Today’s Japan – One year after 3.11

This March, we were invited to visit Japan by JETRO, Japan External Trade Organization. It was really great to see Today’s Japan in person.

We all remember the overwhelming images of the massive, powerful tsunami. Buildings, cars, and ships were all crushed down and stacked up in a total chaos, and the land as far as you could see was filled up with endless pile of debris. People were in deep sorrow from loss of loved ones. These devastating images were engraved into the minds of those of us living overseas.

I expected to see some “scars” from the earthquake, such as people sad and depressed, dark nights with less electricity, etc. My expectation was completely wrong. Life in Japan seemed back to normal. However, I should say it was not really the same as before in many ways: People in Japan seemed have gained more strength and depth in their character from this unprecedented incident—they seemed glowing with hope and are making a steady constant effort to build a new future. Also they seemed more grounded; maybe the calmness comes from their awareness of the power of love—the love of family, friends, and even from the strangers they never met from all over the world.

We are still receiving phone calls from customers inquiring about radiation effects on products. Some of the inquirers kindly say, “As long as the products are safe, I would like to buy Japanese products because I believe it helps Japan.” I bow to the customers with gratefulness and respect over the phone. We are constantly checking to be sure our products are free from radiation and safe for our valued customers. And they are safe.

Let’s go back to our trip. Our six day itinerary prepared by JETRO was packed with business activities. One day, we visited numerous booths at an International Food Trade Show held in Tokyo, where 2,400 companies brought their food products from all over the world to their booths. I was hoping to find more healthy, delicious, convenient products at the trade show and we found some interesting possibilities. We’ll keep you posted!

Three days were filled with non-stop one on one business meetings all day arranged by JETRO. We were able to ask serious questions about management on food safety including organic production and radiation check. Most of the companies understood our needs and they are sincerely seeking a way to produce products to meet our demands if they don’t already have products satisfying our market needs. I was reassured that many of the companies had done their own “homework” and had a good sense of our needs, especially for food safety.

After Tokyo, we moved to Tottori, a city on the Japan Sea side—west coast of Japan. Everything including sightseeing was conducted at a fast pace and each day was highly productive. People were friendly and kind—more so than I remembered!

The affected area has still a long way to go for a complete recovery. However, the rest of the country is functioning well. In Japanese culture, people believe the favors received need to be returned with work well done and they will make every effort in order to make it happen. Japanese products have a reputation of high quality. I believe they will try harder to make their products better. Please continue your support and friendship to Japan. Arigato.

When I was thinking about this, a friend of mine just emailed me a link to a YouTube video and I would love to share it with you:

Pretty classy people to put this out. Worth viewing. Never heard of any other country doing this…….

A ‘Thank you’ from Japan …… Click Here

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