One week ago today, I gave a talk about my monitor tour at an International Fair in Imabari City. The local media came out and did a story on it. Here’s my amateur slapdash attempt at translating the newspaper article that was published in the morning edition of the Ehime Newspaper last Tuesday. Many thanks go to reporter Fumihito Tawa for coming out and covering the event. I’d also like to proffer my thanks to the photographer who snapped that incredible “A-ha!” finger pointing gesture. The team made me look good! Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.
Caption: Mr. Richardson (right), an American whose theme was using foods like yakitori in a plan for promoting tourism in Imabari City.
Enjoy Imabari Even More
Increase the amount of foreign language information on websites to promote short-stay food tourism
Proposed by a sightseeing foreigner
Let’s rediscover Imabari’s tourist attractions from a foreigner’s point of view. The International Fair hosted by the Imabari City International Exchange Association (ICIEA), took place on the 7th at the JA Saisaikiteya farmer’s market, where the townspeople were able to learn about local attractions as well as ideas for drawing foreign tourists to the area.
The ICIEA received a request from the city, and so set out on a project to have 7 foreign residents undertake monitor tours from June of 2009 to February of 2010. The fair was designed to showcase the results of these tours for the people of Imabari CIty.
Deas Richardson (26), an American assistant language teacher, said of food tourism with a focus on Imabari’s famous yakitori, “Of course it is not really a reason unto itself to visit, but it could easily be a reason to stop (here) on the way to another destination.” He expanded upon his ideas, putting emphasis on using short term stays centered around culinary attractions to bolster tourism to the area.
He also raised the example of websites which anyone can edit (wikis) and are frequently used by foreign travelers, citing the fact that the city’s English and Chinese language information was scarce. He encouraged the audience, saying, “The Japanese page introduces yakitori, but there is no explanation in English or Chinese. Since anyone can contribute information as a volunteer, I would really like us to try to do so.”
Mr. Martin Samoy (44), a Belgian photographer who has lived in Imabari for 15 years, presented some of his pictures of scenery around the city. Mr. Samoy’s acquaintance and coworker, Ms. Mizumi Ide (5), also of Imabari, said “I was moved by the way that he photographed landscapes so familiar and ordinary to Japanese people with a fresh perspective.”（Fumihito Tawa）
Culinary, Customary Drivel, Media, Photos, Unsolicited Commentary, 日本語
Here’s a quick note to let you know that Know Your Meme talks about Soramimi (空耳; literally “empty ear”) in the Phonetic Translations video they put up. It’s the term for facetiously attempting to comprehend something said in a foreign language by reinterpreting it phonetically in your own language. (The post also covers misheard lyrics, which are kinda-sorta related.) You can check out the Japanese Wikipedia article here (or English here). Be aware that the post is not safe for work, please. That’s why I’ve not embedded it. Also know that I seriously object to some of the forced humor in some of the examples given. As one of my favorite former teachers would have sarcastically put it, “lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable.” Ha ha, man I wonder how she feels about 90% of the Internet. Anyway, go check out the Know Your Meme post on Phonetic Translations, and make sure you hit up Harvey’s post at Japan Newbie with probably the funniest Japanese soramimi effort I’ve seen to date at the bottom. It leaves me winded from laughing every time. If you’ve got better examples, please, share!
Customary Drivel, Humor, Unsolicited Commentary, 日本語
Hey – here’s a post to answer the obvious (and totally fair) question: “Dude, you just said you were back to blogging and went radio silent again. What the heck is up with that?” Well, I’m wrapping up a huge project that has spanned about a full year. It’s a project put on by the city government and the local international association in an attempt to glean some useful information about how we can increase foreign tourism to Imabari City. If you’re in the Imabari area and you’d like to come, you can get a flyer in the city. (I might be able to upload one later, but it’s the same as the images you see.) For those who want to cut right to the nitty gritty, here’s the deal.
