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Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010

Schwarzenegger's back, touting California


Staff writer

Though he didn't recite the tag line — "Nandemo ari fornia, California" — from his state's tourism campaign, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made clear in an appearance Tuesday in Tokyo that the Golden State has it all ("nandemo ari").

News photo
West Coast promotion: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger listens to Masaki Ogata (second from right), vice president of East Japan Railway Co., during a demonstration of the latest bullet train at Omiya Station in Saitama Prefecture on Tuesday. Below: Schwarzenegger speaks at a meeting organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan at a Tokyo hotel in the morning. AP PHOTO, YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO
News photo

"God has given us a beautiful place, beautiful coastline, great mountains and deserts. You can very rarely find places in the world where you can go surfing in the morning and then late morning you can go snow skiing, which is an hour and a half or two hours away from where you surf," Schwarzenegger said at a breakfast meeting organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan at Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku Ward.

"Then early afternoon you can go golfing in a desert in Palm Springs and in the evening you can be sitting again, a little romantic good California, red wine in Napa Valley," he said.

Japanese are important for California tourism as some 630,000 visit California every year, Schwarzenegger said.

About 80 percent of Japanese going to America go to California, and "that means Japanese have good taste," he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

He also noted that Japanese companies are among the bidders, along with those from China, France and Germany, to help build a planned high-speed rail system to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as possibly L.A. and Las Vegas.

Schwarzenegger visited China before stopping in Japan to strengthen economic ties. One of his aims on this Asian tour is to inspect high-speed trains, which Prime Minister Naoto Kan and transport minister Seiji Maehara pitched to him on Monday.

Commenting on when he would return to a full-time acting career, Schwarzenegger said he remains focused on his job as governor despite nearing the end of his tenure.

Comparing his situation with that of a ballplayer, he said, "Don't take your eye off the ball. Stay on it and the same is with this job. There are so many challenges California is facing."

This is his second visit to Japan as governor since 2005, though he has been here "many times" to promote movies.

"Every time I come to Japan, I say 'I'll be back,' " he said, drawing more laughter.



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