A very busy “Japanuary”…with much more to come!

 In Japan Society News

This year, our annual “Japan Outlook 2023” program featured Mr. Mark Lambert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. It was a fantastic program looking at the state of US relations with Japan and the many issues that both countries will likely face in the coming months. A short list of hot topics includes: Taiwan, China, Ukraine, North Korea, South Korea, and Southeast Asia, not to mention nuclear energy, global warming and supply chains. 

Some key positive points for me? US-Japan relations have perhaps never been stronger, and we should expect this to continue given the common interests and current leadership of both countries. I was surprised (and happy!) to hear that there have already been a huge number of meetings between the leaders of both countries, as well as a flurry of activity in 2023 that caused people in DC to refer to January as “Japanuary.”

We could easily borrow that “Japanuary” label here, as JSNC also kicked off the year with a very heavy schedule of activities with broad participation. We were very pleased that our January events attracted more than 1,000 attendees! 

At the same time, we also organized several more intimate events, including two VIP dinners with our guest speakers (Mark Lambert and Globis CEO Yoshito Hori) for our Leadership Circle members. There was also our hands-on demonstration workshop for Japanese Kyudo (archery) and Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship) that sold out in less than a day, which was part of our ongoing “Traditional Arts in Modern Japan” program series. We particularly want to thank Maria Peterson and Tim Macmillan for sharing their passion for kyudo and hosting the event at their beautiful and peaceful dojo in the Santa Cruz mountains, and Nishimura-sensei for sharing his deep knowledge about Japanese swordsmanship.

February is also packed full of interesting programs. We kicked off the month with a reception for the Japan Biodesign fellows at the Consul General’s residence as part of our healthcare programming. We also had a sold-out event on Web3 technology that featured more than a dozen speakers, including entrepreneurs, investors, crypto experts, and large company representatives who shared their personal experiences and thoughts about the future of Web3 technology.

And we have a lot more to come! We hope that you will be able to check out our upcoming programs–especially our Geostrategy program on Monday, Feb. 27, which will look at the topic of US & Japan cooperation and competition with China and feature two amazing guest speakers. Former Ambassador Kurt Tong and Professor Kazuto Suzuki will both be joining us in Palo Alto. Please sign up now for this excellent event!

Finally, we will return to the ever-popular Food and Culture programming on 3/1, when we will be doing a program on the Okinawan whiskey Awamori. This program will feature “Suzu” from the Netflix program Drink Masters, who will be creating some awesome Awamori-based cocktails. What a great way to bring about the end of winter and kick off our March programming!

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