Japan Businesspeople Debate Federation
On Sunday, we attended an event hosted by the Japan Businesspeople Debate Federation (JBDF). We were picked up in Shinagawa by two debaters, Mr. Makota Inada and Mr. Akihasa Shiozaki. Mr. Inada works for Olympus and was a former debater when he was a university student and Mr. Shiozaki is a lawyer for a large law firm in Tokyo and had graduated from Stanford (we had previously met Mr. Inada at our first debate event, and met Mr. Shiozaki at the JDA seminar). They took us out for an excellent lunch that featured unique pickled food fare, found in traditional Kyoto restaurants. The food was great, and I made sure to take several pictures of the beautiful dishes and presentation of the meal.
After lunch, we headed over to a public building for the debate. We were greeted by Mika, who coordinated the event and made sure that we were taken care of the entire time. The opening address put Leah, Kevin and I instantly at ease, as the president of the JBDF wore a bright American tie with stars and stripes on it! Mr. Seno MCed the debate, which is only slightly different from regular policy debate format because of the fixed prep time allowances. Mr. Inada and Mr. Shiozaki were on the affirmative, and provided a very detailed plan text, and we had an excellent debate that focused on issues of international relations, economy, and domestic unemployment.
After the debate, Kevin gave a lecture on the 2004 Presidential debates. The audience seemed to enjoy it very much, and there were excellent questions from the audience. One question focused on why international treaties such as the CTBT, Kyoto, and ICC are not big issues in the presidential election. I thought this was particularly interesting because those same treaties were researched all year long by intercollegiate debaters in the US three years ago. We enjoyed listening to the perspectives of businesspeople and educators at the event.
We soon learned that the JBDF really knows how to have a good time! After the event had finished, we went out to dinner. We had tons of great food and drinks to celebrate. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when each person in the room was asked to give a short speech. This meant that everyone had a chance to work on public speaking skills, and everyone was very supportive. To me, it is amazing that there is such an active group of people interested in debate beyond the university level. Even though all the JBDF members have jobs, they still make time to participate in debates. We were told we could be honorary JBDF members :-)
But the party didn't stop there. After we left the restaurant, we went to a bar to have more drinks and snacks. It was there that we took group pictures and continued our conversations from dinner. At the end of the night, everyone seemed to have a great time and we were sad to go.
PS) Sorry we are behind on blog posts! We are going to catch up on the JDA seminar post soon. So, stay tuned, tales of karaoke will follow.