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Ten minutes with Nakayama

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Category : Translation project

In 1996, Mr. Iwasaki was still relentlessly pursuing an appointment with the Chairman of “The Industrial Bank of Japan” Mr. Nakayama. Eventually he was successful. At the time, Mr. Nakayama – a close associate of my father - was almost eighty years old.

Mr. Iwasaki was flooded with joy emphasizing that ten minutes with Mr. Nakayama “are only gained by the fortunate” and he repeatedly told everyone he met about the appointment till the time came.

The meeting was held in a vast elegant hall. We sharpened our ears whenever we heard slow stumpy footsteps approaching. After a while, the man came, took his seat and saluted us.

He glanced at me for a minute before he recalled an encounter with my father: “Mohammad, I will never forget your father, I first met him in 1970 before forming the union and escorted him to a meeting with Eisaku Sato the prime minister of Japan.

I was taken by surprise when your father put Palestinian Cause at the top of his agenda whereas I thought he would start talking about oil and gas, which we had started to import from you. It was peculiar to give priority to a cause instead of your own especially when the labor of declaring the union was at its peak”.

Mr. Nakayama continued: “The second time took place two decades later; it was 1990 during Sheikh Zayed visit to Japan.

3I remember when Ahmad Khalifah Al Suwaidi – your father stood in an assembly of more than 400 of Japan’s dignitaries from all sectors and specialties and delivered a speech on behalf of the President of the United Arab Emirates. He came to mention me, highly commending my efforts in developing the relations between the two states.

To my surprise he asked me to rise, swiftly I stood up like a Samurai among the crowds. I keep recalling that moment until now.

Our gathering with Mr. Nakayama extended for more than an hour; almost two. That was enough to keep Mr. Iwasaka busy talking about that meeting; he kept repeating that it was some sort of a miracle since to his knowledge Mr. Nakayama barely has time to scratch his head.

The visit was intended to prepare a study for constructing a planetarium in Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. The study was actually completed to erect the best planetarium possible, but alas, the words were not translated to actions and the project never saw the light.