This week we left Hikone one afternoon to hang out in Kyoto.
The people were friendly, and the city is amazing, but we felt like people saw us as just another group of (slightly annoying) gaijin (foreigner) after being minor celebrities for our foreignness in Hikone. There we seem to always cause a stir -- especially when passing elementary school groups, who shout out the words they know in English: “gaijin bye-bye”.
The attention feels nice since we are inept at the language, handicapped in communication.
Our yesterday was strangely a media bonanza -- we were all over the airwaves even if largely clueless about the message.
In the morning, Hikone Community Radio interviewed Satoru and I about our visit and projects. Then they had me do some promotional spots -- announcing the station taglines and show names in English.
Then in the afternoon, Ann and I gave free bike-taxi rides around Hikone Castle. Somehow all the local and some national media showed up, including coverage by the BBC (Biwako Broadcasting Company) for their evening program -- the most popular news show in Japan.
(click for video link)
Over dinner we watched me on the TV news, and Ann’s picture was in several newspapers this morning.
Hopefully the attention will draw more visitors to our exhibition -- and bring more attention to the people, small businesses, and organizations downtown.