I normally don’t do this, but please forward! Garin Dart Missing

Garin Dart Missing

Foreign Volunteers Japan co-founder, British citizen, long-term and well-known Tokyo resident Garin Dart, has been missing since last Wednesday (May 22) at 13:00. Anyone who knows Garin - either as a friend or businessperson - will appreciate that this is really out of character. Garin runs a highly successful events company, Bluesilver, and has a young family here in Japan. I've been asked to support with the search; if anyone has any information, please call Bruno Damizzio: 080-9573-8846 (And, please share this update if you think it might be helpful.)

Foreign Volunteers Japan co-founder, British citizen, long-term and well-known Tokyo resident Garin Dart, has been missing since last Wednesday (May 22) at 13:00. Anyone who knows Garin – either as a friend or businessperson – will appreciate that this is really out of character. Garin runs a highly successful events company, Bluesilver, and has a young family here in Japan. I’ve been asked to support with the search; if anyone has any information, please call Bruno Damizzio: ((_080__9573__8846_))

 

Foreign Volunteers Japan co-founder, British citizen, business manager, long-term and well-known Tokyo resident Garin Dart, has been missing since last Wednesday (May 22) at 13:00. Anyone who knows Garin – either as a friend or businessperson – will appreciate that this is really out of character. Garin runs a highly successful events company, Bluesilver, and has a young family here in Japan. If anyone has any information, please call Bruno Damizzio:  ((Bruno_080__9573__8846_))

Garin went missing in Tokyo one week ago in the middle of the afternoon, and police are looking for any information about his whereabouts. As CEO of event management firm Bluesilver, he was last heard from by his colleagues on May 22nd as he sent messages about an upcoming meeting with clients at the Tokyo Hilton Hotel. The messages cut off at roughly 13:00.

His worried wife, Yukako, who is pregnant with their second child, raised the alarm when he did not return home that evening, and has already filed a report with the Tokyo police, who have begun investigating the case.  The British Embassy and Garin’s family in the U.K. have also been contacted. Interpol and the British police has also been notified.  The Tokyo police have already confirmed that he has not been taken into custody, nor has he been admitted to any local hospitals. According to reports, his bank accounts and credit cards are untouched.

 

Garin moved to Japan in July 2003 and launched Bluesilver, an event company that he had originally founded in London. After a decade of successful projects, the gradual expansion of his company, a loving family and many close friends and colleagues, it seems unlikely that he would just disappear by his own will.

In the days following the March 11th 2011 disaster in Northern Japan, Garin was instrumental in setting up the network that would become Foreign Volunteers Japan. He used his extensive business and personal networks to connect people of all means and abilities to be able to secure donations, deliver goods, and to directly volunteer in the tsunami-hit regions.  Besides sending aid, supplies and volunteers up to Tohoku directly, the FVJ network quickly became an essential information hub for the International communities in Japan to assess and debate the safely of the Fukushima reactor meltdown, and to find practical and feasible means to best get involved in tsunami relief activities.  Currently the community is on alert, and trying to do all we can to help find any information that may help in finding Garin.

 

Ayako Kawauchi, a Bluesilver employee and the last person to see Dart, says that on the day he went missing they first thought he may have fallen asleep somewhere, since he seemed tired from working so hard recently. But she adds that the behavior is not at all like Dart, and Bruno Dammizio, also with Bluesilver, says the company is the busiest it’s ever been in its history.

“He has literally vanished into thin air. There has been no trace of him in any shape or form. No communication with friends or family.”

