Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Lecture by the British Ambassador in Tokyo, Mr David Warren

Date: Thursday 21st January 2010, 6.30pm
Venue: Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7PX

Members will be extremely pleased to know that The British Ambassador in Tokyo, Mr David Warren has kindly agreed to give a talk the Ambassador’s Annual Talk to the Society during a forthcoming visit to London.

The lecture will start promptly at 6.30pm on Thursday 21st January at Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Picadilly.

Mr Warren, who has been in post since the summer of 2008, has been asked to give his perceptions of the political, diplomatic and commercial situation in Japan. He has served twice before in the Tokyo Embassy and many of his other appointments have closely involved him in Japan – UK relations.

The annual talks by current British Ambassadors have provided very useful backdrops to the years ahead; they have been both relevant and useful and have always been extremely popular. The Ambassador will speak for about 30-40 minutes, after which there will be time for discussion and questions.

A pay bar will be available from 6.00 p.m. and also for a short time after the lecture. To enable a prompt start, you are asked to arrive at the Club by 6.20 pm. Club rules require gentlemen to wear jackets and ties and for telephones to be switched off.

To book your place please contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email:

Discover Japanese Food #10: Atsuko's "Tonyu Nabe" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

Nabe means hot-pot and is a style of cooking on the table, sharing with your family. It is one of the best winter dishes in Japan. Variations include shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, chanko, but this is a unique style of Nabe using soy milk. Any ingredients can be added in this recipe. Surround the nabe with your family and friends to be close to each other!

Ingredients (serves 4-5)
200g salmon, 200g sea bass, 150g tofu, 1/2 chinese cabbage, 2 leeks, 1 carrot, 1 age, A bunch of shimeji and shiitake, 100g kuzukiri, A handful of wild rocket, 100g Udon noodle (boiled)
Base soup:
1/2 L tonyu (unsweetened soy milk), 1L kombu dashi, 3 tbsp mirin, 4 tbsp miso (smooth white), 2 tsp grated garlic

1. Slice the fish into 1.5 cm thick pieces.
2. Cut the vegetables (Chinese cabbage, leeks, carrot) so they will cook easily. Trim shimeji then tear into pieces.
3. Dice tofu into 2 bite sized pieces, cut age into triangle shapes.
4. Boil the kuzukiri until it becomes soft, about 2-3 mins. Wash in cold water to stop the noodles sticking to each other.
5. Put all the ingredients onto large plates. Set aside.

1. Pour the dashi and soy milk into the pot, simmer with medium heat. - don’t put the lid on, it will overflow.
2. Mix miso and mirin to dissolve miso well, then add to the soy milk base.
3. Place the ingredients in the pot then simmer again. - don’t boil it too much, the soy milk will become like a tofu.
4. When the ingredients are cooked it is time to eat! Try, add the grated garlic should make a taste wonderful.
5. Finally, add the udon noodle to finish with.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Looking into the Mirror Pond - Woodcut prints by Nana Shiomi

Date: 20 January - 18 March 2010
Venue: Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP
Organiser: Daiwa Anglo- Japanese Foundation

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Nana Shiomi to coincide with the publication of her catalogue, "Looking into the Mirror Pond". Nana Shiomi came to London in 1989 to study at the Royal College of Art after having practised printmaking in Japan. After re-examining Western culture in the early 1990s she has moved on to a consideration of her own Japanese culture.

Nana Shiomi was born in Japan, and studied at the Tama Art University (BA, MA) and the Royal College of Art. She has been living and working in London since 1989. Shiomi makes contemporary woodcut prints, often using traditional Japanese icons. Her printing technique is based on the traditional Japanese way of printing, but with new materials and tools. Recently, her works have been well received at: the "-Matrix: An Unstable Reality-", the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana, SLOVENIA; Northern Print Biennale, Newcastle; Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, London; and "Daughters of Sun Goddess -Japanese Femininity-" at the National Museum in Helsinki, FINLAND. Her "Basic Room - Zan Getsu -" was short listed for the "Insight - Image of the Year Award -" at the RA Summer Exhibition in 2006.

Asiana Airlines Donates Rice to the Needy

Asiana Airlines (CEO, Young-Doo Yoon) along with the staffs of Asiana Airlines, held a delivering event of the “Rice with Love” at Asiana Airlines head quarters located in Osae-Dong, Gangseo-Gu, Seoul for those in needy around the Ganagseo district.
President Yoon and the staffs of Asiana Airlines delivered 500 20 kg bags of rice to 20 local welfare facilities in the Gangseo district with the hope that they will have a warmer and better winter.
Since September 2006, staff at Asiana has collected pennies up to 999 won each month from each person’s salary and the fund has been used for the needy. The rice was produced in Oesampo 2-ri, Hongcheon, Gangwondo, an agricultural village called “1 Company for 1 Village” which Asiana is closely associated with. The rice will be delivered to the needy people such as the elderly living in solitary, the physically challenged and others with low incomes.

