A Note From Steve Pollock, President of JSNC (9/23/22)
My last trip to Japan was back in January of 2020. The trains were packed, the streets and office buildings were bustling and the bars and night clubs were full of activity. I remember wandering around a busy antiques flea market near Tokyo Station. Business was surging, and I assumed that I would be back again in short order.
Of course, a short while later, the Diamond Princess cruise boat was making headlines as it was stuck in a Japanese port, its sick passengers unable to disembark. Within weeks, COVID-19 had shut down the entire world, and put all Japan travel plans on indefinite hold.
In the more than two and a half years since then, many of us – including regular travelers as well as first-time visitors – have become even more eager to return.
Fortunately, we got some really good news this week. As many of you are aware, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida just announced that Japan would be dropping its visa requirements for independent travelers as of October 11.
This is great news for all of us, including the Japan Society of Northern California. Although JSNC has enjoyed record attendance at our virtual programs over the past months, we are now rapidly expanding our in-person programming, including the following upcoming events:
- Umami Tasting Experience with Japanese food and sake at our SF office on September 29.
- Millbrae Japanese Culture Festival on October 2 in Millbrae – please stop by our booth!
- A great in-person program on building a sustainable society through Japan-California collaboration that features presentations by leading startups and Japanese companies working on exciting new green technologies. This event will take place at Plug and Play in Sunnyvale on October 20.
- Many more programs including our first-ever Japan-based healthcare conference in Tokyo (October 31) and Awajishima (November 2), a program in Japanese about Sleep Science (October 21), and our annual Charity Gala on November 19.
I look forward to seeing many of you at these events, and I hope that we can help get you even more excited to travel back to Japan now that it looks like the doors are re-opening. Sounds like a great time to sign up for one of our many Japanese language classes!