Monday 29 March 2010

"Famous in Japan!"

Blogging from Japan. As you do! I'm here to speak at a British Council conference on social enterprise , and also to run a JACEVO ( our Japanese sister organisation ) event on Full Cost Recovery. I'm here with my vice chair, Allison Ogden - Newton , who is keeping an eye on me....see her here in a photo outside the Imperial Palace.

Allison had already arranged to meet with a contact; Professor Ichiro , the Chair of the department of management at the Meiji University and I gate- crashed their dinner date. But on being introduced he exclaimed , " ah, Bubb , but you are famous in Japan" he said in that lovely mix of Japanese flattery and overstatement! And a great dinner of sushi awaited. The jet lag was kept at bay with a number of G+Ts!

Palm Sunday was celebrated at the Anglican Cathedral, complete with Palm Procession, as seen below

It turns out that the Ambassador's wife is there: she whisks me off for lunch at the Embassy. We met when I was last here. David Warren , our man in Tokyo , is an old friend from Oxford. A useful update on Japanese politics with the lovely salmon . When I was here for the launch of JACEVO they had just had their General Election and a new Government was taking over; more interested in reforming public services and using the third sector here , which is growing in size , as is their interest in expanding social enterprise. The government is running into trouble and there is a major battle between the Politicians and the civil service. They were partly elected to take on the power and might of the Bureaucracy which plays , what some see, as a too strong role in running the country.

It is the time of the Cherry Blossom; a great time of festivity throughout the country. The blossom is out and in a few days will be at its finest , at which point families emerge with their blankets and picnic hampers to celebrate the glory of the blossom under the trees. So let me bring you on the cherry trees from the grounds of the Imperial Palace:

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