There is so much more
Tokyo is the biggest city in the world, with a population of over 36 million people. It is an amazing city with a well functioning public transport system. In spite of its enormous size it is not difficult to go by subway from one part of the city to another. Different subway lines are connected in an intelligent way and it is easy to transfer between them. If and when I get some time over I truly enjoy riding the subway. One of my favourite destinations is the Kanda district where one can find a great number of book stores with both old and new books. But excellent book stores are also to be found in other districts. The digitalization of the written word has had an impact also on Japanese book stores, but not as much as one could expect. It is still common to see a lot of commuters reading books in paper form. Swedish mystery stories have been popular for a long time. The Martin Beck detective stories, published by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö in the 1960s and 70s, reached almost cult status in Japan. Today it is the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson that grabs the attention.
It goes without saying that it is a challenge to make Sweden visible in the very competitive environment a city like Tokyo provides. But somehow the good brand name that Sweden has makes it more of a pleasure than a struggle to work with different projects. It is my intention to try to find ways to connect the existing good name that Sweden has with modern demands and possibilities. The Swedish industry is doing well here, but there is so much more to be done. A lot of Japanese tourists are visiting Sweden, but not at all in the numbers that we ought to have. And Swedish culture is so much more than just mystery stories. There is a risk that we become too complacent and take the attention we get for granted. There is also a risk that we get stuck with stereotypes that we do not want. I would like to find ways to show how much more we have than what is already known. Sweden is after all a country that still tops the list of countries that are creative.