Mr. &Mrs Nishiwaki, supporting Emblem Hostel Nishiarai
At Emblem Hostel Nishiarai, we cherish a strong connection with this town, and we always think that the support of local people in this area is very important.
Mr. and Mrs. Nishiawaki (we call them Nobu-san and Chako-san) are the ones who have been supporting us for a long time since Emblem Hostel Nishiarai started. They even plan a local-experience workshop for travelers staying in the hostel and support it as an interpreter, and it is indispensable for the development of the Emblem Hostel.
This is an interview with Chako-san and Nobu-san.
A place called “Emblem Hostel Nishiarai”
How did you get to know Emblem Hostel Nishiarai?
I heard of Emblem Hostel Nishiarai from my daughter for the first time. She stayed at the hostel just after its opening, I heard the story of the place and got to know about Emblem.
“If there is a place like Emblem Hostel Nishiarai, I hope I can do international exchange there!”
When I heard the story, I came up with new ideas of organizing workshops.
I know the owner of local tea shop “Okumuraen” very well, and soon I decided to plan for a Japanese tea workshop for foreign travelers who are interested in Japanese tradition.
That was the beginning of Emblem’s local workshops.
Trying my best to express is more important than speaking perfect English
When you communicate with guests, what do you mostly care about?
I think that body language is the most important. Even though I cannot speak English very well, the feeling I want to express is more important than anything else. Not only hands, but also using the whole body can express a lot of things. It is nice to feel the touching moment from the heart.
Also, I always to try to understand the slight differences between words. For some words, you cannot just translate from English into Japanese, and vice versa. If I don’t get the meaning 100%, I ask questions to guests attending to the workshop and try to understand deeply.
When we finish the workshop, we usually visit very local places where are definitely not on any guide books. I like to see happy faces of guests experiencing something very local in Nishiarai.
New encounter in Nishiarai, connect to the world
How do you like joining Emblem Hostel’s workshops as a supporter?
When we hold a workshop and join ourselves, I can encounter something new about our own culture that I did not know even as a Japanese. For example, I didn’t know that I can eat tea leaves after making tea.
I feel the importance of knowing my own culture more deeply.
What was your most memorable moment with guests?
It is when I became friends with a guest from U.S.A, Tom. We became good friends, and I’m proud to say that he even treated me a ramen! I think even the staff didn’t get a treat except me!
After the workshop, We often stop by Sekibara Shopping Street in Nishiarai, and gather at the emblem hostel 3rd floor lounge and eat with everyone. The most popular food in shopping street is “Yakitori“.
Do you feel any change in you after starting workshops in Emblem Hostel?
I feel like spice is added to my life. In the daily life, I am always thinking what could be very interesting for guests from other countries.
I am also happy that there is an environment where I can use English nearby.
In this two years doing workshops in Emblem Hostel, my English skills got improved a lot.
I also feel it’s more fun to practice English with conversation with hostel guests, than studying at desk.
What do you want to do with Emblem Hostel Nishiarai as next workshop?
Recently I plan to organize a new workshop.
By doing new things, I hope that this town and Emblem Hostel will be more exiting places.
Thank you Chako-san, Nobu-san for the interview.
We are exited to organize a new workshop with you!
Interviewer: Haruka Uchida
Intern connector in Emblem Hostel Nishiarai.
Learning operations of hostel in general and doing interviews to local people and connectors.