Feb 26, 2004

Learning Fun with Ambassador Baker

United States Embassy
Tokyo, Japan

It seems like a stuffy place. And well-protected, too. Trees are about the only thing visible from outside the concrete wall encircling the compound. But their website betrays a distinctively American sense of humor.

For example, the keep-em-guessing "false bottom" instructions for submitting immigrant visa petitions. Or this... on the Ambassador's page. If you click the "high-resolution image" link under his photo (beware! it's something like 8M), the result is merely bigger, and to compensate they've removed the right 2/3 of his face. You've gotta be able to laugh at yourself.

But the folks at the embassy are about education too. (Here's the ambassador with Bill Gates at a Tokyo elementary school.) I really hadn't spent much time on the site before today, but after catching up on the latest rumors, I think I have reason to hang out there more often. The "Issues in Focus" buttons should be especially handy for keeping in touch with current American opinion on, let's see... elections, Iraq, Mars, Human Trafficking...

Ah! Food Safety is a particularly attractive button, with a good home-cooked feel to it. My thought was "Japan - Raw fish, raw eggs, fermented beans... gotta protect those sensitive American tummies." But nope, it's mostly articles about pesticides, biotech, and money for "BSE activities," whatever those are.

Then there's my favorite, "Facts: Depleted Uranium." I'm not even going to pretend I know anything about DU, but... what is this doing on the embassy website? Well, at least it ranks below "Mars Missions."

Soy of the Day - dinner, soy sauce in the broth for our soba.


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