Have you ever heard about the café philo? It could be defined as a forum for philosophical discussion. A topic is chosen and, following the lead of a facilitator, the participants exchange their thoughts and really dig deep into it. Expertise in philosophy is not necessary, however; everyone can be part of it.
I first engaged in café philo at the Faculty of Letters (Clinical Philosophy), Osaka University. Then, I thought that it could be interesting—and very important—to hold a café philo for cancer patients and their families, an idea that came to me from the experience of losing my own father to stomach cancer.
It was then that I met Keiko Sano, who had also lost her father to cancer, and the doctors of the hospital affiliated with Osaka University School of Medicine. Together we held the first Oncolo Café in May 2016.
The name “oncolo café” comes from “oncology”; however, it need not refer only to cancer patients, but also to those who live and struggle with an incurable disease. Their family members are also welcome and are free to participate.
Until now, I led discussions whose topics were, for example, “love,” “identity,” and “thoughtfulness.” Because of the medical condition of the participants and because of the topics, discussions can become intense, but I could see numerous smiling faces during and after sessions.