Friday, March 23, 2012

A evening with the Japanese Consul General

On Wednesday, I had the distinct honor of attending a reception at the home of our Japanese Consul General remembering the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and celebrating Japan's success in reconstruction.

First there was a ceremonial part of the evening, remembering and honoring the lives lost and the people who gave of themselves to help orphans and the reconstruction process. There were proclamations and plaques and a moment of silence. Then the Consul General shifted the tone to focus on Japan’s success in rebuilding its industries and reaffirming its relationships in the US. The mood of determined and hopeful, yet festive.

The sake, white wine, and food was imported from Japan. The Consul General was particularly proud of the sake (it was excellent). He’s a very gracious and funny gentleman, quick to smile and laugh at a good joke. He was very impressed and pleased that I greeted him in Japanese. His wife is equally gracious and warm; she was disappointed to learn that Ed had stayed home. I’m planning on writing a note thanking them for their hospitality.

Everyone was very friendly and seemed appreciative that I made the effort to say "good evening," "how do you do," and "pleased to meet" you in Japanese. That's about the extent of my Japanese.  A few who are Japanese-Americans and I joked at how we speak “menu” very well. I suspect their families have similar stories and histories with the detention camps as my in-laws (no one brought those up – not the reason for the evening).

We were sent home with a folk art doll that is proudly displayed at the office. It’s supposed to be good for mental and physical health.

I also got to meet some Japanese community contacts. We’re planning on attending Japan-Fest next weekend.

 A local County Commissioner, the Consul General, my boss, and me.

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