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The "value" of life to you and to the Japanese people.

gaijinalways

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Volunteer work in the US is often part of a group though, church or other non-profit. Far less people volunteer individually, but it is possible.

I read a nice story about volunteering recently about a dentist in Saitama who collects old teeth for the metal bands in between to recycle them and raise money. He collected about 1 million yen in a couple of months. Interestingly, he said he felt guilty about goin gout now or playing pachinko as he was worried if people would think he was spending the 'teeth money'.
 

Elizabeth

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Volunteer work in the US is often part of a group though, church or other non-profit. Far less people volunteer individually, but it is possible.
Volunteering very often consists of individual to individual or individual to group help although it is possible for a preexisting group, church or charity, to work on a long-term collaborative project as a single unit. Which is why disaster relief, almost by definition requiring a team effort, may be so popular with many Japanese. 😌
 

gaijinalways

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But volunteering is often organized through a group, with groups like the Red Cross, the Lions Club, Meels on Wheels, etc organizing individuals to do things for groups and individuals. Now of course that group may have been founded by an individual (or individuals), but much of the more visible volunteer work is accomplished through these groups.
 

pipokun

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If Hannah Arendt would live in the US now, she must be a soccer mom.
I don't think the soccer mom stuff is only for the well-educated, wealthy and conservative, but it is just simple they want their community to be better.
You can do community activities even if you are single, but you have more chances to get involved more when you get married.
I know Japan needs more soccer dads.

I don't know which is more charity-oriented, American or Japanese, but both have abusers.
A Japanese politician bought a porn novel with official political fund.
An American bought a porn though disaster relief.
 

Elizabeth

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But volunteering is often organized through a group, with groups like the Red Cross, the Lions Club, Meels on Wheels, etc organizing individuals to do things for groups and individuals. Now of course that group may have been founded by an individual (or individuals), but much of the more visible volunteer work is accomplished through these groups.
If you are saying that charities are organizations, that is self-evident. Anyone that feels they are a member of a group called the Red Cross or Meals on Wheels is most likely an elite donor with special privilages and membership perks or needs to get a real life...:)
 

gaijinalways

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I think you are misreading my point, though I suppose it depends on how you qualify the title 'volunteer'. I don't think any of these people feel they belong to a special group, it's just an accepted way of life in the US, whereas in Japan people might ask you why you do it. In the US, most people wouldn't even ask, they would assume it is because you want to help that group of people that the charity targets.

Contrast this with the soccer Moms who are volunteers, but I would definately say that they have a vested interest as I don't know many who do it if their own kids are not involved, i.e. playing.
 

KirinMan

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Ok now after all of this I am finally going to put down my own volunteering experiences here to give everyone an idea of where I am coming from.

My Dad, God rest his soul, was a major influence in my life with regards to helping out people that were less fortunate than we were. He managed a group at our church when I was a kid called the St. Vincent DePaul Society. Every year particularly around Thanksgiving and Christmas we helped him to deliver food baskets to the needy. I saw countless numbers of families living in true poverty in the city I was raised in. I am not talking about welfare cases in the states where people were driving around in Cadillac's but people who for one reason or another had no jobs, had kids, and had no means of surviving and putting food on their tables for their kids. These were good people just down on their luck in some cases and I couldn't believe the lives that they were leading. I could go on and on about other examples of things we did, painting houses, fixing plumbing, carpentry work etc etc. Helping these people get their lives together.

I also worked twice a week, riding a bus from my house, using my own money from my part time job's, to work at a soup kitchen serving hot meals to people who were homeless. I also worked in organizing food drives to assist these people with getting food for the homeless. I did this all throughout my JHS and HS years into University as well. I felt that I needed to give something back to my community. These people had nothing whatsoever to do with me or my family, we lived and worked in different world's but I still felt I had an obligation to assist them as best as I could.

Now here in Japan, for a number of years I coached a Japanese Little League Baseball team, I didn't have any kids on the team after the first year as my son's school schedule just didn't work out and he quit the team. At first it was for my son, but afterwards for nearly 5 years I continued purely because they needed someone to look after them. There are other things as well, I participate every year in working at our town's festival. There is literally a ton of work to do there as well and I do it partly because I live here but also the commradire and friendships that I have built make it self satisfying too.

I've been on the board of directors for my daughters PTA at her school for 6 years. I've coached boys JHS basketball, my kids were not involved in the school. I've taught English to countless numbers of kids on Saturday's and Sundays, for free mind you, at my local community and social services center. I've done and continue to work helping with gardening work and keeping grounds clean at a local school.

Yeah some of these things I started with because of my kids, but others have had nothing to do with my family what so ever. I do it because I believe that I have a responsibility to my community and the people that live near and around me.

There are numerous other activities and things that I have volunteered for, on occasion to the chagrin and anger of my wife and family. There have been times she told me that I should marry this team or that "job" because I spent too much time away from my family to assist others. I've gotten that under control now, but that doesn't mean that I am not going to stop working and helping people out when I can.

I've seen with my own two eyes what people here do and don't do, and much of what I wrote on this thread about this subject comes from my own experiences as well. I wasn't just talking out my butt when I made comments about people not working to help those that they don't know.
 

gaijinalways

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I hear you Obeika,

I have coached Little league and carried yard markers for Midget Football in the US, also worked in a soup kitchen and done a few church events. In Japan sadly, I have done very little, speaking for some cross cultural influence, since my wife doesn't do any charity work at present.
 
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