I am writing this column in Denver, Colorado. For those non-American readers who may need clarification, this beautiful city is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in America's Wild West. Denver is nicknamed the "Mile-High City" because its elevation is one mile (1.6 km) above sea level, although I never felt that the air was thin.

The capital of Colorado is also well-known for its sunny weather. Denver claims that it has 300 days of sunshine per year. This time, unfortunately, I brought heavy snow with me.

I was invited by the Japan America Society of Colorado to speak with an old friend from Washington about issues related to Japan-U.S. security arrangements. He and I — a sort of team of manzai comedians — had spoken together in similar occasions at Indianapolis and Seattle last year. Denver was the third such event.