Street papers from across East Asia and Australia get together for INSP’s first Asia-Pacific regional meeting
Staff from four Big Issue titles based in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia got together in Osaka for INSP’s first Asia-Pacific regional meeting, to talk and learn more about the unique problems facing each of them and the innovative projects they are involved in.
Tokuchika Nishi has lived an interesting life. The now Big Issue Japan vendor talks us through growing up in Kyushu, studying, joining the army and taking part in disaster relief, and finally returning to Tokyo where he became homeless. He also talks of his love of dance and joining the Newcomer “H” Sokerissa performance group.
There were days in the past when Naofumi Mima thought, “I’ve had it for today” and left. Selling The Big Issue is something that he hasn’t always found easy, particularly when he was faced with low sales. After some time away from being a vendor, he’s now back at work. Mima knows that for every bad thing that happens, something good might happen, too. He credits this attitude with bringing about an increase in his sales!
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Teruo, who sells The Big Issue Japan, selects Japanese guitar maestro Masayoshi Takanaka.
2017 saw Big Issue Japan vendor Makoto strike up a relationship with his fellow vendors, learn how to cook and become a more well-rounded person.
Makoto was a truck driver before selling The Big Issue Japan, but work was hard to come by. “Before I took on this job, I thought it was just selling magazines,” he says. “I didn’t expect people would take care of me like this.”
Keiichi Egami has had quite the life, from working on naval ships, to computer programming. Now what does he look forward to most? “Selling The Big Issue Japan.”
“Encounters with people and memories of my parents keep me going,” says Shuzo Goto who sells The Big Issue Japan in Tokyo. He talks about how a good friend encouraged him to sell the street paper.
“I will tell myself every morning that ‘I should be thankful to the customers and should not become arrogant’.” Big Issue Japan vendor Yoshizawa Toyoji works in Tokyo everyday and feels that he was born to sell The Big Issue.