These days we are meeting with a number of important people in different ways. We are meeting with business leaders, people involved in local government, hotel owners, tour operators, advisors, university leaders, UNESCO, and people who are active in social action here in Kagawa. It’s been very interesting, and also good fun to meet new people and start some new relationships. I am sure that these new connections will grow and develop into friendships, and that really is the best part of this busy season.

When we have a meeting with someone from a large corporation, or someone connected to a local government, the question often asked, and in some gentle oblique manner is:

Why did you start this work? Why did you start this Come To Kagawa project?

It’s a tricky question to answer, but I want to be honest about it, without sounding false.

The purpose for the Come To Kagawa project, this blog, this website, the meetings, the YouTube videos, and all the running around and expense to make it happen is simply that we just want to make this prefecture better.

That’s it. We are not “wheeling and dealing” with people, hunkering down over contracts, drawing lines of market shares, profit margins, and all that. We do in fact, have a business and it is based on our language schools (you can even check it out at www.englishbiz.jp), but the Come To Kagawa project is something that is a bit different. It is about making a positive contribution to our prefecture, to our city, to our community, to our neighbours, to the kids who are growing up with my kids on our street.

That’s the gig.

We’ve worked very hard for ten years building englishbiz, and I am fantastically proud of our company. I have deep feelings for our company, for the people we work with every day, for our teachers and staff, and for the kids who sit from us across the table every day. It’s a great privilege to help kids become bilingual. It’s a great job, and I love our work that we do together. I’ll do this for as long as I live.

But beyond our school there is a neighbourhood, and a community, and a city, and a prefecture that is not doing so well. The population is shrinking. The economy has moved more to the big concrete cities of Japan. There seems to be a pulling on Kagawa to other places, leaving behind empty homes and quiet streets.

Kagawa, unknown to most, is really such a beautiful place. It’s a hidden jewel. The Seto Inland Sea, the hills, the paths of Buddhist pilgrims, the stories of Kukai, the food, the people, the fields, the open spaces, the art islands like Naoshima, Shodoshima, Ogijima, Megijima, and more. There are gardens, and bonsai, and tea ceremony, and places to see flowers, do art, enjoy the culture, and have very unique and special experiences.

I would very much like to show these places to you, maybe just introduce them to you, and then see you go off on your own to discover, explore, and have an adventure just for you. The streets of Kyoto are packed with tourists, but here you can wander off in a safe place, a fun place, a new place full of surprises and things to touch all your senses. You deserve to have a great experience in Japan, and Kagawa deserves to be a place that is discovered and explored.

If we could do that, if we could see people come from around the world to experience Kagawa, and if those people coming brought a healthy tourist economy to this part of Japan, the Japan where my kids are growing up with their friends down the street, then I think that I have done the best job that I could have as their dad, as a teacher for kids in this community, as a person who runs a company in Kagawa, and as a fellow pilgrim, student, and person trying to find their way.

Thanks for reading this far. Welcome to our home. Welcome to Kagawa. There’s lots to see and do and discover. Drop me a line if you have any questions or thoughts: cometokagawa@gmail.com

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Mark and Kazuyo. I love her smile.