Sunday April 22, 2018
My very first Earth Day in Tokyo was a wonderful experience! Held in Yoyogi Park, this (annual) weekend event was filled with people looking to engage with sustainability and share their passion for the planet. There was plenty of live music, delicious food, and guest speakers there to participate in the promotion of environmental consciousness.
Our Little Guy Led the Way
Visiting Tokyo’s central park is certainly a lovely way to spend a gorgeous day, and our soon-to-be 2 year old had a blast exploring all the sights, sounds and flavours. Although Earth Day originally kicked off in the USA in 1970 (See History of Earth Day), Earth Day festivities in Yoyogi Park have become an annual staple here since 2001. I had read that the park draws over 10,000 people over the weekend, but it didn’t feel particularly crowded or intense, and we had plenty of room to stop and admire some organic produce or listen to some jamming musicians.
Plenty of Food Stalls
There were numerous tents offering local wares, craft goods, and tasty food. In addition, there were also info stations setup by NGOs and other organizations looking to share their knowledge increase their visibility. While there were plenty of vegan food stalls, there was also a venison food stall associated with environmentalist and national celebrity, C. W. Nicol. A prominent author and conservationist, he has been attempting to bring to attention the growing number of deer that are being culled and destroyed in northern Japan. Rather than waste this perfectly good source of protein, he is suggesting that people in Japan try it out.
Our little man was particularly fascinated by this electric train pavilion. Indeed, the whole event was apparently powered by biofuels in an attempt to lessen the carbon impact of the celebration. Many Japanese are rightly proud of their public transportation system, and the Tokyo Metro is equally committed towards sustainable improvements.
On A Mission
We continued our mingling and tasting. Tent shops/station were operated by enthusiastic individuals definitely feeling the sustainability motivation. With so much of what we eat directly contributing to climate change (see What’s Eating the Planet), it’s no wonder that food is deeply intertwined with Earth Day. Also, Tokyoites love to eat;)
There were bands throughout the day, as well as guest speakers. The headline speaker was Bill McKibben, prominent environmental author and founder of 350.org. He’s currently on a tour of asia connecting with local organizations and further encouraging the movement to divest from fossil fuels.
Although there were a number of artists performing throughout the day, my son was particularly impressed with singer Tokiko Kato, who sang a piece (Le Temps des Cerises) from the Studio Ghibli film Porco Rosso. Ms. Kato is also a prominent environmental activist and she was up on stage with C. W. Nicol (did I mention he’s also a singer/songwriter). It was good fun to see them up together, but for my boy (who only recently discovered Porco Rosso), her classic song was an immediate win!
Calling It a Night
After much wandering, tasting and talking, the festivities began to wrap up with the sun. Celebrating our family’s first Earth Day in Tokyo was a success! It was a pretty sweet event and an awesome day. I would encourage anyone in Tokyo for Earth Day weekend to make it out to Yoyogi Park, you won’t be disappointed.