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Monday, February 9, 2015

Why is Japan such an unpopular tourist destination? / Recent Happenings in my Yokohama and Toyama Life / My Music Video

Why is Japan such an unpopular tourist destination?

by Rocknews 24 via Japan Today

Does this video make you want to visit Japan? You be the judge.

You would think that a country like Japan, rich as it is in both traditional culture and technical innovation, as well as plenty of weird and wacky things you’ll never see elsewhere, would be a huge hit with tourists. But as it turns out, Japan is actually not such a popular destination for people traveling abroad.
Tourism from abroad brings in around 900 billion yen per year for Japan. To put it in perspective, France makes around 5 trillion, the UK 3 trillion, Germany 3.7 trillion, and America 11 trillion yen from tourism. It might look like just a matter of zeroes on paper, but that’s a significant difference.
So just why is this beautiful country which has so much to offer such an unpopular holiday destination?

Publicity problems

Firstly, Japan needs more and better quality advertising. With the world now connected by the Internet, you can easily communicate with people half-way around the globe as though they’re right there with you in your room, and people are becoming more interested in other cultures. Japan needs to be able to self-promote, and articulate to the wider world exactly why people should come and visit.

China has size on its side, Thailand has its resorts and backpacker culture, Cambodia has its historical ruins; people visiting Asia for the first time have so much choice on where to go, so proper promotion is extremely important for a country hoping to stand out on a platter already crowded with delicacies. And right now, Japan just isn’t getting itself out there enough.

But what about cool Japan, the government drive to get more foreigners interested in Japan?
There have been attempts to come up with advertising campaigns, certainly, but they’ve fallen woefully short. Celebrities have huge star attraction here, but the PR gurus don’t seem to have caught on that using Japanese stars to advertise Japan just doesn’t work, since people outside of the country often have no clue who they are unless they already interested in Japan, hence these ads are essentially preaching to the choir. Japanese boy band Arashi’s tourism advert, a part of the government’s official Visit Japan campaign, seems more like a music video aimed at teenage girls; not exactly the demographic with the money to spend on flights, hotels and sightseeing.
Are Japan’s woeful tourism figures all the fault of the Japan Tourism Agency? Not quite. 
Skytree-high costs

The top reasons people from Europe and the USA don’t come to Japan is that it’s both too far and too expensive. Since the island is pretty much tethered where it is, there’s not much that can be done about the former, but surely there could be some workarounds regarding the latter. Accommodation and transport are very expensive and on top of that are the costs of food, souvenirs and so on, so with a high-valued yen people are bound to look to cheaper options such as Asia, where even the poorest of student travelers can survive.

Lost in translation

Then there’s the fact that it’s not very easy to go on holiday here without knowing the language, because of the comparatively low level of English of most native Japanese folks. Even in the midst of Tokyo you can find yourself stuck due to language issues, and once you get out of the city there are still many supposed sightseeing spots that don’t have any English signs. Japanese also isn’t like languages which use the Roman alphabet, so travellers can’t simply type a written word into their dictionary or translation app (though hopefully one day soon they’ll be able to scan them), so the average not-overly-adventurous traveler is severely limited when they find they can’t even read restaurant menus or the names written on signs at train stations. Japanese people also tend to be quite shy and reserved, even if they do have a smattering of English, unlike other countries where people will go out of their way to try to communicate with you even if they don’t speak a word of your language.

Japanese-only convenience

Japan is often said to be an incredibly convenient place, epitomized by the ubiquitous conbini, and this is true if you are actually living there. Unfortunately, it can still be very inconvenient for travelers and people staying short-term.

Firstly, actually getting into the city can be a bit of a pain since its busiest international airport, Narita, is located quite far out of central Tokyo. Then, when you want to pay for your train or bus ticket you might find yourself in a bit of a bind since Japan is still a mostly cash society and there are many places that do not accept credit cards. On top of that, ATMs that accept foreign cards are few and far between and are often closed outside of regular business hours; something we’ve noted before as a particular irk of living in Japan. And forget hopping online to check your route or research places to visit as, despite Japan’s reputation as a technologically advanced country, there are still very few places with Wi-Fi, free or otherwise. You also can’t buy cheap mobile phones with disposable SIM cards, making keeping in touch with other members of your group difficult.
All in all these factors all contribute to the reality that people aren’t going to be inclined to come and visit unless they already have an interest in Japan.
But all is not lost.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan has been increasing recently, and during the New Year period, department stores reportedly saw three times more foreigners coming to their start-of-year sales than the previous year. More places including shrines are stepping up their game and starting to provide Wi-Fi access, and Tokyo Metro has launched a free Wi-Fi service aimed at tourists across 143 of their stations.

