Japan Travel

* * * * * * * * TERRIE’S TAKE – BY TERRIE LLOYD * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd, a long-term
technology and media entrepreneur living in Japan.

General Edition Sunday, Apr 20, 2014, Issue No. 753


– What’s New — How to Cycle Japan with an 8-year Old
– News — Casinos on the way?
– Web Content/Tech Job Vacancies — Video blogging/editing
– Upcoming Events
– Corrections/Feedback
– Travel Picks — Shrine beauty in Fujisawa, Pottery in Ehime
– News Credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie’s Take at:

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As many readers will know, we have been delving deeply into the Japan
inbound travel sector with www.japantravel.com. The company is going
to make a major announcement in a few week’s time, affirming that
crowdsourcing works and that travelers in particular like lots of
information and choice.

One interesting aspect of crowds is that you never know what you are
going to get. Crowdsourcing is based on chaos and thus it throws up a
wide variety of quality and topics. In Japan crowdsourcing is
generally defined by transactional sites such as jobs matching sites
like Crowdworks. Crowdsourced User Generated Content (UCG) sites are
only just getting started, and Japantravel.com is a good early
example. One thing we’ve learned is that to get good quality from the
chaos, you need a strong editing and control system, and you need a
big enough crowd to maintain flow.

While the chaos part may not sound attractive, UCG also means
diversity. This is a good thing for Japanese inbound travel, because
as a sector it is hidebound. We jokingly refer to standard Japanese
travel as “old people’s travel” because the expectation is that you
will board a bus or train and be whisked by gracious but expensive
hosts from one d’oeil to the next, with little investment of personal
effort. This works for first-time and non-adventurous travelers, but
it also means that the average tourist misses out on much of the
unique and local life experiences that make Japan so special.

So we have started researching special interest tours, especially
those that involve risk, adventure, the unknown, and places outside
the Golden Triangle (Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto). What kinds of interests can
you pursue in Japan that take you outside the megacenters? Actually
the list is extensive and just some of the options include: hiking,
diving, fishing, skiing (of course), onsen, bonsai (the best are grown
in regional cities), sword making, kimono and other traditional
textiles, arts and crafts, paragliding, temple pilgrimages, silk and
pearls, agricultural tourism, ceramics/pottery, world heritage visits,
and cycling.

[Continued below…]

——– Japan Travel Paid Blogging — in Japanese ——–

www.japantravel.com has become the largest content creator for inbound
travel content in Japan, and this is now driving demand by local
operators for domestic content. We have a number of openings for
freelance bloggers to write stories and take photos at various
locations around Japan. These positions require native-level written
Japanese for the text projects, and advanced spoken Japanese for the
video and photographic projects. If you are a part-time photo blogger
or video journalist, then contact us for more information.

Go to: http://en.japantravel.com/contact and select the “I want to
write for you” option.

[…Article continues]

So it was with some interest that we were introduced to the source of
a great Japan cycling story, American Charles Scott, who not only
decided to ride the length of Japan by bike, but, and this is the
really adventurous part, he did it with his 8-year old son, Sho.
Charles chronicled the experience in his book Rising Son: A Father and
Son’s Bike Adventure across Japan. (You can buy the English version of
the book at Amazon.co.jp – http://amzn.to/1iv9VYc).

We asked Charles to share some suggestions for others interested in
exploring the country by bicycle. He lived in Tokyo for two years in
the 1990s, is married to a Japanese woman and speaks Japanese. But, he
emphasized that a person who does not speak the language can get along
perfectly fine cycling through the country, thanks to the many people
who go out of their way to help foreigners.

Charles and Sho started their ride at Cape Soya on the northern tip of
Hokkaido, and finished at Cape Sata on the southern tip of Kyushu.
They visited nine World Heritage sites, cycled over eight mountain
passes in the Japanese Alps, slept in a tent, and pedaled through
major metropolitan areas and virtually uninhabited stretches of
countryside alike. One wonders how they didn’t wind up divorcing

Sho is likely the youngest person ever to pedal the length of Japan,
and many people they met worried that such a trip would be too much
for an eight-year-old. Sho just told them, “A kid can do a whole lot
more than most adults think.” — sounds like our kind of kid!

