Japan Society Chairman's Blog (55)
One of the pleasures of travelling in the British Isles is the frequency with which reminders of Japan and of Japanese culture crop up, often unexpectedly.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (54)
It is possible I had not been paying sufficient attention before last Monday’s excellent and very well-attended annual lecture by the UK’s ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom, kindly hosted by our friends at Nomura. But even to a news junkie like me it has been striking how many points and themes that were raised in that lecture and the ensuing discussion have popped up in the news in subsequent days.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (53)
May I take this opportunity to wish a very Happy New Year – Shin-nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu – to all Japan Society members? We know that 2023 will be a demanding one, given all that is happening in geopolitics and economics, as was 2022, but we can take heart from the fact that last year Japan and the UK showed that in the face of danger and aggression our two countries stood closely together in defence of the same values and principles.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (52)
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida really spoke for all of us when he said he was "at a loss for words" about the assassination today of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. I imagine all of us felt just like that when we woke up to read the news of the shooting at the campaign event in beautiful Nara and then a short while later learned that he had died.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (51)
Given how demanding was the application process for my visa to visit Japan last month – sponsors’ certificates, financial guarantees, itinerary – as were the rather more relevant health protocols on arrival in Tokyo, my biggest worry was of testing positive for covid just before departure from London or, even worse, on arrival, and then losing the whole trip after all that effort.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (50)
Long ago, I remember being on a visit to Moscow when a kind local resident advised me that if I wanted to understand something of Russia’s history, culture and even the Russian mentality I should be sure to fit in a visit to the Tretyakov Gallery and take a look at its remarkable collection of Russian art.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (49)
We can all agree that after two such difficult and demanding pandemic years Russia’s decision to invade and seek to conquer its neighbour Ukraine has come as both an outrage and a vast setback.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (48)
So what metaphor or simile should we use to describe the situation we find ourselves in as we approach Christmas festivities and Bonenkai, in the second year of the pandemic? A roller-coaster? Round and round the mulberry bush? Groundhog Day? Or might we, in a more positive frame of mind, express gratitude for the many good things that have happened this year?
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (47)
What news item struck you most over the past week or two? There has certainly been plenty going on both in Japan and the UK, what with the COP26 United Nations climate negotiations in Glasgow, a Lower House election in Japan which the opposition flunked and from which Prime Minister Kishida came out well and a dramatic U-turn by the British government over the enforcement of Parliamentary standards.
Japan Society Chairman's Blog (46)
If you’ll forgive the pun, it has been a noble week for some of the values shared by the UK and Japan. Since I am a long-time Grub Street Hack, as journalists and other writers were termed in 19th-century Britain, it will surprise no one that I was especially delighted to see the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two brave journalists, battling to hold authoritarian governments to account.