Croatia-Japan_ a beautiful friendship

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					                                                                                                                Croatia national day
Croatia-Japan, a beautiful friendship
Dr. Drago Stambuk                            them taken with children,               Therefore, it is not surpris-    term that I cherish and trea-      165.000 came, 14 percent
AMBASSADOR OF CROATIA                        World Cup-related fliers and         ing that the suggestion I made      sure highly, makes me proud        more than the previous year
------------------------------------------   souvenirs of all kinds, check-       then to build beside the same       of all Japanese and Croatians      in spite of the recession and
This year a wonderful exam-                  ered shawls and Croatian soc-        pitch the House of Japan-Cro-       who are engaged in this beau-      the flu pandemic.
ple of friendship building has               cer shirts, and posters of Za-       atia Friendship received a de-      tiful, emotional enterprise —         Japan’s highly organized
been set in motion between our               greb, Dubrovnik, Split and the       lightfully enthusiastic re-         it makes economics and             and harmonious attitude to-
two countries,                               Plitvice Lakes.                      sponse from the Tokamachi           trade appear of secondary          ward work and enterprise
Japan and Cro-                                 I was taken to the ‘‘Croatian      Football Association, the past      importance. Our connection         matches well with the Cro-
atia. The accu-                              pitch,’’ where my country’s          mayor and the present one,          has a deep significance for        atian individualistic and cre-
mulated efforts                                                                                                                                          ative approach — making our
of      Japanese                             ‘Tokamachi is the true capital of friendship between Japan and Croatia. I                                   two countries comfortable
and Croatian                                 have never met people more in love with my country than the citizens of                                     working together. Among
people have re-                                                                                                                                          Croatia’s great historical fig-
sulted in the                                this idyllic Japanese town in the kami-loaded hills and forests of Niigata.’                                ures, Nikola Tesla, called the
project of the                               DR. DRAGO STAMBUK, AMBASSADOR OF CROATIA                                                                    Leonardo da Vinci of our age,
Japan-Croatia Friendship                                                                                                                                 left nearly 800 patents, most-
House in Tokamachi, Niigata                  players had trained, and             Yoshifumi Sekiguchi — who           our humanity, bringing the         ly unused, even now far
Prefecture, a shining feat of                where the ‘‘Croatian Cup’’           asked me to call him ‘‘Josip-       childlike quality of openness      ahead of their time; Rudolf
how noble efforts can lead us                tournament had taken place           san’’ in Croatian style — as        into our eternal need for to-      Steiner, the spiritual giant
along a creative path and ex-                each September since 2003.           well as city assembly mem-          getherness.                        and the father of anthroposo-     Close ties: From left, Tokamachi Mayor Yoshifumi Sekiguchi, Croatian Ambassador Drago
press our humanity meaning-                  The cups, Samobor crystal            bers, officials and citizens.          Therefore, long live our        phy; Marco Polo, from the         Stambuk and Croatian architects Kresimir Rogina and Vinko Penezic attend the public
fully, if we move forward with               ball-shaped trophies, are            The project has been designed       beautiful friendship! Today        Croatian island of Korcula,       presentation of the House of Japan-Croatia Friendship in 2010. EMBASSY OF CROATIA
dedication and passion.                      handed by the ambassador to          by two prominent Croatian ar-       when we celebrate the Cro-         who traversed Eurasia. In
    It all started with the soccer           the winners in the different         chitects, Vinko Penezic and         atian National Day we should       truth, the Silk Road runs not     Massachusetts Institute of
game at the World Cup in 2002                categories and photographs           Kresimir Rogina, who placed         remember that it would be          just from Venice to Nara but      Technology (MIT) who re-
when the Croatian national                   are taken at a granite block on      this house next to the pitch. It    empty without this human           from Korcula to Hiraizumi,        cently gave us the new con-
team chose Tokamachi as its                  which the names of all the Cro-      is on three levels; like the        touch.                             where Marco Polo’s Golden         cept of witricity, or the flow
base to prepare for the coming               atian team members present           Freudian triad: id, ego and su-        Secondary to our emotion-       Temple dream from his book        of energy through space. The
championship. The friendship                 in Tokamachi at 2002 are             per-ego; where id is the play-      al ties is our business rela-      ‘‘Il Milione’’ found its real     latest sensation at the motor
