Particularly gratifying for me is the opportunity to see first-hand what's happening on-the-ground in each of the three cities. It's akin to the saying: "If I could only be a fly-on-the-wall..." According to Chinese and English news reports, China could be in a for a tough 2012 economically, despite the fact that it's an election year. The Bo Xi Lai incident, and now the escape of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, are certainly injecting some unfortunate drama in the mainland government's previously well thought out plans. Hong Kong has just elected a new Chief Executive in Leung Chun-ying, with a very close race toward the end. Time will tell how he'll compare with Mr. Donald Tsang. Last year we had to make a change to our 2011 itinerary due to the horrific trifecta of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident. Having lived in Japan for nearly three full years in the 1990's, I still have several personal and professional contacts throughout the country. Given the strong Japanese work ethic and continued attention to quality, I'm still bullish on a slow-but-steady Japanese recovery. I'm hoping my intuition will more than come to fruition when we touch down in the Land of Rising Sun, at the end of May.
Also on the docket are two important business meetings. While in Shanghai, I'm hoping to meet with CCAFM, our international consulting partner, with whom we're about to enter our 9th year of cooperation, to begin discussing this summer's four new projects. The fact that CCAFM's executives intentionally travel from Beijing to Shanghai, simply for this meeting, is never lost on me and is really quite an honor. While in Tokyo, I'm looking forward to a heartfelt reunion with my "same rank colleagues" ("Dohki" 同期) in Japanese, as well as my former boss. Although residing half a world away, and being completed in diverse cultures and languages, the process of raising children, advancing in one's career and maintaining professional friendships has, and continues to be, amazingly consistent through the present day.
Of course, and in the spirit of the blog's name (i.e., and since this is my first official entry), I'm excited to continue conversing in all three languages. I've dutifully been reviewing my spoken and written Japanese, keeping current with my Mandarin Chinese studies, including periodically watching CCTV online (in Chinese, of course), and trying to get my Cantonese to a basic proficiency level. Cantonese is the standout since written Cantonese is completed through Mandarin grammar. My lunchtime endeavors in Boston, where I strategically seek out certain restaurants in order to practice (including Korean ones, even though we're not going to Seoul in 2012) have been met with encouraging feedback.
Thank you again for tuning into the Blog and I sincerely welcome your feedback. I've already been approached by several people to be guest bloggers, and even to link into this site. Having never done this before, I'm honestly intrigued as to what will happen next.