Some tips from Charles:

* Put Hokkaido high on your list of cycling destinations. It boasts
gorgeous countryside routes, dramatic coastlines and friendly people.
Many people stick to the coasts, but there are challenging mountains
too, if that’s your thing.

* Shimanami Kaido is an expressway with a dedicated bike path that
connects Onomichi (in Honshu) and Imabari (in Shikoku). You can rent
bikes and helmets at one end and return them at the other. The route
offers stunning views as it passes over nine islands. You can complete
this 60-kilometer ride in a day, but Charles recommended staying
overnight on one of the islands.

* Consider renting a bike to get around Kyoto. The city is compact and
easy to navigate on two wheels.

* If you plan to sleep in a tent during a multiple-day cycling
adventure, one of the major challenges is finding a place to shower.
The ubiquity of public bath houses (onsen or sento) in Japan made it
easy for Charles and Sho to clean up almost every day of their ride
without needing to get a hotel room.

* There are hundreds of government-designated rest stops throughout
Japan, which came in handy on their ride. The stations typically have
information on the local area, food and places to rest. Some include
playgrounds, an onsen and other family-friendly attractions.

* Japan Cycling Navigator (www.japancycling.org) is an English
language website with many details and suggested routes for cycling in

If you’d like to read more about the father-and-son family trip across
Japan, check out Charles’ blog at

…The information janitors/


—————– Travel Writing Rewards ——————

Why keep your Japanese adventures to yourself when you can get them
published for millions to read? Write about your travels in Japan and
get free rewards in return from www.JapanTravel.com, the leading
English tourism website about Japan. Post your articles and photos to
receive points which can be redeemed for items such as traditional
Japanese food, T-shirts and even plane tickets. Whether sipping coffee
at a cafe, hiking a secluded mountain, or visiting an electric
festival, JapanTravel.com is the best place to relive your experiences
and receive gifts in return. Go to www.japantravel.com for more
information and to read the thousands of articles written by



+++ NEWS

– 25% now over 65
– And the lonely increase as well
– Casinos on the way?
– Spring Airlines about to make major push in Japan
– Japan consumer confidence down

=> 25% now over 65

It’s now official, more than 25% of Japanese are aged over 65, a
milestone that was passed on October 1st, 2013. In contrast, over
12.9% of the population was aged 15 or younger, meaning that Japan is
on track for its forecast of the population falling to 100m by 2050.
The next two most aged societies in the world are Germany and Italy,
both of which have about 21% of their population over 65. Source: TT
commentary from wsj.com, Apr 15, 2014)


=> And the lonely increase as well

Along with a surge in the elderly population, the number of
single-person households is also soaring, with the National Institute
of Population and Social Security Research finding that this category
of household will be in the majority by 2025. According to the 2010
census, already single-person households in Tokyo number 45.8% of all
households, and in Osaka 35.8%. Among the elderly, 9.6% were living by
themselves, a number which is expected to increase to 15.4% by 2035.
(Source: TT commentary from japantimes.co.jp, Apr 91, 2014)


=> Casinos on the way?

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like the Abe government
will OK casinos this year. Hints that the legislation is in the
pipeline and is being tipped to pass in June are to be found in a move
by the Osaka Government to offer casino operators a 170-hectare plot
of reclaimed land on Osaka Bay, for a casino site. The location is
Yumeshima, and will apparently be designated as Osaka’s preferred site
as early as this coming week. While Osaka is moving fast off the
blocks, Tokyo, the only other serious contender for a site, seems to
be looking at a casino in time for the Olympics. ***Ed: Osaka, of
course, would make a perfect location for Chinese gamblers looking for
a short distance to travel.** (Source: TT commentary from reuters.com,
Apr 15, 2014)


=> Spring Airlines about to make major push in Japan

A Chinese airline that almost no one has ever heard of is about to
make a major push to expand its operations in Japan. The airline
currently runs flights out of Ibaraki to Shanghai and also services
KIX (Osaka), Saga, and Takamatsu. The company now plans to add Narita
and four Chinese city destinations early next year, as well as extra
routes from KIX, and intra-Japan flights connecting its current stops.
This last part is interesting, because it will open up low-cost
internal connections between Narita and Saga and Takamatsu. (Source:
TT commentary from asia.nikkei.com, Apr 19, 2014)


