Events, Talks, Writings by Bahar Yamanashi Members
In July, Bahar Yamanashi participated in two festivals, offering us a chance to tell of the latest developments and ongoing goals regarding Afghanistan and the Afghan people. At the events, we made available Afghan dry fruits, Bahar Yamanashi exclusive Afghan accessories, and other products to fund our activities.
On July 8th, for the second year, we participated in Yamanashi Global Festa. Held just outside the north exit of Kofu station, we received many visitors. Other participating groups were organized around such goals as raising awareness of the SDGs or irrigation projects in Africa.
The following weekend, on July 16th, Bahar Yamanashi had a tent at VentFest, a festival organized by Kofu's famous soccer team, Ventforet. Tents were erected all around the stadium and the international organizations were situated on the practice ground. In addition to the accessories and dry fruits, at VentFest we debuted "puraban", plastic accessories decorated with our character Bahar-chan, and original soccer-themed stickers. We were also joined this day by Mr. Mehran Mohabzadda, a former member of Afghanistan's national under-14 soccer team. Mehran played soccer with local children and wrote visitors name in the Afghan alphabet.
Please look out for our next events and join us there!
On May 20th at 2 pm at Yamanashi Prefectural University's Iida campus (Building C), Bahar Yamanashi welcomed H.E. Ambassador Abdali of Afghanistan to its largest event ever.
In addition to H.E. the ambassador, Afghan musician Azizullah Karimi performed songs on the rebab and Bahar Yamanashi's own representative, Associate Professor Jason Pratt, spoke.
In his speech, Assoc. Prof. Pratt spoke on how Afghanistan has historically been a nation that gravitated towards peace and harmony. He spoke of the great cultural and social movements that arose. The modern decades of fighting, he said, came due to outside interference and also stated that many now fighting would rather not fight if they had another way to make a living. He stressed how Bahar Yamanashi hopes to help this.
Mr. Karimi performed a number of songs in both national languages of Afghanistan and explained about his instrument.
H.E. the Ambassador then discussed Japan's role historically in Afghan peace and development and the need for Japan to remain involved. He further discussed the role of great Japanese individuals, such as Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, in bringing great developments.
After the speeches and performances, time was dedicated to enjoying Afghan culture first-hand. Afghan tea was served, guests had henna tattoos done, and people tried on Afghan clothing.
The event was covered by NHK, Yamanashi's Nichi Nichi Shimbun, and YBS TV.
On March 29th at 2 pm at Yamanashi Prefectural University's Iida campus, Bahar Yamanashi organized its latest study and cultural session.
The theme of this event was the current challenges and status of women in Afghanistan, or in Japanese "アフガニスタンの女性の現状". Speaking on this issue were Mrs. Sedeka Eto, the head of Eagle Afghan and a former NHK radio announcer; Ms. K, an Afghan refugee in Japan; and Ms. Wakana Kaneko, a representative of Bahar Yamanashi. Ms. Aiko Tanaka of Bahar Yamanashi also spoke about our group's activities.
In addition to the talks, attendees had their names written in the alphabet of Afghanistan's Dari language, participated in a quiz, and tried Afghan tea.
On February 20th, members of Bahar Yamanashi's staff, specifically Jason Pratt, Wakana Kaneko, Nozomi Sato, Yuto Hagiwara, Aiko Tanaka, and Shin Shimada, visited Tokyo on trip to study and to foster connections for our organization.
Specifically, we visited Tokyo Camii, a Turkish mosque, located near Yoyogi Uehara station, and had dinner at the Afghan restaurant (PAO Caravan Sarai) near Higashi Nakano station.
At the mosque, we received a tour from Mr. Shigeru Shimoyama, the Media and Publications Representative. We learned of the history of the mosque, were shown the attached cafe, madrassah (religious school), and halal market. Many key points were mentioned, specifically, as per the mission of Bahar Yamanashi, we focused on the idea of peace. The word Islam, specifically, can be translated to mean peace. Therefore, the ability to see the true beauty of Islam and the kindness of the religion's believers in Tokyo, was a great reminder of why our mission to support peace in Afghanistan is so meaningful.
Following the tour, we dined on Afghan food at PAO Caravan Sarai, a very authentic feeling restaurant. We enjoyed dishes such as kebabs, naan, and mantu (Afghan dumplings). We were joined by Jason's former colleagues, a group of former interns and staff who worked with him at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tokyo in the past.
Through this experience, we hope to be able to strengthen our dedication to helping promote peace in Afghanistan and to further share of this great country and its culture with the people of Yamanashi.
December 4, 2022 marked three years since the great Dr. Tetsu Nakamura was taken from the earth. Jason Pratt, Nozomi Sato, and Yuto Hagiwara of Bahar Yamanashi had the honor of joining a reception to pay respects to the memory of this great man who has been referred to by Afghans as the "uncle of the nation".
