President’s Note for April 2023

 In Japan Society News

I was fortunate to travel to Japan for two weeks in March. My family, like many people who love Japan, had been eager to get back for a visit after three long years of Covid. And we weren’t disappointed. The sakura came early this spring and in spite of some rainy weather, we were able to enjoy beautiful blossoms in Tokyo as well as Kyoto and Nara, reminding us how great it is to travel in Japan. 

We certainly weren’t alone – the streets of Tokyo and Kyoto were packed. Popular tourist magnets like Kiyomizu and Arashiyama in Kyoto, and Asakusa in Tokyo looked as busy as they did in 2019. But don’t worry! As always, there are many new sights (and long-time favorites) to explore – Shibuya station and the surrounding area are a maze of new buildings and shops. And if you arrive early in the morning at favorite sites, they can be almost empty. 

If you are thinking of traveling in the near future, this is the perfect time to sign up for one of our Japanese language courses. The new term will be starting in May, and we have a new workshop focusing on Japanese for travelers

While in Japan, I also had a chance to work on some of JSNC’s Japan programming for the coming year. After relying mostly on online events for the last few years, we are now gearing up for a number of in-person activities.

In March, our Tokyo representative Satoru Watanabe set up an event featuring three JSNC board members who discussed (in Japanese) the implications of the SVB collapse (thank you Satoru, Michi Kaifu, Jon Metzler and Yoshi Tsurumi!). 

JSNC Vice Chair Takahide Akiyama organized a nice luncheon with several “JSNC alumni” – former members of JSNC who have returned to Japan. Our lunch was the first of what we hope will become regular events among friends of JSNC in Japan. (If you are interested in joining this group, please reach out to me directly.)

In June, we will be resuming some of our Innovation Programming in Japan with an invite-only reception at the Ambassador’s residence, and a breakfast program with the American Chamber of Commerce featuring several of our past innovation Award recipients. More info about these events will be coming soon.

Finally, our Healthcare Connection program will hold a two-city conference in Japan in late September in Nagoya and Tokyo. The topic this year will be on AI and Robotics in healthcare. If you are interested in getting involved or supporting this event, please let us know. 

In any case, I hope that you will soon find an opportunity to get back for a visit to Japan. My main suggestion – be sure to make your reservations early! 

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