Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Tourism 101 in Azumino

Location Map of Azumino in Nagano Prefecture, ...Image via Wikipedia
Luna was asked recently to help the good people of Azumino get a step ahead in their ambitions to develop tourism locally. Jim has been involved with the Yokoso Matsumoto project for a couple of years now (as has Tana more recently), and is glad to be contributing to our neighbouring "city's" outreach too.

This evening 20 local business operators in the local tourist industry took part in a two and a half hour introductory workshop with Jim. All participants were self-declared "beginners" (some more so than others). The aim this evening was to give a lot of encouragement, as quickly as possible, in genuinely useful situations. For Jim, it was actually unusual to have a group of people in such urgent need of even basic English - and therefore very challenging to provide relevant, simple language.

How do you satisfy 20 people from different sectors of the tourist trade with little in common other than location and a large 'fear of English' factor? Not possible. What you can do is facilitate their latent learning (8+ years through school for a start) & in-service experience to speak up - with a template. Give them a pattern to form their language around, show there is a place to start and that they 'can do'.

Today, speaking was top priority - overcoming that "Oh my God. A foreigner has rocked up & wants to check in" syndrome. Name, rank & number. Observe, practice, do!

Some useful language - counting is 'different' in Japan. Foreigners don't know katakana (the most useless script ever) so "How do you spell that?" has to be Q1a at a hotel/ryokan, doesn't it?

Time flew; the Shimin Times lady came, flashed, and went. Everyone made new friends, English questions and answers in the air (Jim's threat to charge Japanese usage with a beer tax was taken seriously). Everyone got the chance to practice some simple exchanges, and it looked like everyone relaxed and got a lot out of the evening.

What do you think?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]