By Tetsuhide Mikamo, Washington Office, Marubeni America Corporation.
What does the "DC" of "Washington DC" stand for? As you may well know, it is an abbreviation of "District of Columbia". So what, then, is the difference between a "State" and a "District"? If you know this, then you must be someone who is very well-informed about the situation in America. The answer is that there are no senators or congressmen to represent DC in Congress. In addition, it is possible for Congress to refuse to recognize laws that have been decided upon in DC. In this sense, various restrictions have been placed upon DC, to the extent that in the past there has even been a movement that sought to raise the status of DC to a state.
One of the characteristics of DC is that green is plentiful, and that the height of its buildings is limited to a certain level. Since there is no throng of buildings like Manhattan, DC is well suited to those who prefer an atmosphere of restful quietness.
One of the most convenient things about living here is how difficult it is to get lost. The streets are like the pattern of a chessboard, with a number given to all the vertical streets and a letter of the alphabet given to all the horizontal streets. The most important combination among these numbers and letters to remember, is the combination of "18" and "I". If you walk to this location, you will find yourself at the Marubeni Office. From there, it is only 5 to 10 minutes walk to the White House, or the World Bank and IMF. Even the State Department and Central Bank are less than 10 minutes away by car. A great number of institutions are packed into a very small area.
It is a pity that there is no really good Japanese restaurant in DC, but this can be endured due to the rich and wide range of international cuisine, from Italian, to French to Chinese to Indian, etc. In spring and summer, tables and chairs are placed in the main street in front of shops and these become packed with couples enjoying meals together outdoors, and creating a lively and noisy atmosphere.
If you want to savor DC's musical delights, go to the Kennedy Center next to the Potomac River. Here you can enjoy not only classical music, but also jazz and opera. The famous cellist Yo-yo Ma and the violinist Midori Kojima make regular appearances. Recently, Midori Goto came to perform accompanied by her younger brother, Ryu.
So, have you decided upon your plans for your leisure or business trip to DC? Both those who want to "drop by DC on the way to New York" and those who want to "drop by New York on the way to DC" are welcome!
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.37 (February, 2007)