Ambassador Roos Gets to Know Kyushu Citizens
Aug. 17 - During his Aug. 7-9 visit to Kyushu, Ambassador John V. Roos had the opportunity to meet with a wide range of the island's citizens while getting a firsthand glimpse of Kyushu's unique history and culture.
At Fukuoka's Seinan Gakuin University, the Ambassador addressed a group of over 50 undergraduates and encouraged them to become the next generation of Japan's innovators and entrepreneurs. He also challenged them to consider studying abroad in the United States, as Seinan Gakuin University is well-known for its strong international studies program.
Later, the Ambassador met with Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima to discuss the local economy and ways in which the United States and Kyushu could strengthen their cooperation.
One of the highlights of the visit came when the Ambassador - a huge baseball fan - was invited to throw out the first pitch at a game between local junior high school baseball teams at the Yahoo! Dome in Fukuoka, home of the SoftBank Hawks. After throwing out the first pitch and meeting the young ballplayers, the Ambassador toured the Sadaharu Oh Museum.
Traveling next to Kumamoto, the Ambassador visited the workshop of Sword Master Genrokuro Matsunaga to observe the traditional art of Japanese swordmaking. After witnessing how the swords were forged, the Ambassador was treated to a display of swordsmanship by local practitioners, who gracefully sliced their way through rolled-up tatami mats in a beautiful demonstration not only of the sharpness of the blades but also of the local citizens' devotion to this ancient Japanese craft. Ambassador Roos also made the most of his own opportunity to test his swordsmanship, cutting through the tatami mats on his very first attempt.
The following day, Ambassador Roos became the first American ambassador to attend the August 9 Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony. In a statement, the Ambassador commented: "I am honored to represent the United States at the Peace Memorial Ceremony in order to pay respects to all those who died during World War II. I'm proud to say that the friendship between the United States and Japan has never been stronger."
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