Today I want to tell you a little bit about our work here in Kagawa, and some of the things that have been on my mind. Please forgive me if I ramble…
I’ve been able to call Takamatsu my home for the last ten years. The city has been very good to me and my family. We started from zero here. We started our little company and poured our heart and soul, and every last penny we had, into our schools. Then we grew. We did our very best to provide a good educational experience for the kids who came (and still come!) to our English classes. We do whatever we can to get them steps closer to bilingualism.
Because we have been able to secure the number one position for language schools in this prefecture, we also feel a deep and sincerely felt obligation to do what we can for our community and society.
I’m a Canadian guy, and Takamatsu is not my city. Japan is not my country. I am not a Japanese citizen. But Takamatsu is my home. And Takamatsu and Kagawa is home for my kids. If I can do something to help Kagawa-ken, and to draw attention to the incredible sites, sounds, and experiences here, I am glad to do so. I should do it, so I need to do it.
At the writing of this blog we are not in the promotion business. We are not travel agents or in that line of work. Whatever we do for promoting Kagawa-ken is done for FREE. It takes time, it takes research, it takes money for us to invest, but we are very glad to do it.
While we want you to have a great experience in Kagawa, we also want the hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, taxis, buses, and souvenir shops to benefit from people visiting too.
AND, Kagawa is just great to begin with, so if you want an off-the-beaten-track experience in Japan, this is it. Kyoto is awesome, and so is Osaka and Tokyo. Okinawa is paradise, for sure. But few know about Kagawa, and that it really is such a marvellous, lovely place, with terrific people. To my eyes, Kagawa is perfect for people who want to have their own special and unique experience in Japan.
I do try my best to be upbeat and positive. I absolutely love my work with all my heart. And the kids we help are great. And the people we work with as a team are wonderful. It’s taken time and good timing to make our team. They really are the best. Beyond any of our previous experiences, and continually bring positivity, brightness, professionalism, support, care and nurturing, and empathy to our classrooms. It is like a Renaissance for our company. So I am really so glad, and so grateful for them.
There are some niggling distractions from time to time, one in particular that comes to mind who persistently uses social media to broadcast his disdain for what we do. We have all our legal triggers set to fire, but I am concerned for the fallout thereafter. So, I hesitate.
Nevertheless, we must not be bogged down in the trash of someone else. A wise man once said, “Never wrestle with a pig. It makes you dirty and upsets the pig.” We move onwards, and we move ahead, despite oblique malignant on-line commentary, and petty small-minded jealousy. I cannot be goaded.
I think back to my first years in Japan. I was a boy. I was in my early twenties and I wanted to start karate, which I did and continued to train and then teach for many years. My teacher, the undeniably gentle and fiercely tough, Taniguchi-Sensei, welcomed me, supported me, and helped me for years. He never asked for anything. He never demanded anything. He just wanted me to improve, to grow, and to live in the moment. And, if I had a chance, to teach others, to support others.
He told me that I need to write a book about karate, so I did that. It was so interesting that it was through the writing that I learned more about the art and style of karate. Writing this blog and showing you what is so interesting about Kagawa is also a way for me to learn and discover as well. So, in part, we are kind of on a journey together. I like that.
I am grateful. I am grateful and humbled beyond words when I think about that kindness and those sustained years of guiding, training, and friendship. I’m so proud to have been Taniguchi-Sensei’s student, and moved to be his friend. I am so thankful that it was “pounded” into me to be relevant to those around me, and to not get “locked into” a mode of “what is in it for ME?” attitude which is far too prevalent these days, and which is really at the heart of the individual trying to goad me to do something foolish.
I really think that this is the guiding spirit of this blog, and that is to be of good service, and to be a good friend.
You will find reviews and insights to the places, sites, and experiences of Kagawa in these pages. I hope that you will know that it comes from a “good place” of wanting to share with you some of the amazing things that you can see here in Kagawa-ken.
A vacation or a trip to Japan may not change your life, but it changed mine. I think that it made me a better man. I think that it made me a better teacher, and I hope that it can make me a better guide for you should you decide to travel off the well trodden path to Shikoku, and then to Takamatsu, and then to all the cool and very groovy places around.
Grateful to be here in Takamatsu. Grateful to be at your service.
Come on down to Kagawa!
Thanks for reading this and letting me vent.