January 15, 2009

Over the weekend I traveled to Washington DC and met and talked with the Consuls-Generals from 13 different cities. (In the photo I am having lunch seated between Mitsunori Namba, Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle and Akio Egawa, Consulate-General of Japan in Portland.) I also met with 35 Japanese Americans representing communities from across the country. During the meetings we discussed how Japanese Americans can play a role in US-Japan relations. Helping to lead the discussions were Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese Ambassador to the US and Daniel K Inouye, US Senator from Hawaii and the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
With so many people it was hard to have deep discussions during the meetings. Most of the time was spent sharing information about regional activities, business networks, improving communication, and the changing political scene in the U.S. and Japan. It was during the receptions and evening drinks when we really got a chance to connect on a more personal level. For example I discovered that Ambassador Fujisaki was a Japanese exchange student in Seattle during his junior high school days and has fond memories of Seattle, including watching the building of the Space Needle.

I also try to tell people about the work we do at Densho. It really helped that NHK featured our work at Densho in an hour documentary that has been shown a couple of times in Japan. Several of the Consuls-Generals mentioned watching this program.