If you see or hear of anything that may lead to information regarding Garin’s disappearance, please contact his colleague at Bluesilver, Bruno Damizzio: 080-95_73-88_46
Information regarding Garin’s disappearance and updates from his concerned friends and family can be found on the FVJ forum:
Thank you for your concern.
沢山の外国人が参加しているForeign Volunteers Japan network(日本在住の人も、日本を訪れる外国人にも情報提供しているネットワーク)の創設メンバーの一人でもあり、東京に住みながら長期ボランティアをしているゲリン・ダート(Garin Dart)さんが、先週の水曜日13時以降から行方不明です。(5月22日)彼を知ってる人も、仕事仲間も、連絡無しで消える人ではないと言っています。ゲリンさんはBluesilverという大きなイベント会社を経営していて、まだ子供も小さく、日本人の奥様のお腹の中には二人目のお子さんがいて、とても心配しているそうです。上記時刻に自社の社員と電話で次のヒルトンホテルでのミーティングの話しをした後連絡が途絶え、警察では留置されていないことも確認済み、病院へ搬送されていないことも確認済みです。下記が彼の写真です。もし情報がありましたら、ブルーノ・ダミッゾ(Bruno Damizzio)さんの電話までお願いします。: (__080__9573__8846__)

ゲリンさんは、被災地への物資搬送他支援活動に熱心で、Save Minamisoma Projectの物資搬送のフレームワークも、彼の力があったおかげでできました。もし、先週の水曜にヒルトンあたりで何か変な事象を見たり、聴いたりした方などいらっしゃいましたら、教えてください。

 

– Foreign Volunteers Japan*note:  Some information above is collated from comments by friends, colleagues and reports in the following articles:

Itako Iris Princesses Meet Abe!

潮来からあやめ娘が安倍首相表敬

(Translated into English from a Japanese article via nikkansports.com)

Today the Iris Princesses went to Tokyo to visit the 24th Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The Iris Princess invited Abe to the Itako Iris Festival.We look forward to welcoming Prime Ministersaid Iris Princes Saori Sekiguchi (25) in her yukata, while looking at the prime minister with a smile, “we think you should go.

According to Mazda Chiharu,the mayor who also attended, he expressed his worry to Prime Minister Abe about the recovery status of tourist arrivals after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Ayame Musume Meet Abe

An Interactive Forum How-To Guide

Interactive Forum is an educational program designed to help Junior High School students in Japan gain confidence in conversational English. The usual Interactive Forum I’ve encountered has two rounds, the first round using easy topics such as school, family, friends, and etc. The second round involves a little more challenging topics such as TV programs, music, and etc. I will be coaching my group of students until August, trying to prep them for the stage.

All too often, I’ve been asked how exactly Interactive Forum practices should be done, and honestly I don’t think there’s one set way. I’ve done it for two years now and I still have trouble every once and a while with my students suddenly going silent and forgetting to speak. I have picked up some tricks and tips along the way, so I hope that these will help others trying to coach as well.

How to Set Up a Practice

Before you even start talking, I recommend setting up the students in a half circle. Let them get used to sitting like this and talking to each other comfortably. It will make it easier to transition onto a stage if they’ve already got some experience talking in that formation.

Also, make sure you’re in a room where you can write on a board. You’ll most likely need to stop and give some grammar points throughout the practice session. If you don’t have a board it takes up much more time to explain a grammar point (especially if you’re coaching alone like I am).

Make sure you have all your materials before you start practice:

-stop watch

-notebook

-dictionary

-pens/penicils

-dry erase markers/ chalk

-(Optional) Interactive Forum Pamphlet

I’ve made a pamphlet for my students that has all the previous years’ topics with English questions and answers. I’ve left some places blank for them to fill in with their own experiences. It’s not absolutely necessary to use one, but I think it makes things easier for students to prep. Also, I like that they can look over the pamphlet to review for practices.

How to Do an Interactive Forum Practice

First, choose a topic. It can be anything from previous topics to something you made up yourself. Then, have every student go around and introduce themselves quickly.

The introduction should go like so:

Hello! My name is (full name).

Please call me (first name or nickname).

I go to (school’s full name in English).

I am ____ years old.

Topic sentence: (Ex. I have four members in my family).

Thank you!

Use the stopwatch and have to students talk for a set amount of time (between 3-5 minutes is best). At a competition, students have to talk about a topic for five full minutes. However, at first it’s best to just get the students talking, so if they’re a little nervous start at 3 and work your way up to 5.

