Wandering around major train stations of Tokyo Metropolis Area, Osekkai Japan team is at service to help foreign visitors reach their destinations. “I can’t find this place… I am looking for this area”, are the most common question foreigners ask. Looking very bright in the yellow jacket, each team member will help to navigate the directions or interpret the information asked by foreign visitors. Twice or once per month, about fifteen to thirty volunteers gather and divide themselves into several teams. The volunteers are mostly students from all over the world who are studying in Japan and people from different occupations. Osekkai Japan provides multilingual support and each team consists of people who can speak Japanese, English, Chinese and some other languages like Tagalog, Portugal, and Korean. They go around major train stations and famous sightseeing spots in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
Each team member will actively talk to the nearby foreign visitors and help them to enjoy their stay in Tokyo without feeling impeded by any language barrier. Recently, there are many foreign tourists coming to Japan to enjoy Sakura season. Unfortunately, most instructions in public areas are written in Japanese. In addition to this, Japanese train stations and roads are like the great maze. It is definitely uneasy to hop from one place to other places without any proper guide. Osekkai Japan team helps people who can’t find their whereabouts, their destination or people who even can’t buy a train ticket in Japan. Every activity has to be well-documented so they can report it to the whole team. People can access their Facebook Page to have more information about their monthly activities.
Kinai San, the leader, started this activity in 2014 after receiving warm hospitality from foreigners during his travel to Africa. Up to now, he has been visiting Africa for more than 20 times and during his stay there he experienced how people often have to get into other people’s business and help each other. He wondered if he could do the same thing in Japan and therefore he tried to approach many foreign tourists personally. One day he met the Sino-Japanese Student Exchange Group “Jingyinghui” in Chinese or “Kyoeukai” in Japanese. The leader at that time, Wu Zhenning, led the activity to exchange the mutual understanding using the local language. Both of them then formed “Osekkai Japan” with students who can speak Japanese, Chinese and or English. They targeted the foreigners who are in need. Language barrier don’t stop the team member to help the foreigners. They always try their best to help anyone they meet. Osekkai Japan wants to increase the number of people who would help people from other countries. The leader himself wants foreigners to feel more welcome in Japan. Similarly, he wants to increase the number of people who would approach and help other people who are in need. He hopes to see an environment where tourists and local people can interact with each other. Osekkai Japan wants to spread this activity all over the world. Mr. Kinai wants to pass the message to the next generations, “If human to human interaction would be deeper, and with mutual understanding, the world will be in peace”.