True Stories from Japan is an occasional blog on the Sasakawa USA website that features reflective essays about travels to and from Japan. Topics range from U.S.-Japan relations to cultural differences and everything in between.
True Stories from Japan accepts submissions for publication. Click here for details on how to submit an article for consideration. Published items are the opinion/experience of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sasakawa USA.
I recently participated in Sasakawa USA’s Civil Society Exchange Program – a week-long dialogue that brought members of Japan’s Civil Society to the United States to interact with their counterparts in the U.S. This was the first opportunity I had to have a genuine dialogue with U.S. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and expand the understanding of international development.
We used our free time to drive ourselves around the country, driving north to the spectacular groves of sugi — Japanese cedar trees — in Nikko; west to the entrancing gardens and ancient temples in Nara and Kyoto; and to many other fascinating destinations all around the country. Each of the many times we were lost was an adventure that ended happily.
I’ve come to believe that Japan can play an important role in world politics, far beyond Northeast Asia, as it has a very credible diplomatic voice and significant means at its disposal. Japan has been, by anyone’s measure, an exemplary member of the international community and it derives a lot of legitimacy from this.