Dr. Nakamura was a medical doctor, but he believed that without proper conditions, medicine alone could not ensure health. Thus, he led efforts to create a fertile area in a desert. His efforts succeeded so well that hundreds of thousands of people have seen benefits. His legacy remains alive and his memory will not fade.
Jason had the great pleasure of talking with Dr. Nakamura on his visits back to Japan when he would stop by the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. In fact, the ambassador, Dr. Fatimie, that Jason worked under for part of his time at the embassy had first met Dr. Nakamura in Pakistan, when the ambassador had taken refuge from war there. Dr. Nakamura was a humble man despite all he had done for so many.
While the focus of Bahar Yamanashi is different to Dr. Nakamura's work, his inspiration is clear: solve problems at the root. This is why Bahar Yamanashi also seeks to support peace by addressing the factors that present people from being able to choose it. We pay our respects to this great man now and forever.
Bahar Yamanashi participated in Yamanashi Global Festa 2022 on October 2nd.
Yamanashi Global Festa was an annual event before the Coronavirus pandemic began and returned in 2022 for the first time in three years. At the Assist Engineering Yocchabare Hiroba at the north exit of Kofu station, tents for international and internationally-focused organizations were arranged and food carts were placed behind. A number of cultural performances were also done.
We at Bahar Yamanashi made available Afghan dried fruits and nuts, lapis lazuli accessories, and Henna tattoos. A large number of people visited the booth to get Afghan products and to talk about Afghanistan. It was a great day to get to know the local community better!
Special thanks go to Imuro sensei and his students from Seishu High School as without their help we would not have had as much success and fun!
A cooking event was hosted by Bahar Yamanashi in Kofu, Yamanashi on August 20, 2022. Participants were taught by Ashraf Baburi, the CEO of Afghan Saffron who also serves at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Tokyo, how to cook Qabili Palow (spelling variations exist). Qabili Palow is a traditional Afghan rice dish served with meat and topped with raisins, almonds and carrots. Participants were cooked along and were able to take home the meals they made and received Afghan dried fruits and nuts as a souvenir.
The recipe for Qabili Palow can be found here: drive.google.com/file/d/1BQd9yVLyqeH147jnlAe2RH5TOy8lPLYb/view?usp=sharing
To buy imported Afghan raisins and almonds to make the dish yourself, please visit Afghan Saffron's web site: www.afghansaffronjp.com/
The first Afghanistan study event, entitled "Afghanistan now: thoughts on peace" or アフガニスタン の今：平和について考えよう in Japanese, was held on March 19, 2022 at Yamanashi Prefectural University's Iida campus. The event was opened by Dr. Yutaka Hayashi of Fukuoka University who spoke about his experience in working for the Japanese government in Afghanistan along with development related issues in general. Next, Dr. Bashir Mohabbat, former Afghan ambassador to Japan, spoke on Afghan culture and the connections between Afghan and Japanese people. Musical duo Chalpasah performed Afghan music. Finally, Jason Pratt, the chairperson of Bahar Yamanashi, spoke about Bahar Yamanashi's goals and work.
The January 2022 edition of the Global Issues in Language Education Newsletter, published by the GILE special interest group of the Japan Association for Language Teaching, features an article by Jason Pratt, chairperson of Bahar Yamanashi. The article details tips for teaching about Afghanistan in language classes. Specifically, the article focuses on three international conflicts that impacted Afghanistan and why the suffering of Afghans should matter to people in Japan.
To read the full issue (in English), click here:
On January 13, 2022, Bahar Yamanashi's chairperson, Jason Pratt, had the opportunity to be the guest speaker of the Tokai University Language Education Center Interpretation Project. The project has a history of 25 years and has featured some amazing speakers, making Jason's participation a great honor.
The talk featured on Jason's history of work with Afghanistan, including his time at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Tokyo and now his work in Bahar Yamanashi. Jason detailed how Afghanistan is not a country where war is natural and has only come about due to outside interference and the difficult living conditions that have resulted. Moreover, he shared stories of Afghanistan's wonderful culture and people.
In December of 2021, Jason Pratt, chairperson of Bahar Yamanashi, had the opportunity to speak on two occassions about the situation in Afghanistan and Bahar Yamanashi's vision to support vulnerable people.
On December 8th, Jason visited Tokai University's Shonan Campus where he had the opportunity to talk to a seminar and a class run by Dr. Hiroyuki Fujimaki. Specifically, Jason spoke about how the Taliban were able to take territory again so quickly and why this should matter to people in Japan. He then shared how Bahar Yamanashi plans to contribute towards the proliferation of peace in Afghanistan.
On December 10th, Jason joined Mr. Keihan Safi, a former colleague at the Embassy of the Republic of Afghanistan in Tokyo, in talking at an online event organized by the Japan Association for Language Teaching's Global Issues in Language Teaching special interest group. In this event, Jason spoke about historical reasons for why Afghanistan has faced decades of difficulties. The educators that attended expressed support for Bahar Yamanashi's goals and the group made a donation of 10,000 yen to our group.