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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

私はCoFesta Student Ambassadorですよ!

So, I am currently trying to keep the momentum going with my blog entries in order to avoid months of silence....

Anyways! a few weeks ago, by chance, I was handed a flyer about something called CoFesta Student Ambassadors when I was leaving the welcome party for international students at my school. Normally I wouldn't pay much attention to what I am handed (I am ashamed.. orz), but this caught my interest as it was about recruiting foreign students interested in spreading Japanese contents outside of Japan and offered a chance to attend amazing events, such as TIFF (Tokyo International Film Festival), Tokyo Game Show, Japan Game Awards, TIMM (Tokyo International Music Market), Tokyo International Anime Festival, Digital Context Expo and many more, as a student ambassador. Being a great fan of Japanese contents, this seemed like a golden opportunity to me and I decided to try my chances and apply.

Ta-dah!

And what do you know! I got an invitation for the Orientation (which was a couple of weeks ago). I was ridiculously excited. xD It really was an amazing evening for me - I got to meet a lot of new people from all over the world, who shared my passion for Japanese contents, and even spent some time talking in Japanese instead of English.

Turned out this was actually the first time CoFesta (Japan International Contents Festival) and the ministry were doing something like this, so I have to say I felt even luckier to be there. The basic idea of this Student Ambassador venture was to harness the power of foreign students in promoting Japan to potential buyers from abroad, since we'd know better what they wanted and could sell Japan in a different way than Japanese people could and to also share our opinions and opinions from our countries. I thought it was really wonderful that Japan is reaching out like this, since I believe that Japan has so much to offer the rest of the world due to its unique culture and contents. I also believe that turning to foreign students was a great move, since I am sure most of us are here because of our love for Japan, so we have the drive and passion to make this happen.

Now then, last week was my first adventure as a Student Ambassador. I was one of the fortunate ambassadors who got invited to the CoFesta Grand Ceremony (there was room for only 50 of us, as it was VIP :3). I wasn't able to attend the tour of events before the ceremony though due to having a rescheduled class in the afternoon. Oh well. The Grand Ceremony was really interesting in itself! They had a couple of musical performances there to promote Japanese pop culture, Man with a Mission and Nogizaka46 (official rival group of AKB48) to be exact, which showed really different sides of Japanese music - maybe too unique for foreign buyers to absorb? xD haha.

On another note, I found that my year of working at a bookstore came really handy that night, as I was able to use my customer service tactics to find myself a buyer to talk with for the whole duration of the ceremony. I learned many interesting things from the buyer and in turn shared my own experiences, opinions and ambitions. When Nogizaka46 was performing, I even thoroughly explained the concept of pop idol groups in Japan and how they work and to be honest I was actually quite shocked at how much I knew considering I am not a fan. At the start of the ceremony I was a bit worried about being able to find anyone to talk with, but looks like it was for naught. One of the CoFesta staff even asked me afterwards about what I was talking with the buyer since our conversation seemed so intense and lasted so long. xD Maybe I am suited for this kind of stuff after all.

So, conclusions! Having Student Ambassadors is a very good idea. However, there are quite many things to develop further. That's okay though, since I think that is one of our purposes anyway, to give suggestions on how to improve the ways that things are currently done and on what should be done in the future. For one, quite many foreigners who attended the events did not show up at the Grand Ceremony (most of the people were Japanese) and something definitely needs to be done about this. Also, the performers could've used a more thorough introduction telling what segment of j-pop culture they represent in order to make foreign buyers appreciate them more, for them to seem more approachable. My own personal suggestion would be to have an anison singer next time, since they could represent two different parts of Japanese contents at the same time, namely anime and music. All in all though, I think Japan is on the right track and this Student Ambassador thing has all the potential to evolve a lot further and become a powerful tool in promoting and spreading Japan across boarders (my latest posts seem to be about things that have much potential xD). I look forward to the next events I shall be participating in! I feel like ever since I came to Japan I have somehow gotten involved in many cool and unique opportunities. I hope things will keep going this way!

