Last night’s Gourmet Night happened to coincide with my X7th birthday, so the participants surprised me with various gifts.

I’m an old man in terms of age, but I’m still growing up. I replied to everyone, “I’m finally seven years old.”

JAFAREC Gourmet Night Mar 2021

Some were gifts of flowers, some were gifts of music, some were messages… and many more. I’m very grateful.

At Gourmet Night, I’m mostly behind the scenes, setting up the place to welcome everyone who may or may not show up, preparing the food, serving the menu when the participants order, and so on.

Participants come from all walks of life, from ten-year veterans to those in the throes of running away from a harassing husband and entering a shelter. There are a number of veterans in the room, so the atmosphere is natural, and although there is a lot of alcohol involved in the conversation, everyone is very polite. They are involved in family and other issues, but they do not cover up their experiences and thoughts, but rather engage in light dialogue with laughter.

The atmosphere is filled with healing, growth, and awareness through storytelling, which new participants have never experienced before. This is a wonder. Men and women from various backgrounds, both victims and perpetrators, come together to drink, eat, and talk, regardless of the categorization of the world. I’m sure there is no other place like this in Japan.

And I, too, am learning and growing from the growth of such people. I am grateful for that.

Originally posted on March 20, 2021

English text translated with DeepL (Japanese to English) and checked by Mina.

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