Months after the most powerful known earthquake to hit Japan, the country continues to suffer. Tourism in Japan is taking a hard hit. Asahi TV reports about a 50.3% decrease in the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in March, most likely affected by the public’s fear of health hazards post-crisis.
So when I heard that the Mother Monster was in Tokyo, promoting tourism and performing at a charity concert, one thought came to mind: her monster fame might do some serious good for Japan. In an interview with the Associated Press, Gaga encouraged her fans to visit Japan and enjoy Tokyo and its food. "I can't say enough to people all over the world that the majority of Japan right now, Japan in general, is very safe," she said. "It's fine to come here. It's beautiful."
I wouldn't call myself a Little Monster (though I consider her a business genius), but I’m applauding her for not only performing in Japan after many performers canceled the Japanese leg of their tours, but for her earnest reach-out to her international fans and showing genuine love and appreciation for Japan and its culture. "The most important thing, and the best thing, we could do for Japan right now is to boost tourism, and so everyone come to Japan and come enjoy the beautiful country," she said.
During the spring, my friends and I were discussing the situation in Japan - one of my friends was planning on visiting - and most of them expressed fears regarding nuclear toxicity. While understandable, it disappointed me to hear that my friends assumed the entire country was contaminated and off-limits. It was a small taste of the world’s current view on Japan. With Gaga as an ally, however, Japan may finally get enough positive press to become a desired vacation spot once again.
While there are danger zones that tourists should avoid if possible, such as the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures which suffered extensive damage, the Tokyo prefecture (where Lady Gaga is currently staying) and other parts of Japan are open to tourism. And because of the decrease in air passengers flying to Japan, ticket prices are lower than usual, which makes it the perfect time to plan a trip.
For more information on safety and traveling concerns, visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s page on Japan: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/japan
Photo and Source: The Associated Press/NPR
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.