Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Travel promotions

I can't say that the following is unique to Japan, but I really haven't seen anything like this in Austin or Minneapolis. Over the weekend there were a series of stalls set up in front of the Kagoshima-chuo train station advertising various tourist destinations, like Osaka, Hyogo, Kobe and Himeji, apparently sponsored by Japan Rail (JR). One set of booths was handing out plastic tote bags, while the other set had omiyage (souvenirs and snack foods) local to those cities. Omiyage tends to be overpriced and kind of uninteresting so I didn't bother with it this time.

(The tote bag booths, about 15 in total.)

However, the tote bags did have a couple of things worth noting. In most cases, the bags contained city maps, and brochures for hotels, restaurants and sightseeing spots. The stuff that I considered worth keeping included: two packets of "gourmet" instant coffee; an Osaka refrigerator magnet; a plastic bookmark, three clear folders (one for the Tezuka Museum near Takarazuka) and 2 pads of Osaka Station notepaper. Score!


Saturday had the better freebies (the coffee and magnet), while Sunday had the mascot figures and women in miko dresses. I can't be sure, but there's a good chance that the two in white makeup really were miko (geisha in training). Some of the staff would eagerly run over and ask if I wanted my photo with the mascots and miko, while in the case of parents, one adult would try to convince the child to stand next to the miko long enough to take the shot (usually a futile effort). There was also a contest with 15 questions, one per booth, where you'd get something like "our city has 5 main attractions, 4 of which are..., the fifth one is: A, B or C". Since it was in Japanese and it would have taken hours to find the answers from the brochures, I passed up the chance to try to win a free coupon for the Kagoshima Amusement Plaza inside the station.

The city of Nagahama is promoting the three Azai princesses of the Sengoku (Warring States) era (Yodo, Ohatsu and Oeyo). I don't really know this story, but apparently it was turned into an NHK period TV drama recently. As part of the promo, the princesses' story was included as a 16-page manga booklet in the handouts. Note that the Kaiyodo toy company has its museum here near the Nagahama train station.

(The clear file for the Tezuka Manga Museum.)

There was also a flier for Osamu Moet Moso. This exhibit had been at the Tokyo Anime Center some months ago. It's basically a reworking of Osamu's characters by various artists in "moe" style (cute and sexy).


lily said...

Sawasdee ka!
I come to visit you blog naka. ^-^

A and Y Ikeda said...

I like the lady in the Heian era style hat. I want one of those soooo badly!