Thursday, July 07, 2005

The VIP Life (Part II)

Before I talk about today, let me just answer Ross's question. Those cards are prayers for healthy, happy babies. I believe they are left there by pregnant mothers. I think that's what you're asking about...

Anyway, today was another day of touring stuff. It was my third time on the base today. This morning, I met with Roger Hoot, the regional emergency manager for the U.S. Navy in Japan. He was kind enough to take an hour out of his busy day to meet with me and talk one on one about what his office does and answer some of my questions. I still have more, so I will probably be e-mailing him soon. Apparently, the office of emergency manager is new for overseas navy bases. The Navy has always been good at handling emergencies on ships (born out of necessity), but apparently hasn't put much thought into emergency management in overseas facilities until relatively recently. This is not to say that the Navy hasn't always had emergency management capabilities on these bases. There have always been security, fire, and medical services, but there has been some lack of coordination between them and overall planning.

We talked a little about U.S.-Japan cooperation, but I still have many more questions about this subject, which I will surely put into my final report on Japanese emergency management in Yokosuka.

We finished our meeting by 10 this morning because Mr. Hoot had a meeting with represenatatives of the Kanagawa prefectural government. He had invited me to attend, but the prefectural representatives preferred I not be there. Apparently, since they weren't sure whether or not some 'secret' information was going to come up, they didn't want a 'kankei nai hito' (person with no business being there) there. Mr. Hoot told me they were going to be working on streamlining a few communication protocols, so I doubt any 'top secret' stuff came up. I think this is just a typical characteristic of doing business Japanese style. You follow the book, the plan, the schedule and you don't change the plan. Proceedure is extremely important here; flexibility is not. (Uh-oh... I smell a theme brewing to put into my paper...)

When we finished, we went to Taco Bell. It was an early lunch and I pigged out (again). We were back at City Hall before just before the lunch break, so I went to the International Affairs Association to check my e-mail. We went back to the base this afternoon, where I met Captain Gregory J. Cornish, the Commander of Fleet Activities here in Yokosuka. He was a really nice guy and we talked for about 15 minutes. He was interested in my background, so I got to talk a lot about myself (something I've always had a knack for ; )

After this, I met Mr. Hidemi Nagao, a Civil and Media Liasion Officer in the Public Affairs Office for the U.S. Naval Forces, Japan. He gave a power point presentation on the U.S. Navy in Japan, which was written in English, though he spoke in Japanese. That was a great way to study because I could understand almost all of his words, but the ones that I didn't (like 'mine countermeasures ships') were written in English on the screen. The presentation was very detailed and I had few questions, but it was a good experience. We talked a little in English afterwards (he's worked for the U.S. Navy for 20 years, so he is completely fluent) and he gave me contact information for a friend of his in Taiwan, who used to teach International Relations in a Japanese university, but is now retired. It's really amazing how my interpersonal network is growing here...

Anyway, I have written two long posts and it's after 5:00. I need to get home because they are forcasting lots of rain in the next couple of hours. I am going to change into shorts and tennis shoes (I've been in a suit all day) and try to walk home before it starts pouring. I really need some exercise after all this Chinese and Taco Bell...

1 comment:

op said...

You better not come back all fat like last time. Fatty. :b