Well, I just finished my presentation about half an hour ago on American Emergency Management. I want to thank Leo Bosner at FEMA for letting me use his Japanese presentation on FEMA for parts of my presentation. I also really want to thank Maiko for helping me translate the other parts of my presentation. Thank you so much for spending hours helping me translate something I definitely wouldn't have been able to do on my own!
I think it went really well. I had practiced a few times and wrote out what I was going to say in Japanese on Microsoft Word in 20 point type and just had to read the script. The tough part was the questions at the end. I had a hard time answering the questions about FEMA reservists (there are few, if any, reservist-like jobs here in Japan) and disaster declarations, but I was told my answers were comprehensible. Japanese audiences tend to ask few questions, and the few I was asked came from people in the International Affairs Division, who I think realize that we in the West expect to have questions at the end of a presentation. The Public Safety Division listened to me rehearse my presentation yesterday, so they had asked me most of their questions the day before.
There were only about 20 people in the room, which made it seem really empty. That made it a little easier, but I don't think I would have had much of a problem with more people because I got to sit and read into a microphone throughout the presentation. I will post pictures soon, and when I do, you should really see this room. It is a regional 'disaster countermeasures headquarters' and it looks a little like a NASA headquarters. There are flat screen displays at each seat with a web cam and microphone for video conferencing and two large screens at the front of the room. They monitor typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural disasters from this room and coordinate recovery and response activities. It is a new room that has only been used in one disaster, a typhoon, so most of the time it is used as a conferencing and meeting room for the Fire Bureau.
I am going to get a complete tour of this facility later in my internship (I think next week when I'm with the Fire Bureau), so I will write more about it later. I forgot my camera today, so I had some of the employees of the International Affairs Division take pictures. I should get them by Monday. I also borrowed a digital camera from them to take with me this afternoon as I go to Yokohama to the Kanagawa prefectural police headquarters and, I believe, the prefectural disaster response headquarters.
We're leaving in about 20 minutes for Yokohama. I'll try to post some pictures tonight if I get back by 5:00. Maiko's here and we're going to eat at a Korean restaraunt a Korean lady I'm taking Japanese classes with recommended. I'll try to remember to take pictures, because I've been meaning to start a food gallery on flickr. One of these days when I get time, I'm going to organize those photos into categories for easier viewing.
That's all for now. Off to Yokohama!