Meanwhile, the company announced that it has added a new menu to its cabin catering. Asiana after conducting a survey realized that passengers for long hauled flights (U.S, Europe, Oceania) were looking for menus that were not too burdening. In satisfying the passengers need, Asiana has developed a new menu which is low in calorie but tastes great the ‘Mulberry Leave Noodles.’ The Mulberry Leave prevents aging, lowers the cholesterol rates, and shows prevention of adult diseases. By using the adequate ingredients for the less moveable cabin environment, Asiana has studied and developed a special method of keeping the cooking and keeping the noodles to its best conditions.
Asiana has been trial testing the Mulberry Leave Noodles from the 1st of December on Business Classes for certain long-hauled flights. With the positive feedback and popularity increasing, Asiana has decided to service the Mulberry Leave Noodles on the Business class for the long-hauled (U.S, Europe, Oceania) flights. Asiana plans to provide this menu to its short/mid hauled flights starting from next year.
Asiana Airlines also services a variety of healthy Korean menus such as Korean Royal Table D'hote, and Nutritious Korean Cuisine, 'Ssam-Bab', Acorn-starch jelly with rice are just some of the variety of health conscious menus serviced inside the cabins of Asiana Airlines. Asiana Airlines will continuously develop new distinguished cabin menus by continuously monitoring new possibilities.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

President Lee pledges to establish int'l green growth think tank

The President who is in Copenhagen to attend the 15th UN climate change conference delivered his second address on Dec. 18 (local time).
The address was made on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), comprised of Lichtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, Switzerland and Korea.
"EIG has made many workable solutions that touch upon the core issues [of climate change]," President Lee said during the speech after the EIG meeting.
The "Green Fund" proposed by Mexico, the “International tax system” by Switzerland, and the “Registry” mechanism proposed by Korea, all played an important role in bringing together developed and developing countries, The President said.
What is important in fighting climate change is "Me First" attitude, and this is why the members of EIG set an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he added.
During the latter half of the speech, The President stressed that green growth is the new economic path that would benefit all the countries, and emphasized again the Korean government's ambitious plan to establish the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an international think thank that will work to lower carbon gas emissions.
The institute, according to The President's plan, will bring together scholars, scientists and civil society leaders from around the world to come up with workable solutions to climate change problems.
As to the closing of the Copenhagen conference, Lee said, "This is not an end but a new beginning."
"Although we may not agree on everything today, this must not be an excuse for No-Action. We will continue to do our very best because there is no alternative to our planet," said The President.

Girls on Film: Females in Contemporary Japanese Cinema (Preview talk by Jasper Sharp)

Date: 4 February 2010 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EH

Before the 2010 Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme Girls on Film kicks off around the UK, the Japan Foundation has invited programme advisor Jasper Sharp to give a talk about this year’s programme. In this event, as well as introducing the six directors and films included in this year’s schedule, Jasper will discuss the importance and relevance of the theme of cinema featuring, and made for and by, women in Japan,

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email: giving your name and those of any guests as well as the title of the event you would like to attend.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Peach Boy : The Adventures of Momotaro

Date: current - 14 February 2010
Venue: Many across the country, see company’s website for more details
Tel: 01865 249444
Organiser: Oxfordshire Theatre Company

Oxfordshire Theatre Company is touring a brand new play based on the traditional Japanese folk story Momotaro/Peach Boy to rural communities across England.
Peach Boy: The Adventures of Momotaro written by Richard Hurford integrates Japanese art forms and artists into the company and the production will fuse puppetry, live performance, movement and design, all inspired by the East.
The show is co-produced with Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, who will contribute to its artistic development and Japanese and British artists will develop their skills alongside each other and create new ways of working to influence the final production.

Discover Japan #11: Saga Prefecture (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Japan National Tourist Organization London Office)

Saga Prefecture is located in the northwest part of the island of Kyūshū, Japan.
It touches both the Sea of Japan and the Ariake Sea.
The western part of the prefecture is a region famous for producing ceramics and porcelain, particularly the towns of Karatsu, Imari, and Arita.
The capital is the city of Saga.

Kyūshū’s smallest prefecture, Saga, is located on the northwest corner of the island, bordered by the Genkai Sea and the Tsushima Strait to the north and the Ariake Sea to the south.
Saga’s proximity to mainland Asia has made it an important gateway for the transmission of culture and trade throughout Japanese history.
Largely rural outside of the two largest cities of Saga and Karatsu, agricultural and forested lands comprise over 68% of the total prefectural land area.
There are six prefectural parks and one quasi-national park in Saga.

