Inbound Ambassador

Week 8 SSL Summary

Week 8 featured a nature educator, kimono repurposed accessories, modern tatami art, beach clean-ups, Kyushu + student support.

Insects Education

Learned so much here from the bug guy, Kevin O’Shea who is passing on enthusiasm for insects with his kids and students. One of the most surprising things I learned was that Japan doesn’t have any hummingbirds, but there is a moth that mimics its movements- such a surprise! If you have any questions on wildlife in Japan, make sure to ask Kevin via his YouTube, Facebook or Twitter – find all the links on YouTube video below. I love all Kevin’s insights on education and his passion for wildlife – he is always my go-to source for any wildlife questions I have.


Reuse Beauty

Victoria Close is a Tokyo-based female entrepreneur with a savvy business sense in addition to being a talented artist and craftsperson. Talking with Victoria Close of Bikudesigns for #SSL37 offered so many great insights into what drives her to create and how the spirit of “mottainai” is in her DNA.

Fun and quirky, adaptable as well as comfortable fashion that will spice up a busy mom’s day or dress up a working woman’s night – these are the targets of Bikudesign accessories.

Find all the Bikudesigns links on the YouTube video description. I look forward to collecting some of the Bikudesign accessories and giving my tired outfits a fun and fresh look.


Tatami Art

Talking with fifth-generation Tatami craftsperson Kenji Yamada -with language and traditional culture assist from the amazing Paprika-Girl– taught me a lot about his motivational entrepreneurial drive to experiment and expand on the traditional design. I’d love to replace my old tatami with some of his stunning geometric or wave designs.

Beach Clean-Up CSR

Alana Bonzi of the SEGO NPO here talks about the necessity of collaboration and B2B work for non-profits like hers trying to raise awareness of environmental issues only possible with corporate funding for the projects. She has so many various projects in the works and collaborates with her partner’s Tiwal Japan inflatable dinghy sailboat company as well – both SEGO and Tiwal have the shared focus on creating awareness of ocean pollution issues. I hope to hear more about their art projects, Fujisawa beach cleaning, and even try one of the fun inflatable sailboats too sometime soon.

Kyushu Travel Ideas

We barely scratched the surface of potential post-covid19 travel ideas for Japan’s southern island of Kyushu– I hope this is a theme we can return to each month as we seek out high-quality, less crowded, sustainable tourism destinations. We revisit the Shochu talk and Sengan-En discussions as well as many of Motoyuki Ide’s personal favorites from his work as a KyushuGokoro travel agent based in Fukuoka.

Tutoring Students + Empowering Women

Kirsten O’Connor is a powerful force for good in the world of international education in Japan- in this discussion she shared so much of her passion for helping children reach their potential by fostering a love of reading and active learning. We also talk about Kirsten’s role as president of the FEW (For Empowering Women) organisation in Tokyo which has been transitioning now during the coronavirus crisis to an online platform that is more inclusive of a wider group of women from across Japan and even across the world who are seeking mentorship and a supportive female community.