The Japanese are coming
27 February 2009 | MYC
Actually they are already here. If you go to the tourist areas of Guam you will find scads of Japanese (mostly younger folks). The place is virtually tailored for the Japanese tourist. Lots of high fashion outlets and big stores with little knick nacks for the friends back home (buying gifts for friends when you travel is a long standing Japanese tradition).
Many signs in Guam give equal time to English and Japanese. Lots of people speak Japanese as well. Every menu has Japanese on it and even Denny's serves Ramen and other surprising eastern additions. There are some Korean tourists about and a few Chinese but these get by with English.
You really don't see any American tourists, unless you count the US Navy servicemen, 25% of Guam's population. Half the folks on Guam are of Chamoro descent (the native people of the Marianas Islands) and the other 25% are Philippino.
I was waiting in the parking lot at Kmart for Hideko when a guy came up to me wanting to sell his band's CD. It turned out he was from Palau, I got some good cruising tips in exchange for the CD (not my style). Another guy we met was from Saipan. He was surprised no one on Guam spoke the Chamoro language that all of his family on Saipan used daily. So while it seems that the American influence has created a fairly material situation here on Guam with the Japanese Yen and the US dollar running the show, it is one of the cleanest and safest islands, with the best schools, in this part of the pacific. Many islanders from all around come here to work and raise their families. The Marshal Islanders, FSM folks and Palauans can all come and go just like US citizens.
The Japanese we were interested in arrived today. There are normally 7 or more, but this year the economy dictated only two Japanese arriving to take part in the Marianas Yacht Club good will regatta. This weekend the two Japanese guests and a host of locals (plus Eric) will be taking part in a set of Laser races in the harbor. We still have winds 20-25 knots here so it will be an exciting, and likely wet, time for the whole club. The Japanese are reported to take 1st and 2nd every year.
Hideko is a wonderful ambassador for the Japanese folks we meet all over the world. She made short order of introductions and we all enjoyed chatting with the new visitors. We also have a new friend in the anchorage, Masa San. Masa San is a single hander who has sailed all around the Pacific on his Yamaha production sailboat Nuk (who knew Yamaha made a Beneteau like 37 footer?!). We first met Masa San in Tahiti. He is a big HAM and does weather in Japanese on at least one net from his boat.
As Hideko and I cruised the Caribbean we saw few Asians and it was an exciting time if we actually met another Japanese person. Now we are moving into an area where we see few westerners and it will be exciting to see another American. It is a vast and interesting world.