|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
'Peace Boat' cruises aren't all they're cracked up to be
Shukan Shincho 10/20 By Takeshi Ito
Traveling around the world on a luxurious ship is a dream for many.
But for a sizeable proportion of the 333 people who sought to realize this dream through a group called "Peace Boat," their once-in-a-lifetime trip turned out to be a cause for grave regret.
Shukan Shincho lends an ear to angry participants and reports on questionable aspects of a Peace Boat-organized voyage that made a trip around the world in 84 days over the summer.
At the beginning of the article,Shukan Shincho briefly introduces the organization.
Peace Boat is a group launched in 1982 by then Waseda University student Kiyomi Tsujimoto to "ponder about the future by looking at the past." In concrete terms,the group,consisting of an unfixed number of financial contributors, started out by chartering passenger ships and conducting tours to parts of Asia and the Pacific occupied by the defunct Japanese Imperial military to see and hear the nation's misdeeds firsthand.
While at sea,the group sponsors various lectures by invited experts,including scholars,journalists and grassroots activists.
According to Shukan Shincho,Peace Boat is now subject to extremely vocal complaints for what it had supposedly promised but failed to deliver on board the Bahamian-registered ship "Golden Odyssey" which it chartered for a globe-trotting voyage from June 9 to Aug.31.
The magazine reports that Peace Boat and its tour-coordinating wing,"Peace in Tour," raked in anywhere from 1,280,000 yen to 3,980,000 yen from each of the 333 people who traveled the whole distance on the passenger ship.
Many of them joined the costly tours believing that they were going to experience the kind of luxury they had always dreamed of.
The Peace Boat tour brochure carried an elaborate picture of the ship as if to endorse such expectations.
But what was provided for passengers was totally different,the accusers say.
One of them informs Shukan Shincho that he lost 8.5 kilograms because he couldn't stand eating poorly-cooked steaks and the same salad dressing every day.
Another points out that an on-deck dining area was so crowded and noisy that it reminded her of a ship carrying refugees.
Others note poor maintenance of the ship.
One participant testifies that the ship listed so heavily that he feared it would capsize.
Another says his cabin had shower drainage clogged up and other cabins had water leaking from the ceilings.
"I'm convinced Peace Boat is a bunch of merchants who use grass-root movements as a cover," says one passenger who was asked to give up his cabin,without a refund,to accommodate a double-booking error on the part of organizers.
"They didn't consider us customers.Whenever we complained,they said things like,'We are a nonprofit organization' and 'This ship belongs to everyone and you are only one participant.' I think those of us who stayed aboard for the three full months were plain suckers."
Shukan Shincho asks Tatsuya Yoshioka,a chief member of Peace Boat, to tell the other side of the story.
Yoshioka defends the organization,saying that the group's tours are different from ordinary ones.
They offer no division between "those who serve" and "those who are served."
He goes on to claim that the food was respectable,the ship boasted a four-star evaluation in an industry journal and his group makes no profit at all.(TI)