In ancient times the area composed by Nagasaki Prefecture and Saga Prefecture was called Hizen Province.
The current name dates from the Meiji Restoration.
Rice farming culture has prospered here since ancient times, and vestiges can be seen at the ruins of Nabatake in Karatsu and the Yoshinogari site in Yoshinogari.
From the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period it is thought that over 100 feudal clans existed.
Also exerting great influence during this time was a samurai clan operating along the Genkai Sea called the Matsuratō.
Upon entering the Sengoku period, the Ryūzōji clan expanded their control to include all of Hizen and Chikugo Provinces, and part of Higo and Chikuzen Provinces.
After the death of daimyo Takanobu Ryūzōji, Naoshige Nabeshima took control of the political situation, and by 1607 all of the Ryūzōji clan’s domain was under the control of the Nabeshima clan.
In the Edo period this area was called the Saga Domain, and it included three sub-domains: the Hasunoike, Ogi and Kashima Domains.
Also within the current borders of Saga Prefecture during this time were the Karatsu Domain and two territories of the Tsushima-Fuchū Domain.
Saga Domain and its sub-domains continued to be ruled by the Nabeshima clan, its various illegitimate family lineages and members of the former Ryūzōji clan, and politically the area was relatively stable.
However, the cost of defending Nagasaki was increasing and, difficult from the start, the financial situation was worsened by the great Kyōhō famine and the Siebold Typhoon of 1828.
Nevertheless, due to the large area of reclaimed land from the Ariake Sea arable land was able to increase significantly and by the 1840s the annual koku of Saga Domain increased to about 670,000, twice that of 200 years before.
Around the middle of the 19th century, Naomasa Nabeshima strove to set right the domain’s financial affairs, reduce the number of government officials, and encourage local industry such as Arita porcelain, green tea, and coal.
Also, thanks to the proximity of the international port of Nagasaki, new technologies were introduced from overseas, such as the reverberatory furnace and models of steam locomotives.
After the Boshin war, many people from Saga Domain assisted in the Meiji Restoration.
In the Meiji era the modernization of coal mines in Kishima and Higashimatsuura districts, among others, progressed bolstered by the construction of railroads.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Whiter than White: New directions in Japanese architecture and design

Date: 27 January 2010 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EH

Vicky Richardson, Editor of leading architecture and design magazine Blueprint will give an illustrative presentation explaining why the magazine has created a Japan issue in each of the past five years, and the reasons why she thinks Japanese design and architecture is worthy of this attention. There will also be a discussion with Souhei Imamura, Tokyo-based architect and writer, looking at some of the new innovations emerging from Japan.

Blueprint is the leading magazine for architecture and design. This event coincides with the publication of its annual special issue about Japanese architecture and design. Throughout January Blueprint will publish a series of articles exploring the work of contemporary Japanese designers on its website in addition to those in the print version. This event is organised in association with Blueprint magazine and kindly supported by Toto.

Discover Korean Food #19: Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon's "Bossam-kimchi"

Bossam-kimchi is brined Korean cabbage stuffed with fruit, seafood, mushrooms, vegetables and various garnishes. Bossam-kimchi is made by wrapping the stuffed cabbage with cabbage leaves, and it is also called ‘bokimchi.’ It has been popular in the Gaeseong area where good quality cabbage was grown in olden days.

* Ingredients

2.4 kg (1 head) Korean cabbage, 2 kg (10 cups) water, 350 g coarse salt, 250 g (¼ ea) radish, 125 g (¼ ea) pear, 30 g mustard leaf, 25 g small green onion, 30 g watercress, 25 g green onion
Garnish : 10 g (2 sheets) brown oak mushrooms, 3 g stone mushrooms, 30 g (2 ea) chestnut, 12 g (3 ea) jujube, 2 g shred red pepper, 10 g (1 tbsp) pine nuts
25 g salted shrimps, 25 g salted yellow corvena (salted young corvena), 200 g(1 cup) water
50 g oyster, 400 g (2 cups) water, 6 g (½ tbsp) salt, 80 g young octopus, 12 g (1 tbsp) salt
28 g (4 tbsp) ground red pepper
Seasoning : 32 g (2 tbsp) minced garlic, 12 g (1 tbsp) minced ginger, 2 g (½ tsp) sugar
12 g (1 tbsp) salt

* Preparation

1. Trim the bottom and outer leaves of the cabbage, put a deep knife slit lengthwise and split it into two parts by hands. Marinate it in salt water in which half of the coarse salt dissolved, and spread remained half of the salt in between the petioles. Let it sit cutting side up for 3 hours, and then another 3 hours after turn over.
2. Rinse the marinated cabbage under running water for 3~4 times, drain water on a tray as facing down for 1 hour (2 kg).
3. Cut the cabbage, radish and pear into 2.5 cm-wide, 2.5 cm-long and 0.3 cm-thick. Save outer leaves. (radish 180 g, pear 100 g). Cut the mustard leaf, small green onion, watercress and green onion into 3 cm-long.
4. Soak the mushrooms in water for 1 hour, remove stems of brown oak mushrooms, wipe water with cotton cloths, shred it at intervals of 0.3 cm of width. Remove belly button of stone mushrooms, wash by rubbing, shred it into 3 cm-long and 0.2 cm-wide.
5. Skin the chestnuts and slice it into 0.3 cm-thick. Cut the jujube flesh round, and shred them into the same size of brown oak mushrooms.
6. Cut the shred red pepper into 2 cm-long. Remove tops of pine nuts and wipe the nuts with dry cotton cloths.
7. Mince the solid ingredients of the salted shrimps finely.
8. Cut the flesh of the salted yellow corvena, save the heads and bones.
9. Rinse the oyster in salt water, drain water. Wash the young octopus by fumbling with salt, cut into 3cm-long.

