Friday, October 13, 2006

MAKING HISTORY IN JAPAN?

While holidaying in Malaysia last month, was asked by Kagawa Prefecture through the email if I could assist them to hold a meeting...

Without going into the finer details, I said ok... (it was terrible to read Japanese in romaji text...)

Turned out to be quite a high profile meeting with the purpose of discussing how to make Kagawa Prefecture 'a more livable place' for foreigners...

'Assisting to hold a meeting' turned out to be 'my consent to be chairman of the meeting'...

Hey, I didn't read that part!!

Anyway, first time to chair such a meeting with the top guns of the prefecture attending...

Learnt later that yours truly is the first foreigner to chair such a high level meeting in the prefecture...

Weeeehh... I am making history?

But... there's always a but...

The Japanese are understandably not really keen to take in foreigners into their shores...

They have been so for the past hundreds of years...

So, the proposals are more like limp, ad hoc measures... stopgap devices that are tuned more towards short-term stayers...

While short-term residents can be quite a problem (they don't know how to separate the rubbish... they party too late into the nights... they use too much oil to cook... the spices they use are too smelly... they commit too much crime...), the focus on long-term residents is somewhat superficial...

Anyway, we are due to meet two more times to thrash the proposals out...

Am looking forward to seeing more 'fire' in the discussions between the local and foreign members of the meeting...