Safia Minney

Safia MinneyOccupation:
Founder of Global Village

Time in Japan:
Nine years

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 be?
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 3705-0255.

Safia Minnery spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at
248.9: Safia Minney
Founder of Global Village
247: Dimitri Herskovits
Marketing Consultant and Artist
246: Simon Setter
Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist
245: Jett Edwards
Music Producer
244: Yukiko Leitch
243: Ranjit Wickremasinghe
242: Fr. Jacques F. La Pointe
Franciscan Priest
241: Kyle Sexton
240: Stephen Mansfield
239: Darren Friend
Aikido Instructor
238: Didi Ananda Krsnaprema
Meditation and Yoga Teacher
237: Jason Angove
Fire Dancer/Professional Dancer
236: Susan Pompian
234: Jon Lynch
Music Promoter
233: Paula Terry
Singer and Recording Artist
232: Nikita Deo
231: Amy Chavez
Writer, Humor Columnist
230: Marco Bosco
229: Rick Kennedy
Author/Content Editor of Tokyo Q
228: Traci Consoli-Korenata
227: Ray Belscher
Computer Contractor
226: Robert Garside
Running the World
225: Thomas Paul
DJ, Dancer, Rapper and Party Organizer
4: Dr. Chieko McKinstry
Cosmetic Surgeon
223: Philip Harper
222: Paul Davies
221: Anna Livia Plaurel Belle
Writer, Literary Review Editor
220: George Williams
219: Eve Howard
Joint Owner Amphora Aromatics
218: Dr. Allen Robinson
Counseling Psychologist
217: Steve McClure
Writer, Tokyo Bureau Chief
216: Karen Wenk-Jordan
President, Wenk-Jordan and Company
215: Russ Veillard
214: Dru Robertson
"Sponsorship Evangelist"
213: Warren Arbuckles
Managind Director
212: Guo Liang
Qu Gong Healer, Tai Chi Teacher
211: Gerald Genteman
President and Executive Creative Director
210: Michelle Dorion
VP Asia Pacific Marketing
209: John Robinson
DJ at Velfarre
208: Jeff Libengood
Strength/Conditioning Coach
207: John Shelley
206: James Myers
Marketing Officer
204: Raj Ramayya
202: William Swinton
Membership Manager
201: Richard G. Roa
Representative Director
200: Cathy Bernatt
President of Wanderlust Adventures

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