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Guam highlighted at Kashiwa Festival

Guam highlighted at Kashiwa Festival

Student programs reestablished to build Guam-Japan relations

(Tumon, Guam) The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) has re-established ties with Kashiwa City in the Chiba prefecture of Japan as part of its ongoing tourism recovery efforts.

A GVB delegation led by President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez attended the Kashiwa de International Exchange Festa which was organized by the Kashiwa International Relations Association (KIRA) from November 19-22, 2022. The delegation included Mayors Council Executive Angel Sablan, Inalåhan Mayor Anthony Chargualaf, Mongmong-Toto-Maite Mayor Rudy Paco, Cultural Performer Vince San Nicolas, GVB Japan Marketing Manager Regina Nedlic, GVB Destination Development Director Dee Hernandez, GVB Destination Development Administrative Assistant Trixie Nahalowaa and GVB Executive Secretary Valerie Sablan.

The purpose of the annual event is to promote international exchange with students from across the globe. This is the first time the street festival has returned since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Kashiwa Guam Friendship City exchange program.

Members of the Mayors Council of Guam paid a courtesy visit to Kashiwa City last month through GVB and were invited by KIRA to attend their festival so they can help with restarting the student exchange and homestay programs between Guam and Kashiwa city for both local and Japanese students. Their goal is to restart both programs in the next two years.

“I want to thank former Governor Carl Gutierrez and the GVB team for a job well done promoting our island in Japan,” said Mayor Paco. “The local and cultural dancing and singing of the beautiful children of Kashiwa were terrific. This short trip was a memorable time to see our culture performed by another ethnic group. Their performance was a prime example of how authenticating our CHamoru-centric image to our neighboring regions can strengthen our tourism. I am so proud of GVB for using our island’s natural beauty, culture, and people to entice visitors which is what I truly love about our island. Biba GVB and the team of Japan!”

Guam Chamorro Dance Academy shines

As part of the Kashiwa Festival’s grand finale, GVB’s Guam Chamorro Dance Academy featured more than 20 adult and children dancers from Guma’ Kinahulo Atdao na Tåno’ that shined brightly with their chants and performance for attendees. GVB is working closely with GCDA to represent Guam in Japan through events like this.

“After witnessing the Japan Guma’ Kinahulo Atdao na Tåno’ with its Japanese song and dance students performing to the CHamoru songs played by Inalåhan’s Vince San Nicolas, I now have a more profound and deeper appreciation and utmost respect for those individuals here on our island of Guam who are perpetuating and exhibiting our CHamoru culture,” said Mayor Chargualaf.

“The performance was so moving and overwhelming, I am now motivated to learn the lyrics and movements of the bendision (blessing) and I encourage all people of Guam to learn it as well. More importantly, participate and follow along with any CHamoru groups whenever it is sung. There was excitement, appreciation, and joy for those who were in attendance as Guam was definitely recognized with their exceptional performance at the Kashiwa festival,” added Chargualaf.

Over 100 TikTokers to visit Guam

With recovery efforts underway in the Japan market, GVB is also bringing 109 Japanese influencers to Guam who will be sharing their experiences around the island on popular social media platforms, TikTok and Instagram. The influencers will be on island from November 25-29 to build awareness of Guam’s current offerings to their collective audience of 41 million followers, with an anticipated exposure of 300 million across social networking sites.

 Guma' Kinahulo Atdao na Tåno' perform at the Kashiwa de International Exchange Festa with cultural musician Vince San Nicolas as part of the GVB Guam Chamorro Dance Academy.

Members of the mayors council and GVB team meet with the Kashiwa International Relations Association (KIRA) to discuss the restart of the student exchange and homestay programs between Guam and Japan.

Mayors Council Executive Director Angel Sablan, Mongmong-Toto-Maite Mayor Rudy Paco, GVB President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez, Inålahan Mayor Anthony Chargualaf and his wife, Angelica Chargualaf attend the Kashiwa de International Exchange Festa.


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