Where – Saisaikiteya
When – March 7th (Sunday), from 9 AM to 3 PM
What – Videos and pictures from monitor tours, a 30 minute presentation by yours truly, a slideshow by a professional photographer, a live radio talk show event, a piano “live” performance, a kids quiz & craft bonanza.
Why – To discuss how to increase foreign tourism, of course. But also to receive the free handdrawn English map of Imabari and to enjoy the international cooking demonstration. ICIEA Eco-bags are also being given to those who answer a survey.
Hope I see you there! And hope I can get back online once this mega-project is over!
Culinary, Customary Drivel, Unsolicited Commentary, 日本語
Check out this image from the UK’s Daily Mail. It’s from a pretty big protest rally against the American military base situation in Okinawa, but with a distinctly Japanese twist. I’m not interested in the pre-printed cards that were distributed. I am interested in the hand drawn cardboard one on the right side of the frame. It reads as follows.
Fuku wa uchi! Heiwa wa uchi! Kichi wa soto!
Guamu ni Okinawa ni Nihon ni beigun kichi wa isuwaru na! Meiwaku da! Kaette kure!!
Luck in! Peace in! Military bases out!
American military bases in Guam, Okinawa, and Japan, do not remain! It is troublesome! Go home!!
This is obviously modeled on the customary Setsubun holiday ritual of 豆撒き or mamemaki – throwing soy beans and chasing ogres out of one’s home by yelling 「鬼は外！福は内！」(Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!) or “Demons out! Luck in!”. People have been pretty heated up over the base situation for a long time now. I’m curious about whether it really implies a few things or not, though: that the American military is a bunch of friendly demon ogres (big step up from foreign barbarians if you ask me), that Okinawa is not part of Japan, and that Guam is upset about the military base there? Perhaps the delineation of Okinawa and Japan was kind of like “Okinawa and mainland Japan”? I dunno. But I found this interesting, and thought you might too!
Customary Drivel, Politics, Unsolicited Commentary, 日本語
Hey everybody! The Japan Times published a little article I wrote for them yesterday. I was in transit at the time, so I couldn’t post about it at the time. If you’re curious about how you can abbreviate Japanese to sound more natural, give it a read! (It apparently caused quite a stir among the editors there. Especially “azzasu” and “~zzaimasu” – the legitimacy of which is…kind of the point of the article. Enjoy!)
Trip note: I’m currently writing this from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I’ll be here in Vietnam for a bit before making a sweep through Singapore (2nd time), Malaysia (2nd time), and Thailand. I’ll see everybody on the other side of the winter break. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Customary Drivel, Trips, 日本語
Let me first start out by saying that this preview for Fox’s Human Target came to my attention back in May, but I figured I should wait a bit since the actual show won’t start until fall. Upcoming disappointment? I’m not sure. I know it’s based on a comic book, but I’ve no idea how good the comic is, or if this show will even come close to replicating it anyway. If Mark Valley’s supposed to be fluent in any number of other languages, we could feel the giddy excitement that comes from watching him maul them too. If it’s just Japanese, I’ve got to say that the actors in Heroes have totally whooped his behonkus. You can watch the actual full trailer from Fox Broadcasting below.
The show looks kind of fun, sure. I’m going to watch it, if for no other reason than to listen for any other horrendous Japanese lines. Gotta love the possible connotation of the elderly Japanese dude’s words to him, though, right? 「あなたの日本語はどこで習いましたか？」and「日本語上手ですね。」OUCH. The classic response. I’m kind of thrilled a bit that it was included in a realistic way. Ha ha.
If anyone out there is a better listener than I am, please feel free to take a crack at the word that he said that I’ve got down as 《ふしょうねん？》in the captions. I have no clue what that was supposed to be. Admittedly, my vocabulary needs work, so if you can parse what he’s saying please leave a comment and I’ll correct the captions. I’d appreciate it. It’s gnawing away at me…and I’ve watched that clip more times than necessary…
Customary Drivel, Humor, Media, Unsolicited Commentary, Video, 日本語