Tomoko Maeda (Japan) - Miss Earth 2011

miss earth 2011 Japan Tomoko Maeda
Miss Earth 2011 Beauty Pageant
Candidates | Contestants Profile

Miss Japan

Tomoko Maeda

Age: 24

Height: 168cm

Hometown: Tokyo

Notes: Tomoko Maeda is the reigning Miss Earth Japan 2011.

Environmental Views:

What environmental project will you create to promote the protection of Mother Earth and why?

In recent years, the temperature in Japan has risen sharply With this case, the damage inflicted upon environment of Japan is unfathomable. Especially in Japan guerilla, downpours occur frequently and the damage is expanded. It is said that the heat island effect by global warming is the cause.

I am aware that we humans have attained an affluent lifestyle, which has led to this heat island phenomenon. Therefore, I believe it is necessary for those who live in the urban areas to take immediate steps to counteract this influence.

Because of the nuclear power plant disaster caused by the East Japan Great Earthquake, which occurred on March, this year, there is an urgent need to save power.

We must learn from this. In my opinion, if majority of the Japanese people can promote the way of traditional life without depending on electric power, we can help lessen problem.

What makes you proud of the country you are representing, and what can you promote about your country?

Japan is often considered to be a relatively small country. This is particularly due to the fact that it is surrounded by some of the largest countries in the world, including China. Despite this image, Japan is in fact relatively large, with the land area of 377, 835 sq km. Indeed, it is almost twice as large as the United Kingdom, which has the land area of 244,101 sq km. However, the habitable space that Japan has is very much limited, given that nearly 3/4 of its land is mountainous. This means that the population is concentrated on the limited flat land areas, which in turn has made it essential for the Japanese to put particular emphasis on "wa", harmony.

Thus, the Japanese are often required to prioritize the needs of others even at the expense of their own wants. This attitude is reflected in the Japanese education system, where students are discouraged from expressing their wishes in a straight forward manner. This means that people should be able to "read the atmosphere"— should be able to anticipate the needs of others and gratify them before they put their desires into words. This kind of intuitive and indirect communication in Japanese can be seen in traditional Japanese sayings, such as "Iwanu ga hana", its English equivalent being, "silence is golden".

This ability to "read between the lines" allows the Japanese to transform the intangible into the tangible, as can be seen in a wide variety of Japanese arts, both traditional and modern, including the well-known animations created by Studio Ghibli.

Japan is a country that has four distinctive seasons; summer here can be extremely hot and humid, with the temperature reaching as high as 35 degrees Celsius. This is why the Japanese invented sophisticated ways to make the excessive heat in the summer less unbearable, when they had no modern amenities to cool them down (i.e. air conditioners). Traditional artisans would utilize their imagination and creativity to associate their products with something physically cool. This applies even to Japanese pastries. Traditional Japanese sweets are not preserved in refrigerators; in terms of their physical temperature, they are not cold at all. However, they are shaped and colored to conjure up the images of coolness, making their viewers feel as if they were actually cold. For instance, one of the traditional Japanese sweets eaten during the summer is shaped like a golden fish swimming in a glass bowl filled with water, creating the atmosphere of coolness. Its creator exercised his ingenuity in the use of its colors in order to express the color and coolness of cold water, while its viewers intuitively appreciate their ingenuity, feeling as if they were looking at cold water when it is not actually there. There are more examples of Japanese inventions that derived from the similar kind of natural factor. The wind bell is one of the most popular icons of Japanese summer. The Japanese automatically associates the clear sound of the bell with the existence of the wind that rings the pleasantly tinnient bell. Tsuri Shinobu, the decorative plant hung from the ceiling, also implies the breeze, which gently moves the fresh green leaves.

Due to the earthquake happened on the 11th of March, 2011, Japan faces a shortage of electricity supply. This crisis has made us realize how much electricity we have carelessly wasted and how much we could save. Now these traditional and sophisticated ideas to cool us down without resorting to modern amenities are revisited by the younger generation. As we have established the Japanese arts by experiencing the unbearable summer heat, we always have invented the better from adversity. It is thus our chance to revive the good in our tradition and establish a more modern, eco-friendly culture in Japan.

I am honored to represent Japan, the land with amazing creativity and the deep traditions rooted within.

