Saturday, 2 August 2014

Vegan Meet Ups Vegan Style

Photo left
 A group of 14 vegans having a great vegan time in Tokyo’s vegetarian Buddhist restaurant  SaiShoku Kenbi.
In Japan and Asia, a vegetarian restaurant is usually almost vegan. A restaurant that uses dairy and eggs as ingredients for many of its dishes, would explicitly call itself LACTO OVO Vegetarian. In Tokyo there are dozens of vegetarian restaurants who are in fact totally vegan except for maybe one dish with honey or dairy. In contrast there is maybe only one or two lacto ovo veg restaurants that are very vegan unfriendly.

Photo right.
The Vegan Restaurant Touring participants having a dinner in Tokyo’s charming and famous Vegan Healing Café. Most participants have gone home. The remaining female participants go crazy when they spot at the next table in the vegan café the members of a famous western rock band munching a vegan dish. The rock band members are mostly vegan (and are forcing their non vegan member to eat vegan LOL) and are touring Japan for concerts. T shirts are signed, photos are signed.
Now tell me, how big is the change of having an unexpected and exciting meeting with a vegan rock band when your meet up is in a dull and boring meat restaurant? ZERO!

Organizing vegan meet ups in your city is a great activity to build a vegan community, connect with fellow vegans and simply have a great vegan time together. Both your local fellow vegans as well as vegan travelers can and will join your vegan meet up..

When I lived in Tokyo for a while, I never joined the Tokyo Vegan Meet Up. Why not? Are you kidding? Most meet ups are in one specific regular non veg restaurant. Should I join and enjoy my vegan meal while a few tables away other customers munch on some dead animal victims? Should I really willfully spend my vegan yen in a non veg business while a few blocks away there are real vegan restaurants, as in plural? From a foodie kind of view, is it that exciting to eat vegan food made by an uncreative non veg cook who is skilled in meat dishes and has no vibes for vegan food? Should I socially smile like a real Pleasing Vegan when a fellow non veg meet up participant mindlessly blabbers about how he likes “fishing”? (I did hear this from a vegan who attended the Tokyo Vegan Meet Up.)

To that I say, my fellow vegans, No Way!

Instead of joining these utterly boring Tokyo Vegan Meet Ups with zero vegan vibes, I organized my own monthly meet ups and I called them the Vegan Restaurant Touring meet up. Mostly Japanese vegans and vegetarians would join, and let me put it blunt, non veg people were not invited and not welcome. That sounds harsh but the effect is that the whole group is vegan and freely can talk and understands each other. Without a meat eater in the group who reminds us with his looks and questions that we are “special”, we easily forget we are “vegans”, we are just people joining the food and the company and talking our talk, something that we otherwise hardly can do in this meat eating society.

We would meet somewhere in the city and go have lunch in a vegan restaurant. After an exciting authentic vegan lunch and a chat, we would take the public transport and go to the next vegan restaurant. By the time we arrive there tummies start to rumble again and people can go for only a dessert or a full meal. After eating and talking, not blabbering but interesting conversations, it is getting late in the afternoon and time to go for a vegan dinner in…another vegan restaurant!

Instead of a boring meet up in a non veg restaurant with the same dull and uninspiring plate of “vegan” food prepared by a non vegan cook and lame conversations with the fellow next to you who is “interested in veg food” (meaning he knows about animal cruelty yet decided to continue eating meat) WE, the participants of the Vegan Restaurant Tour Meet Up had an exciting day with authentic vegan food, interesting and meaningful conversations, did visit the NEW veg restaurants in Tokyo (regularly new vegan restaurants open in Tokyo, by visiting them we support them financially and in spirit.) made new friends, and in general just had a blast.

As the organizer of these Vegan Restaurant Touring Meet Ups I never accepted or arranged the payments of the foods. People who joined always individually paid for what they did eat at the restaurant itself. My aim as organizer was simply to organize a real and exciting meet up for my fellow vegans, to go together and have a blast of a time visiting and eating in new veg restaurants.

Organizing a meet up for your fellow vegans is fun, and doesn’t take much time. Keeping your Face book page updated and posting Tweets takes more time. Organizing is not “work” that you should get paid for, it is an honor to do.

Organizing Vegan Meet Up Tips:

-       Don’t accept money because this will negatively affect your decisions. IF there are costs to be made, such as for a Meet Up page, openly discuss this and ask money from each participant to pay the bill. Transparency. Never take money from a restaurant.
-       Join the existing Vegan Meet Up in your city that holds it’s meet ups in non vegan restaurants. Contact the participants individually and ask them to hold vegan meet ups in vegan restaurants. Start a new Vegan Meet Up group and make clear that your meet up ONLY attends vegan (and vegetarian) restaurants. Actively invite the participants from the “other” vegan meet up, to join!! Don’t bother trying to convince the organizer to change his ways, he gets money for choosing a non veg restaurant and has little reason to give that up. Sure you will ruffle some feathers, but hey, you are a vegan.
-       Organize a great and exciting meet up. If there is a new veg restaurant, hold the meet up there. Ask owners of a vegan restaurant to hold a little talk, or let the vegan chef tell more about his cooking. Organize a meet up with a “theme” or an issue, that is related to veganism.
-       Bluntly refusing meat eaters is difficult, but keep numbers of non vegans and non vegetarians low, and only allow non vegans who really are interested in vegan food and veganism (ask them why they want to join a vegan meet up), and preferable who are introduced to the meet up by a vegan participant.
-       Hold meet ups in both vegan restaurants and vegetarian restaurants with a mostly vegan menu.

In general when I talk about vegans, I include vegetarians who are mostly vegan but who for practical reasons or simply too lazy to read the label in the supermarket and so are not strict vegans. I exclude mindful lacto ovo vegetarians who vigorously defend eating eggs or dairy and so will be unpleasant company at a vegan meet up. LOL.

In daily life there are enough people available for small talk and discussing non vegan issues. Like sports and politics.
Let’s organize vegan meet ups where we actually can meet with mindful vegans and actually can talk about our vegan life and in one way or another about things that are related to veganism or matter to us as vegans.

Organizing a meet up group is simple and you as an individual can do that. Connect with other vegans and simply meet in a vegan restaurant.

Let’s connect. Like to hear from you,


No comments:

Post a Comment