Friday, June 6, 2014

June 8 Minorities in Bangladesh - Speaker Tom Eskildsen

Next meeting Sunday June 8,
3:00 International House (Kokusai bunka Kaikan see their website for map). The International House of Japan is near Azabu-Juban and Roppongi stations.
All Welcome (bring a friend).

Mary Donovan is opening the meeting by introducing UU hymns in the spirit of Pete Seeger whose goal was to get everyone singing.

We welcome as speaker Tom Eskildsen, long time Tokyo resident, who is just back from 2 weeks in New York where he lobbied at the United Nations Permanent Forum on INDIGENOUS ISSUES on behalf of the problems of indigenous peoples (many Buddhist) in overwhelmingly Muslim Bangladesh.
He has been working on the 2007-2013 Chittagong Hills Tract White Paper that is due to be published in May.
How can one person make a difference?
He will introduce Bangladesh and speak about JUMMAnet an organization he helped to found here in Japan to aid especially the Chittagong Hills Tract People. Among other things it supports a long term project for rape victims and a scholarship program at Moanoghar
Residential School.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April, May, June and July Meetings


Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,

    Our Palm Sunday (April 13) speaker, Rabbi David Kunin, from the Jewish Community Center, spoke enthusiastically and with many details about the Passover and his Jewish faith and Judaic history.He spoke of himself (an American who arrived with his family from a position in Edmonton, Canada last fall) as a Conservative--keeping close in practice and daily life to the many commandments from the Torah and

tradition-- but socially and philosophically more radical than many Conservative Jews.

     The wealth of detail and nuances he gave us required a much more careful recorder than I, but let me share one comment about the great (most important in the year) Jewish festival of Passover, which developed from  spring agricultural festivals in north Africa (Egypt) and the near East when this was a time of wheat harvest and new lambs.

Passover (and the Seder meal) starts April 14th this year.

   I was struck by his teaching that Passover for him was less a celebration of the special chosen-ness of the people of Israel than a call to action to everyone to be involved in our societies and actively work to set ourselves, indeed all people,  free >> whether from actual slavery  or our enslavement to materialism. He spoke for example of the two midwives who are said to have saved the first borns in the Jewish families (the last plague on the Egyptians before the Pharaoh agreed to set the Israelites free--although he tried to renege  and sent his army after them only to have all his troops perish when the sea closed over them). They might even have been non-Jews and yet they are revered in Jewish tradition  for courageously acting.

 

Next MEETING Sunday May 11, from 1:00

>>>Movie and discussion "Inside Hana's Suitcase."

How do we teach the next generation about the Holocaust?
(Note: Advance tickets from Peggy required)
 
Unitarians (all welcome) will gather at Paul's, Yotsuya station Atre (F1), for light refreshments/discussion afterwards (around 4:00).

 

Sunday June 8, International House 3:00

    Our own Mary Donovan will lead us in some rousing Unitarian related songs at the beginning of the meeting.

Speaker:

   Tom Eskildsen, long term Japanese resident, will talk about the history and problems of Buddhist villagers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area of  overwhelmingly Muslim Bangladesh, and what he and the organization he helped to found >>JUMMAnet are doing. How can one person make a difference in the face of religious persecution?

 

Save July 13 for our annual potluck which will also be a  farewell party for Merry Levering  and Mary Donovan.

 

Peggy Kanada, moderator

Saturday, March 22, 2014

April 13 Rabbi David Kunin Explore Jewish traditions and beliefs

From: Peggy Kanada, moderator
Rabbi David Kunin from the Jewish Community Center of Tokyo explores Jewish traditions and beliefs  
 
April 13 3:00-5:00 PM, International House of Roppongi, 4th Floor  - open to everyone

Dear members and friends of the Fellowship,
Did you notice news of Rio's or New Orleans' "Carnival" and...
that we then entered the Christian 40 days of Lent on the next
day>>March 12 this year?
Lent is traditionally a time for reflection and abstinence in
preparation for Easter the greatest festival in the Christian year.
Lent/Easter changes every year based on the old lunar calendar
that is still maintained by Jews who inform us that Passover will
start April 15th this year. Because, of course, according to the New
Testament Jesus, a Jew and around the age of 30 , went up to the great
city and temple of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
And it was at Passover that Christians believe he was rounded
up, tried, executed and buried. "And on the third day rose from the
dead and later ascended into Heaven...from whence he shall come to
judge the quick and the dead".
Unitarians are part of a "living tradition..which draws from many
sources." We look to Judeo-Christian writings as an important
inspiration in our ethical and spiritual life. In particular we see in
Jewish and Christian teachings the call to us to respond to God's love
by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
In this season it is particularly appropriate to have Rabbi
David Kunin of the Jewish Community Center of Tokyo join us to talk
about the Passover and explore Jewish traditions and beliefs.

Sunday April 13 3:00-5:00 International House

Peggy Kanada, Moderator
unitarianfellowshipoftokyo@gmail.com

I hope to see many of you at our April meeting
POSTS

Nuclear Power at What Cost? Speaker Manu Mathai March 9th

Comments from our Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo meeting March 9, 2014 with Manu Mathai talking about Nuclear Energy and how we got to where we are.