Describe your childhood/growing years.

Although I have lived in the big city my whole life, my relationship with nature has been very close. My elementary school had school trips to climb mountains at least three times a year and we also farmed various vegetables. I was a Girl Scout, where I was in charge of a group when we went camping in the wilderness. On one of our camping trips, a typhoon hit the area, which left us no choice but to be evacuated into a safer area. We also promoted eco-friendly products such as Kenaf, the alternative paper resource. Around this age, just like other girls, I wanted to dress like a grownup and when I was around 11 years old, I finally got my first pair of heels in exchange for the promise that I would walk in heels even if my feet get tired in the middle of the day.

I grew up with people who believed that communication is the most important tool to establish a community. "You are telling me your stomach hurts but why did you come up here to say that?" My elementary school teacher asked me. She wanted me to tell her what kind of help I wanted to ask her for. In this case, she wanted me to say "Could you take me to the nurse's office because my stomach hurts". My parents also taught me how to communicate properly. One day they told me to apologize to them even after I've said sorry again and again. They insisted they did not even hear me say sorry since they knew I did not mean it.

What lessons did you learn from your childhood/growing years?

- Communication is just like playing a catch. If the message is not received by the catcher, the communication has not been established. It's almost as if the pitcher had not even thrown a ball. The catcher has to be trained. At the same time, it is also the pitcher's responsibility to throw an ball that's easy to catch. That is what I learned from my childhood and it's been one of the most important philosophies for me.

- My mother taught me what it takes to be a lady. It was not until my modeling class that I realized how much I had learned from my mother. She brought me up to become a patient and sophisticated woman.

- When I say I love nature, I not only mean to protect it. I also love tasting nature and I am aware of what I take into my body. At the end of the day, we are just like wild animals. We won't survive without eating nature.

It is also true we have destroyed the natural environment to inhabit this planet and consumed nature to develop our technology. What we humans have now is a gift from nature. The first step in looking for a way to co-exist with nature is to be grateful for what we get from it.

What is your most memorable moment?

My relatives have lived in the Iwate prefecture where the earthquake recently hit. During my childhood, my grandfather often drove 6-7 hours to take me to the seashores in Iwate and had a fisher woman dive for me to get Sea Urchins. The fisher woman came back in a few minutes with sea urchins for my sister and me. The fact that such a luxury delicacy is in a reachable distance made me realize the close relationship between us humans and nature. Then I tasted the rich life under the sea. Before I finished it, however, my sea urchin walked back to the water with my spoon in the shell. This made me realize the strength of the wild and the gravity of what we sacrifice to enrich our lives with delicious meals.

There are millions of dancers from all over the world in New York City. As one of those dancers, I struggled to get an opportunity to perform. It is a competitive field where I was always asked to prove my skills and artistry. It became almost impossible for me to dance just for fun. It was heart breaking for me because I flew all the way from Japan to study dance and I found myself not enjoying dancing. When I decided to leave New York City, I wanted to have intimate conversations with each of my friends. For dancers, sometimes we connect with each other in a deeper way when we communicate through dance instead of language. Thus I decided to host an improvisation jam not for the art's sake but for myself . I was still worried that I could forget about being technical and just dance for fun. As soon as I stepped in the studio, I saw familiar faces that I've shared everyday life ever since I moved to New York City; the faces I would not be able to see for a while. I was grateful that I could be a chain to connect each of my precious friends together. For the first time in my New York life, I only focused on communicating with my friends through dance and nothing else. I played my favorite music and danced with my dearest friends and with the beloved faces in the audience.

There are various ways of communication in dance. We could physically touch others. We could mimic one's movement and transform the movement into something different. Even if I stepped aside and watched them dance, I felt my existence on the stage. They were there for me and they were the friends who helped me grow. That stage was where I belonged. It showed that I established my own community in a foreign country after countless struggles as an alien. It was impossible to hide my joy expressed in every single movement and it made the audience cry. That was the richest moment of my dance career and I was blessed to share the moment with people who were beloved to me.

What is your environmental advocacy?

I show my concern for the environment in my daily life through baby steps which can be seen through the following:
- My bag
- My water bottle
- No more disposal commodities

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"To God be the Glory".