が壇上に上がって喋る時の立ち振舞いや言動は最低限の公正さを備えてないとまずいでしょ。


休憩時間にオーガナイザーに意見しに行こうと走り寄ったのだけど、打ち合わせやらなんやらで忙しいのか早々に幕裏に入っていってしまって機会を逸した。’You are smart!’ってオバサンが叫んだ瞬間に手を上げてマイクに走り寄って異議申立て、ぐらいの判断と勇気とスピード感が必要だったかな。後の祭りだが。


Diary: 10/20/2012 Sat.

One Young World Summit 2012 Day 3

Today was the memorable day for me at the session about health. The theme of the health session was equal opportunity for people with disabilities. After the speakers’ presentations, I threw a question to the floor audience. I wrote about that as an essay here.

The evening was also precious time. Delegates had opportunities to visit local residents and had dinner with them. After the several sessions and breakout discussion, we got on a bus and went through the town, and arrived at on house. It was just like an typical image about traditional ages of American life. The house was much larger than the average ones in Japan, and the family welcomed us. After chatting for 30 to 40 minutes with wine and light meal, we sat on the same table. The housefather gave us a short greeting with a few jokes, thanked god for our meeting and then started dinner. I heard from the housemother that there are many international residents here in Pittsburgh, and restaurants of foreign cuisine. Today’s dinner also consisted of various countries’ food including Italian gnocchi, Spanish and Pittsburgh local cuisine (which I didin’t remember the name). It was delicious, and the talk was fun. After finishing the dinner, the housefather played the piano for us. One of the songs was one favorite “Piano man” by Billy Joel. It was so delightful time.

Here Pittsburgh is a beautiful city. Autumn air and trees gave me a peaceful time.



Diary: 10/19/2012 Fri.

One Young World Summit 2012 Day 2

From 7am to about 10pm, there are so many programs with little breaks. Most of the program was consisted of Speech of guests (so many big names) and delegates who introduced their recent actions (most of delegates speakers were involved in self-organized activities, social business or NPO activities). Today’s main topics were Education and Food revolution.

What was funny for me was, almost all of them organizers, guest speakers and delegate speakers mentioned about Facebook and Twitter like “You can take action by now and make the change through social media, Twitter and Facebook!” Well, interesting and good speeches they made, but the mood of the summit was a little odd. The contents were interesting, but they seemed to lack diverse and critical perspectives. It was my first impression, but soon I understood, this summit is a place for advocacy and performance, not for critical discussion. Here is the place for networking, feeling a sense of unity. OK, I don’t blame that. In fact, some of the speakers were so good at delivering their own messages to the mass. While I’m not a so good speaker or performer, it was a good lesson for me on that point.

When getting back the hotel at night, I heard from at the desk that my room had been changed. I moved to the new room, and shared with another delegate. He’s from Norway (now studying at York Univ. in UK though).

朝7時の朝食から、夜10時頃のホテル帰還まで、なんやかんや詰め詰めの一日。プログラムの大半は、guest speakersおよびdelegatesによるスピーチと、それに対する会場からの他のdelegatesによる質疑応答で過ぎていく。一人ひとりユニークな活動をしていて、それは良かったのだけど、ほぼ全員が何かにつけTwitterとFacebookの可能性だのを強調していて、「お、おぅ…」ってなった。それから、質疑応答といっても、ほとんど全て形を変えたスピーチのようなものだった。なんせdelegatesは総勢1,200名ぐらいいて、会場のわずか4,5本のマイクに殺到するもんだから、一人あたり1分で好きなこと主張して交代していくってな光景で、それら一つ一つを拾ってまたディスカッションを展開するという余裕も無かった。「あぁ、つまりこれはショー」なんだな、とほどなくして理解した。批判的・建設的な意見を交換し、議論を積み重ねていくための場ではなく、世界180カ国から集まった若者が自己を表現するハレの舞台なのだな、と。僕個人としてはもう少し違った雰囲気や内奥を予想・期待していたのだけど。チケット含めた諸々の連絡が何かの手違いでサミット2日前に届くというアレだったから、あまり全体像を理解出来ぬまま臨んだから少し拍子抜けしたが、まぁこれはこれで、文句は言うまい。にしてもみんなエネルギッシュだなぁ、と、呑気な日本人は感心しておりました。


Diary: 10/18/2012 Thu.

One Young World Summit 2012 Day 1

This is the first day of the summit, but for my mistake, I missed the early morning airplane from JFK to Pittsburgh… I left my room around 5am but failed to change the train at at the station near JFK. That made only 20 minutes delay but resulted in the closed check in.

By the way, there was a pigeon inside the JFK airport. Strange…

I had to take an evening plane and only arrived at Pittsburgh Airport 6:30pm. A service staff picked me and another delegate from Grenada, she also missed her plane and took us to the hotel to stay. She, the delegate of Grenada is the only one delegate from her country, and works as a high school teacher. During the drive to the hotel he explained us about Pittsburgh. Compared to NY, there are not so many train lines and they commonly move by cars. The city seemed very safe and in a quiet mood. Most of the shops has been already closed. Buildings of the town around he river and bridges were beautiful.

After checking in the hotel, I could join the opening party at the large bridge. I talked with 4 or 5 delegates and had a good time. Most of them whom I talked today are designers (one is from France, another one is from Taiwanese, and the other one is a country, I didin’t hear the name well though, in Africa). I talked about my project in Ishinomaki that collaborate with product a designer, and they looked feel interested in, thankfully. I do believe a power of design to solve social problems.

Anyway, the main programs of the summit will start tomorrow. I’m really looking forward.