Category Archives: JICA

Meaning of Peace




Peace between nations

Starts within individuals.



One day in Japan


After over two years of working in Sri Lanka, I’m convinced more than ever that cultural exchange activities are integral responsibility of a JICA volunteer.  My last event with Serendipity Trust, was “One Day in Japan.”  We spent the day with tech school students in the Japanese program, introducing them to the breadth of Japanese culture: Kimonos, Origami, Calligraphy, J-pop/Anime and even sushi.  Their motivation was overwhelming.  In a couple years, they’ll be in Japan, dressing Japanese kids up in sarees and feeding them curry!

赴任2年経過、いまだに思う事:文化紹介・交流は協力隊員としてとても重要な任務。Serendipity Trustと最後のエベントは「日本での一日」


PC Cleaning


My computer had been acting up lately so I decided to open it up.  I cleaned up the cooling fan and along with lots of dust I found ants, spider parts and wings from some other something.  I’ll avoid pointing out the obvious pun here (you know, the one about how my computer had bugs, literally).  It’s running much cooler and faster now, and only had 3 screws left over.  No big deal, right?


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Proof of time








Every country has their default topic of conversation.  In the US, I remember people talked a lot about TV and the weather.  In Japan, people talk about age.  In Sri Lanka, the thing I talk about most is how long I’ve been here.  No matter where I am or what I am doing, curious locals just HAVE to know, “How long have you been here?”  I have no idea why they ask, or what they will do with this information, but it seems to bring them joy, so I answer.

At first it was more or less “It has been months 3 ago since I came.”  But being asked EVERY SINGLE DAY, you can’t help but improve.

“Months 4 before, I came.”

“I’ve been here half a year”

Over time , it joins the natural background chatter and you cease to notice.

But lately, I’ve started noticing again.  I’m noticing because of a profound difference.  The conversation has changed from “I’ve been here for 3 months” to “I have 3 months left.”

When did this happen?  I don’t know.  but no doubt this “3 months left” will turn into “next month”, then “next week”, then “tomorrow” before I know it as well.

Proof that time exists, and it flies as well!

Peace Boat Fukushima Youth Project 2014


Peace Boat and Fukushima Youth Project, in Sri Lanka

In their ongoing support of the disaster affected Tohoku region, Peace Boat travelled with a group of elementary and junior high school kids from Minamisouma.  Minamisouma is a city in Fukushima severely affected by the nuclear disaster.  Study, play, forced relocation…every aspect of their lives were affected.


The participants spent a couple of weeks onboard sailing from Japan, to Singapore, and finally to Sri Lanka, where they came by to see ME!  A fellow chemist and I took them through the labs.  Of course we talked about the tests and experiments we do, but we also talked about how labs in Sri Lanka and Japan are different, about safety and hygiene.  We even had discussions about deep things like “what is volunteerism?” and “what is development?”


With all that they have been through, I was very glad to see that they were so eager and optimistic about the outside world.  Maybe it was just the fact that these were kids, spending their spring break traveling the oceans with other kids, but their happiness was contagious and gave me a much needed boost of motivation to continue working to improve water safety in Sri Lanka.


These kids certainly have a unique view on the meaning of life.  It’s inspiring and tragic at the same time, but I have no doubt they’ll keep being awesome and make real, positive change in the world.
Also great to see old friends, in new places!


ピースボート、福島子どもプロジェクト、in スリランカ






詳細リンク (links…no English)

Dirty Work


Today, we went go get some algae samples.  What better spot than Beira Lake in the heart of Colombo!

We had to make sure we got really really good samples, so we:

Sampled from the dock



Then the park,



Then from the middle, by paddle duck



It’s a tough, dirty job, but someone has to do it.  You’re welcome!



課外活動が続きます。今回はスリランカの子供達にスリランカでは珍しい楽器や聞きなれてない音楽を紹介する音楽ワークショップ「マーライ」活動の日記。マーライと言うのはシンハラ語で「格好いい、いいね!」的な意味がある。スリランカのブッタラと言う町あるスランガニ基金 (の施設。子供の特別支援学校のクリスマスイベントに参加させてもらった。踊って、歌って楽しかった!写真に語ってもらうと:

More extracurricular activities.  We recently started a group to introduce Sri Lankan kids to new musical instruments and music styles.  We had the fortune of being invited to Little Tree Special Children’s Center in Buttal, Sri Lanka to take part in their Winter Performance.  Little Tree is a school for special needs children supported by Surangani Volunteer Services (  We sang and danced and had a good great time!


Opening Ceremony