Weekly Column Kanda This and That 306
Thank you for coming back.
I went to Chiyoda-ku Office on Saturday, February 9. It was the afternoon of a snowy cold day. I went there to attend an “Omotenashi language volunteers” training course in the meeting room on the 4th floor. Focusing on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government aims to establish an environment where foreign tourists can stay in Tokyo safely and comfortably. As part of its efforts, the course was offered by the Metropolitan Government. The session I attended was specifically for workers and/or residents of Chiyoda-ku. There were about 60 attendees.
While listening to the lecture by the instructor, the attendees made pairs or groups of four to practice communication. As I expected, it was very difficult to describe something to my partner, assuming the partner is a foreigner. For example, “how to cleanse your hands at a shrine” and “how to pray” were impossible for me to describe with my limited English ability. But I realized that the words we actually use often are relatively easy ones. So, I believe that everything should be fine if I am prepared in advance! Anyway, it is important to speak to a person by saying “May I help you?” and empathize with the person by saying “You will be OK” to offer the person a reassurance. All right! I should practice communicating with gestures!
*The information herein is as of February 2019.