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.
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）