December variation

My schedule for the past two weeks is perhaps a good example of the kind of work I am engaged in. On Saturday, 4 December, the local SWEA organization and the Embassy organized a Christmas bazaar at the Embassy compound. Some 1500 visitors came and could enjoy special food and other things we Swedes associate with Christmas and the preparations for Christmas.

On Monday 5 December I participated in a “Swedish Technology Conference” at the Alfred Nobel Auditorium organized by Ericsson, the Swedish Export Council and Invest Sweden. The following day the “Uppsala Monitoring Centre” organized a seminar for the so-called WHO Drug Dictionary User Group, with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and Japanese authorities present. Afterwards I hosted a buffet reception.

Wednesday was the first day of a three day Swedish Regional Security Policy Seminar. On Thursday the EU Ambassadors had a meeting, extended to include a meeting with the American Ambassador. The same day the Nordic Ambassadors met with the Nordic Honorary Consul in Nagano.

On Friday, 9 December, I had a very interesting meeting with representatives from Gotland University, which is more and more turning into a global center for the computer game industry. We talked about arranging an event here at the Embassy in February next year. In the evening the Swedish Chamber of Industry, together with its Danish, Finnish and Icelandic sister organizations held their annual Christmas event at one of the big hotels here in Tokyo.

The following week my wife and I attended two events hosted by the Imperial Household, the first one, on Monday, 12 December, an audience for new ambassadors with Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and the second a visit to the Shinhama Wild Duck Preserve in Chiba. Every year migrating birds are briefly caught and registered with ring marks in order to study their migrating behaviours. On Monday we hosted a big dinner for the outgoing Chairman of the European Business Council, Mr. Tommy Kullberg and the incoming, new Chairman, Mr. Duco B. Delgorge. And on Tuesday afternoon the embassy had its own Lucia celebration with children of the embassy families performing.

On Tuesday, 13 Decemeber, I also met with the Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Parliament, Mr. Eto Seishiro, and two more members of the Liberal Democratic Party. Two days later, on 15 december, I gave a lecture about Sweden for a group of twenty parliamentarians from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan at the Japanese Parliament.

On Friday the Japanese Foreign Minister invited the diplomatic community to a screening of the BBC documentary on the North Korean abductions of ordinary Japanese citizens , “Abduction, the Megumy Yokota story”. In the evening I went to Kamakura to watch the so-called Mikagura dance ritual at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shinto Shrine. And on Sunday I attended an impressive drum performance by the Kodo group from Sado island. The first performance was a solemn ritual that has been performed every year for at least twelve hundred years and the second one a performance full of energy, with roots in ancient agricultural traditions.

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