Taylor Stevenson

Taylor Stevenson is a graduate of U of O. She is an aritst and waste researcher. Her artwork, which is created from reused materials, is inspired by people around the world who survive from garbage or who, similar to garbage, are rejected by society. She founded a program called Live Debris which demonstrates reuse as a tool for social integration and personal growth. She has taken this project to Brazil, Lebanon, Myanmar, the US and now Japan, where she is studying at the Rotary Peace center in Japan to earn a Master in Peace Studies.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peace Scholar Arrives Tokyo

Konichiwa, District 5100! Here is the first installation of my blog,

Tokyo Journal

My first impressions of a new place are generally absorbed as comparisons to my home of Portland, Oregon USA. I landed in Tokyo expecting certain things, like using a public telephone or flushing the toilet, to be more difficult than at home. Much to my surprise, though, I was able to find a functioning, English speaking telephone on my first attempt, and my toilet is not only easy to flush, but fills through a small faucet in which I can wash my hands—ingenious! Convenience, however, is not a broad spectrum characteristic of Japanese culture. Here, utter convenience is contrasted with often confounding procedures and systems to which one must adhere in order to be a functioning member of Japanese society. Just taking out the trash requires obeying a detailed calendar of what can be placed outside each day and in which color of store-bought plastic bag it must be presented. One of these waste categories consists of organics, which I may place outside on Monday and Thursday, and which must be put in a purchased, tan plastic bag labeled ‘burnables.’ While I haven’t yet confirmed whether organic waste is actually incinerated here, it pains me to dispose of organic waste when outside the door of my suburban apartment is a neighborhood of local farms and gardens. So today I purchased some containers in which to start my own worm composting bin… only to discover that it is next to impossible to find red worms in Tokyo. The next lesson with my Japanese tutor will consist of questions for my farming neighbors: ‘Please miss may I ask do you compost?’ and ‘may I kindly dig around in your compost bin for some worms?’

My first night in Tokyo I visited some of the graduated Rotary Peace Fellows and we were greeted by a poisonous Mukade centipede. Pretty cool, I was sad they had to kill it.

My lovely toilet with handwashing function

The view out my window

My worm composting bin, awaiting worms, dirt and some proper language instruction!

Recycling calendar for June and July