Hitoshi Konishi / Marubeni Corporation Nairobi Office
* In this column, Marubeni Group staff provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.
Jambo! Over here in Kenya, TICAD VI (Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development) organized by the Japanese government, was held in the capital city Nairobi in August 2016. It was the first TICAD to be held in Africa. With Prime Minister Abe from the Japanese government and President Kokubu from Marubeni attending, there is growing attention on Africa, not only within Marubeni, from both political and economic aspects. For many people, the image of Kenya is the vast plains of Africa, wild animals, and the mighty marathon runners. So in this article, I would like to introduce another way of enjoying the big city Nairobi, the gateway to Kenya, with over 4 million people.
Wild animals greet you as soon as you arrive at the Nairobi Airport. Your passport visa will have a lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, and buffalo. As you head toward the city, you will see the Nairobi National Park and the vast savanna spreading out alongside the main road. The safari entrance is just 15 minutes from the downtown area. Although there are fewer animals than Masai Mara, I believe this is the only place in the world where lions and zebras stride around with skyscrapers in the background.
Track and field always makes the front page. Marathon in particular, is a national sport, with both men and women winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics. The top runners are heroes that everyone admires. Marathons are held frequently with various unique features, such as the Nairobi Marathon with a course going through the usually restricted downtown area, the Sotokoto charity marathon where you can run with the gold medalist Naoko Takahashi, and the Masai-mara Marathon where you can wildly tear across the savanna. So those of you runners, how about taking a shot at a real marathon here?
Works by African artists with a creative sense of color and space have received high acclaim mainly in Europe. In Nairobi City, there are places you can see sophisticated works, mostly in modern art, including an art gallery that stands in a forest, drawing attention for its tranquil space, and some works are available at reasonable prices. So if you find one you like, it would make a great souvenir for spicing up your interior.
Nairobi has a daily flow of direct flights by Middle Eastern airlines, taking only five hours or so from the major cities in the Middle East. So it is one of the most accessible places in Africa. Some may have public safety concerns, but if you stick to the right place and time, you will be fine. So come to the passionate continent, distant yet so close, for business or leisure. The staff at the Nairobi Office eagerly awaits you.
Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (December 1, 2016)