Friday, March 17, 2006

The Business


We visited Fleishman Hillard Japan today. It is a very nice office right on the Sumida - gawa River. Very nice view from the offices. We were treated with the typically extraordinary Japanese hospitality. I presented a slide show on our global public affairs practice. In deference to the region, I added to my usual quotes from the U.S. Constitution and Aristotle, quotes from Confucius and the Buddha. Who'd have thought that they were advocates of the practice of public affairs?

FH Japan office head Shin Tanaka is very enthusiastic about growing his public affairs activities and judging from the people in the room, Ryo Kanayama, Sho Sakai and Mieko Iwasaki, he has the means to do so. Part of their presentation included a very sophisticated analysis of recent elections the performance of our client, the DPJ party. Shin was particularly interested in Rob's presentation on Vox Global and saw many opportunities both in and outside the political world to use their capabilities.

I concluded the meeting by presenting the U.S. House of Representatives platter, the American flag pins and a key chain to our guests. It was readily apparent by their reaction to these gifts that they hadn't received such largesse from Americans since MacArthur gave them back their country. They were equally grateful.

Getting back to the hotel was a bit of a challenge in that I had only slept aout 4 hours over the course of three days. A bit of weaving.

Then came dinner alone with very little English on the menu. While I'm warming up to Sushi, I think two meals in a row is enough, so I went for Tempura. The prices seemed very high, but I thought I might be doing the exchange wrong. I picked the cheapest thing on the menu. It was as series of appetizers that weren't particlarly filling. I was waiting for the main course, but it never came. The meal was over. The bill was 8,000 yen, which I learned later is $70! Incredible. No wonder you don't see may fat Japanese people. Highly priced and small portions, great anti-obesity program. The other part of the program discourages cab rides. I learned later that my cab ride from the airport was 29,000 yen, almost $300, more than the cost of my hotel room.

So, it's now 2 pm and I'm wide awake again. I'm sure I'll be dragging tomorrow by afternoon. Gonna have to get over this stuff somehow before Beijing.

I'll be touring the environs this morning and I hope to have some more interesting pictures than white guys talking to Asian guys.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know how I feel about blogs, so take this posting as a high compliment -- I'm enjoying checking in virtually on your escapes. Your dining experience reminds me of when I was in Kyoto 10 years ago. I tried to order a vegetarian noodle dish, and after a great deal of back and forth with the waiter and two friendly Japanese patrons, we were pleased with ourselves that we had bridged the language and culture gap. When a plate of fried chicken nuggets appeared before me 10 minutes later, I didn't have the heart to convey they we had gotten it all wrong!

Kathleen (I don't have a blogger name!)

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