Thanks to an introduction from one of our friends at Artoner, Travis was interviewed by Shiga Prefecture’s semi-monthly magazine “Shiga +1” (滋賀プラスワン) as one of the January/February issue’s featured new residents of the prefecture. The original article is up on the Shiga Prefecture website in Japanese (and in pdf format as well), but we wanted to put up an English translation here, too.
I was really happy to have the opportunity to talk about why I love living in Shiga, since I consider this area to be one of Japan’s hidden treasures. Living here, in a semi-rural setting, I’m away from the intense population density for which Japan’s cities are infamous, but still have access to everything I need. Without further procrastination, here is my translation of the page header and article:
Living in Shiga
“Move to Shiga, Fall in Love.”
New residents to the prefecture share their stories about what drew them to Shiga and why they enjoy living here.
“Shiga’s Most Powerful Charm is the Kindness of its People”:
Working to Spread the Word About Shiga and to Give Back to the Community.
Travis first came to Shiga as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student at age 16 and lived in Yasu for one year. His best memories of that stay are of the kindness and generosity of his host families, who made sure that he got to travel around and see Japan from many perspectives.
After that year, he lived in a number of places, including Thailand and Aomori Prefecture, but he remembered how he had enjoyed living in Shiga and how it was that experience in Shiga that made him fall in love with Japan. Even after returning to his home country, he maintained the desire to return to live in Japan again. Finally, in 2011, he returned to Shiga with his family. He notes that the fresh air, closeness of nature, and delicious local produce make it an ideal environment to raise children. But Shiga’s most powerful charm is the kindness of its people. Since moving to Shiga, he has once more been impressed by the kindness of his neighbors and the whole community, who have been consistently helpful and friendly.
Travis currently works as at Ritsumeikan University, where he is responsible for translation as well as for international student support. Additionally, he serves as a consultant for TranSenz, a translation business that he established with his wife, where he works to create an English platform to promote Shiga and to make it an easier place for international residents to live. Remembering the kindness that he experienced in Shiga as an exchange student, he hopes to use each of his connections and activities to give back to the community in any small way he can.
All rights to the original article and photo above are reserved by Shiga Prefecture’s Public Affairs Office, as well as by the original author and photographer and are reproduced here for personal use as permitted under the site’s policy. The translation was done by Travis, and he promises that he didn’t change it (much) to make himself look better.
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