=> Japan consumer confidence down

Mixed signals coming out of the market as to what effect the increased
consumption tax is having. On one hand a Reuters spot survey found
that many businesses are not noticing a major affect. However, the
Cabinet Office has admitted that consumer confidence is now just 37.5,
the lowest it’s been since August 2011. The general consensus is that
people are feeling beaten up by rising prices and stalled salaries,
reducing their discretionary income. Especially now that many
companies are adjusting prices not just for taxes but for the weakened
yen as well, the pressure is definitely on. The high point for
consumer confidence during this Abe administration was 45.7 in May
2013, accentuating the dramatic change in mood over the last 12
months. (Source: TT commentary from bloomberg.com, Apr 17, 2014)


NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days
of posting them, thus breaking our links — we apologize for the



=> Are you in web content, sales, or engineering? If so, this section
is for you.


– Part-time video editors and bloggers

We are inviting applications from amateur video editors and video
bloggers who own their own equipment, to provide stories for our
travel website business clients. You must have strong experience with
either Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, and be able to show work
samples that have been commercially published or which have garnered a
high number of views on public video sites. The positions require
strong communication skills, availability at least several times a
month to do shooting during business hours, and strong Japanese. You
should be located close to one of the following cities: Naha, Fukuoka,
Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, Sendai, or Sapporo. Payment rates vary according
to client, but are NOT at full commercial level, meaning that these
positions are best suited to talented non-professionals. Please send
your resume to info@japaninc.com.


– Bilingual account manager for major tourism portal
(www.japantourist.jp), JPY3M – JPY5M
– Bilingual sales trainee for web media properties, JPY2.5M-JPY3M +
10% commission

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to: jobs@metroworks.co.jp.




—————— ICA Event – May 15th——————–

Speaker: Robert E. Peterson (“Bob-san”) – President, Wickaboag
Consulting Group, Inc. Marketing & Communications Problem Solver
Title: “Japanese Companies Do Not Understand Marketing! Why and
Implications for Japan Inc”

Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/

Date: Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner included and cash bar
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members) Open to all. No
sign ups at the door!!!!!!!
RSVP: By 4pm on Friday 9th May 2014, venue is The Foreign
Correspondents’ Club of Japan


——– Business Start-up Seminar by Terrie Lloyd ——–

Have you ever thought about setting up your own company in Japan? Or,
are you already running one and wondering how to move up to the next

Local Australian/Kiwi entrepreneur Terrie Lloyd, is running a seminar
for people who want to form their own companies, on May 10th, 2014.
Terrie has established 17 companies in Japan over the last 30 years,
and has a lot of experience to share about how to structure and run
your business when first starting up.

Details: http://www.japaninc.com/entrepreneur_handbook_seminar



=> No comments this week.



=> Shirahata Shrine – Fujisawa
A legendary samurai’s last resting place

Walking around the area near Fujisawa-Honmachi Station, the towering
white torii gates of Shirahata Shrine (Shirahata Jinja) are impossible
to miss. Directly in the center of town, they pull all your attention
to the small Shinto shrine that sits within.

Shirahata Jinja is most notable for its connection with the legendary
samurai warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who is enshrined there.
Yoshitsune, who lived in the late 1100’s, is a popular figure in
Japanese literature. A famed general, he is known for his
swordsmanship and for embodying the honorable traits of the samurai.
As a young man, he was victorious in a duel against the also-legendary
warrior monk Musashib Benkei, who became Yoshitsune’s loyal partner
until their deaths.


=> Hands-on Pottery in Tobe, Ehime
Explore the hometown of Tobe-yaki ceramics

Drive forty minutes from the center of Matsuyama, and you will
encounter a slender white tower which stands fifteen meters high. This
tower was built at the entrance to the town of Tobe from the Matsuyama
side, and it’s decorated with 560 china plates from each of the
potteries in the town — as a symbol of what Tobe is all about. It was
built to hand down the passion of Tobe’s ceramists to coming
generations and to catch the imagination of visitors to this pottery

Tobe-yaki is a traditional Japanese industrial art using materials
produced in this area. Typical designs have a pure white base with
characteristic designs in indigo blue. This beautiful art has devotees
from all over Japan, thanks to its robustness and practicality. In
recent years, young ceramists have been eschewing the traditional
materials and designs, taking Tobe-yaki in new directions. The town of
Tobe is a remarkable place, with a flourishing industry based around



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