This is an interesting post, I am writing this post based on an experience I had while in Tokyo that completely blew my mind. It was a pleasant surprise that I never would have came across if I never saw that big yellow sign. In the end I thought it was a genius idea and most importantly a really really great initiative! So here’s how it all started…
It all started when I was recently in Tokyo, Japan walking around Shibuya area with my friends.
After we got off the Shibuya JR train station, we headed towards the massive scramble walk (I will post in another future post more indepth about Shibuya and its crazy scramble walk).
Here was the view just outside of the Shibuya JR train station:
And here is a sneak peak of the world famous Shibuya scramble walk:
As you can see, it was sooooo crazy busy and crowded! My friend and I were actually walking around the area to look for a bar we heard that had over 40 beers on tap. But because it was so crowded, we had no idea where to find the place…even with our Google maps on, it was so confusing for first timers like us!
I really wanted to have my beer….and was in dire need of help.
But luckily as we made our way across the scramble walk, we saw a group of people at the end holding yellow signs that said:
“DO YOU NEED HELP?”
“ASK ANYTHING! WE CAN HELP YOU!”
So as my curiosity got the best of my friend and I…we marched up to the big yellow signs and just asked the group.
Alec (me): “So can I really ask you anything????”
One of the group members: “YES YOU CAN ASK US ANYTHING!”
Alec: “Really? I can ask you anything???”
Group member: “YES !”
Alec: (summoning my courage to ask an embarrassing question…haha) “OK…my friend and I are lost. This is the first time we are here, and we are trying to look for this bar! (points to my phone) We are in dying need to have a beer…haha. Do you know where this place is?”
Group member: (gives us a smile) “Let me see ….we haven’t heard of this place before, but as I can see on the map I roughly know where the place is! You want to follow us along? We can walk you over there!”
Alec and friend: “REALLY? THAT WOULD BE SUPER COOL!”
So that’s how it all got started. They ended up walking the next 15 minutes with us to find that bar. As we walked, not only did we get to go to the end destination, we got to mingle with local people and get to learn more about Japan in general!
AND THE BEST PART WAS…THIS GUIDE SERVICE IS FREE!
After chit chatting during the journey through Shibuya, I finally learned what this was all about. Basically these group of people are all volunteers.
The goal of this group is that they will help visitors to get around Tokyo, or assist them on any help they need such as finding directions, finding a good place to eat, or questions about particular tourist places, and in return they can practice their English with you!
And if you think about this…its WIN – WIN!!! WHAT A GENIUS IDEA. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY I THINK THIS IS A VERY GOOD INITIATIVE TO HELP PEOPLE GET ACQUAINTED WITH JAPAN!
The group comprises of people from all walks of life, from hardworking students, to even working professionals. For the group that volunteers in Tokyo, there are two places where you can find them:
Harajuku area just outside of the main JR train station
Shibuya station area just across the scramble walk
They volunteer every weekends between 3:00pm to 6:00pm!
So next time you ever visit Tokyo, Japan, and need some assistance (maybe your lost, need to go pee badly, or whatever…haha ) look out for the yellow sign in Harajuku or Shibuya. Remember this volunteer groups are only out on the weekends between 3:00pm to 6:00pm!
If you need more information, you can check out their website here, I highly recommend this free service to all of you!
You can even reserve in advance an actual guided tour if that’s what your looking for! The contact details and information is here on their main website.
Hope you find this post informative. Please do share this post out to everyone you know….I feel this is a very good initiative that can help alot of people…so please like, follow, share, with the social media buttons below, and just get the word out!