Back to Nature

2024 July Back to Nature: Cooking Day Report with Morgan Stanley

Date: July 6, 2024
Place: Mitake, Tokyo
Participants: 34 campers, 11 big campers, 5 LITs, 10 Mirai no Mori staff, 14 sponsors
Sponsor: Morgan Stanley

On July 6th at Ikusabata BBQ Garden, we cranked up the heat – literally and figuratively – for an unforgettable Back to Nature Cooking Day, all thanks to our fantastic sponsor, Morgan Stanley. This program was particularly big with a total of 70 participants ready for a day filled with culinary creativity, fun games, and delicious food!

Participants were divided into 8 teams, each a blend of campers from various care homes and ages, Morgan Stanley volunteers, and the enthusiastic Mirai no Mori team. The mission? To whip up a tasty lunch together! But here’s the plot twist – no recipes were provided. That’s right, our chefs had to get creative with just the ingredients given, including tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, eggplants, chicken, and onions. Many teams even drew inspiration for their names from these ingredients, such as Team Super Onion, Team Golden Tomato, and Team Potato Curry.

Without a recipe, each team had to discuss what to include in their curry and how to cut the veggies, taking into consideration every member’s taste. The results were as diverse as the teams themselves: some opted for chunky cuts while others went for finely diced vegetables. The flavor profiles varied too, with some curries packing a spicy punch and others leaning towards the sweet side. Campers showed incredible courage, especially those wielding a knife for the first time. They demonstrated responsibility by using the equipment properly and tidying up afterward.

Once the curry was simmering, it was time for the second challenge: dessert! Armed with an assortment of fruits, the teams set out to create fruit jell-o. Some adventurous teams snuck a few apples into their curry for an unexpected touch! By lunchtime, teams couldn’t wait to dig into their own creations, and also had the opportunity to sample others’ dishes. There was a wonderful spirit of kindness and sharing, and as expected, everyone declared their own curry the best. After the delicious feast, we got into Summer Camp spirit with a game of Bear Attack, a fun rhythm game that is always more difficult than it looks!

As the day wrapped up, we took some time for reflection. Some campers expressed pride over the meals they’d created, many for the first time, while others were already looking forward to tackling even more challenging recipes next time. A huge thank you to Morgan Stanley for making this unforgettable day possible. Here’s to more delicious adventures ahead with Mirai no Mori!

“Since we brought second grade campers who are not used to new places, I was worried about whether they would be able to have fun interacting with many unknown children and adults. When we actually started the activities, I was very surprised to see them stepping up to be team leader and being able to present in a loud voice in front of everyone. I was very happy” by Big Camper

“I was the team leader and we made a really yummy dessert. It was my favorite and I ate a lot.” by camper

“It was my first time cooking outside with so many people. In general, I hadn’t cooked many times before.” by camper

“I was happy to cook with my team and I want to make something harder next time, curry was easy!” by camper

“I cut my finger when we were making curry so I want to be more careful next time” by camper

“Each team’s curry tasted very different and had their own special touch, and it was great that everyone could try each other’s, while being very proud of their own creation.” by volunteer