I am a English volunteer guide at Matsumoto Castle. I have given about 25 group tours and I still stay in touch with one person from one of the tours. She is an Australian lady who has a mature son and daughter. She came to Japan with her husband to see their daughter who lived in Ishikawa Prefecture on working holiday. On the way back to their home, they visited Matsumoto.
Guiding at the castle is very hard. We need to read a long text, remember it, and say it to guests without looking at it. Besides that, we have to study history. Once her husband said to me laughing “I’ll ask you a very difficult question. Can you answer the question?” He was very funny.
To get to the top of the castle, we have to climb extremely steep steps. Though guiding at the castle is hard, it is quite interesting. We can communicate with people from abroad and we can get information about the world. In addition, we can keep contact with them by email after they leave Japan. The biggest pleasure is to give them a tour for free and they say “thank you” to us.
She let me know that the whaling issue in Japan is a very serious matter in Australia, but I think most Japanese don’t know it’s a significant issue all over the world. We felt awkward for a while, because she is a vegetarian and hates the idea of killing whales. It didn’t affect our friendship and we could get over the awkwardness. We are still good friends!