Inbound Rite of Passage: Christmas Eve at the Hospital インバウンドの難しい面

2009.12.24: 活動 Activities

Hospital Beds -- part of Kamesei's Inbound rite of passage

Articles about "Inbound" (attracting travellers from overseas) seem to be all over the papers, both industry rags and local newspapers. One industry newspaper quoted the government's goal of 1 in every 6 ryokan-stayers being "Inbound" by 2020. And the local Nagano paper has been featuring nearby ski resorts suffering from a decline of Japanese skiiers but enjoying an increase in ones from abroad, particulary Australians. However, the Inbound reality isn't always as rosy as the newspapers would have you believe.
Recently I had a talk with an innkeeper in Tokyo whose guests are more than 90% foreigners. He mentioned that he once had to take a guest from overseas who got sick to a hospital in the middle of the night. He helped with the interpretating and even ended up having to pay the bill as the hospital didn't accept credit cards and the traveller's insurance didn't work.
Today, one of our guests from Australia had some serious stomach pain. I sent him over to Oi-san, the pharmacist next door who speaks a bit of English. Oi-san came out and said I need to take the guest to a hospital to get looked at. So I got the car, and rushed the guest to the local clinic that Oi-san suggested. I ended up spending about 4 hours at the hospital helping with the interpreting and the transportation of the guest. It wasn't the way I had anticipated spending Christmas Eve. But we all felt sorry for the guest -- who wants to go to a hospital during a vacation overseas?
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not complaining one bit about the incident. Nor was the Tokyo innkeeper about his ordeal. We are just trying to make all those people who talk optimistically about Inbound that it's not always a piece of cake. One must be ready to eat natto, too.
I hope you're feeling better, Jason.


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