Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chiba Kun Ambassadors For The Forth Time

"Lets spread Chibaism to the world!"

Errr, well, that word is not exactly what you think lol!

Chiba Prefecture began the "Ambassadors to Spread Chiba Prefecture's Charm to the World Together with CHI-BA+KUN" (abbreviated as "CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors") project in 2011. The CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors are exchange students and other foreign residents living in Chiba Prefecture, who use their blogs, Facebook, and other social media to promote Chiba Prefecture’s many attractions in their native languages.


Our group photo with the Governor of Chiba Prefecture, Mr Morita Kensaku.

This year, 20 ambassadors was selected from a total of 34 applicants to be the Chiba Kun Ambassadors. These 20 ambassadors were picked from 11 countries of various parts of the world, including Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, South Korea, Taiwan, US, Vietnam. And to make things even more exciting, out of the 20 ambassadors, 18 of them are from the opposite sex. Now, tell me how I ain't excited this year lol!

I am glad to be selected as one of the 20 ambassadors this year, which, also marks my forth straight year being involved in this wonderful project. Although I have been involved in this project for the past three years, it does not mean I would be selected by default for the following year. I still had to apply from the basic and undergo the selection process, just like any other fresh applicants. To the selection committee, thank you very much for putting your trust in me once more.


Presented with my appointment certificate at the appointment ceremony, held at Chiba Prefectural Office.

So, what is Chiba Kun, you may ask.

Chiba Kun is a red creature designed by Chiharu Sakazaki (坂崎千春), the same artist who designed the penguin character on JR East Suica card. Born on January 11, 2007, Chiba Kun is often mistaken as a dog. But no, it is not a dog but a mysterious creature that lives in Chiba prefecture. Chiba Kun is said to be very curious and loves to take on a challenge.  When facing something unknown, he becomes even more courageous and passionate, and his body shines red.


The appointment certificate as the Chiba Kun Ambassadors 2014, together with a goodie bag which contains pamphlets, Chiba Kun Ambassadors limited-edition badge, keychain, etc.

Being the Chiba Kun Ambassadors, literally, we will be the ambassadors for this mysterious creature hahaha! The ambassadors will proactively explore Chiba prefecture both voluntarily and through prefecture-sponsored tours, which include cultural workshops and visits to famous spots in Chiba. The ambassadors will use these experiences to promote Chiba prefecture's attractions, which includes beautiful tourist spots, delicious local cuisine, interesting daily life, etc. in their mother-tongue language via various tools, like personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Besides that, from my three years as Chiba Kun Ambassadors, I was lucky to be selected to appear in local TV variety show - Nekketsu BO-SO TV, and also interviewed by Chiba TV. In addition to that, I was one of the guest runners representing Chiba Kun Ambassadors at the Chiba Aqua Line Marathon late October 2012.


The appointment certificates I got as Chiba Kun Ambassadors for four consecutive years.

Chiba Prefecture boasts the fact as the first place where the majority of tourist to Japan will first step their feet down into Japan - Narita International Airport which serves as the gateway to Japan. Besides that, Makuhari Messe, one of the most prominent convention centers in Asia and Kazusa DNA Research Institute, a world leader in cutting edge research also further strengthens Chiba Prefecture's position as an internationalised prefecture.

On the other hand, blessed with many beautiful natural areas surrounded with oceans and rivers that provide an abundance of fresh, delicious food, Chiba Prefecture is one of the leading producers of agricultural, forest and fish products in Japan. Among the well-known examples of local specialties from Chiba Prefecture are peanuts and sweet potatoes. About 78 per cent of the Japan's peanut are produced in this prefecture.


The limited-edition badges of Chiba Kun Ambassadors, and another two which I got as a token of appreciation from my involvement during the first two years.

At the end of the appointment ceremony, Mr. Ishikawa, the Director General of International Affairs Division, Policy and Planning Department of Chiba Prefectural Government came to me and gave me this encouraging words, "We will be replying heavily on you again this year." I do not treat those words as a burden, but instead a recognition as the most senior member among the 20 ambassadors. With the experiences I have gained from the past three years, I will give my best to support the newbies in introducing the shining, brilliant and energetic treasures and the endless potential of Chiba prefecture not only to people in Malaysia, but also in the whole world.

One of the major change since this project was started in 2011 was the replacement of the main coordinator. The bubbly and lovable Ishizaki-san has left and we welcome Usuii-san, who will lead us from this year onwards. Just like last year, there will be four tours and two cultural exchange event planned for us until March 2015. The two-day-one-night tour, which was first introduced last year, will be continued again this year.


The appointment ceremony was in the newspaper (Chiba Nippo), and also the evening news on Chiba TV.

The first tour is gonna be held in a fortnight's time. This time it will be visit to Katori and Sawara regions and I am really excited to meet up with the rest of the Chiba Kun Ambassadors at the first tour. Till then, stay tuned!

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