Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

You may find it surprising, Gentle Reader, that I should be posting on the issue of poverty in support of Blog Action Day. After all, Eating Out is about the enjoyment of fine food and wine - a topic far removed from the concept of poverty.

At the same time, those of us fortunate to be here in the world's culinary capital get reminded every day that poverty is all around. Even in Japan, many people struggle to make ends meet and homelessness is a chronic problem. Consumer finance is often used as a solution to want, and indebtedness rises in a sickening spiral. Single mothers often go without food to have enough for the children. The attitude of government and passers-by to these issues constantly surprises me.

Poverty is not a disease, nor is it a terminal affliction of humanity. It requires action - action by people like you and me. Buying an extra "bento" at the conbini is a simple yet effective first step. Give it to someone. Don't present it; quietly give it and walk humbly away. There but by the grace of God goes each one of us. Just do something... anything other than ignore or bemoan.

Because poverty won't go away until it's driven.

Time for full disclosure: I used to organize, and still participate in, a rice-cake delivery program in Shibuya. And I can assure you that the targets of this food program relish every bite and flavour just as much as we diners at our posh restaurants.


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