Kazuya Usami / Construction & Industrial Machinery Division
* In this column, Marubeni Group staff provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.
Nashville, located in the central United States and capital of the state of Tennessee, is often thought of as having a Southern vibe. The city doesn’t stand out for its size, but as a Japanese car manufacturer has established a factory on the outskirts, in addition to the many Japanese suppliers which have brought their business here, some Marubeni Group employees may have an opportunity to visit on business.
I might be told off for saying that there aren’t really any major tourist attractions here — and rightly so. However, Nashville is generally acknowledged as a music city, notably called the holy land of country music. In this city, people with a taste for country music will be in heaven while others might well be completely bored. As an expatriate employee living here, I will introduce Nashville with love.
As soon as you arrive at Nashville International Airport, a “no music, no life” kind of atmosphere surrounds you. There are stages at the bars in the security area and even in the waiting areas outside, and you feel (as I said, especially if you’re a country music fan) excited to be here.
There are generally three areas related to the Nashville music scene, and of these, I recommend two.
The first and most atmospheric area is The District. Located in the middle of the downtown area, The District has many live music venues dedicated to country and other genres. Alcohol is available of course, but as these venues range from those patronized by earnest music fans to those where the crowd gets excited in sync with the performance, I think visitors should look for a place to their liking.
There are, of course, shops and museums that will thrill country music fans. In the downtown area, a little farther away from The District, is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. If you’re a music-lover, you’ll be moved to tears at the sight of over 3,000 items, including tour costumes, instruments, and other memorabilia belonging to major stars from decades past as well as from the current music scene.
The second area is Music Valley, located less than 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Nashville and accessible by bus. Here you will find the Grand Ole Opry House, home to the oldest country-centric radio program in the United States which has been on air since 1925. They have late shows, as well as backstage tours, so if you’re a fan please come and check it out.
For something a little different, I would like to recommend all car lovers take a tour of a car assembly plant located approximately one hour from Nashville. The tour of this plant, which produces a very American car — does not follow the conventional Japanese-style tour route; rather, you can really walk around the factory as if you were an employee.
Regular visitors to the factory are not allowed to take photos inside, but customers who order a car are able to take a commemorative photo with their order. There were actually people taking photos with their car on the day that I visited, and all were met with the envy of onlookers. To be honest, I really think that this is an interesting place even for people like me who are not at all interested in country music, so please come and take a tour (and order a new car while you’re at it!)
I’ll be waiting for you here in Nashville.
Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (September 15, 2015)