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Online Donations Closing Soon!

May 31 signals a year since the Savepongo Online donation facility was created through FirstGiving. It is amazing how time flies! This time last year we were still learning how to walk on stilts, still trying to convince people that we weren't that crazy, and still trying to convince ourselves that we hadn't bitten off more than we could chew.

How a year changes things!

With the challenge now finished and attentions now turned on launching officially the Savepongo Adopt a Forest for Pongo campaign, the Firstgiving site will no longer be continued from May 31.
If you still wish to donate, all funds received by then will go to into the Adopt a Forest Fund, our challenge to save 120 000 hectares for the orangutans by 2015.

After that date, we will still be continuing this blog in conjunction with the BOS-Japan site.

Thank you to all who donated last year through the firstgiving site. The adopt a forest campaign that is about to start, is the direct result of your support last year. Without it, there would not have been the belief by the powers that be, that such a project was worthwhile!

Keep looking for information about this new stage of Pongo's challenge soon.

Thanks again

Mick and Miki

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 6:37 PM, ,

A whirlwind month and the project we have been waiting for!

We are still alive and kicking around, not on stilts this time, but the shinkansen. After a much needed break in Australia, we returned to frigid Japan, an empty fridge and a full calendar of speaking events to attend.Guest Speaking at Soroptimist Japan - A 3000 dollar Donation to the Pongo Hogo Hogo Challenge!! Thank you so much!

(We first met Takatani san last year when he stopped to give a donation in Okayama late last year. Living more than a 1000kms away, we were shocked to see him at the event, having travelled all day on bullet train to come see us! Amazing and thank you! We'll see you in May)Bos Public speaking event in Nishi Tokyo (Raised $400 in donations for Pongo. Thank you so much everyone for your kind donations)

Travelling by train with stilts seems completely wrong, and more often than not, the passengers themselves have let us know that something is not right with more than the odd uncomfortable look. Then again, you can't really blame them after having to survive a ride with a bamboo pole threatening the holes in their noses. Once arriving at the venues, it is an interesting, if somewhat uneasy feeling to be greeted by a roomful of people all waiting to hear from you about what life was like on top of the stilts. The PR was never a side of the challenge that we were good at (as you already know from the speed of these blogs...which are still coming by the way!), but is one that we are beginning to learn about with each foray onto the stage. It is defintely a different kind of challenge, but we are facing it just like we did the stilts last year and are quickly learning to love the unexpected that comes from talking to different people in different places.
(with our good fri
Align Centerend Inoue San!)
But there is a reason behind all of this and it comes via news straight from the forests of Borneo!
Our challenge began after students in my class said that the rainforests couldn't be saved because the problem of deforestation had become too big; too impossible. The challenge was to show that nothing is too big no matter how impossible it seems and that if we worked together, maybe we could make a difference in saving these rainforests. The challenge to walk on stilts was one to make believers out of the non believers (including us as it turned out!) in that class, but the idea to raise funds depended heavily on having a worthwhile project in which to use them. We fought against them being simply put in an account somewhere to be divided up and used for paperwork in some NPO with a great marketing department. The money that people gave us, and the work that we were about to do ourselves had to be for a project that promised to do what we had set out to do - to try and protect some of Borneo's rainforests. After months of talks with BOS people all around the world, we got wind of an idea to protect an area of virgin forest big enough to release a good number of the orangutans now being rehabilited in centres across Borneo. It was exciting talk, but always tentative as it was the first time that such a project had been attempted with the Indonesian government's support. However, the ball seems to have bgun rolling and the various groups involved, for the first time, are beginning to work together to make what had seemed impossible, a real, viable prospect.

BOS Indonesia along with BOS Japan, BOS Australia, BOS UK and Red Apes USA are now working together to secure an 86 450 hectare parcel of virgin forest in the East Kalimantan regions of Kutai Timur and Kutai Kertanegara. Almost 3 million dollars will be needed by 2015 in order to secure the land, a significant amount less than the 50 million dollar amount first envisiged by BOS Japan for barren land that would need reforesting. The money from the Pongo Hogo Hogo Challenge will be going to help fund this. However there is still much to be done. 3 million is a bit more than we managed managed to raise last year and so with a good challenge facing all of us now, what we all thought was the end of the challenge at Cape Sata earlier this year has turned out to be the start of a bigger and much more exciting one! A challenge to really save part of this forest.

This time it is about all of us! 3 million sounds like a massive amount, but then, so did 3000kms before we started walking last year. We did it with the help of everyone along the way, and I think we can do it again in the same way; not by waiting for the NPOs to start, not by waiting for the governments to start, but by starting ourselves. Like us if you wish to be 100% certain of what your efforts will do before you decide to get involved please feel free to email us here or any one of the BOS foundations above for more info about it.

Similarly I am including some links to official reports about the project that can bve found online here. Have a look.

