Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Mir Changez Khan Jamali, and Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan, Hiroshi Oe, cutting cake during a reception to mark the 57th anniversary of the Japan Self-Defence Forces Day. PHOTO: APPISLAMABAD:
The hall was draped in colours of Japan and the tables adorned with scrumptious Japanese food, as guests arrived to attend a reception marking the 57th Self-Defence Forces Day of Japan.
Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Hiroshi Oe, and his wife Midori Oe stood at the entrance receiving parliamentarians, diplomats, dignitaries, and senior civilian and military officials. Other officials of the embassy also stood in a queue welcoming everyone. Women from the embassy were dressed in kimonos.
Vice Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila was the chief guest on the occasion and Colonel Eiji Oka and Colonel Ken Asada, Defense Attaché, Embassy of Japan, represented the Japan Self-Defence Forces.
Once the hall was filled, the event began after national anthems of both the countries were played. A cake cutting ceremony was held.
Traditional Japanese bite-size snacks were served, while a table in one corner of the hall served sake, which is a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink brewed from water and rice. The drink had been specially brought from Japan for the guests. In the words of a Japanese embassy official, “No meal is complete without sake which is a part of the Japanese history and culture.” The clear fragrant drink was served in little glasses and was enjoyed by everyone.
Special sushi bar was made for the guests by Ambassador’s Thai chefs who have specially been brought to Pakistan from Thailand by the Ambassador himself. The special tempura batter prawns were a hit with the guests. The diplomats while having dinner and their drinks were mostly conversing about the elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections and the devolution of ministries.
Everyone seemed to be conversing about the good results for Pakistan Peoples Party in AJK. “I have still to figure out what’s going on and what is going to happen,” said an ambassador. “In Pakistan it’s never what you expect or see,” he added. The event lasted for a few hours and the social gathering gave everyone an opportunity to get together, have light political discussions while enjoying Japanese cuisine.
The Self-Defence Forces Day of Japan celebrates the establishment of the Japan Defense Agency and the inauguration of the Japan Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defence Forces on July 1, 1954.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.