Saturday, October 24, 2009

MEETING A JAPANESE VOLUNTEER

The welcome digital screen at Kansai Airport greets you on arrival

It seems to be an outing day for schools as elementary and secondary children
made their educational visits to Osaka Castle and its sites.



Not to miss the colorful crysthemum flowers on display at Osaka Castle we had this photo of my wife with Mr.Ohta our volunteer guide.



Autumn is late in arriving at Kansai but the leaves are already changing their hues.



A scene to savour



Mr.Ohta and me at one of the shopping arcades in the city. Bicycles and cycling are popular here as they were in Malaysia fifty years ago.



IT WAS MANY DECADES AGO, that I first saw a Japanese. Of course he and his colleagues were in Malaya during the Second World War. They were soldiers and certainly brought into the country to launch the Japanese Prosperity Plan of conquering Asia, which they did but lasted for a short span. Of course the child's view was clouded by many factors. Today at Osaka in the Kansai prefecture, I met another, several years older than me but in a more congenial atmosphere. No he is not one of the soldiers that cycled the route north from the Kedah – Thai border to the Island of Singapore, but is a Volunteer Tourist Guide who offered his service to visitors to the Japanese cities and in this case being Osaka.




Viewing the internet I came across an Osaka Tenma Yomiuri SGG Club at Osaka that offered guide service to visitors to Japan and especially Osaka in this case. Correspondence through email, guaranteed that we had the service of a guide. Especially in Japan where you hardly know a word of Japanese or able to converse in either Malay or English with the populace, it would be a great asset to meet someone who could help. In this case Mr. Hideaki Ohta had assured that he would meet us at the hotel where we stayed. This morning prompt at 9.30 am, the telephone in the room rang and he was already at the foyer to meet us and take us on a familiarization tour of Osaka City and taking us especially through myriad networks of the underground trains of the city. That by itself would be the last thing any tourist would like to confront with on the first day.




Mr. Ohta belonged to a group of volunteers in Japan who gave their time and service to serve the tourist industries. They are not money oriented but offered their services literally free of charge. I suppose they gain from the interactions with people from all over the world and proud that they have contributed to the community and to the tourism industry and Japan specifically. That they could converse in the language indicated by the visitors is a true virtue of their assistance; that they are as knowledgeable as the professional tourist guides go a long way. Mr. Ohta was with us for the whole day till we parted with good feelings and friendship late in the evening. I must say this is the first tourist volunteer guide I have come across and had the services offered gratis. Yes free of charge excepting that we pay for our tickets as well as his when we travelled on the train or 'undergrounds' . You have to pay for entries of visitation when required. He entered free being an established and recognized Club member. I would not hesitate to use their services whenever I return to Japan again. I would encourage others to contact them. It is a two way winner: the visitor as well as the volunteer guide. Perhaps Malaysia too has to look at this prospect in wanting to improve its tourism potentials.




6 comments:

Ocean Girl said...

I think Japanese habit of self-discipline transpires in their culture and environment.

Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Glad you are enjoying yourself in Japan. Sample some traditional Japanese food like udon (they have so many varieties)and of course sushi and sashimi.

Pls take and post more pics on the blog. Thanks.

KotaStar said...

Ocean Girl
Thanks for the visit. An interesting visit while of course deserving after non visit countries ine last few yrs.Will follow with other observations.
Take car and kep healthy

KotaStar said...

Azizi,
I guess reading my brief view of our visit must awaken yr previous experience in Japan. We appreciate being able to make this visit and will surely post several pictures to share our inspiration of the land of the rising sun.

Mee curry for sure but Japanese delicacies are added meals too.

KotaStar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Queen Of The House said...

I hope you are both enjoying the trip.

This is a very interesting tourism 'tool' .... how fortunate to have come across it. Persons like Ohta-san must be very knowledgeable and also proud to show off what their city has to offer. Will we ever see something similar here? You, perhaps, hehehe?