I had the privilege of spending a week with a group of Stanford and Rikkyo University students during an Impact Abroad trip in Japan. I listened to their process, helped them problem solve and think about their ideas, and sat with them as they shared their proposal with the mayor of Rikuzentakata.
Here we are at our first team lunch in Tokyo- shortly after deciding to become Sushi Berries.
Arriving in Rikuzentakata
Starting our day:
A lot of our time was spent hearing from community leaders, business owners, and city officials about their experiences with what happened and their work int he reconstruction.
The process was long and very communal. I was particularly impressed with my team's ability and interest in hearing every person's voice and giving everyone space to share their ideas and work together. The energy was consistently supportive and deeply engaged. Team Sushi Berry iterated many ideas until they distilled to two that were then shared with a senior city official and others in the program.
Sharing out their ideas:
Refining and prototyping:
Presenting Second Home:
The whole team with the mayor:
And then, we went home, to continue the conversation and the work.
There were many takeaways for me personally on this trip, and I know that in a deep way the trip changed my life. I hope to come back someday to Rikuzentakata-- to see their progress and to stay involved, and to keep in touch with the many wonderful people I was lucky enough to meet here in Japan. Once a Sushi Berry, always a Sushi Berry.
Director of Science Education, Haas Center for Public Service