Embassy Row: Zen and Now

by Editorial
Inside the embassy's tea house where Mrs. Kato holds traditional tea ceremonies several times a year.  The straw "tatami" mats, the hanging scroll and the minimalist "ikebana" flower arrangement are common trademarks of Japanese tea rooms.

Inside the embassy's tea house where Mrs. Kato holds traditional tea ceremonies several times a year. The straw "tatami" mats, the hanging scroll and the minimalist "ikebana" flower arrangement are common trademarks of Japanese tea rooms.

At Ease in Washington
Having served as ambassador to Washington for the past seven years (in addition to previous diplomatic assignments as a diplomat in the ’60s and ’80s), Kato has settled comfortably into life here.

“When I first started to work for the embassy as a junior official, there was almost nothing on the Arlington side of the Potomac; no shopping centers or department stores nearby,” he recalls.

These days, the couple relax by getting outside, strolling, and bird watching. “In our own backyard, many birds come to our feeder,” Mrs. Kato says, “we have Osprey and we have some Blue Heron that come for our Koi [fish]. We also like to go out to the Patuxent River area when we can.”

Another aspect of American life that the couple has taken to is philanthropy. “It always amazes me the number of organizations we have been asked to help,” Mrs. Kato says, adding, “It’s different than in Japan. Here you have so many groups working on collecting funds for so many meaningful causes. We cannot do everything but we try to accommodate as much as possible. I concentrate on children and medical issues, such as diabetes for children.”

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