Everywhere you go, you first say “Bula,” the greeting for hello.
This association was established in 1920 and I have been quite involved in its work since 2003. On this website, I have written about the activities in Okinawa, Tahiti (1, 2, 3) (including the hidden story of Yoshida Shoin), and in Kuala Lumpur after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.
This time the congress was held at the University of the South Pacific and there were many students who were active as volunteers and it was a vibrant environment. I met with some Japanese professors who are members of the faculty here as well.
The next day, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau gave a powerful speech at the opening ceremony. At the opening ceremony, myself, Professor Nordin Hasan, Director of Asia Pacific Regional Office of ICSU gave the keynote speeches. Ambassador Eichi Oshima also attended the ceremony.
We were interviewed by television reporters and were on the evening news. The next day, it was widely reported in the newspapers as well.
Over the next two days, there were many activities organized around the sessions. I spent three hours sightseeing, had dinner with USP Vice-Chancellor and President Chandra, and was invited by Ambassador Oshima to lunch, where I spoke with members of the Embassy and Japanese people who work in Fiji. I also met with female UNDP officials who are working in Pakistan, Sudan and Fiji.
The official residence of the Japanese Ambassador to Fiji was acquired twenty years ago, is in a prime location in Suva, the capital city of Fiji, and has an incredible view.
Fiji was a British colony in the past and recently has been developing relations with India, China and South Korea. There are many Chinese fishing vessels that have come to do tuna hunting. Although the work of Japan is well known, there seems to be few Japanese people here.
This is also one of the challenges facing the Ambassador.