I was in charge of international sales at a famous amusement company X and then I stood alone by setting up a trading company 10 years ago. By that time, I had no interest in taking any qualifications.
However, I started to feel strongly that I really wanted to acquire guide-license, which was motivated by attending a seminar organized by an interpreter-guide cramming school. That opened up my starting guiding business, establishing an association of interpreter-guides (Japan Culture Club) in 2009.and, furthermore, deeply devoting myself to this industry. Now at the moment, I'm actively doing not only guiding but also interpreting for business negotiations and judicial interpreting.
What is your "must-have goods" for your job and how do you exercise your ingenuity in using them?
I sort out the points of scenic spots, places of historical interest and some basic things to know in a B5 paper page by page and put them in a folder. Such as Meiji Shrine, Edo-Tokyo Museum and Tsukiji Fish Market. I repeatedly get these things into my head, but I at just about anytime forget them. So, whenever I go on a tour, I remove only necessary information from the binder and bring those notes with me. B5 papers are small and easy to carry. Once I read information over again, my memories easily come back to me because such information is what I have learned before. I used to read them inside the train.
Tell me about the current activities of Japan Culture Club (JCC)
We offer unique and enthusiastic training courses incorporating both cultural lectures and walking tours. For example, we hold cultural lecture in the morning and hold walking tour in the afternoon. After the morning lecture, participants have an opportunity to observe what they have learned and to absorb information through the walking tour.
So as to give a clear explanation to tourists about a certain thing, we, as interpreter-guides, have to have a lot of knowledge of it. But, tourists are coming here for fun rather than to study. So, it is up to guides' skills "how to cook knowledge". The bottom line is a tour-guide's guiding is successful if tourists return to their homelands with good memories. We are here to support tour-guides to become knowledgeable guides.
In 2010, we held the following training seminars. All of them were free of charge with subsidy from the government.
" Rakugo-Japanese sit-down comedy in English", "Learn Kabuki calligraphy", "Battleship Mikasa tour", "Yokosuka Naval port cruise", "Nissan plant tour", "Recycle plant tour", "Architecture for tour-guides", "Harajyuku -Omotesando architectural walking tour", "Kamakura as military town", "Kamakura feudal government walking tour", "Japanese armor", "Yasukuni shrine", "Nikko bus tour".
In 2011, we were lucky to receive subsidy again. We held the following training seminars.
"The inauguration of the Japanese railroad service", "The history of Ginza", "Shinbashi and Ginza architectural walking tour", "Three generations of Genji in Kamakura", "Matsumoto bus tour", "Kabuki locales as you walk along Kamakura's backstreets", "Izu walking tour-the beginning and the end of Samurai", "Experience noh- a traditional masked dance-drama".
What are Japan Culture Club's (JCC's) future activities?
We stay constant to hold seminars to gain knowledge through a classroom-type lecture and to bolster the capacity of guide to leverage knowledge through walking tours (OJT). This year, we would like to hold seminars where places are hard to go on inspection tours alone.
Basically, "anything goes in JCC". The rules are, there are no rules if they are good for interpreter-guides. We used to compile data into a handout during the seminar, but this data is not like secret. It can be used in any ways.
Besides places where photography is prohibited, taking pictures during the seminars are also totally free.
Party time after the successful completion of the seminar is really fun. This is the ideal time to exchange information and to create networking among the lonely self-employed interpreter-guides.
Currently, we have on the list close to about 100 members. All the members are licensed interpreter-guides. We welcome any guiding inquiries.
Chairman, Japan Culture Club (JCC)
Licensed Interpreter-Guide (English)
Tel: 81-45-785-8484 Fax: 81-45-785-3920