Various Gatherings and New Friends


These days, I have had a lot of opportunities to participate in gatherings organised by inspiring women and young people.

The first of these events was one that I had not planned to go to, but I was thankful to be able to attend. It was organised by a group of researchers based in Washington, and headed by enormously successful women like Dr. Sachiko Kuno and Dr. Hiromi Murakami, who is an adjunct fellow at CSIS and also a board member of HGPI.

Last year, I had been able to support this admirable group by participating in the inaugural panel discussiony. The focus of this year’s workshop was on providing young female entrepreneurs. Speakers included Dr. Kuno and Ari Horie, who has proved to be a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley. I can tell you that their enthusiasm was infectious, and the program was very lively!

Another event that I attended where talented women were in the spotlight was the annual awards ceremony of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. As with previous years, it was held on the premises of the French Embassy. Three inspiring young female scientists, Miho Kitamura, Reina Tanaka, and Hiromi Tanji were recognized for their contributions to science (link in Japanese).  All three recipients are from Tokyo University. The reception afterwards was very classy and enjoyable.

Talking of beautiful settings, I attended a small gathering at a stylish café in Daikanyama on Saturday evening, where we had a farewell party for some young students who will be starting at UCLA this fall. And amid all this hectic activity, I still had time for a meeting with a woman who had a daringly ambitious project that at the same time was a very thoughtful  one.

The next meeting I was invited to was not a gathering of young people, but rather a meeting of the Dutch and Japanese Trade Federation (DUJAT) at the Dutch Embassy, where I was able to learn of the latest developments. Unsurprisingly, Brexit was the word on everyone’s lips. I met an old friend of mine, Gaku Yamamoto, with whom I spent my early schooldays. Interestingly, the current Managing Director of DUJAT, Radboud Molijn, first started working in Japan thanks to his connections with Yamamoto Gaku san, a well known actor.

Another memorable get-together was a small dinner gathering to celebrate a close friend’s birthday at a certain place in Tokyo. I almost lost track of time as I fell under the spell of the glorious wines on offer.