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Tom Burn » Counsellor, Political and Media, Tokyo

IDAHO – the Rainbow state

Feature image for:  IDAHO – the Rainbow state

Our support for equal opportunity You might remember that in 2011 I blogged about IDAHO, which is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (not the US state!). It’s a day to remember that across the world there are people facing very serious discrimination because of their sexuality, or even threats and violence. The situation is not nearly as bad here, of course, but Japan is still not an easy country to live … Read more »IDAHO – the Rainbow state

Great Britten

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The London Symphony Orchestra’s long relationship with Japan continues. On Saturday, I was lucky enough to see Bernard Haitink conduct the London Symphony Orchestra at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. The performance began with the dynamic work by Benjamin Britten, the Four Sea Interludes, from his opera Peter Grimes. Britten, the 100th anniversary of whose birth is being celebrated this year, created a piece of real drama, making full use of the … Read more »Great Britten

Food, glorious food

Feature image for:  Food, glorious food

This week the Ambassador hosted a reception to celebrate British food. Too often criticized in Japan based on out-of-date information, British food received welcome praise during the Olympics from the Japanese media, surprised at the range, quality and creativity they saw in London. So we think this year is a great chance to change Japanese minds! Already the rest of Asia is waking up to British food and we hope … Read more »Food, glorious food

Global survey recognises excellence of British education

University students

A global survey of education by the Pearson Group (developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit) has ranked the UK 6th in the world for the quality of its education, from a list of 39 countries and one region (Hong Kong). The UK came behind only Finland, at number 1, and the four East Asian education powerhouses of South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore (in that order), and ahead of … Read more »Global survey recognises excellence of British education

From London 2012 to Tokyo 2019

London 2012 Aquatics Centre designed by Zaha Hadid

Exciting news today, as it has been announced that the designer of the Aquatics Centre at the London Olympics, the Iraqi-born British architect, Zaha Hadid, has won the competition to design Japan’s new national stadium in Tokyo. As much as the gold medal winning athlete Mo Farah, Hadid, as one of the UK creative sector’s most successful figures, is emblematic of how much Britain has been enriched by diversity and … Read more »From London 2012 to Tokyo 2019

Blackberries and bullets


This is a blog of firsts, in at least three ways (well, four, but I’ll skip lightly over one, which is that this is my first blog for a while). One is that this is my first blog I’ve drafted on my Blackberry, my umbilical cord to my desk, both comforting and accusing, with its one red eye winking at me, day and night, to remind me that another e-mail … Read more »Blackberries and bullets

Paralympians: role models for all of us


I’m looking forward to the Paralympics as much as I did the Olympics. Actually, that’s not true, I’m probably looking forward to it rather more. I was nervous before the Olympics. I knew a huge amount of preparation had gone into making the Olympics a success, but dreaded an unforeseen setback marring my country’s moment on the world stage. Call it stage fright if you like. Well, the brilliant efforts … Read more »Paralympians: role models for all of us

Meet the Superhumans

channel4 paralympics video

Right before the Olympics started in the UK, an advert played across 78 UK TV channels, dominating the nation’s attention for 90 powerful seconds. Entitled “Meet the Superhumans”, it’s a powerful and creative piece of film, set to an equally powerful piece of music. Created by Channel 4, one of the UK’s main terrestrial broadcasters, in probably their most ambitious promotional campaign since the Channel was launched 30 years ago, … Read more »Meet the Superhumans

Paris shows Olympic Spirit as it takes Wiggo to its heart

London 2012 offers first look at Olympic Torch design

The Olympics may in the end have been awarded to London, but Paris showed this weekend that the Olympic spirit transcends borders. Bradley Wiggins has become a sporting hero for the British, as our first ever winner of the Tour de France (though we’re slightly incredulous a British cyclist could win an event only a few of us properly understand). But the French have also taken to their hearts a … Read more »Paris shows Olympic Spirit as it takes Wiggo to its heart

Which is the most energy efficient economy in the world?

The World's first diesel electric hybrid double decker bus parks in front of London's City Hall before it goes into service on route 141 in London on March 16, 2007 in London. Hybrid buses, which use a combination of diesel and electric power, are said to be central to the Mayor and Transport of London's plans for a cleaner, greener bus fleet in London, and aim to start cutting the capital's Carbon Dioxide emissions helping to tackle climate change.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A lot of people might suspect it would be Japan, which is, after all, one of the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced economies. But a recent study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has put the UK at the top of the pile of 12 advanced global economies. Japan comes in at fourth, after Germany and Italy. The 12 economies, chosen because they represent 78% of global … Read more »Which is the most energy efficient economy in the world?