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.”


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.


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


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.”


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.”
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.”

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.” 

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:

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