Nichibei Exchange

Since I left Japan almost seven years ago I have been fortunate to live in areas where there are large amounts of Japanese. Last September I discovered a group in New York that has been meeting for over twenty years now. The group, called The Nichibei Exchange (Japan-U.S. Exchange), meets about once a month (or more if they can get the speakers) in midtown for presentations on various topics. Attendance is free and the only common thread among the diverse group is that everyone shares an interest in Japan. Among the group are lawyers, bankers, journalists, artists, authors, students, public relations professionals, consultants, and even a few Zen Buddhists and Japanese gardeners, among others. I have been impressed with the group since I discovered it and was again impressed last night when the founder and managing principal of Japan Intercultural Consulting (click here for bio) spoke to us regarding recent trends in U.S.-Japan HR training and practices. Her thoughts were relevant and practical and the participant’s questions and comments were insightful.

Of course, not being one to walk away from opportunities, I also spoke with a few people afterwards, including the General Manager of HR for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and a Japanese lawyer at Morgan Lewis. I sent the HR Manager my resume this morning and he said he’ll be in touch should a specific need develop. It’s likely nothing will come from it (and I like the position I’m in now), but you never know which contacts may be helpful in the future. Of all of my favorite speakers at Nichibei so far, however, I must say that I enjoyed the author of Shutting Out the Sun the best. His insights into modern Japan and attention to detail were truly fascinating to listen to. The only downside I can see to attending Nichibei regularly is that it makes me want to go back to Japan. And given that I’m not in a position to pick up and do that quite yet, Nichibei will have to suffice for now.

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