Almost every night, I walk four blocks from my apartment to go to The Rink bar/restaurant, because I don’t like to cook, and the food there is great. The atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back, and everyone who goes is likely to talk with everyone else. No one feels particularly obligated to remain in the seat they first took. It’s one of the best places to rejuvenate and remember why I love living in Kofu, why I came back. About a week ago, when I got my curriculum and start-up package, I asked Danni, the owner, if I could put up one of the tri-fold flyers and a few postcards. He was very enthusiastic and agreed to it without a moment’s hesitation. When I took a flyer to put up he said no, I need to bring two so he could post them front and back. I also took in five postcards to leave in the entrance.
Two nights ago I noticed only two postcards were left. Then last night Danni personally handed the other two to some customers, and told me to bring more. I went back this evening and he asked me within moments of my arrival if I had brought more. I’d brought in ten. He was pleased….
I almost always sit at the bar and talk with Danni, the wait staff, and other customers who are also sitting at the bar. Hardly a night goes by that he doesn’t introduce me to another of his friends. He tells them we’re brother & sister, “kyoudai”. Of course that piques their interest, as he’s Iranian and I am not. It gets them every time, so they’re relaxed and laughing. Then, without fail, he tells them I’m an English teacher (no need to give him the job of explaining “coach”) and shows them the tri-fold. That starts a whole round of new conversation where I have the opportunity to promote my English school. I’ve started giving these people my business card and there is a lot of buzz and excitement going on. This evening, another customer asked me for a stack of my flyers ~ he’s got a bunch of his own friends who want to study English and he wants to give them the information. On the way home a stop in at Lawson’s for bread, and the cashier asked what I do ~ I had no flyer, but I passed him a business card. He was very happy!
Of course, I also hand out flyers three mornings a week at the train station. I’m very hopeful that before I know it, I’ll have trial lessons and students galore signing up. And I already have a place to start my own “Smith’s Kofu Night Out” ~ The Rink!