Tongari Road is the new name given to a tourism area which includes Urakawa, Erimo, Samani and Hiroo. Local towns are working hard now to attract more foreign visitors and I was invited to speak at a meeting about the Trip Advisor website, where I write and answer questions from many foreigners who are planning to come to Hokkaido.
But the speech had to be in Japanese, and this is really beyond my ability. I can talk for an hour in every day life - chat about this and that. But a speech, using phrases I don't usually say, is much harder.
So I wrote the speech in English. Then I practiced saying it into Japanese. Then I had lessons with my old Japanese teacher to make sure I was speaking correctly. I didn't matter that it was a little strange, foreigner-style Japanese - as long as the message of the speech is understandable.
For a 45 mins speech I guess I did about 15 hours preparation - creating the original speech, into Japanese, lessons, improving, practicing.
Finally yesterday - in the meeting room of Erimo Town Hall about 20 people gathered from local authorities and we discussed what independent, foreign travelers need before they come and when travelling in Hokkaido. How to make kombu exciting, would the Erimo Misaki seals be scared of a drone with video camera, opening the JRA training center to foreign visitors etc
It was cold and windy weather, but sunny and the welcome was wam. Also had great food - stayed at a beef farm in Erimo Misaki and ate delicious BBQ, had sushi in Erimo and donyaki in Samani.
But I am glad it is finished. It took a lot of preparation. Now I can focus 100% on Imagine again!