Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I made it in time

Of all the four seasons, people in Japan get so restless twice----- in spring and in fall. We try not to miss the beauty of the autumn leaves at this time of the year.

There are many good spots to visit to admire the autumn foliage across the nation. People enjoy visiting famous gardens, temples and shrines where they grow old and huge trees like maples trees, gingko, beech and cherry trees. Others prefer making trips to the mountains and forests to put themselves into the grand picture of the colorful trees.

In fact the view is breathtaking. They say the autumn foliage in Japan is most colorful among any other areas in the world. Why? It is said that there are various kinds of deciduous trees in Japan compared with any other spots on earth. Since up-and -down of the temperature in a day is quite remarkable in fall, it makes an astonishing foliage possible.

This year, it is so unlucky for me that I can't make a trip to any other popular spots to see the autumn leaves due to my job schedule. Especially I miss Kyoto where there are lots of temples and shrines of which refined gardens show a beautiful combination with buildings and colorful trees.

Since this morning I've been working for my new class which will start tomorrow regretting why I took this job at this time of the year. (Never do it again for the next year.) Then it rang bells! I took my camera and stepped outside to see how our maple trees in the garden change their colors. There they were! Glad our previous generations left this garden to us. I spent some time to admire the season before I was back to my desk. "How lucky! I made it!" Then-----

I said to myself, "Next year, Kyoto by all means."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Travel Volunteer Project

I was going to talk about them before they visited Aichi but I didn't make it. In fact I wrote halfway and saved it. So let me start from the very beginning.

Travel Volunteer Project! What is all about? What is Travel Volunteers then? Well, I need to start the explanation from the March 11th disaster by a huge earthquake and tsunami and damaged nuclear plants. This news of huge tragedy was so quickly reported all over the world and people in the world were just shocked to see how the nature could be fatal to man and his world. In fact every TV news kept sending the awful scenes how the tsunami attacked the towns and cities in Tohoku and eventually it swallowed up 20 thousand people and still many missing even now.
Due to the world TV news, many people in the world just believed the tsunami swept away all over our land and in fact some overseas TV and newspapers reported as if it were the end of Japan. This brought a confusion among world travelers that Japan was not a safe country to visit anymore. Many trips were canceled one after another even in the area far away from the devastated regions. During the spring which was the high season for sight seeing in Japan, the numbers of the visitors from abroad were dropped sharply. English speaking guides whom I know were shocked to know every request for guiding were all canceled.
The tour industry faced the fatal damage although of all the land, west part of Japan was nothing affected and nothing happened and remained just the same as it was as usual.
In order to prove it and bring many foreign visitors back to Japan, one travel company called Magellan Resorts in the city of Kanazawa launched "Travel Volunteer Project." Please check their project website to know more about it here.

It was in July that I have known of this project and right on the spot, I applied for a volunteer supporter to guide the elected travel volunteer when he/she visited Aichi.
There were 1897 applicants for Travel volunteer from 85 countries and eventually the couple of Katy and Jamie, a photographer and a writer from England won this tremendous opportunity to visit all of 47 prefectures in Japan while updating their blogs and photos outwards telling many parts of Japan aren't changed and the many parts of our country are as beautiful and safe as they are always.

So their journey started on Sept.15. Yes it's almost 2 months have passed since then. Time flies. Now how many prefectures they have visited by now? Here is a map.

Yes, while I stayed away from blogging, Katy and Jamie came to Aichi and I had such a great opportunity to accompany them on Oct. 25.
I'll talk about it next.
At the same time please follow their great blog with fascinating stories and beautiful photos. You'll love it.