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Help a JET alum promote a World Cultural Heritage area in Wakayama?

A request for help from Todd Van Horne, a JET alum. Please contact Todd directly at if there are ways you could help. Please contact the JETAANC Executive Committee at if we can support you in some way in connection with Todd’s request.

Dear JETAANC alumni and friends, I am a JET alum of 2004-2008, and a former VP of the Portland JETAA chapter. I’ve been back in Japan for about a year now–a very eventful year–and I’m currently translating for an NPO which provides English guiding services in the Kumano Kodo Ancient Road UNESCO World Cultural Heritage area in Wakayama, south of Osaka.

Due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March, and the floods and landslides in Wakayama during the September typhoon, tourist numbers have fallen drastically. As part of our efforts to restore tourism to the Kumano area, our two directors are planning to visit America from March 11th to 19th to meet with travel agencies and potential customers, to directly convey the magnificence and safety of the Kumano area as a tour destination.

I’d like to know if any of you would be able to assist us with the preparations for our visit. Following is a short list of some of the things we would appreciate any help with:

1. Introductions to or suggestions of possible venues for a Japan travel-related slideshow 2. Introductions to or suggestions of groups or organizations that would be potential attendees of the slideshow 3. Suggestions of any San Francisco-based travel companies closely linked to Japan 4. Introductions to anyone who might be interested in hosting our directors (two adult females) or providing driving services. We have a budget for compensating drivers.

To clarify a little, here are some details on our proposed trip:

Our goals 1. To form partnerships with travel companies 2. To present a slideshow and/or Kumano mandala narration to interested groups of 10 or more 3. To inform interested parties about Japan, specifically Kumano 4. To put up advertising posters in strategic locations 5. To distribute and place advertising brochures in strategic locations

Target audience 1. Baby boomers, especially Japanese-American 2. Travel companies 3. Wakayama Kenjinkai (Wakayama Prefecture organizations), Japanese national or cultural organizations 4. Hiking and outdoor interest groups 5. Colleges and universities 6. Martial arts practice and interest groups, especially Qigong, as we currently offer an English Qigong walking tour. 7. Spiritual practice and interest groups 8. Natural health practice and interest groups, including Japanese massage, hot spring cleansing, etc.

Notes 1. The deadline for our proposal is February 15th; we need to have five confirmed presentations scheduled by this time in order to proceed with our plan. 2. We are making the same request of other JETAA chapters on the west coast.

Again, thank you for your time and thoughts on our trip.  We deeply appreciate any assistance or advice you can offer us in our preparation.

Sincerely, Todd Van Horne

on behalf of Harumi Kusumoto Managing Director Mi Kumano NPO

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