* Recipe
1. Put water and the heads and bones of salted corvena in the pot, boil for 5 min. on medium heat, drain it on a strainer to make corvena liquid (50 g).
2. Mix the shred cabbage and radish with ground red pepper together, add salted shrimps and corvena flesh and seasoning, mix them together thoroughly. Add all the prepared stuffs and mix evenly. Add ⅔ of seafoods into it, mix them softly, then season with salt.
3. Put 3~4 sheets of cabbage outer leaves on the bowl. Heap up with the mixed stuffs, place remained ⅓ of seafoods and garnish on it. Roll the outer leaves up and wrap them tightly.
4. Put the wrapped kimchi into a jar one by one and press down. Add the boiled corvena liquid into the jar.

* Tips
- Discard a few tough outer leaves from cabbage, and use remained leaves as much as possible.
- This wrapped Kimchi has been called as 'Bokimch' (restorative Kimchi), because wrapped all sorts of delicacies with marinated cabbage and fermented.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Asiana Airlines recognized for best service by Business Traveler for 4 Consecutive Years

Asiana Airlines (President : Young-Doo Yoon), for the forth consecutive year, was awarded Best Flight Attendants in the World and Best In-flight Service in the World as well as Best Overall Customer Service- Airlines- Ground/Call center for two consecutive years by Business Traveler Magazine.

Asiana Airlines has excelled in various categories as a result of its continued focus on providing its customers with innovative and unique services, both in the air and on the ground. This year for the first time, Asiana has won Best Overall Customer Service- Airlines- Ground/Call center providing the best of service not only inside the cabins but also on the ground.

The awards are given to the airlines that receive the highest cumulative scores in the survey conducted by research institute MRI (Mediamark Research & Intelligence). MRI is the leading provider of consumer research and data from MRI’s survey.

Asiana Airlines cabin magic shows, in-flight make up services, and onboard chef service are just some of the exclusive ideas that Asiana has produced and many positive compliments has been received. Asiana has put into upgrading its cabin facilities with unlimited investments in upgrading all our A321 with AVOD(Audio Video on demand), spacious seat spaces, all AVOD systems installed in all classes as well as customer-centered booking/ticketing/boarding system. Asiana provides in all areas unique differentiated high class services that can not be found in any other airlines.

Meanwhile, Asiana and Incheon International Airport (CEO: Chae-Wook Lee) established a constructing agreement on the 9th of December at Incheon International Airport to agree on terms of constructing the new hangar.

The 2nd maintenance hangar’s size is 63,800m2 in which the hanger can facilitate 2 B747 along with one B767 at once. A total of 1.1hundred billion won will be invested in building the hanger. Construction for the hangar will start from end of 2010 to April of 2013.

With the construction of the new hangar, Asiana will have the largest maintenance facility in Incheon International Airport. Asiana will now be able to save around 27 billion won of outsourcing maintenance to subcontractors.

Asiana Airlines Senior Vice President of Maintenance (Hyun-Ok Park) commented, “With the construction of the new hangar, we are able to maximize our safety operation and in terms of investment, safety is the most important factor in the airline company and we will continue to make endless efforts to invest in safety.”

Also when construction is finalized the new Asian hangar will become one of the landmarks of Incheon International Airport.


The winner of numerous international film awards in 2009, including the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Jury Prize for Best Film and Best Male Performance at Montreal's Fant-Asia Film Festival and the Best Film award and Critics' Prize at the Deauville Asian Film Festival, the debut feature from South Korean writer-director and star Yang Ik-june, BREATHLESS is a brutal, uncompromising and profanity-filled look at the cause and effect of domestic violence. Out in cinemas nationwide from 29th January 2010

Here's a teaser for this award-winning drama

Giving a stunning performance in the film's lead role, Yang Ik-june stars as Sang-hoon, a deeply troubled man prone to violent outbursts, who freelances as a hired thug at his friend's debt collecting firm. His private life revolves around his extremely strained relationship with his ex-convict father, who was directly responsible for the tragic breakdown of their family, and a slightly more subdued, but still difficult, connection with his stepsister and her young son.
Seemingly possessed by the pent-up rage caused by the domestic events from his past, Sang-hoon finds an opportunity for salvation when he encounters a similarly emotionally damaged schoolgirl ((Kot-bi Kim), who is as foul-mouthed, headstrong and fearless as he is. The two begin an offbeat and touching friendship, not realising that their lives are already connected in ways that will have a profound effect on both their fates.

