Secretary Clinton's 4th of July MessageAbout the Author: Lori Shoemaker serves as the Assistant Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
Enjoying great food is often a part of Independence Day celebrations in the United States, and it was certainly a part of our embassy’s Independence Day celebration in Tokyo, Japan, which is a competitive culinary market. Japanese today enjoy one of the highest quality food supplies and food cultures in the world, with Tokyo restaurants sporting 227 Michelin stars.
We offered our Japanese guests a wide spectrum of American foods, which this year included a special menu inspired by the First Family’s garden on the South Lawn of the White House. Some well-known figures in the world of cuisine were involved in the menu. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who was named by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Japan office as “Honorary U.S. Food Ambassador to Japan” in recognition of his unique ability to create a special connection between American and Japanese cuisine, unveiled in advance of the event several new Independence Day menu items, including Alaskan Crab and California Rice Salad and California Green Gazpacho. At the Independence Day reception itself, Iron Chef expert commentator Yukio Hattori participated in a tasting of the menu with our Chargé James P. Zumwalt. (Chargé Zumwalt, by the way, has his own blog on our embassy website.)
The United States is foremost among reliable foreign suppliers to Japan, which imports about 60 percent of its caloric needs. Japanese companies have invested in American agriculture and purchased U.S. agricultural products for over 60 years. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, in partnership with nearly fifty non-profit American food associations in Japan, has been in the lead of bringing what is new and exciting about American food to the Japanese people and fostering our already strong food and agricultural trading relationship.
Our Independence Day celebration also included an inspiring ceremony reaffirming our enduring and productive alliance with Japan, and recognizing the ideals of freedom, justice, and democracy shared by Japanese and American citizens. A popular Japanese-American singer sang both national anthems, the 7th Fleet Band provided great music, and our own embassy Marine Security Guards performed the Color Guard Ceremony, my favorite part of the event.
Nevertheless, on this year’s occasion celebrating America’s birthday, I feel that we best expressed our sincere appreciation to our guests through the delicious food made with American ingredients.