The longer I live in Abu Dhabi, the deeper the connection between Japan and the UAE I find. Considering that the UAE exports 62% of its crude oil to Japan, you think that Japanese would be much more visible. Of course, being married to a Japanese woman means that I have a connection to the Japanese community here. While the Japanese who work for the Japanese oil company keep to themselves, they do seem to be an influence. My wife is originally from the countryside in Japan and there are enough Japanese here to warrant a Northern Kyushu social group that meets every month or two.
There are two Japanese restaurants. There is even a Daiso, a kind of Japanese dollar store. The funny thing about this is that a lot of the products they sell only have Japanese writing on them so I have to wonder who besides Japanese people or people who have lived in Japan buys any of these things. In addition, the Japanese embassy was kind enough to sponsor Nobuyuki Tsujii, a renowned Japanese concert pianist and to give away 100 tickets to his performance to Japanese registered with the embassy.
Acording to the Abu Dhabi tourism website, Etihad Airways, a major airline in Abu Dhabi, sponsored a delegation of travel agents to visit Abu Dhabi to determine it's viability as a tourist destination for Japanese. It seems that they were impressed and I may be seeing more tour groups of little old Japanese ladies being led by a guide carrying a flag and snapping pictures along the beach in the coming years.
Not only do Japanese migrate here from Japan, I've met dozens of non-Japanese here who used to live in Japan. I know almost 10 people from Fukuoka alone who are now living in the UAE. Even the editor of Time Out Abu Dhabi used to live in Fukuoka around the time I was there. It seems like the UAE is for teachers and ex-patriots what Japan was 15 or 20 years ago.