As part of our activist profile series, today we meet Yuki Takahashi. Yuki just wrapped up an internship with Yuri Mitzkewich, Vegan Outreach’s southeast Outreach Coordinator. Yuki joined Yuri for the first five weeks of his leafleting tour and distributed 38,019 leaflets at 29 different college campuses. Together, Yuri and Yuki broke more than 20 school leafleting records.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Japan. I haven’t lived in any one place for more than half a year since 2012, having been with just one big backpack, a tent, and a sleeping bag for the past five years.
What got you interested in animal rights and veganism?
I first learned about the cruelty of the meat industry in spring 2003 when I received a Vegan Outreach leaflet at UC Berkeley. I felt so sorry for the animals and stopped eating meat. In 2007, I joined the Lothlorien Co-op house and learned about the similarly miserable lives of egg-laying hens and dairy cows.
After completing a Physics Ph.D in 2010, I worked for various causes with other people who are trying to do good things for the world. Everywhere I went, though, I noticed a lack of concerns for the animals being exploited for food. Since then, I’ve been looking to dedicate my life to reducing animal suffering.
How did you get involved with Vegan Outreach and leafleting?
When I was signing up for Vegan Outreach’s Vegan Mentor Program back in May, I noticed the internship opportunity and applied. I was paired up with Yuri Mitzkewich, Vegan Outreach’s southeast Outreach Coordinator, for the fall semester. I leaflet with him for five weeks—traveling from Florida into Texas—and had an absolute blast!
Do you have a favorite leafleting moment to share?
At the University of Southern Mississippi, I met a man named Nicholas who’d received a Compassionate Athlete booklet. After talking with him for a little while about veganism, he jumped in and leafleted with us for the rest of the day.
What do you do for fun when you’re not leafleting?
I like to explore nature and the various cultures on this planet. I also love observing wild creatures, both by walking on land and swimming in waters.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add about leafleting?
Leafleting is a lot more interesting and rewarding than I ever imagined. When I was signing up for the internship, I had some concerns that I’d become robot-like—mindlessly doing a repetitive task. To the contrary, leafleting was engaging, interactive, and energizing. Throughout the five-week internship, I never got tired of doing it!
Can you tell us one of your favorite vegan products to share with our readers?
I actually haven’t explored very many special vegan products, but Daiya cheese is probably my favorite so far. Even my sister, Seika, who is a big fan of cheese, said that the Daiya cheese pizza is the best pizza she’s ever had.