Our last night in Fukushima

IMAG0245aWe ended our day as we did many weeks ago when we first arrived here in Fukushima, Japan by celebrating a traditional Japanese Kaiseki dinner. As before the meal was spectacular. Oddly though after literally dozens of meals, we the American’s, delivered our first formal protest since arriving some 22 days ago by foregoing the first course, known as Sakiduke featuring Mink whale. While we were firm in our objection, I can honestly say it was the first such action since joining our Japanese colleagues here in Fukushima. Noting our exception silently they proceeded to eat our three appetizers, so nothing was lost nor went to waste. We do have some monicker of principle left even after enjoying some of the most intersting food one can imagine in restaurants you’ll only find with a seasoned citizen. — Your mouth would water should I describe the variety of foods we eaten this past few weeks.

IMAG0248On the other hand, maybe not because a few weeks ago I would have been far more hesitant to eat raw octopus tentacle, uni (sea urchin), fish eggs, a squid as anything other the fried calamari, sushi or the occasional baked fish, head and all.  And so as the saying goes, “when in Rome do as the Romans do.”IMAG0233a

In all seriousness we’re sad to see our visit nearing an end. We’ve become great friends, have a hearty respect for each other, have accomplished a great deal and are proud of what we’ve done as IBMers and for the City of Date. We like to joke that we’re “the best team” as we frequently remind Ogawa-san, our Corporate Citizenship adviser. In many respects we are, but we’ve been extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to do something meaningful that draws on the best of what one has to offer. I know I speak for the whole team when I say that the support we’ve received has been phenomenal. Kudos to IBM Tokyo, the Smart Cities Corporate Citizenship team, IBM Sendai, the many farmers, businessman, residents we’ve met with and Shoji Nishida, Mayor of Date City.

We have had a busy few days preparing for our final presentation to the Mayor, his staff and the press tomorrow. We’re confident that we understand their challenge and have developed a series of recommendations and actions plans that can help the city and it’s farming community. The alternative, doing the same or doing nothing is not an option.

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