Tane-person Story 2 - Ai Takemoto / Space Museum Guide Tane-person Story 2 - Ai Takemoto / Space Museum Guide

When I was a child, I thought that I wanted to come back to this island someday.

When I was a child, I thought that I wanted to come back to this island

I was born and raised in Hyogo prefecture, but my mother's family is from Tanegashima. When I was in elementary and middle school, she brought me here many times when she came back to see her relatives. At that time, I thought it would be great if I could return here sometime. I guess the beautiful ocean, the scenery of the sugar cane fields, and the relaxed pace of life spoke to my young heart.

After I became a college student, my thoughts about Tanegashima grew stronger and I considered looking for employment here. I was fortunate enough to find a job on the island. It was only for a short time when they were young, but apparently both my mother and father worked at this facility. I feel like a little bit of fate is at work.

The Space Center is really beautiful.

My current position mainly involves guiding and supporting visitors by welcoming them to the Space Museum and conducting tours of the Space Center. I'm glad that I have been able to follow my heart and work on Tanegashima, but to be honest, speaking in front of groups is not my strong suit. When I first started this job, I wasn't able to make eye contact with visitors and one of my mentors had to warn me about it. But, with experience, I became more confident and now I'm able to look everyone in the eye. I feel like I have been able to grow as a person while interacting with guests. It feels really good when visitors do things like remembering my name and expressing gratitude. It makes me happy that I chose this kind of work. Right now, my goal is to make the largest number of people say that they were glad that Ms. Takemoto led their tour. I want to strive to be a great tour guide who helps visitors enjoy their time here.

The Space Center has a reputation as the "most beautiful launchpad in the world" and I really believe that's true. We have lots of blooming flowers, landscaped grounds, and it's all quite gorgeous. I really appreciate being able to work at such a nice facility.

What's nice about Tanegashima is that it has ocean to the north, south, east, and west. From swimming spots, to surfing, coastal overlooks, and picture-perfect views, there's so much to take in. The Tanegashima scenery from my childhood is still the same as it was, including sunny roads that wind down to the water through fields of sweet potato and sugar cane. More than just rockets, this island has many attractions like fresh seafood, fresh wild vegetables, and other products, so I encourage people to come visit.

■ Favorite places on Tanegashima

The Takesaki Observation Stand inside the Space Center. I think it's an amazing place because you can look out over the ocean as well as the rocket launchpad. On my days off, I've brought my friends and I remember them being really impressed by it.

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