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From Value One, Winter 2013-2014 No. 43
Metal One Dubai Office
Dubai Natives Are a Minority in Their Own Country

I think that for many people the "Arab Spring" is what comes to mind when the Middle East is mentioned. While I've been stationed in this region since around the time the democracy movements began to gather steam, I have not sensed a similar trend in Dubai. The reason is clear—the percentage of natives (Emiratis) who demand democracy is very low. Emiratis are said to make up about 20 percent of Dubai's population of 2.1 million (in 2013), with foreigners accounting for the remaining 80 percent.
The national government pays compulsory education fees and all hospitalization and medical care expenses for Emiratis, who can also use unlimited electricity. In fact, they have a lifestyle that is mostly cost-free other than paying for food.

Firsthand Experience of Deep Faith
The great influence of religion in the form of Islam is what has surprised me most while posted to Dubai. The Islamic calendar and the ninth month, called Ramadan (a month of fasting), were particularly astonishing. The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, and a year is around eleven days shorter than the solar calendar. Public holidays have no fixed dates because the waxing and waning of the moon form the basis for the creation of the calendar. It is not easy to make plans because decisions regarding holidays are often made the day before or even on the day.
During Ramadan, food, drink and smoking are absolutely prohibited during the daytime. This is one of the Islamic faith's obligations. The timing of the fast is from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, and determined each year. However, this also moves forward eleven days at a time every year because of the lunar calendar. It has fallen in midsummer during July and August when the temperature is over 50 degrees Celsius and the humidity over 90 percent each year I have been stationed here. Fasting under the broiling sun while working at the plant, the followers of Islam have experienced the harshest Ramadan of their lives.
Restaurants in town are all closed in the daytime during Ramadan, and those of us who are not adherents of Islam are also prohibited from eating, drinking or smoking in public places.
Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world's largest
Healthy, Tasty Arab Cuisine

While Dubai does not particularly have any dishes to call its own, Arab cuisine dominates here as well as that of other Middle East regions. I believe that most Japanese do not know it very well, but it is actually quite healthy food.
There are many different tasty dishes such as hummus, made with chickpeas, and tabbouleh, full of parsley, but of course kebabs, chicken, mutton and beef roasted on skewers are the most typical. These dishes resemble yakitori. Some Japanese think of sandwiches made with meat held in pita bread when they hear the word "kebab," but these are called shawarma in the Middle East, with kebab generally referring to dishes featuring meat itself. I have heard that Middle Eastern restaurants have increased in number in Japan and definitely recommend that you try them.

Kebabs, typical Middle Eastern fare
Satisfaction with the Breadth of Product Lines We Handle

I was involved with steel plate export operations in Tokyo, and have been handling the overall flat products since being posted to the Dubai office. Although I was at a loss when I first arrived here because the product lines I handled had changed, I enjoy and derive a sense of satisfaction from being able to handle various kinds of products as days go by. At the same time, I've developed a broader view regarding my approach to work because of the larger number of products I handle. Moreover, customers in the Middle East view me as Metal One's representative, so in that sense I have also developed a sense of responsibility.




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