June 2018 SIETAR Kansai,From Adversity to Advocacy: the power of sharing your stories

June 2018 SIETAR Kansai, JALT Osaka, & JALT Kyoto Joint Program

From Adversity to Advocacy: the power of sharing your stories



Presenters:      Tomomi Kumai (Intercultural Trainer & Transformative Education Coach)

                            Tyler/Takaya Kumai (7th grade student currently living in Seoul, S. Korea)

Date:            Sunday, June 24, 2018  (2:00pm~5:00pm)

Place:            Takatsuki Shiritsu Shogai Gakushu Center, 3rd floor, Room 1

                            (10 minutes walk from JR Takatsuki station or Hankyu Takatsuki-shi Station.                                   https://www.google.com/maps/place/Takatsuki+City+Lifelong+Learning+Center/@34.8471,135.6208698,1                                            6z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xc87f56cef9be930!8m2!3d34.8465365!4d135.6174151

                                           Tel. 072-674-7700

Fee:            Free for members and students; 500 yen for non-members.

Language:      Japanese / English


Social event:  There will be a dinner at a nearby restaurant afterwards.  Reservations for dinner required by Wednesday, June 20.  Contact fujimotodonna@gmail.com



Description of the Presentation

Universities in the U.S. are required to include a statement in their materials claiming that the institution is committed to the inclusion of students with disabilities and that it will make reasonable accommodations for them. This increasing awareness of students with challenges can certainly have an effect on schools and other institutions in other parts of the world. With this in mind, we have invited Tomomi Kumai and her son, Ty, to share their experiences of their family’s challenges.

Tomomi: “In January 2016, my son Ty’s life as a person with a disability began. Ty was diagnosed with a pediatric malignant brain tumor–medulloblastoma–and had to undergo brain surgery. The surgery left him in a wheelchair. After experiencing social challenges such as being discriminated when using public transportation, Ty and I decided to educate elementary school students by volunteering to read a book on special needs in their classrooms. We will introduce our story of grappling with illness and disability but also discuss the social challenges we faced being ill and later with a disability.”

This presentation will invite audience members to reflect on adversity in their own lives and consider what they can do for some populations who might have similar experiences. This process will also help educators think about various ways to include diversity in a learning environment and provide a safe place for all learners. The presentation will help children, parents, and educators identify issues and understand the importance of accepting and including differences and adversity, transforming them into opportunities to be proactive in advocating for advancement.

Profile of the Presenter

Tomomi Kumai is an intercultural trainer and transformative coach in South Korea, serving expatriates and international students in the US, Korea, and Japan. She was born as a Korean Japanese bicultural citizen in Hiroshima and earned a BA (San Diego State University) and MA (the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) in Linguistics. Tomomi has lived, studied and worked for over 15 years outside Japan. Her mission: Connect, learn, and empower.


Tyler/Takaya Kumai is Tomomi’s 12-year-old son. Born in the USA, Ty spent 7 years in Japan and moved to Korea when he was eight. In 2016, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent brain surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. He is currently cancer-free and receiving physical therapy.