When it’s the first few practices, be involved in the discussions and help keep the flow of conversation going, but don’t be the one dominating the conversation. Try to make sure everybody talks. It’s really important for everyone to not only get a chance to speak but also that the students take the chance they’re given.

It’s a good idea to take notes on things the students have issues with during the conversation. It also helps if your JTE(s) or English Department Head want a report after the practice. If you’ve already got a JTE there, it’s still a good idea to take notes to compare with the JTE after practice.

When you’re finished with one topic, give feedback. If your students need help with a certain grammar point, go over it on the board and have them write it out in their notes. If you need to look up what a word is in English, go ahead and have the students look it up in the dictionary. It’s also important during this time to give praise for what the students did well. I know I’ve made the mistake often of going all American and pointing out everything that’s wrong so they can fix it and we can move on. Don’t do this. It makes students feel like they’re doing nothing right.

After that, move onto a different topic and start the whole process over. Usually, I practice for about an hour each day after school, so I do a topic for five minutes followed by about five minutes for feedback and then a new topic.

Use Different Tactics for Different Types of Students

Students chosen for the Interactive Forum competition are sometimes really confident at speaking. If you’re lucky enough to have a confident communicator, then make that student a kind of co-leader of the practices. Give the student a responsibility to help out the other students. In the Japanese education system, sempai (older students or more experienced students) are often expected in most sport teams and club activities.  Using this cultural element in your Interactive Forum can make your coaching experience smoother than if you try to lead all on your own, since the sempai can help the students later when you’re not able to be there.

Most likely, the majority of students chosen for Interactive Forum will have some trouble speaking up at first. It’s very important that you DON’T FORCE THEM TO SPEAK. They will shut down if you push too hard. Even when you wouldn’t consider yourself being forceful, remember that in Japan forceful and aggressive behavior is scaled in a whole other way than almost anywhere else in the world. Try to make a relaxed atmosphere. When you talk to a shy student, take time to get them to come out of their shell by bringing up things they like.

For shy students, it’s also important to not overly correct them at first. If you spend so much time telling them what they’re doing wrong, they will think they’re failing. Don’t let them think that. Correct small things at first. With more practice sessions will come a better understanding and relationship with your students, and then you can correct whenever you please.

The Non-Verbal Portion

Notice that the competition is about communication. Communication is 63-90% non-verbal communication and students will be scored on it in competitions. Gestures, smiling, eye contact, all of these are important to keep in mind when students are practicing. Make sure you use gestures when you talk with your students. Students will pick up on them if you use them.

I made a sheet of Hand Gestures for my students and we’ve been practicing using them. It’s awkward for Japanese students since they’ve been taught since they were very young not to do hand gestures. I’m not entirely sure why, but hand gestures are generally discouraged in Japanese culture. Getting them into the habit of using them can be a little challenging, but if you are consistent in how you use them then the students will be too.

Make it Fun

The last thing you want to do is make English feel like work. Even though you have so much to teach in a short amount of time and it’s for a competition, be sure students enjoy practicing. Make them laugh with a corny joke, get them to open up about something silly they did with their friends, trade “scandals” about various TV dramas, talk about “who is your type” of guy/girl, and so on. Remember, even though it’s a competition, the best thing you can do as a coach and an English teacher is try to make the lessons you teach stick, both in and outside the classroom. Make it an enjoyable memory that they can associate with English in the future.

Help That’s Helpful: Do’s and Don’ts After Disaster

For The Someday Book

Oh, dear God, the Oklahoma tornadoes. Such heartbreak. Christ, have mercy.

On March 2, 2012, forecasters anticipated tornadoes in our area. My son’s school let out early, and when the sirens started up we all huddled in the unfinished basement. The air outside our windows was deadly still, but the internet broadcast from our local television station told us that a large tornado was on the ground just a few miles away. We waited underground in folding chairs, my husband reading a book and my young son playing a video game. I kept my eyes on the screen as reports began to come in about damage in small communities populated by beloved church members and friends.

