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For the Record…Greetings from Japan!

For the Record, I’ve been traveling throughout Japan for the last week visiting various sites and experiencing their culture, all the while, attending meetings and events for the SEUS Conference between the Southeast United States and Japan.

Attending with me were, Governor Bill Haslam, and Commissioner Bill Hagerty will be joined by Montgomery-County Mayor, Carolyn Bowers; City of Clarksville Mayor, Kim McMillan; Mayor McMillan’s Chief of Staff, Charlie Koon; EDC President, James Chavez; and myself, Chairman of the Montgomery County Industrial Board and Clarksville Academy Head of Schools along with other Tennessee delegates to represent our state.

This joint meeting will include sessions on “Investing in Southeast”,  “US, Innovative Business Solutions”, “Supply Chain and Infrastructures”, “Cultural Tours in Tokyo”, “Tennessee Industry Reception”, and other topics of interest.  The theme of the Joint meeting for this year is, “In Harmony with Tradition and Innovation”.

Throughout the meeting I have experienced many great things and wanted to share those with you!

The photo below was from one of our first days and was taken at the Japan’s Corporate Investments in Tennessee luncheon.

 

I was able to explore close to the hotel on my second day here.  What did I visit first? A school of course!  This photo was taken at the entrance of a local school. Notice the beauty of the entrance and in the second photo, notice the security measures taken with the iron fencing and netting.

 

 

Japanese understand the importance of protecting your skin from the sun.  These students are wearing their hats with their school uniforms.  I have also noticed the ladies carry umbrellas on sunny days also for protection from sun.

 

This was a photo taken of the Mayors and I, At the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan during the evening reception and dinner with the Japan-Southeastern US Joint Meeting- “In Harmony with Tradition and Innovation” on September 14, 2012. This was such a fun dinner and I learned many great things.

 

At that dinner we had a wonderful band that not only kept the evening lively but also introduced us to another wonderful part of the Japanese culture.

 

One of our days was spent touring the Japan countryside.  The delegates from the 7 states (Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina & Mississippi) spent the entire day exploring.  What a wonderful treat this was for us all!  Did you know that Japan is approximately the size of the state of California but that most of it is islands?  Below are various pictures from this adventure.

One of the first things we visited was a purity well.  These darling little girls in their cute outfits were waiting their turn to drink from the well and hike to the Buddha shrine.

 

This is the purity well we drank from. By drinking from the well, its water will make you pure inside.

 

After hiking all the steps to the top to visit the Buddha Shrine, we viewed this below! Beautiful!

 

After you reach the summit you can tie a wish on this wish string altar!  My wish was for future expansion on the current CA campus to happen very soon!

 

Yes I climbed stairs to another shrine temple and garden in another village.  This one was beautiful, full of bonsai and great landscaping on the side of mountain.  It was raining and I did not even have my umbrella!  This one was where parents who have lost babies come to pay respects to Buddha and ask for peace about it!  It was a very sad, but beautiful place.

 

This is a heartbreaking place to visit, parents are allowed to place a little statue on the ridge edge to represent their baby who died at birth or miscarriage or some sad health reason for them not to make it.  Look at the hundreds and hundreds of them!

 

This Buddha is comparable to the statue of liberty.  Same bronze cast, same large size, and you can climb inside hollow structure.  Even the tsunami did not wash it away!  This is a National treasure!

 

 

This photo is of Mayor Carolyn Bowers and I at the end of a very long day of sightseeing.  Two Japanese teenagers took this photo for us as we stood in front of the shrine.  Due to our proximity of it, you cannot truly tell the size.

 

Over the last day we completed our meetings, packed our bags and fit in a few last minute cultural experiences.  I have enjoyed my time in Japan, but am excited to get home to my Cougar family!

Last night at dinner we saw this magnificent  ice sculpture on the table.  These were found throughout the restaurant.  At the base of the sculpture are shrimp!

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The shrimp here are cooked where they stay nice and long and not curled into a C like we eat them!  They also leave the eyes and head on them!

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On our final day we had a joint meeting with the Akebono President, VP and Assistant VP in their very large conference room.  One things we noticed is their conference room table is positioned in a V which is interesting, yet friendly.

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The Akebono business representatives join the Clarksville group for a photo.  Akebono has manufacturing plants for their car brakes in Tokyo and Clarksville.

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A logo was developed for this join venture of Japan & Tennessee.  It stands for Unity.

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And finally here is our Clarksville group waiting to board the plane for long flight home!  We’ve had a great trip but can’t wait to be back in Tennessee!

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My home away from home for the next 13 hours!

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By the time most of you read this, I will be on the ground in Tennessee.  I am so proud of our fine city and state and was honored to represent them during this trip!  I am equally proud of our school (way to go #3 in the state Cougars and WOW on the magazine sales goal!) !

I look forward to visiting with you all over the course of the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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