Debito-san in the 'zone'
Kamesei Ryokan was proud to host a series of talks by Debito Arudo. This morning's was sponsored by the Chikuma Int'l Cultural Exchange Assoc. Approximately 20 people attended and heard about how Japan's population is becoming more international, and some of the dynamics that are resulting. On one hand, foreigners are increasingly contributing to Japan's society and economy, bringing desired effects to offset Japan's aging and shrinking population. On the other hand, foreigners are often villified in society.
In my own personal case, on one hand I am often complimented by people in town for working so hard to carry on the ryokan tradition here at Kamesei and my efforts to 'enliven' the town. On the other hand, there was a time I was refused an apartment here in Nagano simply because I was a foreigner. Of course similar prejudice happens in all countries, but here in Japan there are no laws against it. Yes, illegalizing discrimination doesn't make it go away, but that's of little comfort to someone who has been refused a basic human right like shelter.
After the talk, someone from Chikuma City Hall inquired about getting Debito-san back to give a talk to the city employees. I'm happy Kamesei was able to play a role in producing such positive results!