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Making friends from around the world at international social events

Hugo, a newcomer to Japan, is meeting Penelope to have supper together. As Hugo waits for his friends at the restaurant, Penelope shows up with her Japanese friend, Akiko.

Penelope
Hi Hugo! I am sorry to keep you waiting.
Hugo
Hi Penelope, how are you?
Penelope
Well, I brought my friend with me today.
Akiko
Nice to meet you, Hugo. I'm Akiko. Would you mind me joining you two?
Hugo
Not at all. I am glad to meet and talk to Japanese people. I have Japanese colleagues, but we only talk about business most of the time.
Penelope
I met Akiko at an event of a local international exchange association.
Akiko
The event was about "cooking of the world," and Penelope was an instructor at the event teaching how to make paella. It was fun to cook with her while asking her questions about Spain and learning some Spanish words.
Penelope
We also went on a bus tour together for a cherry blossom viewing the other day.
Hugo
Sounds like there are lots of fun events going on.
Penelope
These social events are often organized by international exchange associations, local cities, international organizations, and citizen volunteer groups.
Akiko
Some events are designed to introduce foreign people to Japanese culture, while others invite foreign people as guest speakers to talk about their own country and culture to Japanese people. International festivals are held occasionally as well. These events are all casual so that anyone can participate.

Hugo seems to be very interested in these international events as an opportunity to make Japanese friends.

Hugo
They all sound interesting. I have a friend who is also having a hard time finding Japanese friends.
Penelope
Then, I would check out any local international exchange events. You may be able to make not only Japanese friends but friends from other countries.
Akiko
I would like to get to know more foreign people in my community and have been taking a volunteer training for Japanese language teachers so that I can help them learn Japanese. I have a friend who volunteers to babysit children while their mothers are taking Japanese lessons. There are so many Japanese people who want to build international friendships with foreign people in their community.
Hugo
It is great to know that we foreigners and Japanese people are both enthusiastic about developing good international friendships in the community. What do you think about planning an event to play futsal together?
Akiko
Sounds fun! I would love to help you to make that happen!