As moving as it is shocking in its portrayal of people struggling to live in a world of routine violence and abuse, BREATHLESS was hailed by as "one of the most powerful films of the year" and by Screen International as a film that marks director Yang Ik-june as a name to watch.

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Japan Foundation Touring Exhibition: out of the ordinary/extraordinary: japanese contemporary photography

Date: 19 March to 8 May 2010
Venue: The Civic, Barnsley
Organisaer: The Japan Foundation

Following its success and popularity in 2006, The Japan Foundation touring exhibition out of the ordinary/extraordinary will once again visit several venues across the UK during 2009. Featuring 11 Japanese artists, mostly from the younger generation, out of the ordinary extraordinary questions things in the world accepted as ‘obvious’ and reconstructs their meaning by reassessing the ‘relationship’ between the artists and the diverse elements of our ever-changing world.
The exhibition includes pregnant men posing in a fertility clinic, strangers photographed from outside the windows of their homes and a young woman dressing up in various teenage fashion trends to explore the superficial concept of “youth”; all providing a fascinating take on society as captured through the lens.

Honda Sponsors COP15 Climate Change Conference

Honda announced that it has become one of only four car sponsors of the COP15 Climate Conference, which takes place in Copenhagen from 7th December to 18th December 2009. The announcement comes after Honda successfully met a series of strict environmental requirements set by the Danish Foreign Ministry.
The sponsorship will see Honda supply the two-week climate summit with a fleet of environmentally friendly new Honda Insight hybrid cars. The FCX Clarity, Honda's ground-breaking, zero emission hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicle will also be present at the summit as part of a COP15 showcase - ‘Driving the Future'. The vehicles will be used to transport delegates, VIPS and journalists to key venues around the conference.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Svend Olling, Head of Department at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "In meeting our criteria, Honda has been selected as official sponsor of vehicles for the COP15 Climate Conference. Not only does the sponsorship enable us to lower emissions from the conference itself, but the vehicles also demonstrate technology, which already today can help us in our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in the transportation sector."

Yuishi Fukuda, President of Nordic Honda A.B. added:
"Honda is proud to have been accepted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an official sponsor of the COP15 Climate Conference. The vehicles on display will demonstrate Honda's commitment to manufacturing products with the highest possible environmental performance, using production systems with the smallest environmental impact. "

In 2006 Honda became the first automobile manufacturer in the world to announce global per-unit CO2 reduction targets for both its products and production activities.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Manga: Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure

Date: current - 3 January 2010
Venue: British Museum (Room 3) Great Russell Street, London

Come and see an exclusive new manga by Hoshino Yukinobu at the British Museum. Manga is a Japanese comic book art form which has become an international phenomenon in recent years.
Manga are cheaply produced illustrated books, sometimes as long as a novel and read back to front (i.e. the opposite to the way English is written). Many different audiences read manga, and there are different manga for both children and adults.
Hoshino Yukinobu (b. 1954) is a world-famous manga artist. One of his most popular characters is Professor Munakata who investigates history and folklore in his manga adventures. In this display, you can see original artwork by Hoshino, including drawings showing the start of Professor Munakata’s new adventure set at the British Museum.
Step into a life-sized manga with Hoshino’s comic-book creations filling the walls and floor of Room 3. You can also browse a selection of Japanese manga books in the small manga kissa (literally ‘manga coffee shop’ – although coffee will not be available) in the corner of the room – a perfect way to discover more about the art of manga.

Xun Zi, a Chinese Confucian philosopher

Xun Zi (312–230 BCE) was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who lived during the Warring States Period and contributed to one of the Hundred Schools of Thought. Xun Zi believed man’s inborn tendencies need to be curbed through education and ritual, counter to Mencius’s view that man is innately good. This is similar to Thomas Hobbes’s idea that men are naturally evil, and they have to be led by a greater power to stop competing each other.
He believed that ethical norms had been invented to rectify mankind. Educated in the state of Qi, Xun Zi was associated with the Confucian school, but his philosophy has a more pragmatic flavour compared to Confucian optimism. Some scholars attribute it to the divisive times.Xun Zi was born with the name Xun Kuang, courtesy name Qing. Some texts recorded his surname as Sun instead of Xun, either because the two surnames were homophones in antiquity or Sun was selected due to Xun being a naming taboo at some point in history.
The name “Xun Zi” is just a title that means “Master Xun”. The early years of Xun Zi’s life are enshrouded in mystery, since he was first known at the age of fifty, around 264 BC, when he went to the state of Qi to study and teach. Xun Zi was well-respected in Qi, with the King Xiang of Qi (齊襄王) honouring him as a teacher and a libationer. It was around this time that Xun Zi visited the state of Qin and praised its governance, and debated military affairs with Lord Linwu in the court of King Xiaocheng of Zhao. Later, Xun Zi became slandered in the Qi court, and he retreated south to the state of Chu, where Lord Chunshen of Chu, the prime minister, gave him a position as Magistrate of Lanling. In 238 BC, Lord Chunshen was assassinated by a court rival and Xun Zi subsequently lost his position. Xun Zi remained in Lanling, a region in what is today’s southern Shandong province, for the rest of his life and was buried there. The year of his death is unknown. Of his disciples, the most notable are Li Si (prime minister to the first Qin emperor) and the Han state royal Han Feizi, who developed the quasi-authoritarian aspects of his thought into the doctrine called the School of Law, or Legalism. Because of Li Si and Han Feizi’s staunch anti-Confucian stances, Xun Zi’s reputation as a Confucian philosopher has often come into question.While Xun Zi’s doctrines was influential in forming the official state doctrine of the Han Dynasty, his influence waned compared to Mencius during the Tang Dynasty.

