Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Novermber 14, 2012

Remarks by Vice-Consul Ayako Koide at the Dallas Travel and Adventure Show
Sunday, November 11, 2012

Good afternoon.  My name is Ayako Koide, Vice-Consul of Cultural Affairs.  On behalf of the Consulate-General of Japan, I would like to welcome you all to the Dallas Travel and Adventure Show.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Japan National Tourism Organization and JTB USA for making it possible to showcase Japan at the Dallas Travel and Adventure Show this weekend.  Thank you also to the Central Japan Railway Company, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, IACE Travel, SITA and Yakult, USA for your participation.  I hope some of you had the opportunity to enjoy the lively Japanese taiko drumming that just concluded.  My appreciation also goes out to the Dallas Kiyari Daiko for being here today.

The number of tourists to Japan decreased after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The people in Tohoku and Japan have undertaken the tireless effort towards the recovery, and more and more tourists are now coming back to Japan. This year, 535,700 Americans have already visited Japan and this is a 33.0% increase from the number of the American tourists in the same time period in 2011.  
I have been living in Texas for just over one year and have already found so many things that I love about the people and culture of your wonderful state.  I  would also like to point out that Japan and Texas enjoy a special friendship.  One great example of this friendship is the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit which was held in North Texas from August 28 to September 3 this year.  180 young participants from Japan were hosted by 115 families from 15 different cities.  I was touched by the generosity shown by the cities and residents in North Texas and inspired by the interest shown on each side for the other’s culture.  I sincerely hope this kind of exchange will continue and increase between our countries.

I encourage you to visit Japan, and look forward to when you come back to Texas and tell me about what you saw and loved in my country.
And now it is my pleasure to pass the floor over to Mr. Carl Rosa, president and founder of the Japan America Initiative and the Houston Sushi Club.  Mr. Rosa is sure to share from his wide personal experience the best way to see and experience Japan.  Thank you.       

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