Abe Keita (Franciscan priest)
Fr. Abe who has been writing "From Osaka" reports in this bulletin starts new articles about the "Keihin districts" from this issue. He lives now in Kawasaki and commutes daily to the central house the Franciscans have in Tokyo. Enjoy his reports.

I was transferred last year from Osaka to Kawasaki and, at present, I am working in the Tokyo Headquarters of the Franciscans, serving also as a representative of an NGO till April. As a result, since I am living in Kawasaki City I have to commute every day between Kanagawa prefecture and Tokyo. I have also to make official trips to various places and to visit NGOs, so that my experiences now are different from those I had while living in Osaka.

Although it sounds natural, I felt a difference between the Kansai and the Kanto regions when I moved to the city of Kawasaki. Cultural customs, life style, city services and transportation and even the local activities and ways of acting look quite different.
As just an example, In the Ikuno (Osaka) district where I was working, the biggest residence for Koreans living in Japan where they constitute one third of its population, Koreans had developed big communities. This is not the case in the Kanto region where they are dispersed and operate some shopping centers in Taito district and in Kawasaki's Sakuramoto town. In other words, I feel like they are living in Diasporas.
And again, in Ikuno where the communities of Koreans are large, new organizations that are created according to the needs become self-managed. On the other hand, since they are numerous they are actively engaged in many useful activities.
In the case of Kanto area since Koreans are dispersed, one receives the impression that there are no groups doing together local activities in that region. On the other hand, some groups make the base of their activities in public centers built by the Prefecture or the City for international cultural exchanges or in "get in touch" community halls of Kawasaki City that, being entrusted to private organizations are well equipped and have a sound and competent management.
I am not going to introduce here all the differences I found between the Kanto and Kansai areas even in pastoral approaches, but many changes have occurred around myself from my new tasks especially with regard to the NGO assistance abroad to increasing opportunities to meet with people working in the field, often unknown to me, and to coordinate their activities.
While in Osaka, most of my relationships were with Koreans in the Ikuno area where I was living, but since I am related now to groups working in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia I guess I can contribute some global information from now on.
I apologize for just making an introduction this time with regard to differences I found on the occasion of my transfer from Kansai to Kanto. Next time I hope to offer reports different from the ones I have been presenting in this bulletin.

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