|LIFE IN JAPAN
Time in Japan:
Where are you from?
San Jose, California.
What brought you to Japan?
I came to Japan on a scholarship to study Japanese in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. It
was a special course to help engineers do business in Japan with language and culture
What do you do?
I work for Texas Instruments as a program manager. I work on chips that go into your
Youre also involved in HOPE Worldwide. What is HOPE?
HOPE Worldwide is an organization that does a lot of volunteer work. They do things like
go to old folks homes, help out and spend time there, or assist at orphanages, or feed the
homeless and let them know we care.
What is the International Run for HOPE and what do you do for it?
Im just the coordinator. The run itself is a 10km relay run. There will be six
people on each team so you dont have to worry if youre out of shape because
youll only have to run about a mile! The goal is to raise $50,000 which will go to
the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE in Cambodia. $5000 supports one doctor, so were
hoping to support ten doctors at the hospital. In one year, ten doctors can treat two
hundred more patients per day or 60,000 more people per year. They say that only four
doctors survived the mass murders of the Khmer Rouge and now theres only one for
every 9500 persons. There are 25,000 to 40,000 amputees, and one amputee in every 300
inhabitants. The scariest thing is that there are nearly as many land mines as there are
people. This hospital is giving hope to those people.
How do we join the relay?
Its really easy. Just call our HOPE Worldwide Japan office and theyll make
sure you get an entry form. The deadline is April 8 so theres still time. The entry
fees are JY60,000 per team, so thats just JY10,000 per person. There will be raffles
and prizes for the team who raises the most money. I cant name the prizes yet but
there will definitely be good ones!
How does a team raise money?
Well, you have six people on your team so just get everyone to start asking their friends
and co-workers, companies, etc. for donations.
Whats the one thing a person should see in Japan before leaving?
Im an outdoors person so Im really partial. Mt. Fujis cool but you have
to see the Japan Alps; not just go and take pictures but hike it. Its so beautiful.
Whats your recipe for a successful life in Japan?
Find groups that are personally satisfying to you. For me, I found the Tokyo Church of
Christ where I became a Christian seven months ago. Although Im busy at work, I also
have a great way to relax and interact with people and spend my free time doing volunteer
work and other activities. And of course, I go out with friends.
Ira Bolden spoke to Maki Nibayashi.
For more information on HOPE Worldwide Japan call 03-3460-4430 from 9:30am to 5:30pm.
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