Back in this spring, I had an occasion to do an interview with Mr.Stefan Schauwecker, a founder and webmaster of Japan-Guide.com. If you’ve been to Japan or planning to visit Japan, I bet you must have heard this website by now. (If not, go check it.)
Cherry Blossoms blooming in our town (2012), it was beautiful as always.
It’s a travel guide site with practical information and beautiful photos. I’m Japanese who lives in Japan but I’ve been using this site whenever guests or friends need some information of our country. Simply because I find this site is far more accurate than my explanation.. (Whoever got a map drawn by me in the past, I’m sorry. And I sincerely hope that you were safe..)
Reading its detailed and widely-covered guide, I imagined this site must be run by a travel agency with regional offices in Japan. So when I read an article and found out that this site is actually run by a Swiss who lives in Gunma (prefecture where I live), I was really surprised and had so many “Why?”.
Then, several years later when the editor asked me in the first meeting if I have anyone related to Gunma I’d like to meet, his name came to my mind instantly.
What I realized through the interview was that this website is a compilation of his “Like”. Building website, Japan, train, travel, photo… he followed his interests and presented his journey on the page. And now, the site counts almost 6 million visitors in a month.
Even after the website became his job, he claims that this is still his hobby and his love for the country and the site has never faded. Probably this strong passion is the reason behind the popularity. It was crystal clear that he knows a lot about Japan. At least 100 times more than I do.. People, I think we are in good hands.
According to Mr. Schauwecker, our province Gunma-ken is full of attractions. Among many hiking/skiing/hot spring resorts, his favorite spot in Gunma is Kusatsu Onsen (hot spring), because of its water’s quality. I heard it’s known to be the best water in Japan… (I heard.. yeah, I was born and grew up in here but I didn’t know and never been to…)
If you want to try something different after visiting very basic place in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka etc), consider visiting Gunma. Here, you can contemplate your life quietly without any distractions 🙂
|AG (From Asahi Gunma ) 2012 June|
Interview I did was distributed in June issue of “AG (Asahi Gunma)” but it’s no longer available 🙁 . If you want to know more about his work and how he started, this Japan Times article in 2009 may be your help.
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Thanks for reading!