CROWN - Croatian World Network -
Lovre Stavun linking Croatia and Japan via his native city of Zadar
By Lovre Stavun
Published on 01/7/2016
Lovre Štavun is a young Croatian tourist guide living in the city of Zadar, who is very fond of Japanese language and culture. It is even more impressive that he learned Japanese without visiting Japan yet! In his article, that he wrote in English and Japanese (sic!), he discusses the possibilities of offering completely new contents for tourists visiting Croatia, with emphasis on his native Zadar. "How many natural wonders does the country of Croatia possess, but those same wonders are rarely ever offered as something of value to Japanese tourists."

The invincible nature as the local food of Zadar

Lovre Štavun, tourist guide in his native city of Zadar and its surroundings,
fluent in Japanese language and very fond of Japanese culture.

Fresh groceries in the city of Zadar (photos by Valentin Bakota) (生鮮食料品)

素晴らしい大自然 ザダルの郷土料理









The invincible nature as the local food of Zadar

~The link between Croatia and Japan~

How many natural wonders does the country of Croatia possess, but those same wonders are rarely ever offered as something of value to Japanese tourists. One may argue that they are mentioned in pamphlets promoting Croatia, but does that make the tourist want to go out on an adventure and find it with the limited amount of time that they have visiting Croatia? Of course, we advertise our national park „Plitvička jezera“, but is that really all that Croatia has to offer? We also have the eternal fortress city of Dubrovnik, but how is it even possible that most of the tourists do not know that the city of Zadar, larger in scale and as rich in history, has equally as much to offer with some of the most fascinating city walls, bastions, ports and charming rows of houses along the Croatian coast? Is the tourist even half aware of the delicious dishes and the fresh cooking ingredients we have to offer? I have not seen our traditional dishes promoted in any manner; have tourists been introduced to „pašticada“, „šinjorina smokva“ or „benkovačka vara“? All those delicacies, all of our fruits and vegetables, all of the fruits of the sea have seemingly been ignored in order to let our cultural heritage shine... but that doesn't have to be the case.

The city of Zadar understands how to preserve its natural shape, historical heritage and the traditional food even in the twenty-first century. Zadar has not been flooded by the chains of fast food or the mass tourism in the scale that the other cities have succumbed to.  It's not only the churches, the museums and the ancient Roman relics, it's also the rocky coast, slow-food restaurants, traditional toys made out of wood, island festivals, beautiful quiet scenery and the unrelenting waves of the sea...

I am a tour guide here in Croatia, specifically, the Zadar County area. I have been hard at studying Japanese language, by myself, for the last 10 years through the use of my knowledge of English language, and all of this time I have been watching Japan from a distance. A few thousand miles of distance. Still, nowadays, you can learn a lot of things via internet, especially if you're in a position to be able to turn on the Japanese TV, radio or even the internet forum where people exchange their views and opinions. If you would have had a chance to dive into a world that is yet unknown to you, would you have done it? I have.

Japan has got it right. Their television programs often air long-length shows depicting the nature and the local food of Japan, which in turn invites the viewer to come and visit it. The brooks, the natural inlets, small rivers running wild, snow-covered mountains, their natural hot springs, wildlife and various other breathtaking sights. Local food is being offered as a delicacy that can feed the senses and the soul. That food is revered, photos of it are taken, comments are made, and at the very end, the host of the restaurant is being thanked for all of their effort and kindness. Some small and seemingly trivial places become a hot tourist spot where people from all over the country (and beyond) flock to. Those same places of unscathed nature sights heal our soul, rest our weary eyes and encourage us to return to nature. By this experience, we recover the sense of peace within ourselves that cannot be found in the midst of city lights. We certainly aspire to do the same here in Croatia, but this only works half of the time.

We cater to the west and we adopt their models of behaviour as our own. Often, those models of behaviour are „get-rich-quick“ schemes which are not quite natural to this part of the world and they can hardly fit the way in which we were brought up. This time, in order to make a change for the better, let's try straining our ears to the east and listen carefully, and I promise that in the end nobody is going to be left with a bad taste in their mouth.

