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From Value One, Autumn 2009, No. 26
Metal One Corporation Hanoi Liaison Office
Land of Lotus Flowers
Are you aware that the lotus is Vietnam's national flower? Vietnamese really love lotus blossoms, and you can see them all around Hanoi in summer. There is lotus seed tea as well as lotus rice, and most flowers displayed in flower vases are lotus blossoms. You often see lacquerware and embroidery decorated with a lotus motif in craft shops. People who have flown Vietnam Airlines no doubt noticed the illustration of a lotus flower on the company's ticket envelope.
Next year, 2010, will mark the millennium of Hanoi's founding, and I encourage you to visit Hanoi and view the lovely lotus blossoms.
Vietnam's national flower, the lotus

Chay, where I Go to Relax
There is a beauty shop called Chay on Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street in Hanoi that provides only one service: plucking gray hairs from customers' heads with tweezers. After a customer's gray hairs are plucked, they are lined up on a piece of black paper for the customer to inspect. It costs 10,000 dong (approximately ¥53) for every 10 minutes, which is quite cheap.
Although the woman who owns the shop had joined a foreign capital firm after graduating from university, she gave up her stable job to open Chay two years ago. She came up with the idea while plucking her parents' white hairs, which she had always done, and thinking about what type of business to start now that she was jobless. She apparently had a difficult time when she first opened the shop, but business now seems to have stabilized, and the number of customers is growing. My gray hairs have recently begun to stand out, so I occasionally come here for about 20 minutes to relax while having them plucked.
Office building where the Hanoi Liaison Office is located

Bun Cha, a Hanoi Delicacy
Bun cha is a popular dish in Hanoi. Rice vermicelli, deep-fried spring rolls, charbroiled patties of minced pork, and fresh vegetables are eaten after dipping them in a sweet-and-sour sauce flavoured with nuoc mam and filled with herbs. This is a meal that one is able to eat even when one's appetite is suppressed by the heat, and there are many shops specializing in bun cha in Hanoi. Few Japanese tourists are acquainted with this Vietnamese dish, but it is the one some say they like best.
If you visit Hanoi, try having pho for breakfast and bun cha for lunch like a true Hanoi native.
Bun cha, a Hanoi-style noodle dish that the author greatly enjoys

Steel Bridge Designed by Gustave Eiffel
The oldest bridge that spans the Red River running through Hanoi is Long Bien Bridge. Long Bien Bridge is said to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower. Built between 1899 and 1902 during the French colonial period, this bridge withstood bombings in the Vietnam War and is a historical structure that remains today. I hope from the bottom of my heart that, like this bridge, I can become a bridge of friendship between Japan and Vietnam.
A section of Long Bien Bridge; bridges this old cannot be seen in Japan nowadays.

A plaque commemorating the completion of Long Bien Bridge
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