TFT Site Visit to Tanzania!

TABLE FOR TWO staff and volunteers from Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and New York gathered in Tanzania to visit TFT’s newest recipient site in the central/western region of the country.  We landed 6 days ago but due to limited internet access the blog will start today.  Stay tuned!


Lessons from CEOs

I recently had the opportunity to speak with CEOs of three successful companies, on three separate occasions.  There were many lessons to be learned:

1)   Issues and problems will always come up.  What you can control is your mindset when such issues arise.

2)   My job isn’t to do what others (including some very influential people) want, but instead I need to steer the organization based on my own vision, taking advantage of resources I have access to (again, including some people in high places).

3)   It’s all about priorities.  Some days I feel like I accomplished a lot, only to realize that all I did was cross items off my to-do list.

4)   To create a successful organization requires 80 small steps, not 3 big ones.  It may be hard to see the progress now, but all the behind-the-scenes work will pay off in the long run.

5)   Nothing beats face-to-face interaction.

I have a lot to learn.

The World at 7 Billion

According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world ushered in its 7 billionth person this past week, a more than doubling of global population in just half a century.  And we are on a trajectory to reach 9 billion by the middle of this century.

More people means greater demand for food, fresh water, fossil fuel, trees, and other scarce resources.  With rising incomes and shifting diets, consumption per person is also expected to increase significantly.  Many are concerned about resource depletion and environmental degradation in today’s world.  In just a few decades our impact on the environment and its resources could easily be 5 or 6 times greater, if not more.

One unique aspect of the TFT model is that it takes excess resources on one end to solve a shortage on the other.  It doesn’t divert valuable resources from other worthwhile interventions.

The world needs more creative systems like this.  Can something similar be done with water?  Traveling between the United States and countries in sub-Saharan Africa I can’t but notice the wasteful use of water here and how valuable even a small fraction of it would be in the dry, rural regions in Sudan or the Horn of Africa.  There should be simple things we – as consumers in the rich world – can do in our daily lives that can free up resources in similar ways.

TABLE FOR TWO is a great model.  We should take it farther.

World Food Day “Itadakimasu!” Event a Great Success

On October 14th, over 300 TFT supporters from 4 sites across the world said “Itadakimasu!” (or “Bon Appetit!”) in unison in celebration of World Food Day.  TFT also raised close to $3,000 across the three U.S. sites, enough to provide over 60 children with a warm lunch for an entire school year.  In addition to the evening event, a panel discussion was held during the daytime at George Mason University, featuring 4 experts on food and nutrition.

Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (New York, NY)

San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA)

Arlington, Virginia

George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia)

The new website is up!

TABLE FOR TWO’s long-awaited new English website officially launched on Tuesday! Our goal was to try to keep the structure simple and easy to navigate, while at the same time adding more visual content to make the organization and program come to life. Thanks to an amazing designer/coder duo, we were able to accomplish both. We are still adding some features so please check back often!


Kageno put out its most recent newsletter this week following a recent trip to Banda Village, Rwanda. TFT’s Masa Kogure, Dan Goldstein and others joined to witness the progress of the school meal programs, which now reach all 308 students in the SL Nursery School and 35 other severely malnourished children.


“Fo(u)r Two” Bike Ride Across Japan

Yuya Kamimura – former rep for TABLE FOR TWO’s University Association (over 800 members across 79 universities and high schools in Japan) and current intern at TFT’s Tokyo office – embarked this past weekend on his “Fo(u)r Two” bike ride, a 42-day trek across Japan.

The plan is to visit the various universities that are part of “TFT UA” during these 42 days.  Good luck Yuya!  Can’t wait until we have enough partnering schools and restaurants to go on a road trip across the U.S. (in one of those RVs)!

For those that read Japanese, his blog is here:

His route:

A Crisis

The crisis in the Horn of Africa continues.  According to CNN, over 29,000 Somali children under the age of 5 have died from hunger in the past 3 months.

29,000.  That’s over 10 times the death toll from the September 11th,2001 attack on the Twin Towers (2,752).  And it’s only the beginning.

29,000 dead also means a much greater number are on the brink of starvation.  Many of them will be spared from death, but malnutrition during the first 5 years of a child’s life can have irreversible negative impacts on cognitive and physical development, affecting an entire generation of Somalis.

It’s a crisis of massive scale, however you look at it.  Why aren’t people talking about it more?

It could just as easily have been you or I that was born in southern Somalia, with little food, unable to escape from the Al Shabaab, and with no help from whatever exists of the government.

These are the types of issues we need to confront.

The Man Behind the Logo

TFT New York had a small informal happy hour last night.  I reconnected with some old friends, saw the usual faces, and then there was one face I didn’t recognize.  I thought he must be with a different party.  At least he wasn’t associated with TFT.

Turns out he’s the one who came up with the TABLE FOR TWO logo 5 years ago, long before I got involved and a few years before TFT USA even existed!  His name is Matt, and I’m glad I finally got to meet him.  Matt was also surprised to hear that his logo is now in restaurants and corporate cafeterias in seven countries across the world, and quickly expanding.

It was a fun night.

One Solution to Obesity – Thin Slices of Meat

The Japanese diet is well known for its abundance of fish, but many Japanese have a love for red meat as well.  Instead of hamburgers or steaks, though, we usually eat beef and pork cut up into very thin slices.

Here are just a couple popular dishes:

Sukiyaki: a Japanese hot pot.  Add super thin slices of beef with tofu and veggies, and boil in a soup made of soy sauce, cooking sake, and mirin.  A perfect meal for the winter months.

Pork and ginger: thin slices of pork cooked with grated ginger, some soy sauce, cooking sake, and mirin.

A mere 100-150 grams (roughly 4 to 5 ounces) with some veggies and carbs is enough to fill most people up.  With so many slices you feel you’re getting your money’s worth too.  Maybe this is one solution to the obesity epidemic in the U.S.?