The Xunzi
Unlike the aphoristic style of the Analects and Mencius, Xun Zi was a more rigorous thinker and wrote elaborately argued essays, which were collected into the book called Xunzi (the single word spelling indicates the book). He distinguishes what is born in man and what must be learned through rigorous education. These essays are often critical of competing schools, such as Daoism and Mohism, as well as rival schools within Confucianism. Some of the more significant chapters are:
* “Discussion of heaven (天 tian)” rejects the Mencian notion that heaven has a moral will. Instead, Xun Zi asserts that heaven is simply the natural world; thus people should focus on the human, social realm, rather than dealing with heavenly ideas.
* “Discussion of Ritual Propriety (li),” discusses rules of individual and social conduct (decorum). * “Dispelling Obsessions,” being too focused on only one aspect of a situation, one often loses sight of the larger purpose.
* “Proper Use of Terms” (正名 zhengming): A name becomes proper for a situation through conventional usage, but once this is fixed, it is improper to deviate from these norms. Thus he adopts a conventional view for the origin of the sound-to-meaning mapping, although the objects signified by the term remain real. The term Zhengming often appears in the English literature as “The Rectification of Names”. This is a misleadingly narrow translation of the Chinese title. In classical Chinese, the phrase “正名 (zhengming)” could be interpreted either as “rectifying names” or as “correct/right names”.
* “Human Dispositions are Detestable” (xing e): Rejects Mencius’ claim that people have a natural inclination toward goodness. Confucius, who simply said that people are similar by nature, was not clear on the matter. Xun Zi holds that man is naturally inclined towards selfishness and evil, and that if these inclinations are not curbed, human societies would devolve into anarchy. He views morality as a social construct, emphasizing the difference between nature and nurture.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

"Human Bridge" 150 Years of Anglo-Japanese Friendship and Commerce Photo Exhibition

Date: December 2009 - January 2010
Venue: Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Tel: 020 7713 0832
Fax: 020 7278 4663
Organiser: The Japanese Residents Association UK & the Embassy of Japan

The exhibition will trace the history of trade relations between Britain and Japan form the conclusion of the 1858 Treaty of Commerce to the present, in roughly 50 photographic panels. The photos will cover a variety of themes, from Lord Elgin and the signing of the Treaty to the Anglo-Japanese Reconciliation, documenting the past 150 years of Anglo-Japanese exchange and trade.

Asiana’s Flight Attendants Awarded the Best in China

Asiana Airlines (CEO: Young-Doo Yoon) was awarded the ‘2009 Top Airline Cabin Staff’ Award from China’s top travel magazine ‘World Traveler Magazine.’

Asiana has been acknowledged as being a world class airliner with the best cabin attendants from World renowned travel magazines such as U.S. ‘Global Traveler Magazine for 6 consecutive years as being “Best Onboard Service & Flight Attendants Award” and World Traveler Magazine from China.

World Traveler Magazine surveys its readers every year online which concentrates on 10 areas such as continents and services to choose the best airliners./to rank the best airliners. The award will be presented at Shanghai World Financial Center forum on the 3rd of December.

Asiana Airlines flight attendants have been recognized globally for many years for providing authentic cabin services such as cabin magic shows, and in-flight make up services for passengers. Asiana’s customer oriented services are the core reason for Asiana winning many awards such as this.

Meanwhile, “Brussels Airlines” the national carrier of Belgium, hosted an official Star Alliance entrance ceremony at the Grand Place in Belgium on the 9th of December. With Brussels Airlines official entry into the Star Alliance, Star Alliance has 26 member carriers, operates to 175 international countries, 1,077 cities and has a daily departure rate of 19,700 flights a day. Star Alliance still remains the world’s largest and strongest airline alliance.