Then the image changed: a school collapsed, no knowledge of how many students might be trapped inside. My stomach lurched, and I thought I might vomit. I silently ticked off a list of…

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The Stork Bus ~ by Amarie

Louisville Clinic Escorts

The anti-choice crowd is developing a new tactic. As if clinic protesters and the legislating of invasive and unnecessary medical procedures weren’t enough, women seeking abortion care may now have the experience of having to navigate their way through or around a “Save the Storks” bus as they seek to enter an abortion care facility.

This project was highlighted in an article on the anti-abortion Live Action blog March 1, 2012.*

Save the Storks is a project fronted by an amicable looking young vegan hipster named Dave, a fact that is weirdly emphasized at multiple points throughout the article (and likely an attempt to use lifestyle choice as a means to add validity to this young man’s anti-choice endeavors).

As a Christian-affiliated anti-choice group, the Storks project reduces women to little more than animals used to deliver babies to “deserving families” and ultimately seeks to usurp a woman’s…

View original post 1,184 more words

Rape Culture in Japan and GACKT Fans

Rape culture is an international issue. From India to the United States to Canada to Egypt, reports of brutal rape and murder of women have surfaced to show that in a so-called modern enlightened era women still face the threat of violent assault. Japan, albeit a country with relatively low crime rates, doesn’t escape this issue either.

Right now, there’s a minority of GACKT fans enraged over the recent news about GACKT’s alleged crime. According to “Oh No They Didn’t!” the story from the tabloid magazing FLASH claims:

“The victim is a 27 year old woman, who will be referred to as “Ms. A”. In September 2011, GACKT visited the cabaret club (kyabakura) where Ms. A was an employee. He stayed for about an hour and would leave around after 3 am. Since it was late, GACKT offered to bring Ms. A home. She declined, stating that her home was quite close to the club. Despite this, he forced her into his car….He grabbed Ms. A by her hair, slapped her face and forced her to do things against her will.”

Whether or not GACKT did commit this crime is beside the point. The problem is quite a few of GACKT’s fans are fueling their anger at the wrong person.

These horrifying little gems can be found scattered all over comment sections on various news sites:

“How can it be rape if it’s GACKT? No one could say no to him!”

“I’d let GACKT rape me!”

“I’d brag about it if GACKT did this to me!”

via YouTube

via YouTube

These kinds of statements are a big part of rape culture and the misconceptions surrounding rape as a crime. Rape isn’t about sex; it’s about power. Many people think of rapists as strange stalkers of the night that are desperate for sex, but that’s not the truth of the matter. It’s about taking away control from the victim and asserting dominance. Rape takes away all consent from one person for the pleasure of another. It’s not an experience to “brag” about, and whether or not GACKT has thousands of willing partners doesn’t matter. Even if only one time a woman said no and he said yes, then that makes him a rapist.

Such rape myths still exist in cultures on an international scale.  Japan, along with many other countries, still clings to old fashioned ways of thinking about what constitutes sexual assault. Chisa Fujioka of Reuters reported in May 2007  that “Contrary to the law, there is still a widespread belief that only assaults by strangers can be defined as rape.” Even though the study previously mentioned, and others, show that rape victims generally know their attackers before they’re assaulted.

However, this group of GACKT fans is a product of societal viewpoints on rape. Fujioka reported, “Activists and lawyers say that sentiment toward rape victims remains chilly in a society where many feel the woman may have led the man on, she is lying, or that she could have fought back.” Most of the GACKT fans who show their support generally call the woman a liar either through at least implications or at most in big caps lock accusations.

Also, Ms. A- the name given in FLASH for the alleged victim- works as a hostess in a club. Several fans latched onto this tidbit of information in order to question her legitimacy.

“Isn’t it her job to sleep with people?”

“It can’t be rape if she was PAID to do it.”

