• Kyodo

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Local volunteers in Sendai have compiled an English guidebook detailing sites of interest and various culinary offerings in the city, and aim to hand it out during the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which starts there on Saturday.

The move is aimed at expanding people’s interest in the city that was heavily damaged by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami amid national efforts to boost foreign tourists to 20 million ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, said the organizer, Sendai Freedom University.

About 1,100 copies of the book “Speak out about Sendai,” which also includes directions for a walking tour of the prefectural capital of Miyagi, will be offered for free at a “People’s Pavilion” information center in central Sendai during the five-day conference, it said.

One of the 280 people involved in the project through eight workshops organized since last May, 27-year-old American resident Justin Velgus said, “Foreigners do not know much about Sendai,” adding, “I want to convey the appealing points other than Date Masamune (who built Sendai Castle and established the foundations of the city, and also sent a mission to Europe and Mexico 400 years ago) and “gyutan,” a popular Japanese dish of grilled ox tongue.”

“I would be happy if residents can introduce what they like about the city in their own words,” said Mitsumasa Goto, 40, who was leading the production team.

During the workshops, participants roamed around the city and wrote articles on the places and food they wanted to recommend.

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