Dear Friends and Colleagues, members of EAJRS,

Those of you who have accessed the website of the EAJRS may have been wondering whether we had gone on a strike since last year's conference in Lisbon, but rest assured, although we have failed to send out our customary New Year's wishes, we are in no mood to go on strike and take the imminent advent of spring as the opportunity to start afresh.

Since Paul Wijsman resigned from the position of secretary, his successor, Dr. Laura Moretti, has been learning the tricks of the trade from Paul and is now all set to carry on his work. Hans from his side has worked out some new functionalities for the website, so that we are all set to prepare the Norwich conference in earnest. I am writing this message from Venice, where I have been attending a workshop, and being here brought back to mind visions of our 2006 conference. Although we regrettably failed to secure the permission to visit the famed Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, we did pay a memorable visit to the Fondacione Cini, where we were guided to our heart's content through the monastery as well as the collections. That was a visit noone who joined us then will easily forget, if only for the thoroughness of the tour.

The Lisbon conference was most enjoyable and stimulating and went on in a congenial ambiance. We take this opportunity to thank the director Prof. Luìs Filipe Barreto and all the staff members of the Scientific and Cultural Centre of Macao (Centro Cientìfico e Cultural de Macau) for their fine organisation, hospitality and generosity. At the same time, we express our sincere gratitude to all of our members for joining us in such great number in the charming city that Lisbon is, and for the contributions all of you made both in scholarly and convivial terms. We also owe a great debt of gratitude to the curators of the National Library in Lisbon and the Library in Evora.  

At the general meeting in Lisbon, we decided to hold our 2009 conference in Norwich. The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures has kindly volunteered to be our host. This institute was founded in 1999. An independent charity, the institute is affiliated with the University of East Anglia (UEA) in association with the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) and The British Museum. The 2009 conference will conincide with its tenth anniversary.

During the Norwich conference we will have the opportunity to visit their fine library and also hopefully make a guided visit to the Japanese/Oriental collection of Cambridge University. In the spring of 2009 we will pay a preliminary visit to the Sainsbury Instiute to finalize the practical arrangements.

The dates for the Norwich conference remain as agreed upon: the third week of September, beginning on Wednesday 16 September and ending on Saturday 19 September. Very soon we will be sending out information about the accommodation in Norwich and a call for papers.

While we are resource specialists, the work we are doing is vital for researchers, and I would be delighted to see more researchers (both junior and senior ones, also in teaching positions) attending our conference. I therefore call upon all our members to do some advertising among the scholars they know or assist and encourage them to attend our conference.

As in previous years, we have filed our application for financial support to the Japan Foundation, and so has the UK Japanese librarians committee, who, it will be recalled, are preparing to organize the third stage of the workshop for librarians at Tenri University library. Since we are in the midst of a financial crisis of unprecedented proportions, I am holding my breath about the outcome of our application. 

As has become customary, we would like to renew our appeal to help widening our membership, and we urge all present members to use the EAJRS portal site as much as possible as a means for easy contact and exchange. We hope that you like the availability of the abstracts and/or proceedings on the renewed EAJRS portal site and needless to say, we are open to all suggestions for improvement.

Although the location of the venue will hopefully elicit many presentations on the situation of Japanese resources in the UK, the conference customarily has not a special topic. We want to give full scope to all possible issues and recent developments in the field of Japanese resources. As in former editions of the conference, we hope that specialists from Europe, Northern America and Japan will join us in great number, and hopefully one or two from Korea, China or Taiwan, will find their way to Norwich. Our hosts will from their side make a special appeal to prospective participants from the UK.

Detailed information on the particulars of this conference will be forwarded to you soon, but we would like to ask everyone reading this message to pass its contents on to colleagues or interested persons who they know or believe are not on our mailing list (yet). Do not hesitate to send us the address and email address of anyone you feel may be interested and is not on our mailing list. 

We are looking forward to your continuing support and enthusiasm in 2009.

Cordial greetings from

W.F. Vande Walle, chairman,

Laura Moretti, secretary