GAckt fan idiocy 1 (2)

via YouTube

First of all, a hostess is not automatically a prostitute. Even if she was a prostitute, if she said, “No.” or didn’t give consent to anything that might’ve happened to her that night then it’s RAPE, end of discussion. Lastly, Ms. A’s character shouldn’t be under question due to her job. She’s a woman with the same rights as any teacher, doctor, or what have you. As such, she should be treated with the same respect as any of these women deserve, not looked down upon because she works in a bar. She is still a human being with the same fundamental rights all human beings share.

Much like in America, there’s a shame factor around rape that prevents many Japanese women from coming forward, mainly because so many victims blame themselves for what happened. Only as many as 11% of rapes in Japan will be reported, which means about 89% of rapes go unreported. In Japan, rape is a crime that requires a ‘formal complaint’ by a victim before an investigation or prosecution can occur. Many cases end up being settled out of court, and rapists go free. Everything stays quiet so as not to “make a fuss” and bring shame on the woman, which is the wrong mindset. In my opinion, a part of the shame to come forward to issue a complaint is due to statements like the GACKT fans’ claiming the woman’s chosen occupation puts her in some way to blame for her rape.

Now, other people have stepped up to the plate to demand why Ms. A “waited so long” before reporting the rape:

“Isn’t it strange that she waited two years before reporting the rape?”

“Please! There’s no evidence. She made sure of that when she didn’t report it right away.”

“Why wait so long? That’s rather suspicious….”

via aramatheydidn't!

via aramatheydidn’t!

I got even more pissed off when even GACKT said in his idiotic, temper tantrum throwing LINE post:

“In the end, if it was true, that I committed a crime and imprisoned and raped her that year, then wouldn’t have the police taken any action before already?”

No, GACKT, it’s actually more common for women not to report rape. Karryn Cartelle reported about an assault at the Yokosuka U.S. Navy Base. In her article Cartelle said:

“In 2006, Japan’s Gender Equality Bureau released a study titled “Violence Between Men and Women.” Of the 1,578 female respondents, 7.2% said they had been raped ‘at least once.’ Sixty-seven percent of these rapes were perpetrated by someone the victim ‘knew well,’ and 19% by someone they had ‘seen before.’ Only 5.3% of the victims reported the crime to the police — around 6 people out of 114 cases. Of those who remained silent, nearly 40% said they didn’t step forward because they were ’embarrassed.'”

It doesn’t help that even certain politicians seem to be on the side against rape victims. Recently, nationalist Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto spoke about the comfort women issue in Japan. Hashimoto said, “For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That’s clear to anyone.” By calling rape and brutal assaults on women “necessary,” Hashimoto essentially tells all women that he puts their welfare as his last priority, that in his  twisted view women do not have the same basic human rights as men. For this to come from a man who is a part of the governing body of Japan, it must make victims of assault even less inclined to come forward to report assault knowing that their own government doesn’t support them.

Fortunately, the majority of opinions on Hashimoto’s statements were quite vocal in their displeasure. The Abe Cabinet refuses to support him, which I think is the right move on its part. However, the damage dealt with this statement is huge, and I hope that Abe will show that he finds such women rights issues to be of great importance.

Japan has taken strides to change the system when it comes to rape. Legislation since 2004 allows women to seek restraining orders against husbands who are not only physically abusive, but who inflict sexual abuse, including forced sex. In court cases for rape, women can now be accompanied by a counselor and victims of sexual assault or rape can also testify from outside the courtroom through a video link. In 2000, Japan also scrapped a rule that had prevented victims of sex crimes from launching a criminal case if six months had lapsed since identifying the suspect — a limit victims’ groups had fought for years to change.

Also, it is comforting that the majority GACKT fans don’t attack Ms. A, instead only trying to draw support for their idol. To be fair to GACKT, the story was published in a tabloid, not exactly the most legit of media sources. Also, during September of 2011, GACKT spent some time in Canada on a fan club tour followed closely by a huge YFCz tour in Japan, so many fans place their doubts on when exactly GACKT could’ve had free time between all the interviews, shows, and recordings (as Graffiti was released that month as well). However, according to the FLASH article via translation on “Oh No They Didn’t!”:

“Ms. A has reported all of this to the police, and at the end of last month, the police headquarters in Shinjuku accepted her charges of “rape” and “forced acts of obscenity” against GACKT. In her file of complaint, there is her report of the event, photos of her bruises and torn clothes that are included. If you consider the report that was handed to the police, there is probably no way that you can consider this whole situation as nonsense.”