With Brussels Airlines official entry into the Star Alliance, Asiana and Brussels Airlines has formed a mileage partnership. Now passengers of both airlines can accumulate mileages and use bonus airline tickets for both Asiana and Brussels Airlines. Asiana also plans to expand its European network in associating with Brussels Airlines and provide a variety of passenger services. In due time, joint sales of seat and common customer preferential program is also being planned.
Brussels Airlines was established in November of 2006 with the merger of SN Brussels Airlines and a low cost carrier called Virgin Express. Brussels Airlines currently has 51 aircrafts that operates to 69 destinations domestic and international.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Conflict and Change: Foreign Ownership and the Japanese Firm

Date: 10 December 2009
Venue: Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13 - 14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP
Tel: 020 7486 4348
Organiser: The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

What happens to the traditional work practices of Japanese firms when they are taken over by European and American firms?
How do the employees react?
What lessons can be learned from examples of successful and unsuccessful acquisitions?
Ten years ago, such questions would never have been asked, simply because the incidence of take-overs of Japanese firms by foreign companies was virtually non-existent. However, in the past decade, a number of major Japanese companies have come under the control of foreign firms. Conflict and Change focuses on five Japanese companies acquired by foreign firms in the last ten years (including Nissan, Chugai Pharmaceutical and Shinsei Bank) to show how take-overs by foreign companies have changed HR and organisational practices traditionally associated with Japanese firms.

Discover Japanese Food #9: Atsuko's "Iwashi no nitsuke, simmered sardine in soy sauce" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

Sardine is a common fish in Japan and here in the UK. It is well known as a source of Omega-3.
If you cook any fish you should be very careful not to handle it too much, to prevent damage.
There are many useful grandmother's hints to help when cooking fish.

For this recipe, the small pieces of sardine will be very fragile when you simmer the fish. Adding umeboshi helps to stop the fish from breaking. Place a bamboo sheet in the bottom of the sauce pan, and simmer the fish gently on top of the bamboo. After the fish is cooked, remove it from the seasonings by lifting the bamboo.

Ingredients: serves 4-6
6 sardines, A finger sized piece of ginger, 1 umeboshi (salted plum)
150ml shoyu, 120ml mirin, 4 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 bamboo sheet ( if available - you will find it in asian super market or Japanese grocery shop )

1. Wash the sardine in cold water to remove any scales.
2. Cut sardine into 3 cm length then soak in salted water made with 2 tbsp of salt to 1 liter of water for 10 mins.
3. Soak the dried bamboo sheet in cold water to soften.
4. When the fish becomes firm, use chop sticks to remove the guts.
Then wash in cold water, strain.
5. Slice the ginger then cut it into very fine strips.

1. Put the sardine pieces in a sauce pan then cover with water, bring it to the boil.
2. When it starts boiling then the sardines are cooked. Drain the water. This helps to remove the smell of the sardine.
3. Cool the sardines down then remove the back bone. It is easily removed from head side, pull the bone out carefully so as not to break the fish.
4. Put the bamboo sheet in the sauce pan,then add the sardines, a cup of water, ginger and umeboshi, and bring it to the boil.
5. Add sake, sugar, mirin and shoyu to the sauce pan then simmer for 20 mins until the seasonings have half evaporated.
6. Leave it to cool down to allow the flavour to soak into the sardines.
7. Lift both sides of the bamboo sheet to avoid breaking any sardines while transferring to the dish. Serve in on the bamboo for presentation!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Movers & Shapers Japan - UK Relations Seminar Series VIII: Kumagusu Minakata in London

Date: 10 December 2009 - 10 December 2009 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London

Kumagusu MINAKATA (1867-1941) was born in Wakayama and lived in London from 1892 to 1900 after his five year stay in the US and Cuba. He was quite active in the academic society here, making friends with many of the leading scholars of the period, while studying in the reading room of the British Museum. He contributed 374 English essays in his lifetime, on the folklore and natural history to Nature and Notes and Queries published in London. Although Kumagusu worked solely in Tanabe, Wakayama, relatively separated from the mainstream of the Japanese academics in the latter half of his life, he is now regarded as a pioneer of comparative folklore studies, religious studies, history of science, as well as conservation of nature which he initiated based on his ecological research of the natural forests of the region. Such achievements of his are actually all deeply rooted in the academic influences he received in London. This lecture explains the unique life and thought of Kumagusu, focusing on his London days. Ryugo Matsui, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Intercultural Studies at Ryukoku University, Japan. He has been researching the archives and relevant materials of Minakata Kumagusu Minakata for twenty years, not only in his former residence in Tanabe but in the UK and the US. He is the author of Minakata Kumagusu Issaichi no Yume (1991), Kumagusu no Mori (2005) and several other books on Kumagusu. JAPAN FOODing Ltd. will be serving Japanese Sake at a drinks reception following Prof Matsui's presentation.

