Foreign Affairs, Green Tea, and Bullet Trains – The journey begins.
I’m writing this post going 100 miles per hour on the Shiskanen! We started our first full daywith a nice Japanese breakfast at our hotel. We’ve had beautiful sunny weather so far. Our first meeting was an orientation with Makiko and Mikiko who explained the purpose of the KAKEHASHI project to our group.
We met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who focused on how the election of President Trump has brought a likely end to the Transpacific Partnership. While the setback to the TPP is a serious concern in Japan, they were pleasantly surprised by how well the recent Trump-Abe meeting went. Our group asked many questions about trade and we received very thorough and frank answers. Joe thanked the foreign affairs officers for talking with us in Japanese.
In the afternoon we met with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. We learned about domestic and imported food and washoku, or traditional Japanese food including seasonal produce and wagyu.
We visited a tea room and got to try matcha. We stirred the matcha into hot water using a traditional bamboo whisk.
Finally, we’re on our way Tochigi Prefecture where we’ll enjoy dinner and move into a new hotel.
— Emily Washington