Last but not least, here is the link to the CoFesta site, if you want to read in more detail what it actually is: http://www.cofesta.jp/2012/en/

IMPORTANT EDIT:  Forgot to mention this when I initially posted the entry, but! If any of you have some opinions on what Japanese contents you'd like to see in your country, or ideas on how Japan should promote itself abroad etc etc do share them here! I can take them forward to people who actually decide this stuff and they are more than eager to hear what we all have to say!

6 comments:

  1. I am very happy to read you are having a great time. And most important you are also there to enjoy. The country surely has many hidden opportunities in every corner.
    Quite good investment and intiative of the ministry imo.

    I think its good sign that Japan tries to be more open to worldwide. Most of the foreigners still go by with prejudices about Japanese culture. However Japan has a lot more to offer.
    After my first time experience with Japan as 5 days trip, I could conclude I have only seen abt 7% of the real facade of the country.
    All in all I think this whole step adds more a better globalizing.

    As I was thinking how it can be useful for my country. I am not quite sure. Because not all the cities in The Netherlands have an international appeal and mentality. So I cant really speak for the country. However I do know one or two of my hometown 'Rotterdam' which does have those characteristics. The city has great diversity in cultures with only 50% population is Dutch. Therefore the city is adapted into a multicultural society. As I have been into two events related Japan (small Animefair and the Japanese movie festival), I could see that load of people is interested in Japanese culture. During the movie festival I am amazed how many Japanese people have settled here.
    Beside that, even in this small city there are at least 5 places for 'all you can eat sushi' Just my 2 cents, Rotterdam is ready to embrace any Japanese initiatives.

    As I wish if someone from the Japanese music industry start a trend to have a concert here. or even in Europe.


    Hope you will get more opportunities like this in the upcoming time. I am more than happy to read what your experiences were.

    Thanks for the update~ *3*/

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    Replies
    1. Haha, that's one reason why I pretty much didn't write anything in the past couple of months - I was mainly frustrated and had negative feelings about everything (getting things done in this country is ridiculously complicated). I wanted to wait till that passed so I wouldn't just complain in my blog. :3 Luckily now that most things have been sorted, the good is starting to outweigh the bad. Also, having to face all these obstacles constantly ever since I came here has made me appreciate little things so much more. Like for example I get extremely happy when I am eating good food (to the point that I wear a similar expression as Nana when she eats ww). xD

      Yeah, agreed! Japan only recently realized the popularity of its pop culture abroad, and even now they still keep underestimating it. Regardless, progress is happening. \o/ The Japanese music industry should just expand abroad and not try to solve declining profit with crazy strict copyright laws ww When did you go to Japan? What did you dooo? *interrogation mode on once again* xD ww

      I'm similarly divided with Finland. In a way I think there is a market for much more than what is available now, but at the same time no... I don't know ww I shall spread the word that Rotterdam should be invaded and conquered! \o/ Do you think all contents would have a market the ones that are already sort of popular or something else?

      Hopefully that will happen eventually. PERFUME opening their fan club for overseas people was a little but meaningful step towards something like that!

      Hopefully! (^-^) One of my professors said today that Akimoto (producer of AKB48) wants to collaborate with my graduate school..... why not Mishi-P?! orz

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    2. Great that you are doing fine. Had me worried for a little bit in couple times >< Somehow I do know you will be alright. Gambatte ( ゚▽゚)/ I will cheer for you. By the way do you also pout like Nana if the food is sweet? It would be so cute. www

      I think Japan has characteristics of nationalism. As for example the anime sale figures. It is said they dont care about foreign sales or distributed. Hence why Bandai USA doesnt exist anymore. Back on Japanese music, I hope jpop will reach here. Even kpop is doing a push to the Western world.

      *getting scared of interested Okami* www Yeah its been a couple years now. It was a 9 days trip in Japan with friends, starting from the south (forgot which city orz) and end up in Tokyo. Along the way I got the see the Fuji mountain, take the bullet train and go to Disney Land, actually all the important touristic places. Yet I dont think I have see enough. Anyhow my first impression of the country was great. A small fun fact that happened to me in Tokyo, I was looking for lolitas to take a picture. When I saw a couple girls I wanted to ask, I approached them then suddenly a huge bodyguard came in between and crossed arms.... So I think those girls were escortgirls orz

      I thank you for the effort. About your question, I do think the culture part, especially the movies, do have a market here. Every well known mediashop here do have a assortement for Asian movies. And Japanese related events are also very welcome here.

