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The Japan Society Annual General Meeting 2020

The Japan Society Annual General Meeting 2020

Thank you to all the members who attended the Japan Society’s first ‘virtual’ Annual General Meeting; it was lovely to see so many old friends, even if it was only on a screen! A particular pleasure was to be able to welcome members from outside London, and as far afield as continental Europe, Japan and California.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (17)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (17)

Historians will tell us that four months is far too short a time for permanent social or behavioural changes to occur, even if the pandemic already feels as if it has lasted forever. But one thing that really is clear is that those months have proven that video communications technologies such as Zoom are mature and easy enough for widespread use.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (16)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (16)

Let’s start with some good news, for once. Regular readers will know that I have been especially interested in the pioneering work on a Covid-19 vaccine being done at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, not out of loyalty to my alma mater but out of a belief that the remarkable speed of their work offers a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy period.

Manga Drawing for Wellbeing

Manga Drawing for Wellbeing

If you are stuck at home, and have a little more time on your hands, perhaps you are thinking of developing or honing new skills. The Japan Society is delighted to be able to offer our first online manga workshop with UK-based manga artist, Fumio Obata, which will focus on the healing aspects of creativity and being mindful of your surroundings.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (15)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (15)

If nothing else, this pandemic has over the past few months taught us how vulnerable we all are and given us some inkling of the sort of steps that are necessary to reduce that vulnerability. Our friends in Japan perhaps needed less reminding of that, given the prevalence since time immemorial there of natural disasters.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (14)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (14)

As a boy I was always more interested in subjects like history and geography than in science, but for some reason I have always remembered watching Professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College giving a lecture about magnetic levitation, a topic which seemed to the youthful me to be akin watching magic.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (13)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (13)

In a week when pleasure at the prospect of returning to something closer to normal life has been balanced by concern about crowded beaches and a stubborn British resistance to learning from Japan by wearing masks, I have found myself thinking about comedians, political talk shows and men with moustaches.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (12)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (12)

The news, from this week’s webinar, that in 1964 the country received only 353,000 visitors was striking enough, especially given that that was the year when the Olympic Games were last held in Tokyo.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (11)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (11)

If recent events have taught us anything, it is that in these British Isles we are rather nicer to our famous past writers than we are to the historical figures whose statues have been ending up toppled or vandalised.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (10)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (10)

In cricket, that English national sport which arrived in Meiji Japan a good decade before baseball but sadly was superseded, there is a saying called “the commentator’s curse”.