by Chris MaGee
Okay, this story is about a Chinese film, but one that's having a direct impact on Japanese tourism. Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's latest film "If You Are The One" a romantic comedy about an eccentric inventor (You Ge) and a heartbroken young woman (Qi Shu) named Smiley who fall in love while on a sightseeing trip to Hokkaido brought in over 309 million yuan ($56.4 million CAD) at the Chinese box office during its theatrical release in 2008. The result of this success is that the film's Chinese fans are now flocking to Japan's northernmost island not only to trace this young couple's journey along the Okhotsk Sea coast, through the Kushiro Wetlands and in the small fishing town of Abashiri, but also to capture a bit of the romance that they saw onscreen. Of course Chinese Tour operators are more than happy to oblige the fans and have already been conducting weekly tours of the sights featured in the film. For their part the folks as the Japan National Tourist Organization have been happy about the increased interest in Hokkaido, and in the present economic climate they've been very pleased about the increase in tourist dollars... or yuan in this case.
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