      I am already fantasizing to be in Nana overseas fanclub. www

      Like you said noting is impossible. Hope for the best that it will reach Mishi-P www

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    3. I am sorry to have worried you Ken-kun (;_;) thank you for looking out for me! Me appreciates it very much. <3 Itsumo ganbatteimasu! I can make it with lovely people like you rooting for me! I um......well... now that you mention it, I do actually do that too www my nomnom face has already become a legend amongst my friends. The image of me eating cheesecake is burned into their minds forever (I really love cheesecake so effect is stronger than normal xD) and they keep saying how they should've taken a picture ww but but... I'm not cute. or.. or... anything! Yadaaaaa!
      (*´∀`*)ゞ

      Yeah.... hopefully they've changed their perspective for good now. >.<

      Sasuga ecchi Ken-kun... going to pick up escort girls on his first trip to Japan... orz ww j/k good job! Reminds me how I actually noticed the first love hotel last Friday. xD Now if I can still find a batting center somewhere, I'll have all the ingredients to your "great date" plan located www ehum anyways! How can you not remember where your trip started? Tsk tsk. But looks like you definitely took the most out of the 9 days you had! ^^ I haven't actually done those things myself yet. Well, I have rode a bullet train but I haven't gone to see Fuji-san or gone to Disney Land yet... orz

      Excellent, good to know! I just recently heard that now they seem to want us to go give a presentation about our findings as Student Ambassadors to the ministry.... (O_O;) Kowai yooooo *tugs Ken-kun's sleeve*

      I will somehow make it all the way to Mishi-P! Just watch me! They actually had a King Records stand at TIMM but since I had to miss the events due to class, I didn't get to go flaunt myself in the KR people's faces... orz Next time!!

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    4. *looks at date 8th november* Gomen m(._.)m

      You always know where to find me. So it is also easier for me to cheer on. :)
      Dont worry .. I will remember to charge my phone or my camera when I treat you for a cheesecake. www Then I magically photoshop the picture with Nana. So it almost looks you both are eating cheese cake. Brilliant, isnt it?

      I was just looking for lolitas. Didnt knew escortgirls would soo ... -how can i say- public'ish www How did you find out the love hotel? I do know from J-drama and games, there are loads of telly at the reception. You just choose your room. www (I am saying very dangerously suggestive things here ... just forget abt it www) A great date plan indeed, Okami www

      Have you thought abt going on a holiday just to go to the touristic places in Japan? Like Fuji-san?

      Even to ministry, that is some heavy guns there. I properly understand your fear. Daijobu yo!! *waves flags with FIGHTO* Do it for our Europeans who are hungry for Japonism. 9_9 ... (however I am only interested in anime and Nana. Nevertheless make the impossible possible, Okamiちゃん Our chances for Mizuki Nana Live World lies in your hands www

      Well you are both closeby Tokyo. There must be a chance any time soon (I am dreaming too much here www)

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    5. Daijoubu! My reply is quite late also. (^-^;)

      :)
      Oooh, that's a great idea. That would be the ultimate nomnom picture ever! I am very much looking forward to your creation! ww Speaking of which, I ate cheesecake again today when I went to lunch with a professor and some schoolmates. Even the professor was having a good time watching my cheesecake face and one classmate exclaimed that he had never seen me so happy before www XD (they obviously have yet to witness me with Nana-related things)

      Oh you know.... *whistles innocently* (  ̄3 ̄)~♪ Lovely weather today isn't it? ww
      Haha well no... the way it looked on the outside - it was pretty clear it couldn't be anything else. xD I can show you when you come and you can see for yourself ww the themes in love hotel rooms are quite interesting, like there are Disney ones, Hello Kitty ones, ones that look like dentist room, merry-go-around etc etc. I know this because somebody told me btw ww in case you were wondering~!

      Yes! I would definitely like to go to all the touristic places around Japan. >.< I want to see as much of Japan as I possibly can!! I guess the main issues are just finding someone to go with, finding the money to go and the time as well.. orz

      I.... I will do what has to be done!! o(*゚ペ)==○))))☆★☆

      Pff, I will find that chance, just watch me! ww

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