Steph Meets David Bloody Warren, UK Ambassador of Japan. That’s Right, David Warren. David Warren.

24/11/2011

This past weekend, Brits living in the Fukushima Prefecture were invited up to the British Hills Resort (just as it sounds) to partake in a conference with the UK Ambassador of Japan, David Warren. With only a few of us attending, the conference was of about twelve people or so, and conducted in a mock Edwardian period library. David Warren wished to discuss the aftermath of the March earthquake, and how the Embassy chose to advise UK residents who were already living in Tohoku at the time. This discussion led us to consider how Japan may feel she’s being viewed by the rest of the world – and how various generations of Japanese people view the rest of the world themselves. I managed to have a nifty chat with the Ambassador concerning my students’ disinterest in foreign travel and experience; Mr. Warren expressed worry that Japan is heading towards another possible internalisation – and that strangely, the older generations hold a worldly interest far surpassing that belonging to the youth. Mr. Warren’s wife, Mrs. Pamela Warren whom I was sat beside, said that school programmes such as JET have the opportunity to challenge that attitude. I’ve decided to throw in a few more reasons as to why we learn languages in my school lessons: what benefits we can come to own if we were to gain a wider cultural insight, curiosity and understanding. Even if it becomes just a means to further understand their own culture, at least considering Japan through different eyes would recommend a more critical style of self- reflection in my students.

Aside from that rather wonderful debate, British Hills offered a lot to entertain. Guest residences were named after various brilliant British chaps (we were staying in ‘Drake’, beside ‘Chaucer’), a few of which were legitimate Tudor buildings transported from England and rebuilt by Japanese specialist carpenters. Quite ridiculous really, but the place did quench some of my homesickness pangs. Afternoon tea was served in the Ascot Tea Room, and a nature trail along the scenic mountain tops was bordered with British breeds of trees. Being surrounded by other British folk was quite a nice break from the constant ‘Gaijin’ (alien) status my appearance inevitably carries, and at that height, our mountainous resort was punctured by a chill reminiscent of London’s winters. Feeling a bit more relaxed, refreshed, and arrogant that David Warren went away remembering my name. David Warren. A good weekend.

(David Warren.)

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3 Responses to “Steph Meets David Bloody Warren, UK Ambassador of Japan. That’s Right, David Warren. David Warren.”

  1. colesk Says:

    This is brilliant!
    Firstly, brilliant that you got to talk to the ambassador, then that you get the opportunity to teach these kids a little more about how they might experience the world – and then just the eccentricity of taking British buildings and re-assembling them in Japan. I love it. I also love the phone box. Would it be very mad if I asked to borrow that picture?
    Enjoy!
    Kim (still back in Egham…)

    • Sutefu Says:

      Hello Kim! How on earth are you?

      Please do borrow the picture; it’s pretty great that a British woman wears kimono at a British resort!
      Yeah, The Ambassador was very friendly: though he’d been working all day, he came to the pub afterwards to chat over a pint (a ludicrously expensive pint).
      I’ve been reading parts of your blog recently. You look very dedicated with it, good for you. How are you finding writing these days? Are you studying at the moment?

      Great to hear from you!
      Steph

      • colesk Says:

        Hi! I’m pretty bloody good, despite the still being in Egham thing.

        Thank you – it’s always a little strange when people actually read it. But it’s nice. And I’m trying my best to keep up to date (and most of the time failing).

        Writing is… well, it’s kind of not. I get back into it in fits and starts but mostly I find myself pining for CW classes where I knew I would get some feedback. Which is odd. Also, I’m currently studying for a MSc in Library and Information Studies so that I can become a real librarian (which is what I currently do for a living). It’s all distance learning, and it’s taking up a lot of time, hence the failure to keep writing regularly. But I’m sure when I get sick of studying poetry will be a good distraction.

        JET sounds amazing – are you finding time to write with all the teaching and meeting of ambassadors and suchlike?

        Have fun!
        Kim


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