One week at Schumacher College


From September 5th to 11th, my students and I visited Schumacher College in Devon, England, where we had one inspiring week with Satish Kumar and other wonderful teachers and students. For the "Introduction to a new mindset," thank you again, Satish and everyone!
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Schumacher College


I finally visited Schumacher College in Devon, England, and spend a wonderful, inspring time with Satish Kumar and his colleague.

I am looking forward to returning there this fall for a study tour for my students.
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Nam Hee and I visited Cheju Island and climbed the Korea's highest peak Harla-san.
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Journey in Korea March 2010-1


Traveled in Korea with the writer friend Kim Nam Hee. For the book we will be writing together we visited Silsan-sa temple in Chirisan mountains, interviewed Do Bop, spiritual leader of the Life-Peace Movement and the head priest of the temple.
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back from India and Thailand


Though this was my third trip to Ladakh, it was the first one in winter.

View from a hill in Leh-the highest peak in the picture is Stock Kangri, 6123 M, the highest in Ladakh.
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With my friend Pema Gyalpo in Punakha Zong, Bhutan


Here is my lecture at "Sustainable College" in Tokyo last fall.

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GNH in Bhutan


I have been to Bhutan 6 times. In Septemeber last year I and my studnets were camping in the Ha'a region when we saw a rainbow in the forest.

Bhutan is a country with a philosophy of GNH.

Hope this year is the beginning of the big shift in the world from GNP (Gross National Products) to GNH (Gross National Happiness).
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This is my new book, Shinaikoto, or Non-Doing for Slow Life.

Wishing 2010 be a good year for all.
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Sotdae for the new year

skybird on T-shirt.JPG

May 2010 be a slow, joyful and peaceful year for all.

A few years ago while walking around the Insadong area of Seoul, I found the the poem below on a T-shirt.
3 weeks ago my friends Yoshioka, owner of Cafe Slow, and Kim Namhee, travel writer, found a real Sotdae in an antique store in Seoul brought it back to Japan. It will be placed at Cafe Slow on the first day of operation in the new year.


I am a bird. When I fold my tired wings and rest with my fest on the branch, the cosmic tree rooted in the earth gets solace from my messages. My messages are not always full of hope, only because words from heaven are fair and strict. However bad the news might be, however, they cannot be worse than the torturing darkness, unavoidable fate of those without wings. I am the prophet who delivers the sounds of the heaven, the earth, and under. I am the heavenly bird, SOTDAE.

(also on the same T-shirt)
SOTDAE is a bird image mounted high on top of a long stick. It is an artifact made of wood. This simple and clear image, however, manifests the deep understanding of the universe of Korean people. SOTDAE symbolizes the faith in heaven by combining the cosmic tree and the sky bird. It is an excellent art that drove the human imagination to its maximum while removing all redundant explanations.
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Partying with Mika's spirit

What a party!
100 friends gathered at Cafe Slow to celebrate Mika’s exhbition, “Hana-tachi no Natsukashii Ashita (The Flowers and their Nostalgic Tomorrow)”

Musicians dedicating their music were internationally well-known classical musicians Seppo Kimanen and Yoshiko Arai, jazz pianist Ritsuco Endo, and vocalist Fuyuta Matsuya. We showed a video message and song by singer Shigeko Suzuki, as well as parts of the recently completed film Kotsunagi, about the history of the dispute over traditional common lands in Iwate Prefecture. My friend Misago Chizuru, writer and Tsuda Juku University professor of public health, also spoke. My elder brother, the architect Goichi Oiwa, co-hosted the party with me.
read more
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Mika's Art Show

On The Day.jpg
This Sunday evening will be the opening of my mother’s art, at Cafe Slow in Kokubunji, Tokyo. The show will be up from July 3-12, so please stop by.
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From Finland to the rice fields


The Japan-Finland Slow Life Seminar, “Time, Technology, and Well-Being” finished on a great note. The last day at Meiji Gakuin Shirokane Campus featured keynote speeches by Timo Airlaksinen and Heta Gyulling from the Philosophy department of the University of Helsinki. In the evening session, between the two wrap-up sessions we were lucky to have a mini-concert by internationally renowned musicians Seppo Kimanen and Yoshiko Arai, founders of the Siberius Quartet.

I was pretty tired after all these events. Still, this morning I joined my students at Maioka Nature Park in Totsuka. We transplanted rice seedlings into the tambo, or rice fields. Now, I am refreshed.
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Towards an economiy of Happiness

I will be speaking on the topic of moving from GNP to GNH at an event on June 25 at the German Institute for Japanese Studies, in Tokyo. More information on the event can be found here.

I look forward to seeing friends new and old at this event, and sharing a lively discussion.
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I was in Finland from the end of April to early May. So now I know everything about Finland — ask me anything! Haha. I am totally ready for the seminar that I have jointly planned and organized with my Finnish friend, Seppo Kimanen, the renowned cellist and the cultural attache of the Finnish Embassy in Japan. Here are some details about the upcoming seminars I’ll be participating in, starting on May 30, 2009. Two philosophers from Helsinki University and the inventor Yasuyuki Fujimura will join us as well. Feel free to stop by.
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Update from Totsuka

This weekend I’ll be attending the International Eco-Village Conference in Tokyo. My lecture will be on April 26th, titled Re-Localization and Slow Life. I will also be MC-ing a workshop called Eco-Villages and Mental Illness. This dovetails with my newly released Yukkuri Notebook on Bethel House, an alternative mental health center in Urakawa, southern Hokkaido. Please come if you are in the Tokyo area.read more
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Helena in Japan

My friend and renowned ecologist Helena Norberg-Hodge is now in Japan, and I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with her, interviewing her in hopes that we can eventually publish our talks in book form. Today is the first day of the World Buddhist Forum in Tokyo, where she will be one of the keynote speakers along with Joanna Macy. Unfortunately I cannot participate this weekend, but on Sunday I will continue with my interview with her and on Monday I will join her onstage for a gathering at the University of Tokyo. There, she will be showing a rough cut of her forthcoming documentary film, “The Economics of Happiness.”
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Peace and Green Boat 2008

On November 21, I will leave from Kobe to join the Peace and Green Boat. I will be the main coordinator of the programs taking place on board. Guest lecturers on board besides myself include Douglas Lummis, Chinen Ushi, Okinawan rapper Kakumakushaka, and many scholars and activists from Korea. I am very excited.
More information about the Peace and Green Boat can be found on their website.
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