By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published May 30, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Sometimes, because we are so busy living inside of it, we don’t always realize how nice of a gem we have here in Milwaukee. When dealing with contacts on an international level, I often have to describe our community as "near Chicago" for them to really know where we are.

But our reputation is growing on a world stage, and that’s a good thing.

For those around the world, and in other places in the U.S. for that matter, Milwaukee is known for a few things. Our diverse food scene is gaining exposure beyond the wonderful beer and brats that were a part of the stereotypical description. Our affinity for good music and a parks system that encourages people to get out and become better connected with their community is a growing sentiment as well.

Sure, we have a lot to work on here in Milwaukee, but it is nice to hear of the positive news … like this:

If the latest stop by a Japanese television production company is any indication, Milwaukee may become better known in the fashion tourism sector, too.

Patrice Procopio of Third Coast Style reports that a Japanese Saturday morning variety show, "Nijiiro Jean," spent last week in Milwaukee to produce a segment for the program that reaches about 8 million people. Camera crews set up on Monday and shot footage on Tuesday at the store at 514 N. Water St.

According to the company that produces the show, its aim is to share, "a connoisseur's travel guide, where mascot Jean takes you on a tour to the real life and beauty of various worldwide destinations."

Miss Wisconsin Destiny Caithamer hosted the segment, and wore MKETCS clothing. The designs featured were the work of 35 local designers from Third Coast Style. Duplicate designs were made for the show’s mascot as well.

NATIONAL STAGE: Speaking of exposure, Milwaukee will be in the spotlight in July.

CBS Sports will air AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour throughout the summer, including the Milwaukee Open on July 6.

"It is a testament to the progress we have made as a tour and business to see the coverage of our events increasing year-over-year," said AVP Managing Partner Donald Sun. "It is our goal to deliver the best beach volleyball has to offer to sports fans across the nation, and our partner, CBS Sports Network, will showcase our events in a way that is accessible to everyone with a quality that is unmatched anywhere else in the world."

The level of play on Lake Michigan’s shore is sure to be pretty heavy, with the likes of Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh-Jennings, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers; Olympic silver medalist April Ross; two-time Olympians Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal; and Olympian Nicole Branagh participating in the AVP.

"We are happy to bring the AVP back to CBS Sports Network this year with expanded coverage on both CBS Sports Network and," said Dan Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. "As the AVP's exclusive television partner, we are excited to showcase the world's best volleyball all summer long."

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.