between the Croatian players                 carved. When I first did this, it    ful, lowest-level self — close to   tionship, though we should         home.                             show in Geneva is a Croatian
and Tokamachi citizens was                   dawned upon me that here was         the pitch, its mud and grass,       remember that Croatia’s               The Croatian nation of 4.5     electric mini-car with verti-
‘‘love at first sight’’ and is still         my new home in Japan. On top         which is going to be used by        strategic position, due to its     million people today has giv-     cal-opening doors that uses
flourishing and going on                     of this, in local restaurants one    sportsmen; then the ego, the        long Adriatic coast where the      en the world such a number        energy in a smart way so that
strongly.                                    could see our players’ photo-        level of social and cultural en-    sea ‘‘fingers’’ into the Euro-     and variety of discoveries        it deserves to be singled out
    I have visited Tokamachi 10              graphs, the checkered Cro-           counters — the space for meet-      pean continent, providing a        and contributions, from the       by investors searching for
times in the last four years and             atian pattern and citizens tell-     ings, concerts, exhibitions;        gateway through Rijeka, the        cravat (necktie), fountain        bright opportunities.
when I went there for their tra-             ing stories of their visits to my    while the super-ego is the last     deepest port in the Adriatic,      pen, torpedo to fingerprint-         Croatia is a politically sta-
ditional Snow Festival in Feb-               country.                             level — the tangible symbol of      which has an excellent new         ing; from Tesla’s principles      ble, secure country that has
ruary 2006, soon after being                    In 2006 for the World Cup         this remarkable friendship in       infrastructure linking the         in bringing cosmic energy to      become a member of NATO
appointed ambassador to Ja-                  match between Japan and              which a lantern of Japan and a      central and southeastern Eu-       Earth to Tesla’s successor        and is soon to join the Europe-
pan, I realized that something               Croatia in Germany, Tokama-          lighthouse of Croatia face and      ropean investment points so        Marin Soljacic working at the     an Union as its 28th member.       Sensation: The Croatian electric car
remarkable had happened                      chi soccer officials invited         embrace each other at the top       important for Japan. These
there, which I later named the               Croatians and Japanese to            with its eternal light. The con-    make Croatia geopolitically
‘‘Tokamachi factor.’’ The tune               watch the game together on a         struction is planned to start       the pivotal entry country for
registered on most of the To-                big screen and to cheer and          this summer and its official,       the Far Eastern states that
kamachi citizens’ mobile                     support the Croatian team.           solemn opening — with digni-        use the Suez Canal for its
phones was the Croatian na-                  This embodies what I call the        taries and ordinary people          shortest connection to Eu-
tional anthem; the Belnatio                  ‘‘Tokamachi factor.’’ The love       from both countries, sports-        rope. Using Rijeka to the in-
Hotel, where I stayed, had a                 and attachment to each other,        men and artists from both           vestment sites cuts traveling
corner with Croatian posters                 pure and simple, which is diffi-     places — is expected in No-         time compared to the north-
and souvenirs signed by the                  cult to understand, let alone to     vember 2011.                        ern European ports by seven
players, many photographs of                 explain.                                People-to-people relations       to nine days.
                                                                                  start from grassroots inter-           Japan is comfortable deal-
                                                                                  actions, as they did here in        ing with small, peace-loving
                                                                                  2002, and flow like the Shin-       countries like Croatia, cul-
                                                                                  ano River from Tokamachi to         turally and traditionally at
                                                                                  Niigata city and into the Sea       ease with her while sharing a
                                                                                  of Japan, spreading through         love for nature, the four sea-
                                                                                  Niigata Prefecture — while          sons and UNESCO World
                                                                                  celebrating the Croatia-Ja-         Heritage sites. This is evi-
                                                                                  pan bond. Naming Tokama-            dent in the recent steep rise of
                                                                                  chi the ‘‘capital of friendship     Japanese tourists visiting
                                                                                  for Japan and Croatia,’’ the        Croatia; last year about

Jewel of a city: Dubrovnik is often called ‘‘The Pearl of Adriatic.’’

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