SONOU is a brand new community space located in TSUITACHI building,
which had not been used before.
A group of all those interested in Ono, called HASHU,
renovated the building and created the space.
There, we talked about what we should do to make Ono,
the city blessed with the rich pure water, better and bigger.
On October 8th, the first meeting was held at SONOU
to talk about Ono’s Pure Water and Future with many of the residents.
The meeting was facilitated by Mr. Yosuke Kon, deputy mayor of Ono city.
He just moved to Ono city last May.
We had a special guest, Mr. Kazumasa Sashide,
the chief editor of SOTOKOTO magazine.
SOTOKOTO had an article about the Carrying Water Project
under the topic “Building Cities around a water front”
featured in their August issue.
That’s how Mr. Sashide got interested in Ono.
We were very lucky to have had him in the meeting.
Both are not originally from Ono
and they could give us the chance to look at the city from the outside.
The meeting started with deputy mayor Mr. Kon
introducing the “Carrying Water Project”
Recently, people in Ono have been proactively involved in the project
such as developing new products for the Ono’s Pure Water Restaurant.
It will be great to have more and more residents join us
and spread the Carrying Water Project through out Ono.
Mr. Sashide, chief editor of SOTOKOTO magazine gave a talk titled
“The Social View Points of offering information about “New Local Areas””.
It was about how others have been re-energizing themselves.
Based on his experiences while visiting and helping local areas in Japan,
he gave us quite a number of inspiring key words.
He’s been visiting different local areas and talking with local people directly.
He has already visited 68 regions this year, using almost all of his weekends.
The most impressive words he’s got from one of his interviews is,
“What we need is not information centers, but “relationship” centers.”
People meeting people and building relationships is the way
they will come to like the place and hope to live there.
Knowing that, just sending out information is not enough
to make someone want to live in the city.
What we need to do is to create a space for
people from outside to meet interesting locals
and make them feel like they’re a part of the community.
Ono is not an exception.
Get more people from outside to come and visit Ono
and to meet Ono people.
Involve them in Ono events.
Then, they may like the city and want to come again to meet Ono people.
Eventually, they may decide to move in and live in Ono in the near future.
When we talk about featuring local areas,
we usually think about introducing things like
specialty products and beautiful sightseeing spots.
But the most valuable thing about a place is the people there.
I hope the SONOU community space in the TSUITACHI building
becomes a place to introduce people to people.
In the second part of the meeting,
we had five young people who have been enthusiastically
working for Ono city and moved in to Ono city recently.
They shared their lifestyle and feelings towards the city.
Mr. Toshihiro Makino, the owner of MOMONGA COFFEE.
He serves good quality of coffee made in Ono city.
Mr. Kazutoshi Hasegawa, the chief executive of HOOZUKI-SHA.
He is a designer and a video artist and has been introducing Ono city
through his videos.
Ms. Saori Kato, the representative of the executive committee
of “Ono Marche”.
Mr. Hirotaka Yoshimura, the leader of a group of young people
which aims to make Ono city more active.
Ms. Shiho Ishiyama, a city employee working on community development.
She used to work for the Ministry of the Environment
and moved in to Ono city when she got married.
Each of them has been building up different parts of Ono
in unique ways along with their beliefs and former experiences;
exquisite coffee found only in Ono;
beautiful sites, which are often forgotten in the daily routine;
the creative power of the gathered young people;
a place for mothers to get together and smile at each other;
the different ways to see the city from the perspective of immigrants.
Listening to their presentation, we were all sure of this simple fact:
The more people love Ono, the better Ono will becomes.
We had a question and answer session at the end of the event.
At first, participants seemed to be shy and quiet.
But once they started talking, more and more people
wanted to tell their thoughts without stopping.
We received many valuable opinions.
Some offers were very energetic. For example,
“Young people’s activities are good,
but we would like to interact with the more experienced local women.”
Some were also quite eye-opening.
“I don’t know what is so special about Ono’s pure water
because I grew up with it.
I have no way to compare it with other water.
I wish I had the words to explain how good it is.”
TURNS magazine crew members happened to be in Ono that day.
They joined the free discussion after the gathering.
Chief Editor Mr. Jiro Sakamoto also joined,
and our discussion to think about Ono’s future became more active.
Then we took a commemorative photo at the end.
Ono is loved by the abundant water all around.
Through all the discussion,
we could feel the possibility of Ono growing with abundance that night.
The Carrying Water Project is planning
to have these kinds of gatherings regularly to talk with the citizens.
Please come and join us next time.