Well, folks, my tourism project with ICIEA has finally come to a close. It was a lot of fun, and I’m thankful for the experience. I created a video to precede my talk to the crowd gathered at the international fair we held on Sunday last weekend. It was a pretty fun time. I enjoyed looking over the posters and photography from other monitor tourists before showing my DVDs and then getting up to speak. Those videos have been arranged in a playlist and embedded above. The first 2 in the playlist are available in full 1080p HD, so don’t miss out. The remaining 4 have been previously featured on this site.
Anyhoo – I was asked to deliver a bilingual speech, so I frequently repeated myself, I’m afraid. I’m fairly sure that both the Japanese people and the English speaking foreigners in the crowd were able to follow me reasonably well. My take: Imabari should play up its unique food heritage in a play to put itself on foreigners’ radar. I explained the concept of food tourism, and how most foreign people who go to Hiroshima go there in order to take in the history, the museums, and the sights. But they’d be foolish to miss out on some okonomiyaki while they’re there. (Am I right?)
Imabari is the crosspoint of 3 major arteries of transportation, yet people no longer stop here on their way elsewhere on Shikoku. I urged them to think about the slogan thought up by my friend Harry; “Shikoku Starts Here.” Great slogan! If only we could get some people to take a break from their travels, spend a night here, and eat some yakitori. That’s right, yakitori. Imabari is currently the #2 city in all of Japan for yakitori, and it has a unique take on it, at that. In Imabari, shops make yakitori on sheet metal griddles and handheld steel plates instead of on skewers over charcoal. It’s said that this type of yakitori started because Imabari people are impatient and they want their food lickety-split. (It’s also likely that the ship building industry’s presence meant that loads of scrap steel plates were readily available…) DELICIOUS, by the way.
Anyway, my other recommendations were for people to get online and add information to the English language Wikipedia and Wikitravel entries. (I also told them they could pay me to do it….semi-facetiously. Got some laughs. The offer still stands, if you’re reading this, guys. Ha ha. ) All in all, I think my suggestions were well received, and I think the event went well. I want to say kudos to the other foreigners who volunteered their time and to all of the Japanese staff who worked so tirelessly on this project. お疲れ様でした！
I may or may not bring this topic up once more on this blog. It seems there may be some newspaper articles coming up out of this. And it’s also possible that I’ll post a song about Imabari’s yakitori. (No joke. It was made when we were the #1 city for yakitori. Perhaps with the aid of foreign tourism, we can reclaim the title?)
Culinary, Customary Drivel, Media, Photos, Trips, Video