Founder of Global Village Time in Japan:
What do you do
here? I' the founder of a citizens' group called Global Village, which has been
running for seven years. I'm also the president of Fair Trade Company, an ethical company
established to work directly with Third World farmers' cooperatives and handicrafts
projects. We campaign on environmental and Third World issues. We also run the Fair Trade
Program, which works with 70 groups in 15 countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
What is fair trade?
Fair Trade offers income-generating opportunities to marginalized and disadvantaged people
like refugees, indigenous people, widows, seasonal farm laborers, and the physically
challenged. The program helps people to help themselves, by paying fair wages and
providing health and educational support. I'm responsible for producing the Earth
Catalogue, a catalogue which promotes their products. This project keeps me and the team
up until 2am most mornings!
Where are you from?
From the UK.
What brought you to Japan?
I came to Japan for a new "life experience" and to study environmental issues
from an Asian perspective.
Are you planning to stay?
Yes, years and years. I have no plans to leave.
Tell us about your commute to work.
My office is in my house in Noge, so it takes ten steps to commute to work! From about two
years ago I stopped getting up and running to the fax to see what came in because I got so
used to the sound.
What do you like most about Japan?
I like traditional Japanese food, genmai, the mountains, the people. The people I
work with are all committed to ecology and human rights and we share the same values
despite being from places all around the world.
What do you dislike most about Japan?
Too much concrete.
Do you organize your CDs alpahabetically?
I organize my CDs geographically!
What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan?
Taking my baby to important business meetings and breast feeding, and being forgiven
because I tell them that's what we do at home in Britain.
What do you sing in the shower?
People in the office are listening so I can't sing. On Sundays when people aren't here I
sing Russian songs.
If you could take one thing back from Japan to your native country, what would it
The sense of community and team work, tofu, ofuro... whoops, that's three!
Where's your favorite place to eat or drink in Tokyo?
I really like organic and vegetarian places, like Ecru in Daikanyama.
Where would you like to be when the big one hits?
I would like to be in my bed with my partner and kids.
Where would you like to be New Year's Eve of 1999?
In Britain, dancing in a club or with my family.
You have to spend the rest of your life trapped on the Yamanote line. You're allowed to
take one book, one CD and one luxury item. What would they be?
The book would be "Small is Beautiful" by E.F. Schumacher, the CD It's a
Global Village by Deelite and the luxury item: one day off a week.
To get your copy of
the Earth Gatalogue (printed on 100 percent paper), or find more about Global Village,
write to Global Village, Noge 1-13-16 Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0092, call 3705-0233 or fax
Safia Minnery spoke to Maki Nibayashi.