All meeting arrangements were extremely well done. Yamagata people were very well informed about our visit. The visit took place on June 5, 1998.
This was cordial and we had a good exchange of opinions. Basically as to the preparation of the event in November, we have now better idea as to what is required. Talking to John Klump-san from Loveland was very informative and it seems that he will play a key role in the whole organization of the event planning. It will not be a technical or professional expo and we should expect citizens as major part of visitors. The location seems to hold major other events simultaneously and they seem to expect some overflow from the other events as well. Due to site character, they seem to expect people with cars (young families) to come. It is not clear as to how they plan to promote and from the discussion, it is not as grandiose of a plan either. Their previous experience with the promotion of Swan Hill from Australia was about 3000 people for a two day event. This is small figure for a city with over 250,000 people.
The fact that John wishes to push for Indian performers seems to be linked to make a major cultural attraction since it would be the first time to bring real American Indians to Yamagata. While we did not push for further clarifications about the real background of the Indian idea, it seems that John wants to use it more for the "news" value to increase the show's prominence. In that regard, maybe it is not the best idea but maybe not that bad either. As to the key display and "trade show" element, it is clear that there is no need for major efforts to bring participant companies. It is very unlikely that this will lead to future long term business and should be seen more as a cultural exchange exercise. With more of a citizen type crowd and no major business focus, we believe that it should be more of a "Boulder Creek" type festival where people can come and enjoy a little bit of Boulder with food/munchies, drinks and small items to buy from Boulder as Boulder Bars, Beer, T shirts, small gift items(Tanaka-san raised the issue of Indian jewelry) and maybe even Boulder Potato chips. Maybe some small art gallery type items or photos from Boulder with its history would be ideal. The city seems to plan to buy most of the Boulder goodies with the expectation that it will be consumed or sold out there. The city plans to sell with an appropriate mark up to cover their costs. From the previous Swan Hill event, the City may subsidize for the free drinks or food which will be offered for free to the public. Tanaka-san being a professional promoter, suggested to the city that a simultaneous promotion of Boulder Fair type activities should be held at major hotels offering food and beer. They liked the idea and they may do a Boulder week special with menus and so forth. One idea which was raised was to bring some key chefs from restaurants in Boulder to cook for the hotels as part of this event(Flagstaff House perhaps?). Nothing in concrete was decided on this subject but seems to be an easy way to use the existing hotels to make major campaigns to promote Boulder and some of its products. We discussed about the possibility of the menu which the Emperor ate in Flagstaff.
Chamber of Commerce:
Unfortunately Mr. Sato (Executive Director) was absent but we were welcomed by three key officers of the chamber. This was more of a courtesy visit and nothing major came out of it. Mr. Sato of the municipality was kind to join us throughout the whole session. The participants from the chamber were as follows:
Ms Arai Hisayo
Mr. Oki Kunio
Mr. Takahashi Koji
Yamagata Broadcasting Co:
We met with Messrs. Orui Hiraku and Honma Kazuo. The content of the meeting was about their TV station international programs and affiliations. It was very clear that they have a strong exchange program with Colorado and a potential strong supporter for promotional issues. While we had limited time, they were kind enough to invite us for dinner prior to our return to Tokyo. They have become very good contact points for our activities. In conclusion, we managed to establish a strong contact base in Yamagata, thanks to the proper and strong introduction by Yoko-san. Both Tanaka-san and myself believe that we will be able to contribute more and utilize whatever Yamagata has to offer.
Items for Consideration