Our team members Venus and Liza reveal how they became volunteers at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
We have a diverse team at FunkyCorp, with a wide range of interests and a lot of different languages, beyond English and Japanese. With the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Tokyo this July, we’re planning to do more than just watch.
A lot of our work involves creating useful content for visitors to Japan, but in our free time, we also love to help out. Our production manager Venus Tong Yee Man and junior developer Liza Kozyreva are going to spend their summer break helping sports fans from all over the world. We wanted to know what inspired them, and how they got to be volunteers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
How did you hear about the volunteer positions?
Venus: I found out on the internet; I had wanted to volunteer, so I was following the news.
Liza: I heard from a friend who was working with a local NPO cleaning up plastics and helping in the relief work in Fukushima. I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I applied in 2018 and had some training workshops last year.
Why did you want to volunteer?
Liza: I think there is a perception overseas that people in Japan are polite but maybe a bit cold or shy. But I’ve always had great experiences here, so I wanted to pay Japan back for all the help and kindness I got when I first moved here.
Venus: I’ve always been a sports fan, so to be able to participate in the world’s largest sports event, in the city I live in, was a dream.
What languages can you speak?
Liza: Russian, English, Japanese
Venus: Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Japanese.
What kind of volunteer opportunities are there?
Liza: You can help out at events, or at major stations to guide people around the city, there are volunteers working with the media, a digital team, drivers, helping out at the ceremonies; there are many opportunities to get involved.
What will you be doing?
Liza: I’m hopefully going to work at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, at one of the venues. I don’t know the schedule yet, but we will do some training in March and get more details.
What are you most looking forward to as a volunteer?
Venus: I’m excited to get involved, hopefully see some sports and of course get to know people from around the world. I signed up for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I’m just waiting to see where I get placed.
What are you looking forward to?
Liza: Everything! I met a volunteer from the London 2012 Olympics, and he was very inspiring. His advice was to enjoy every moment of this one-off chance and help people as much as you can.
How else can you volunteer in Japan?
Although applications have closed for Olympics volunteers, there are many ways to get involved with volunteer work in Japan. Try the Tokyo Voluntary Action Center, where you can find an opportunity to suit your skills and interests. Our COO Jonathan Field has been working with Second Harvest, Japan’s first food bank, for more than 10 years. On our digital marketing team, Tara Kokawa pursues a sustainable lifestyle on her farm outside Tokyo and works with the NPO Pochitamakai, to foster abandoned animals.