Italians For Tohoku – Grazie mille!
A few hours ago, as by a miracle, the heavy rains we’ve been having in Tokyo since yesterday evening stopped at exactly noon, just when the annual Aoyama International Festival was scheduled to start. As usual I wasn’t one to give up on an interesting festival just for a little rain, but even though I had an umbrella I was pretty much drenched just getting to the subway station. The festival started without any trouble at all, and although the crowds were pretty much nonexistent the traditional parade of different foreign and cultural groups took place as planned. One of the parading groups were the “Italians For Tohoku” who had the honor to represent Italy. I recognized Mr. Marco Staccioli (right on first picture, and last picture) who together with the group had done fantastic grassroots work to bring food and relief from the Italian community in Japan to the disaster ravaged North-east of Japan and especially the town of Rikuzen-Takata, the worst hit of them all. Thanks to private initiatives like this people like Mr. Staccioli and countless others all did their best and helped bring his two countries together, Italy and Japan. I haven’t seen anything about “Italians For Tohoku” in the news so I thought I’d do my best to bring them to public awareness. If you are Italian and reading this, please recommend the group and Mr. Staccioli for a medal or something, at least! It’s people like him, and all the others in his group that make me feel proud to be a foreigner in Japan! Italians For Tohoku, Grazie mille! You can read about their work here and here, and lots of photos and text in Japanese here.