Written by Lovre Štavun (, both in Japanese and English.

A Day in Zadar (ザダルの一日)

Dishes of Zadar (photos by Valentin Bakota) (ザダルの料理)

Greetings to Japan (日本への挨拶)

Moments (photos by Tina Bakota) (クロアチアの瞬間)

My very first guiding experience in my native city of Zadar.
On the photo with Ono Mayumi, from the group Mionokai. (初の観光ガイド経験)

The Fontana (photo by Antena Zadar) (フォンタナ)

The many faces of dusk in Zadar (photos by Tina Bakota) (ザダルでの色々な夕暮れの顔)

The Sky and the Sea (photos by Tina Bakota) (空と海)

Tradition (photos by Tina Bakota) (伝統).
In the background one can see the slopes of the legendary Croatian mountain of Velebit, probably the most beautiful mountain in Europe.


Date of birth: 11.13.1986.
Postal code: 23000
City: Zadar
Country: Croatia
Contact (e-mail address):


    •    Date (from – to): March 2015. – September 2015.
    •    Name of institution: University of Zadar
    •    Type of education: Education and training course for the „Tour guide/tour assistant“ licence acquistion
    •    Title: „Licenced tour guide for the Zadar County in Croatian, English and Japanese language“ and „Licenced tour assistant in Croatia“

    •    Date (from – to): December 2014.
    •    Name of institution: Philology college of Belgrade
    •    Type of education: International Japanese language proficiency test (N2 level)
    •    Title: International Japanese language proficiency test (N2) licentiate (日本語能力試験N2級合格者)

    •    Date (from – to): November 2012. – September 2013.
    •    Name of institution: Algebra, public university in Zadar
    •    Type of education: CISCO CCNA Academy education in English language for the „Cisco Certified Network Associate“ title (finished the academy course, scored 735/1000 points on the final exam)

    •    Date (from-to): May 2011. – March 2012.
    •    Name of institution: Algebra, public university in Zagreb
    •    Type of education: Education and training course for the „System and network administrator – specialist“ title
    •    Title: System and network administrator – specialist for the Windows systems

    •    Date (from-to): October 2011. – December 2011.
    •    Name of institution: Public open university of Zagreb
    •    Type of education: Education and training course for the tourist animator licence
    •    Title: Tourist animator

    •    Date (from-to): September 2006. – September 2008.
    •    Name of institution: University of Zadar, department of Croatian language and Slavic studies
    •    Type of education: University education for the „Major of Croatian language and literature“ (dropped out on the end of the second year)

    •    Date (from-to): September 2001. – July 2005.
    •    Name of institution: Natural sciences and graphic arts high school in Zadar
    •    Type of education: Four year high-school education for the „Environmental technician“ title
    •    Title: Environmental technician


    •    Date (from-to): December 2009. – March 2010.
    •    Work position and responsibilities: Japanese market tour operator assistant in the tourist agency „Fortuna Travel“ in Zagreb)

    •    Date (from-to): Februrary 2009. – April 2009.
    •    Work position and responsibilities: Stock worker in the chain store „Kaufland“ in Zadar)


    •    Croatian - My native language. I have studied Croatian language and literature as my major in college.

    •    English - I have been studying English language since childhood, I can use it fluently in all facets of life.

    •    Japanese - I have been studying Japanese language for the last 10 years (since 2005) as a form of self-study, I can use it fluently in most situations.

    •    Italian - I have been studying Italian since high school, I have passive understanding of the language

Personal statement:

I consider myself to be a bright, open-minded and flexible individual. Always willing to learn something new, I listen closely to people while trying to relate and apply it to my way of thinking. I enjoy contacts with people tremendously while still having a prowess in computer technologies. I've been told that this is a bit of a contradictionary trait to have, but I seem to make it work nevertheless. 

In my spare time, I like to study languages, take strolls wherever nature is and explore new ideas and possibilites.

Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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