Last night was pretty cool! I took over as the host nation conference coordinator for the hospital recently. Let me be clear, the real organizer is Yumiko-san, a powerful force of a woman whom I think secretly runs the entire hospital. She is a lot of fun to work with and I really enjoy working with her. My role is to do the "American required" stuff, i.e. sign the guest pass request for our Japanese guests and pay for the party/get reimbursed. A bonus is that I also emcee the event, so I decided to break out my best (aka, not very good) Japanese. Overall, it was a success although I became nervous so there were one or two silly mispronunciations that I quickly corrected (I think).
It was super warm in the room since the AC is not on in the base buildings. There were two presentations that went pretty smoothly and then we gave our guests a token gift in appreciation for all they do. Yokosuka Kosai hospital is our biggest referral center and we also rely heavily on their lab for hundreds more patients. We are lucky to have such a good relationship with them. The gift was an embellished paddle with intricate rope work, a Japanese/American flags pin and a nice engraving in both English and Japanese. The woman at the wood shop scanned the Kanji when I ordered it and said, "This is very…formal." I asked if it was old-fashioned and she said yes. But I kept it as is since Yumiko-san had translated and formal was fine in this particular situation.
After the presentations, the food was served. The menu was heavy hors d'oeuvres and I kept an eye out to see what changes I want to make to the menu in the future. I plan on ordering an extra quesadilla platter, 1-2 more fruit platters and more shrimp. As Mom says, you can divide parties into shrimp and no-shrimp parties and I definitely want to be known for shrimp parties!