2017 marks two years since Japanese Ambassador Masanori Nakano arrived in Jamaica. His mission to date has seen the continued strengthening and expansion of the unique partnership Japan and Jamaica share. In between his duties, he has found the time to enjoy his post and shares below some of the experiences he has enjoyed the most.
What is the one thing you do when you host guests?
Jamaica is an island which is the size of “Akita” prefecture in Japan, yet our guests are always impressed by the variety of scenery and activities that exist here with its easy access to mountains, beaches…etc. Most Japanese guests I host are visiting for a short period of time so I recommend Craighton Estate in the Blue Mountains, which is owned by Ueshima Coffee Company. It takes only two hours to go and come back. And they love the view of Kingston up high and the Blue Mountain Coffee they drink while enjoying the mountain breeze.
Why should everyone visit?
Most visitors from Japan are reggae fans but Jamaica offers much more than just its music. One of Jamaica’s attractions is its mountains and sea – both within close distance, which means visitors can enjoy them equally on a short visit.
Describe a favourite Jamaican moment.
Recently, I was moved by a sunset we saw on the way to Negril. We had never seen such a large, vivid orange sunset in Japan, my wife and I could not help but step out of the car to gaze at it.
What would most Japanese people be surprised to find out about the island?
I am pleased by the fact that there are more Jamaican people than I had imagined who are interested in Japanese culture – in particular Japanese “anime”. Some have learnt the Japanese language through watching anime and they want to visit Japan. There is even a department at UWI (the University of the West Indies Mona campus) that teaches anime.
What do people ask you the most about Jamaica?
In fact it is widely known in both Japan and Jamaica that a group of SME factories in Tokyo have decided to donate bobsleds to the Jamaican Bobsleigh team under the Shitamachi Bobsleigh project initiative. I am very pleased that many guests I have hosted refer to this initiative during our conversations. I look forward to the Jamaica Bobsleigh team competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in the Republic of Korea with these state of the art sleighs.
How would you describe Jamaica?
One of the Jamaican sayings, “Wi likkle but wi tallawah” in patois describes Jamaica the best. Jamaica, which is a small country, has a huge presence in the world. Jamaica took the world by storm with track and field and reggae music has influenced the world. This same saying also explains the patriotism, the pride and the great spirit of the Jamaican people.