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Multicultural Volunteers

2_16   "Back then, we used to deliberately leave the roads in gravel to prevent outsiders from coming in. Today, we have volunteers coming to help from all over the world, and I feel I need to adjust my way of thinking to today's flow. Iketani has become international now, too."1_24

    This is what one Iketani villager told us during the 3rd Niigata Agriculture Volunteer Program.

    From the 2-4 of June, 15 employees from a foreign-affiliated company in Tokyo engaged in volunteer activities at Iketani.

    Accepting such participants was a first for both JEN and the people at Iketani. American, Indian, and Romanian nationals helped plant rice seedlings, as well as 7000 seedlings of sweet potatoes. The participants worked at an unbelievable pace, completing work that would usually take 2-3 days for the elderly villagers, in a mere half day.

    Said one participant, sharing a bottle of sake with a villager: "Iketani is such a special place. This was the most fun weekend I have spent since coming to Japan-I definitely want to come back."

September 7, 2006 in Niigata |