Charm Lee, President of the Korea Tourism Organization

Charm Lee, a German-born naturalized Korean, was recently appointed as the President of the Korea Tourism Organization. According to the Korean press, his appointment reflects the Korean Government’s willingness to open up a high level government public office to a foreign born individual who possesses professionalism which is also expected to bring a positive impact on attracting foreign investment to Korea.Since being naturalized in 1986, he has actively been involved in various fields in corporate management and major media- including TV, which has made him a well-known public figure and recently, he has hosted a TV programme regarding tourism and globalization of Korean food. He is known to be very passionate about his adopted home which is obvious through his words and actions. During the appointment press conference, President Lee said “With my extensive understanding and experiences of cross cultures, I will do my best to elevate the Korean tourism industry through strengthening overseas marketing and expansion of tourism infrastructures from the perspective of a consumer.”

I met Mr Charm Lee, on a typically British Autumnal day, at the Korean Cultural Centre in London. I was privileged to accompany him on his business trip between the 7th of November and the 9th of November during his Korean Tourism Campaign in London. At first glance, I must admit that I was overwhelmed by his features and of his elegant use of the Korean language. During his several interviews in London, he was confident about the future of Korean Tourism. Not surprisingly, he was able to share this confidence with a European audience. I believe that this should be the most valuable asset he possesses. Below is an excerpt of how he is trying to project the image of Korea as a special culture:

Why come to Korea?
I would simply reply that ‘to recharge your energy’ because there is more energy in Korea than anyplace else. Korea is a society that recharges and reinvents itself constantly. It’s very Oriental but a unique place where a multicultural society is emerging.It is a very sophisticated and world-class country—you can get anything here.

What is the genuine charm of Korea of Charm Lee?
1. Genuine Taste: Good Food is the Best Medicine
Korean food incorporates philosophy and science, which is well incarnated with the wisdom of our ancestors who always said that ‘good food is the best medicine’. The role of food is not only to provide us with nutrients but also to heal our bodies. This is exactly why Korean food attracts so much attention at a time when eating health food is becoming a global trend. Korean food reflects ‘Yin, Yang, and the Five Elements’, all fundamentals in Oriental philosophy. Take Kimchi for instance. No matter how much we eat Kimchi we do not get tired of it, and that’s because it is based on that perfect Oriental harmony. The ‘Globalization of Korean Food’ is well underway and therefore it is important to maintain excellence and develop Korean food into premium products. Makgeolli, for instance, is traditional liquor that was mostly consumed by older generations within Korea. Recently, it has been rediscovered amid the increasing preference for healthy food, as a delicious, healthy, high quality beverage.

2. Genuine Charm:
Peering out from the Daecheonmaru
Hanok are traditional Korean houses that are built with science and philosophy in mind. Their locations are carefully calculated in accordance with Feng-Shui principles, focusing on both practical use and beauty. You can feel the natural energy of Korea in this eco-friendly structure that uses local, natural building materials such as rocks, soil, and wood. When I am in a very old Hanok or a traditional Hanok built by masters, I fall asleep without even noticing it and wake up feeling refreshed and quite happy. The best part is that Hanok has a spacious yet cozy open-air living room called Daecheongmaru which is great to relax in. I like to take in the scenery and even meditate and thinking deeply alone. The world is just so peaceful and beautiful as I lie down on Daecheongmaru gazing at clouds floating in the sky, and listening to the sound of wind.

3. Genuine Sound: 'Sori’, Korean Music That Touches the Soul
Powerful energy hidden inside the virtue of moderation - the sound of Korea is quiet and calm, yet inside it hides powerful energy like an exploding volcano. Although Koreans are peace-loving people, being sandwiched between China and Japan, Korea has often suffered from invasion and war. The sorrow that comes from that sad history is known as ‘Han’. ‘Han’ is what one feels when not able to express feelings of oppression or exploitation because of and unequal power relationship. It is believed that ‘Han’ is the source of the power that is driving Korea to become a successful player in the international sphere, both politically and economically. That energy can be easily felt while listening to a ‘Sori’ performance (a general term for all traditional songs of Korea including Pansori and Minnyo or folk songs). I feel so touched and empathized with the melody as I listen to Sori, the sound of Korea based on ‘Han’ and nostalgia. It is a genuine heart touching sound.

Apart from the above mentioned 3 genuine beauties, Mr Lee, also proposed 3 attitudes (3관: Attention, Observation, Relationship / 관광객에 대한 관심, 관찰, 관계) and 5 Elements (5림: Excitement, Attraction, Harmonisation, Echo, Wave / 떨림, 끌림, 어울림, 울림, 몸부림) on the Tourism Campaign. I believe, not before long, Korean tourism will develop sensationally in the European tourism market and I have no doubt in saying that MR Lee will lead this supportive campaign successfully because he has discovered that the selling point about Korea does not only rely on visual or contemporary consumable factors but also on spiritual and philosophical essences, which the country has beautifully preserved for more than 5,000 years. It is in the immediate future that the World’s 11th largest economy should purposefully develop a strategy to promote its tourism industry.

(Written by Lee Hyung-wook, Editor in Chief)

The East News