Sunday, January 24, 2016

Japan Junket, Day 1

I don't have much to report as I arrived in the evening.  Toyko is pretty at night from what little I have seen.  Spew readers may be wondering why I am here, given that I have absolutely no background in Japan, its foreign policy or its defense policy.  And I would say: exactly.

I developed a relationship with the Japanese embassy in Ottawa, as the next big project involves comparing democracies around the world: how/why do their legislatures vary in overseeing their respective armed forces?  Japan is a key case since it shares lots of institutions with European countries, it shares a semi-recent tragic history with Germany, but is in a different security environment.  I will be studying Japan for a month next fall thanks for a fellowship I received.  My initial inquires with the embassy led to the invitation for this week's trip.

Why did I accept this invitation?
  • Tokyo in January has to be warmer than Ottawa?
  • Because I get to miss a week of classes?
  • Because I am an amateur when it comes to Japanese politics, and this week will help me drink from the firehouse and get a better sense of the place.
  • Because I will hopefully develop some competency in navigating this city so that I don't waste much time next fall when I am doing the serious work.  
  • I hope to develop some useful contacts.
The latter three more than the first two.  

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