Furthermore, a bank on the road leading to the Grand Shrine at Ise has begun offering a foreign currency exchange service since many people were saying that it was inconvenient not to have any exchange services nearby. These are all signs that Japanese companies are starting to think more about catering to people visiting from overseas. The growth in tourists can also be attributed to the recent weakening of the yen brought about by Abenomics, making things cheaper for Americans and Europeans, and department stores are publicizing the fact that duty-free shopping is available for foreign visitors.

And of course with Tokyo hosting the Olympics in 2020, the country is going to experience a definite surge in foreign visitors. The questions now are whether or not Japan will be ready for them, and if the Games will have a lasting effect on the tourism industry in the future.

Source: Naver Matome


External link - http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/01/16/why-is-japan-such-an-unpopular-tourist-destination/



Recent happenings as I approach the final lap of living in Toyama

Day 2480 (Interstellar)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Watched one of the best movies I've seen in a looooong while. Interstellar. This totally geeked me out and took me to different world, pun intended for who saw it.

Day 2481 ( Hangingout with some Jamaican sisters )
Saturday, January 3, 2015

Just chilled with some of my friends for the evening

Day 2482 ( Ice Skating !!!)
Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tried ice skating for the first time. It was scary and fun at the same time. There was this 8 year old girl killing it on the ice. Even occasionally teaching us.



Day 2488 ( More Reggae in Toyama )
Saturday, January 10, 2015

Went to a not so bad reggae party today, after returning to Toyama from Yokohama. For the first time in my life of traveling, my flight got cancelled before actually getting back to Toyama. The reason? Heavy snow.



Day 2494 ( Japanese Calligraphy )
Friday, January 16, 2015

So yesterday, I was at work sitting and waiting for the clock to strike 4:15 so I could run home. Because this new term, the board of education decided to turn up the work and the amount of  classes I teach. Suddenly, I got a call from this lady I promised that I would practice Japanese Calligraphy with on Sundays. Only to find out that the lady was already at the school waiting for me, to take me to a real calligraphy teacher without any form of warning, prior arrangement or anything. Is she stalking me? I was free so I decided to go. But ended up having to buy some stuff. A total of 4000 yen (US $40) worth of stuff that I didn't plan to pay for.

I complied because I was gonna have to pay for it anyway, whether now or later. I thought the calligraphy thing was easy before trying it but maaan its a challenge. And the teacher is strict.

Ai - Love 

Kin/kane - Money or gold



Day 2507 ( Fake Facebook Profile )
Thursday, January 29, 2015

Woke up this morning to a message from a friend of mine saying she saw a pic looking like me on facebook, this is the pic

I looked on the pic long and hard... then it dawned on me... THAT IS ME !!! with a another name !!! But I am 100% sure I know who did it, or at least who is behind it. Oh boy. I will just leave it at that. It has since been removed.

On a another note, I found a friend who is skilled at drawing people. She drew a pic of my sister and her child.



Day 2517 ( JET Festival in Toyama )
Sunday, February 8, 2015

The J.E.T English teachers (if you don't know who they are, read my book) in Toyama put on a yearly festival thing with displays and stuff from different countries. I did a performance and also taught patois (Jamaican dialect) lessons to some people in Japanese. I was surprised that so many people came to the class. It was a good day. I realize now that almost every single time at these exciting events, I go back home with a headache that lasts for at least 2 days. That's if I don't take a tablet.

Oh I bought a selfie stick 



And friends, readers, and loved ones, the moment you've all been waiting for.... the world Premier of

My new music video  
Baby mi love yuh - written and edited by Dave Collymore, directed by Big Mike Productions

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