Support for women like Ms. A is hard to find, and I think that’s a grave oversight on the part of Japanese system. Although the Shinjuku police have taken her case, I think she has a long and terrible road ahead of her.

I wish for Ms. A and other victims of sexual assault to know that you are not alone. Stay strong and keep fighting.

Advice for victims of assault in Japan:

*Get immediate medical care and document everything. You will need as much evidence as possible, so it’s recommended that victims of assault in Japan go to the hospital before the police, as other victims have not been allowed to receive medical attention until after hours of questioning.

*Inform your embassy or consulate. They will often prove to be a great support. If possible, take an embassy officer or friend with you when going to the police to file a complaint.

*Seek guidance from people who have been there. Contact a support group like Warriors Japan (www.myspace.com/warriors_japan) or Lamplighters Japan (www.thelamplighters.org).

If you are a woman living in Japan and require help due to sexual assault, or if you have a loved one who was a victim, here are some helpful contacts:

Asia-Japan Women’s Research Center
To learn more about this gender equality advocacy group, see http://www.ajwrc.org (Japanese and English).

Tokyo English Life Line
Call 03-5774-0992 for English support daily 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Or see http://www.telljp.com for more information.

Tokyo Rape Crisis Center
Though English information is available on their website (www.tokyo-rcc.org), counseling services are currently in Japanese only, Wed 6-9 p.m. and Sat 3-6 p.m.

Warriors Japan
An organization founded  in May 2002, the aim of it is to create a 24-hour rape crisis center. The support group seeks volunteer advocates, translators and interpreters, as well as sponsors and donations. Email warriors.japan@gmail.com for more information.

Be aware that the process to justice is not an easy road, but don’t let it deter you from trying to get it. All women deserve to have their day in court against their attacker. At the same time, if you feel the system won’t help your case, I still urge you to seek help from medical facilities and to get in contact with rape crisis counselors. Don’t stay silent. Talk to someone about what happened so you can move forward in your life and not stay trapped in that memory (or in even worse scenarios, memories). And remember you are never at fault for your rape no matter what the media, courts, or anyone else says. No means no; yes means yes.

The fight against rape culture is real. May we all get to a future where rape is the fault of the rapist and not his/her victim.


 

UPDATE: Gackt was found not guilty of the crime of rape. However, the comment section is just full of disgusting examples of even more rape culture at work.

via マジで!? MAJI DE!?

via マジで!? MAJI DE!?

Not to mention my own comment section is now full of the same nonsense, but regardless Gackt is free to do as he pleases. According to some sources, Miss A apparently attempted to blackmail Gackt before resorting to going to a tabloid in order to shame him into giving her money. Gackt vehemently denies the rape, but does claim they went home together. In other words, it’s a “He Says, She Says” scenario, one Miss A can’t win due to the fact she tried to blackmail him.

Therefore, the charges have been dropped. Gackt fans, rejoice. Even though I’m not a fan of the G-chan any longer, I hope this makes you happy.

As to the possibility of this being a false rape allegation, Miss A and those like her should realize that the consequences of such an act make it even harder for activists trying to turn the tables on rape apologists. People who attempt to use the justice system for petty shit like revenge for someone cheating on them or for some cash payout have made it all the harder for true victims to come forward with their stories. The damage dealt by a false rape claim can be extremely hard to recover from, as in it can completely ruin the life of a person who never even committed a crime in the first place. Even though rape allegations are rare and only make up about 4% of rape claims, it’s still too many. Stop trying to use this horrific crime as some twisted way to get ahead or get famous.

To the true survivors of rape, I want you to know that even though this is a story that ends on a sour note, I believe that your story does deserve to be heard. Don’t allow what one person does ruin your fight for justice if you wish to pursue one. I and others in the blog-o-sphere support you.

