FSO Margot Carrington’s Kabuki Diplomacy

Margot Carrington, the Principal Officer at our Consulate in Fukuoka, recently wrote for Z Notes, the official blog of the US Embassy in Tokyo run by DCM Jim Zumwalt. But, first, see the charming YouTube clip below of Ms. Carrington as Meriken Omaru in a Kabuki play. 

Below is Margot Carrington’s post from Z Notes:

Appearing in a Kabuki play is not what most people think of as the traditional role of a diplomat, nor was it what I expected to do in my capacity as the Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka. However, this “Kabuki Diplomacy” was surprisingly effective in reaching out to the people of Kyushu.
Despite having worked six years at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, I initially encountered a bit of culture shock when I arrived in Fukuoka. First, I had to contend with our local dialect of Hakataben and not knowing what yokinshatta (welcome) meant!
Here’s what I look like in real life.
When I was asked to appear in a charity performance of Kabuki featuring local leaders, I was concerned about how I would handle wearing a kimono on stage and having to learn so many difficult lines in ancient Japanese, which is even harder than Hakataben! However, with lots of practice, I was able to manage and found that the people of Fukuoka appreciated my efforts.
For months after the performance, people in Fukuoka called me by my stage name of “Meriken Omaru” and told me how excited they were that someone from the U.S. Consulate had taken the time to learn about this important Japanese art form. I was also able to forge strong ties with some of Fukuoka’s business and government leaders through this unforgettable experience. This led me to think that Kabuki Diplomacy could be powerful indeed.

Active links added above.  Care to translate Meriken Omaru’s lines?


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US Embassy Ottawa Joins "Doors Open Ottawa"

U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.Image via Wikipedia

The Ottawa Citizen reports that “mere hours after letting the public know they’d be taking part in Doors Open Ottawa, the U.S. Embassy’s dance card was filled. All 500 spots for the event were booked by about noon on Thursday, the Embassy said.”

The Ottawa Start has more:  For the first time in nine seasons, the Embassy of the United States of America will participate in Doors Open Ottawa. On June 5 and 6, the doors to many of the finest buildings in the nation’s capital will be wide open —and free of charge — to the public. The weekend event has become a favourite Ottawa spring tradition appealing to residents and visitors of all generations. Event organizers welcome 18 new buildings this year, including the Embassy of the United States of America. Designed by David Childs, architect of the new One World Trade Center in Manhattan, the Embassy’s features distinctive architecture, art and history.

Ambassador Jacobson also blogged about the embassy’s participation:

Yesterday I talked to the press for the first time about our decision to open the U.S. Embassy to visitors as part of Doors Open Ottawa on June 5. One reporter asked me if I thought we would get enough people signed up to fill our 500 available slots. I said I didn’t think that would be a problem.

Well …. It turned out I was right. In the hours that followed, we had thousands of people sign up. In fact, the system we used for registration won’t take any more names. So, we have to shut down online registration.

If you signed up early you’re in luck. We will respond to everyone who registered to let you know if you were one of the 500 winners.

I must say I am pleased at all the interest in visiting the U.S. Embassy. I felt it was important for us to open our doors. We want to be good neighbors. Taking down the cement barriers is a part of that effort. Welcoming our friends is another. Participating in Doors Open also helps us to meet the standard my boss, President Obama, has set for us being as open and transparent as possible.

Read more here:

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Foreign Service 2009 Promotion Statistics

If you’ve been promoted the last go around, congratulations. If your name was not on that list last year, you most probably have seen the published stats already.  If you are just joining the Service or looking to join, you might be interested in the conal promotion stats. If you’re wondering if the pyramid shrinks at the top, yes it does.  Take a look. 

Foreign Service 2009 Promotion Statistics | Extracted from State Mag April 2010 http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=31778335&access_key=key-10pv7duqvilj5rwx5fuz&page=1&viewMode=list