On April 1st, Takashi Shinozuka our Consul General for Japan presented an informative overview of his job. He began by announcing that we could just call him Thomas. Pleasantly self-depreciating, he went on without hesitation.
In his presentation, he included several photos of the Crown Prince Naruhito who on May 1st will ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne with the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito the Heisei Emperor. He then showed a photo of the kanji representing the name for the new era called Reiwa being ushered in. He translated the kanji for us as “Harmony together”. There is often something lost in translation and in this case the neologism was taken from the oldest of Japanese anthologies called the Manyoshu, and therefore the translation is somewhat loose, but the word harmony is certainly the main theme.
Mr. Shinozuka spoke briefly on the economic situation mentioning that Japan is our #2 most popular trading partner and for exporting #4 after China and our 2 NAFTA trading partners. He touched on some sensitive issues indicating his discomfort with the US pulling out of trade deals and that the existing standards were too low and needed to be raised.
He polled the club to see if we could name Japan’s top two businesses here in Georgia. It took a moment, but Kubota and YKK were the correct answers. These two companies, along with Hitachi, Panasonic and Yamaha employ thousands of Georgia citizens.
Mr. Shinozuka brought to attention a major festival that happens each year in Georgia, called Japanfest. More information about it can be found here: https://www.japanfest.org/
Lastly Mr. Shinozuka spoke about an exciting program call J.E.T. The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan. Being a JET is an opportunity to work and to represent the United States as cultural ambassadors to Japan. Most participants serve as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and work in public and private schools throughout Japan; some work as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) as interpreters/translators. More information about JET can be found here: https://jetprogramusa.org/
The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs would like to thank Mr. Shinozuka for visiting and say,
お疲れ様でした (おつかれさまでした, otsukaresama deshita – Thank you for your hard work
More information about Takashi and the Japanese consulate can be found here: https://www.atlanta.us.emb-japan.go.jp/