Back to Nature

2023 November Back to Nature: KIKORI Report

Date: Noveber 18&19
Location: Hachioji, Tokyo
Participants: (Saturday) 10 campers, 4 care workers, 7 LITs, 8 Mirai no Mori staff, 14 sponsors / (Sunday) 9 campers, 2 care workers, 7 LITs, 7 Mirai no Mori staff, 11 sponsors
Sponsors: Michael Page & Avanade


On sunny Autumn days, we enjoyed the kikori program with the big group of our energetic campers, care workers, sponsors and LITs.

Beginning of the day, we had an orientation where campers introduced themselves and decided on their team names. We could see the repeater campers showing the leadership to speak up, and the campers who had never met most of the other teammates being courageous enough to volunteer to be a team leader. When creating the headcount for each team, it was impressive to see many teams being more creative!

And finally, it was time to “build the forest”. This was the activity we try for the first time to cut bamboo! Zoo-Yan, our partner in Mori-to-Odoru, shared with us that this was an essential part of the process of creating a healthier bamboo forest. All the campers looked really excited about the activity they had never even imagined and were curious about new facts about bamboos that they learned for the first time.

What each team worked on was cut down the bamboo, remove the leaves, and cut them into even lengths. This is a task that requires teamwork, with each one taking a responsibility for each role. Each team worked together, calling out to each other, and carried the cut bamboos one after the other to the field.

We enjoyed a delicious bento lunch while enjoying the sun in the forest. Afterwards, some of us enjoyed a slide made of bamboo and chatted with super staff members whom they hadn’t seen in a while, or talked with sponsors about their hobbies, and then prepared for the afternoon work again!

In the afternoon, with the power of the bento lunch, we had built up our strength and got used to the work, and the bamboo cutting was done at a good pace that even Zoo-Yan was very surprised. Among the campers, some were making souvenirs out of bamboos, others were enjoying bonfires, and still others were doing the bamboo dance. Everyone enjoyed the time together in our own ways.

“It was my second time joining Mirai no Mori. I was happy that I volunteered to be a team leader, and everyone came together every time I called for a head count. It felt good to try leadership!” by camper

“I enjoyed making cups and bowls out of fresh bamboo for the first time! I am glad I got to make so many souvenirs to remember how fun today was.” by camper

“It was first time for me to cut bamboos and it was memorable. And I was surprised to know that all the bamboo growing in the forest is all connected underground!” by LIT

“I had a lot of fun cutting bamboo for the first time! And the children were so energetic that I was motivated to keep going. I hope to come back and enjoy the time together with campers again!” by Sponsor

“I was actually a little nervous because it was my first time working with Mirai no Mori team in bamboo forest, but I was surprised at how much better it turned out than I had imagined! Everyone was so great that it made me wish they would all come work with me!” by Zoo-Yan Mori to Odoru

Thank you to everyone who sponsored the program and to our partner, Mori to Odoru, for wonderful days in the forest!