Asia Views Online Supplement Article
BOS Japan Link (Japanese Only)
It is an exciting picture to paint. A safe place for these red apes to be.


より大きな地図で PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia を表示

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 5:50 PM, ,

Januray 25th - National Broadcast NHK Tokimeki Interview

Pictures of our day at national broadcaster NHK Radio's studios in Shibuya.
Our hour at NHK's studio proved to be one of the best experiences we have had so far. Apart from what has to be one of the most spectacular views of all of Tokyo from the studio window we got to spend time with 2 of radio's most popular presenters who made us feel welcome and relaxed from the start, and who asked questions that we hadn't had the chance to even think about until now. After the hustle of the past week, it was a nice and suprisingly reflective time that brought back many of the best memories from the challenge. It also reminded me that I really must pull my finger out and get writing those blogs. I am still in Niigata! As soon as we touch down in OZ, they will start popping out, so keep visiting!

Thanks Murakami san, Kanzaki san and Nishimura san for an unforgettable day.

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 4:22 AM, ,

Japan Tennis Association Manner Kids Program

Japan Tennis Association (JTA), through the support of Mr Joji Shimizu of West Green Tennis Club, have kindly been supporting the Pongo Hogo Hogo Challenge, by raising awareness and funds through their Manner Kids Program which aims to foster good behaviour and manner through tennis. Having played tennis since before we could walk, we have been enjoying meeting the kids and look forward to working with them in the coming months.

If you are based in Japan and work for a primary school or private club and would like information regarding the Manner Kids program, please contact us through this site and we will endevour to put you in touch with the right people.

Thank you JTA for your kind support through out our challenge!

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 4:08 AM, ,

Crazy Days!

It has been a whirlwind 10 days since we stepped foot back in our house, the pace of which has almost made us wish we were back walking on the stilts.
Day 1 - Brilliant welcome home party with our great mates, Steve, Ai, Darrell, Nobuko, Robbie,
Miya and Kade, Matt, Chris, Tony, Sumina, Josh, Alex, and a little boxing freak.
Day 2 - Recovery and more recovery.
Day 3 - Paper Boy drives through our front garage, while asleep in the front seat.
Wakes to a sunburned couple waving worn stilts in his direction. What have you done!!
Day 4 - Why is our electricity all funny? Tokyo Electricity discovers our power has been pulled
out in the accident, along with the power pole in front of our house.
Day 5 - Interview with GARRRV Outdoor Magazine to be released later this month.
Day 6 - Radio Interview with Okayama Radio - Lovely to do the interview from our own home,
even if it was a little more crumpled than usual.
Day 7 - 9 Article for Tokyo's OUTDOOR JAPAN magazine. How do you fit 6 months of stories
into 1500 words? Find out in next months issue.
Day 10-11 Japan Tennis Association (JTA) Manner Kids program promotion at Chiba's West
Green tennis club.
Day 12 - Meeting with BOS Japan Director. Details of our project have been released! Keep
looking here for details of a 11600 hectare parcel of land on the Borneo/ Malaysian
border! This is where you money is going! Brilliant stuff!
THE BIG ONE! My Japanese test with national broadcaster NHK. If I pass, we get on.
After lots of wine, all seemed happy and the green light was given!
Day 13 - 14 NHK prep along with school meeting.
Day 15 - Our NHK national radio broadcast. Miki brilliant as usual. Me, well I walked well on
the stilts while everyone talked! At least I hadn't forgotten that. To be honest, after all
the fuss, the hour went by without a hitch and turned out to be one of the best
experiences we have had to date. Our hosts, Murakami san and Kanzaki san, created
the perfect atmosphere for us to tell stories we hadn't been able to talk about since we
stopped a week ago. The show may even be put online in English we have been told
so we will keep you posted. To look at the profile click here.

From tomorrow, we are back off to Australia for a wee while where hopefully, we can hide away and catch up on some blogs from the rest of the trip.
We will be keeping this site up and donations can still be made to either challenge account until at least April this year. Remember, the land is there now, we just need to pay it off now!! That shouldn't be that hard surely!! :-)

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 3:15 AM, ,

We're back!!

After a sea voyage that was almost as challenging as our 6 months on the stilts, we are back at home readjusting to life with a bath and a kitchen at our fingertips. It didn't take long.
There have been lots of uploads in recent days on various news sites about the challenge, but most of them seem to fall off as soon as the day passes into the next. How sad it is to be known as old news!

However, one site that we know will be up for a while is that of a documentary team that was with us on the last day. Their effort aired last night and has been uploaded on to the web for all to see. It is in Japanese, but you are able to see some of the sights from our last day, on our run up to the end of Japan. If you get the chance have a look.

Vimeo video cache - Studio Filce - CLICK HERE

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 10:52 PM, ,

8 Days to go!!

Start the countdown! Get the bubbly ready! We're coming End of Japan!

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 6:17 AM, ,