Saturday, December 24, 2016

Meeting with the Mayor

The other day, I met with Mr. Nakamura, the mayor of Amakusa City (where I live).  I am seeking the city's support or endorsement, perhaps to become (something like) the Amakusa Outdoor Sports Ambassador.  I am doing this because although I have learned and done most of my flying here in Japan, I have no choice, based on my nationality, but to represent Canada in the X-Alps.  Not that I mind doing so, on the contrary, I am quite proud of being a Canadian, especially considering the current global geopolitical situation.  However, as a paraglider pilot I feel like I owe a lot to Japan and to all the local people who have generously helped me out and supported me over the past six years.  If I do manage to get some kind of official recognition (both from my city and my prefecture), I will be able to spread the good word about this beautiful corner of the world which I have made my own, especially through a world-class event like the X-Alps.  In that small way, I can hopefully return the favor by putting Amakusa on the world map.

Another reason for seeking this kind of endorsement is, of course, the financial support and sponsorship which I need quite badly.  The city and prefecture, of course, will not give me any money, but I am hoping that with some official recognition, I can seek sponsorship from local and other Japanese businesses and companies.  Without an official title, I am just another random foreigner that seems to have nothing to do with the place, so I am not likely to get too much attention.  Furthermore, seeking sponsorship in Canada will understandably also be difficult, as I have not lived there for 15 years and not flown there even once!  So, something creative needs to be done here!

Even before our meeting the mayor had carefully read some material and was interested in the X-Alps, asking some surprisingly detailed questions.  He also turned out to be very supportive of my idea.  With an OK from the mayor, we are ready to move forward with this idea.  But, keep in mind that in spite of the 'City' designation, Amakusa is a very rural place and this kind of thing is quite unprecedented here, whether it be for a foreigner or a native!  With some effort, let's hope that it comes to something.

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