Omanhene has had a presence in Japan for some 15 years. We decided to enter the market for two reasons: 1) Japan has perhaps the most stringent food safety laws in the world and it was important to demonstrate that an African-produced luxury product was truly world standard when it came to product purity; and 2) Japan is an extremely demanding consumer market with high standards for both product quality and packaging. If we can sell there — we can sell anywhere.
One of the most pleasurable facets of my job is spending time with the people who’ve fallen into the Omanhene orbit: customers, vendors, partners, employees and distributors. Here, our Japanese distributor gathered friends at his home for a night of bluegrass music. Some classmates who came to university in the US in the 1950’s, were so taken with traditional American bluegrass string band music that they started what a bluegrass band in the resort town of Hayama where the Imperial family has a summer residence.
With all of the ambivalence towards the US internationally, this improbable troupe is unabashedly in love with picking and fiddling. As the sole American at the party, I was expected to take the lead. There is not enough sake in the world to make my rendition of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Mountain Dew” anything other than wince-inducing. I toast to the graciousness of my dear hosts.