 Manu Mathai (a research fellow in Science and Technology
for Sustainable Societies at UN University's Institute of Advanced
Studies) presented a stimulating talk and discussion about "Nuclear
Power--at what cost?"...

        His choice of graphs/visuals of the dire dangers the world
faces --even since 2008--was especially sobering. And the poor will
feel the pain and destruction of climate change/ food/ water shortages
etc. far sooner than we rich elites.
Mathai inspired us all to think more about possible answers
to the dilemmas of development and eradication of poverty (basic
justice and fairness) without nuclear power. He discussed some of the
inherent risks of nuclear power --which when there is not an emergency problem is
a short-term much cleaner producer of electricity than fossil fuels.
He had some details about the big demerit of lingering pollution--the
problem of waste from the power plants that we have already generated
in 50 years of nuclear power that will linger far longer than our two
thousand years that human's have been writing.

       How can we provide energy/electricity to populations in
countries like China and India whose growth is creating tremendous
material needs coupled with rising expectations?? 
 He graphically pointed out how humans have already overwhelmed the
limits of the natural ecosystem balance in many aspects of our world
and pushed us far closer to disaster than many of us understood
(especially with our use of fossil fuels). We are in the
"anthropocene" period when the impact of humans indeed is overwhelming
the other forces of nature and geology.
Mathai, when he touched on the history of nuclear power and
its promotion by the military and nation-states seeking to maintain
power (and the status quo), was particularly informative. With the
present framework of national governance and competition between
countries (he talked about foreign relations and policy) , with our
societies pushed by capitalist economics/business profits, with
incompetent politicians and dithering government bureaucrats finding
solutions seems as he pointed out particularly difficult.

          Mathai was not without hope, pointing to the example of
Germany that is being watched by the whole world for its commitment
not to use Nuclear Power. Mathai showed (and others mentioned in the
discussion that followed) a few examples of how we could so much
better use and distribute the material goods we have now (NOT more
growth--but fairer sharing for all people's wellbeing). For example
with policy to encourage bicycles not automobiles. Thermal energy.
How to change people's ways of thinking and living?

 Peggy Kanada, moderator, March 11, 2014

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dec. 8 Seasonal Potpourri

December 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm, Sunday
Place: International House of Japan
Hosts: Miriam Levering, Mary Donovan

Join with members and non-members alike in celebrating the seasons by bringing a reading, sharing a memory, telling a joke, bringing a poem, or songs to sing. There are 5 holidays to remember at this time of year: Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year’s. Serious or humorous, there’s lots to share among these holidays. If you can bring a few copies to share (or copy in the IHJ library before the meeting) that would be great (10 if possible). Some Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs plus Truman Capote’s a Christmas Memory will be on hand. Please come and join us. Bring something or come to listen, we want to see you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nov. 10 meeting Cybercrime - Pauline C. Reich, lawyer and professor


Pauline C. Reich is an American lawyer and has been a tenured professor at Waseda University School of Law since 1995. She is the Founder and Director of the Asia-Pacific Cyberlaw, Cybercrime and Internet Security Research Institute at Waseda, and is a member of the American Bar Association Section of Science and Technology, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the Regional Asia Information Security Exchange and the Japan Information Law Association. Her publications include LAW, POLICY AND TECHNOLOGY: CYBERTERRORISM, INFORMATION WARFARE AND INTERNET IMMOBILIZATION (IGI Global, 2012) and the law treatise CYBERCRIME AND SECURITY (Thomson Reuters/West), now over 4000 pages in length and updated quarterly. 

 

Professor Reich will speak about the Snowden/NSA/PRISM situation with respect to its background, US law, pending and prior litigation by privacy and civil liberties groups, laws in other countries with respect to privacy and data protection, and the ethical dilemmas in balancing national security with constitutional/civil liberties and privacy protections of citizens and non-citizens.

 

We would love to see you at this event for an informative and lively talk.

 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oct. 13 Art and Human Development - John Clammer


Please invite a friend to join us for this interesting talk from a scholar of developing economies(especially in Southeast Asia) whose recent research includes an examination of so called tribal people's cultures--what is art? what is modern? extending perhaps to thinking about what is essential to being human?
 
John, has been associated with the United Nations University for over a decade, and is now visiting professor.  He has written fifteen books, including “Diaspora and Identity: The Sociology of Culture in Southeast Asia” (2003), “Race and State in Independent Singapore: The Cultural Politics of Pluralism in a Multiethnic Society” (1998); Japan and Its Others: Globalization, Difference and the Critique of Modernity” (2001) and “Diaspora and Belief: Globalization, Religion and Identity in Postcolonial Asia” (2009).


You can read more about him at
 

John has generously spoken to us several times, and we always find his talks stimulating, informative and enjoyable.

Hope to see you at the International House of Roppongi at 3 pm October 13 on the fourth floor meeting room.   Everyone is welcome to this and all monthly meetings of the Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo where we welcome new people and both new and old thoughts.



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