Obento Project

先週の土曜日に教会で月に二回のお弁当プロジェクトというホームレスの方々へ食べ物とか基本的な靴下や帽子などの必要性なものをあげる活動に参加しました。この取り組みは何年も行っているので、多くのホームレスの方々が教会の人たちと仲がいいです。それは感動的な経験で、また参加したいと思っています。Last Saturday with my church I participated in the twice a month event, the Obento Project, where we give food and basic articles of clothing like socks and hats to homeless people. The initiative has been going on for several years so many of the people have relationships with some church members. It was a beautiful experience and I hope to participate again next month.

前に丸の内ビルで集合して、一緒に祈りをしました。その後、たくさんのホームレスの人々は日中にいる公園と皇居の近くのエリアを歩きました。一般的に私を含め、多くの人が「日本」だと考えると、第一印象は「ホームレスの方々」のことが思い浮かばないんです。実はたくさんの外国人の視点で、日本はかなり富める国だと考えられています。アメリカのような国に対して、ホームレスの人が公共の場所で待って、厚紙を運びつつお金や食べ物を求めることは全然しなく、代わりに他の国より隠され、人付き合いを避けています。日本の政府に賛同された貧困救済計画、又は日本人のホームレスの人に関する意見がはっきひ分からないんですが、教会のようなグループが困っている人を助けて嬉しいです。We all met to pray beforehand near Marunouchi. Then we walked to the parks and area near the Imperial Palace where a lot of homeless stay/sleep during the day. Many people including myself don’t think of homeless people as their first idea when they think about Japan; Japan comes off as a fairly wealthy country to many foreigners. Unlike places like the U.S., I noticed Japanese homeless do not wait in public places and ask for money or food while holding cardboard signs. Instead they are much more hidden and keep to themselves. I’m not too educated on the poverty alleviation programs put on by the Japanese government or what their opinion is on taking care of homeless people, but I am glad that places like this church do small things to help some people in need. 

言ったほうが良いことを知らなかったんですが、食べ物と靴下をあげるとき日本語で簡単な表現と言いました。多くの人がお弁当をもらってからすぐ急いで逃げたけれど、みんなが笑って感謝しています。しかし、ある公園にいるホームレスの方々は喜んでかなり長い間で一緒に話すことをし、実は二つの長い会話をして、その後祈りして教会に誘ってあげました。その会話に参加してもっと分かれば良かったと思いますが、日本語があまり分からなかったけれど、一生懸命聞きました。人々がほとんど話すのが嬉しくて、ゴスペルを快くもらいました。自分の外観でいつも見落とされたことがもちろん寂しそうで、特に外観を大事にしてる社会には苦しそうです。I didn’t know what to say, but I tried to wish them well in easy Japanese phrases as I handed out the food and socks. Everyone was very grateful and smiled, although many rushed off as soon as they received their meal. However, some in the park were more than willing to talk for quite some time. We ended up having two long coversations and even prayed for them at the end and invited them to church. I wish I could be able to participate in the conversation and understand more, but it was extremely hard so I just did my best to listen. Many of the people were happy to talk and several received a copy of the Gospel willingly. I’m sure it must be very lonely when you are constantly overlooked because of your appearance, especially in a society that very much values outward appearance. 

コミュニティーに属していること、キリストを衷心とした活動に参加すること、深遠な会話がこの留学経験を通して大事です。もちろん様々な東京の場所に行くのが楽しくて、学校があっても毎日旅行している感じがして良いのですが、ここで作った関係が一番よく覚えていることになります。Being a part of a community and participating in Christ-centered events like these and having deep meaningful conversations is something I really value during my time here in Japan. Sure exploring weird parts of Tokyo is fun, and sure feeling like I’m on vacation while I’m at school is an awesome part of this program, but I think the relationships I make here is what I’m really going to remember. 

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