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By Chris Jeon

Whether we realize it or not, the grind that people face on a day to day basis can often cause them to forget about the good things in their lives. This past December, a group of students worked to become a reminder for others.

Christmas Caroling for the Philippines. (Photo: Xuan Truong Trinh)

Christmas Caroling for the Philippines. (Photo: Xuan Truong Trinh)

This past November, the Philippines bore the brunt of the effects of the Super Typhoon Haiyan. The storm left a wave of destruction in its wake: the destruction of infrastructure, the death of thousands of people, and leaving countless others without food, shelter, and familial support. It was a rough time for the Philippine people, but a number of organizations worked toward easing that pain.

Among those charitable groups was one that was comprised of our very own University of Tokyo students. Kotoe Kuroda, a first-year PEAK student, organized a Christmas caroling session on campus with the help of a few of her friends in order to raise funds for the Philippines. When asked about the inspiration behind this project, Kotoe said that she wanted to do charity work even before coming to Todai, but felt even more compelled to do so after coming. She also explained that the relative lack of prior charity events on campus left the Student Support Section of the College administration unsure of how to respond to her request, but that they eventually opened up to the idea and was cooperative throughout the entire process.

The day of the caroling, several tens of Todai students gathered in front of the shokudo and sang a variety of Christmas carols in both English and Japanese. While the initial group of carolers was large, the joyful atmosphere that pervaded the area persuaded many students who did not practice (myself included) to join in.

The event accomplished its primary goal, raising a total of ¥ 39050 for the Philippines. Apart from that however, it also provided an opportunity for Todai students to gather, momentarily free themselves from the stress of daily life, and work (or sing, in this case) together for a unified cause.

Chris is a firs-year PEAK student at the University of Tokyo. 

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