I know that everyone is aware of the terrible tragedy that has taken place in Japan. Many people are asking what they can do to help and there are many agencies that you may support to provide immediate assistance. Those agencies are and will continue to be well documented over the coming weeks.
As a travel writer I was very saddened by this event and am concerned about the long term effects on the economy of Japan and the rest of the world. Tourism is a very important part of Japan’s economy and I would hope that many of you will understand that continuing your preparations for planned trips to regions not immediately affected by the earthquakes and tsunamis is very important to ALL of Japan.
Let me copy a letter that I have just received from friends in Japan to help you understand a bit of what might be happening outside of what you are viewing and reading in the mainstream media:
15. March 2011
Dear Robert Painter
Greetings from HOSHINOYA, Japan
As you may already know, Japan is now going through a very difficult time due to earthquakes and following tsunamis.
We really appreciate your concern for our safety. We also wish your family, friends and business associates in Japan are safe and sound.
We would like to inform you that both HOSHINOYA Kyoto and HOSHINOYA karuizawa were, very fortunately, not affected by the earthquakes at all. There were no damages on either property or injuries to the guests and the staffs.
HOSHINOYA Kyoto has been operating as calm and peaceful as usual along with other infrastructures such as Kansai Airport, all highways and railroads including bullet trains intact. Since it is located much far south from the affected areas, there have been no warnings or precautious measures issued.
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa also has been operating regularly, with some tremors felt on 11th and 12th. Karuizawa area was not in jeopardy since the epicenter was far. As of 12th, Nagano Shinkansen (bullet train) Line resumed its full operation and the all highways once closed for precaution are reopened.
The biggest concern for Japan now is the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. However, the technicians are working to avoid the worst possible scenarios and both HOSHINOYA Kyoto and HOSHINOYA Karuizawa have a safe distance, 250 km in a straight line away from the troubled power plant.
The good news is that all tsunami warnings have just been cancelled, and that the worst seems over now. We will report you as Japan fights to rise up once again and as situation unfolds further.
Again, thank you for your prayer and support, which we definitely in need for our sooner recovery.
Masae Kikuchi, General Manager, HOSHINOYA Kyoto
Hirokazu Sawada, General Manager, HOSHINOYA Karuizawa
So, in closing this note to my readers, please consider continuing your plans to visit Japan, and, if wasn’t already in your plans, consider making your holiday plans for 2011 in the beautiful country of Japan. It will be a wonderful and helpful gesture of goodwill and concern.
Thank you, and . . .
Keep on Traveling!