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Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show.
Today’s guest is Scott. He’s from Sydney, Australia and back in Australia he used to be a surf lifesaver.
He first came to Japan 14 years ago on a working holiday and he travelled around the country and then spent about a year and a half in Sapporo, teaching English. Then in 1997, he moved to Niskeo and started an adventure sports company called Scott Adventure Sports or SAS. He started the company by himself and it has now grown to employing around 40 people in summer. And he also now owns a Nepalese restaurant.
He said when he first arrived in Japan he only knew about five words of Japanese and I asked him what it was like travelling around Japan without knowing much Japanese.
I found that to communicate I had to write things down. But I hitchhiked actually all the way from Osaka to Sapporo. It took five, four days I think it was. But that was difficult because, when the driver was driving, he couldn’t read. So, there wasn’t much communication going on. Well there was, but it wasn’t really working, if you know what I mean.
Kia Ora, in Stick News today, a thief in Germany was caught after he stole a coin collection and then deposited the coins at the bank where the owner worked.
A 36-year-old man in Germany stole a rare collection of coins worth 50,000 euros. Three days later he took the coins to a bank.
Soon after the deposit, a bank worker handling the coins recognized them as the same coins that had been stolen from his house.
Police found the suspect and arrested him.
And that was Stick News for Monday 21st of April.
conversations with sarah
#434 How did you learn Japanese?
Step 1: Repeat Sarah’s lines.
Step 2: Read Sarah’s lines and talk to Scott.
Sarah How did you learn Japanese?
Scott Ah, how did I learn? I actually learnt myself, most of, most of it, I just learnt ... um, with vocabulary, picking up words. Like, what I found was ... at the beginning the most important words was when, where, why, how and all those question words. Cause then you could ask questions and get answers. And numbers. That’s how I started off.
Sarah So after teaching English in Sapporo, you decided to start a rafting business?
Scott Yes, correct. Because I used ... I came to Niseko every weekend from Sapporo. And I actually wanted to live in Niseko. I didn’t want to have to keep going back after every weekend. And the only way was to start a business.
Sarah Has Niseko changed much over the years?
Scott In the last five years, it had a dramatic change because of the dramatic increase in non-Japanese coming, especially from Australia, but more recently from Hong Kong, Singapore and other places in Asia.
Sarah Is that good for your business?
Scott I think it’s good for every business really. Um, they need to ... their main ... they concentrate ... most of them come, like over 90% come in wintertime, but we would like more of them to come in summer, especially because it’s cool compared to the rest of Asia. So I think it’s just a matter of time before Niseko gets popular in summer. I heard, someone said the prediction was about three years and I think they’re probably right. Before it starts getting a lot busier in ... with the non-Japanese market.
Sarah Are there any problems associated with a lot more foreigners coming?
Scott Yeah, ah, the challenges that I think the village faces is ... um, biggest one is the fact that people leave Australia or Hong Kong and they actually enter an environment that’s not much similar to where they came from. Because there’s not that many Japanese. Japanese have been forced out of the market because of the cost of the accommodation that, that non-Japanese are prepared to pay is a lot higher than what Japanese are. So ... that’s, that’s something that we need to ... keep more Japanese here as well I think.
And also the space in the village in Hirafu is getting tight for snow. There’s nowhere to put the snow and there’s not many place for parking. So, there’s a few challenges.
Sarah Do you think many people are attracted to Niseko because of the international atmosphere?
Scott Yeah, I think, I think they could, ah, come to Niskeo in wintertime and feel like they’ve gone overseas. Especially if they want to practice their English in wintertime. Especially January and February, most of the restaurants and bars. Um, most of them are non-Japanese speaking people.
Sarah Have you heard of people coming to Niseko to practice their English?
Scott Not specifically, but I’m sure it happens. I would if I was a young Japanese wanting to learn English and have a ski/snowboard holiday. Yeah, definitely.
Sarah Why do you have so many Nepalese staff?
Scott Nepal has not only the biggest mountains in the world but the biggest and most challenging rivers. So they are our expert, highly skilled rafting guides. And um, they have seen lots of dangers and made many difficult rescues in their rivers, much more difficult than our rivers here in Niskeo, so therefore, they’re used to rescuing people in a difficult situation. And that’s what I need. And that’s what, that makes SAS safety level very high. Extremely high.
Sarah How do the staff at SAS communicate?
Scott Basically the main language is Japanese, but um, obviously for newer arrivals from countries, from non-Japanese ... you know that can’t speak Japanese, then we need to translate for them. But, um, it works well, you know, but there’s two cultures mixed together, sometimes they don’t mix all that well. But we always find a way for everybody, everybody to be happy.
Sarah Why did you decide to open a restaurant?
Scott The Nepalese gave me dinner a few times at the beginning and I thought the food tasted so good and the Nepalese can’t raft guide in winter, so I thought, well, we’ll start a restaurant. And they’re happy, because they get work all year round and the customers are happy because they get authentic Nepalese food. Yeah.
Sarah What would you say to someone thinking of starting a business in Niseko?
Scott I would say, um, make sure that you’ve got a good business plan. Make sure that you understand the market. Make sure that you’re not paying too much ... you know, that you can afford the rent. And, um, and I encourage anybody to be entrepreneurial, to start a business, so I mean, if you think you can. And never think that you’re not going to succeed. You always have to think you’re going to succeed and you will, if you work hard at it and the idea is good idea from the start. Yeah, so, go for it.
today's STICK NEWS pictures
album: aprendiendo desde 2004
from: Jerez, Spain
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist: San Sebastian
track: Happy Sad
track: groovetracks ending
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
album: music on hold
from: Moscow, Russia
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
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