The Iris Festival Beings with American Iris Princesses

茨城県潮来市の水郷潮来あやめ園で18日開幕する「水郷潮来あやめまつり」。50種100万株が咲き誇る園内で来園者をもてなす「あやめ娘」に外国 人を採用して今年度で6年目を迎える。今回も米国人女性2人がおもてなしする予定で、市は「海外に日本の良さを知ってもらうきっかけになれば」と話してい る。

The 18th kicks off the “Itako Iris Festival” in the riverside district of the Ibaraki Prefecture in the Itako Iris Garden. With over 50 different species of 100 million iris flowers, guests can come into the park to see the “Iris Princesses.” The year marks the sixth year for Itako to have foreign entertainers. Two American women plan to host this time, and Itako city has said that, “this becomes an opportunity to get to know the goodness of Japan abroad.”

今年度の外国人あやめ娘は、ニュージャージー州出身のサマンサ・エイミー・ダッカスさん(24)と、ケンタッキー州出身のジェシカ・ゴードンさん(23)。2人は6月23日までの期間中の土日に日本人6人のあやめ娘とともに来園者の対応や観光案内を行う。

Samantha Amiee Dutkus (24) from New Jersey and Jessica Gordon (23) from Kentucky are the foreign Ayame Daughters of this year. These 2 people give tourists information and support the other six Japanese Ayame Daughters on Saturday and Sunday until June 23rd.

今年で62回目となるあやめまつりは、園内のアヤメを楽しめるほか、花嫁が舟に乗って新郎のもとへ向かう「嫁入り舟」なども行われる。日本文化に触れることができると、外国人も多く訪れているという。

Guests can enjoy the iris garden and the “marriage boat.”  This Iris Festival is the 62nd this year. If foreign visitors come, they can get a touch of Japanese culture

市は、海外からの来園者対応のため、平成20年度から外国人のあやめ娘採用を開始。市教委などを通じ、小中学校の英語の授業で教師を補助する「外国語指導助手」として来日している外国人に照会し、これまでに7人を採用した。

The city started hiring foreign Iris Princesses in 2008 for people traveling from abroad and coming to the garden. The two Americans are hired through the Itako Board of Education. They are to assist the teachers in English classes of elementary and junior high schools as “Assistant Language Teachers.”

市観光商工課は「海外からきた観光客の対応がスムーズになった。日本人の来園者にも人気があり、広くかわいがられている」と手応えを感じている。

A representative of the City Tourism Commerce Division feels the response “is also popular in people coming to the garden. Correspondence from Japanese tourists who came from all around have said they are widely loved.”
なかには2年連続で務める人もいて、実はダッカスさんとゴードンさんも昨年度から務め、「お客さんと話すのが楽しかった」と今年度も希望した。
Some people serve for a second year in a row. Some of them, in fact, are Ms. Gordon and Ms. Dutkus. They also served last year, and hope for this year to be “fun to talk with the audience.”
2人は外国人への対応のほか、日本人との触れ合いも楽しんでおり、ゴードンさんは「去年は日本語が難しかったけど、今は自信があるので楽しみ」と日本語ですらすらと話した。

In addition to responding to foreigners, these two also enjoy interacting with the Japanese people. Mr. Gordon spoke fluently in Japanese as she said, “Japanese was difficult last year, but I have confidence now.” 
園内での活躍のほか、ブログやフェイスブックなどを通じて海外にあやめまつりの情報を発信も。ダッカスさんは「潮来の歴史や文化を海外に広く知ってもらい、あやめまつりにたくさんの外国人にきてもらいたい」と期待している。

In addition to the activity in the park, Ayame Princesses also give out information about the iris festival overseas, such as through Facebook and blog. Dutkus’s hopes “to let you know widely overseas history and culture of Itako, I want a lot of foreigners to come to the Ayame Festival.”

Original Japanese Article link here: http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news/130518/ibr13051802080000-n2.htm