The program is intended to assist foreign families who have recently moved to Japan adapt to their new life in Japan. You will be paired up with a local resident in the same/nearby neighborhood who volunteer to be “Otonari-san” (means “good neighbor” in Japanese) and various opportunities will become available to you through the program, such as: to practice your Japanese, ask Otonari-san for information/advice on dealing with the day-to-day matters in Japan, spend leisure time together, connect with the local community, and most of all, enjoy living in Japan.
Are You Enjoying Yourself in Japan?
What Activities Can You Do with Otonari-san?
Otonari-san will spend 2 to 3 hours per week with you.
- Practice your Japanese
- Receive advice on Japanese customs, culture and society
- Receive information about resources available in the local community
- Enjoy leisure time together (e.g. go to specific social events or just go out and have fun)
- Have a chat with Otonari-san as you would do with a friend
- Assist with household matters
- Assist with pet care
- Assist with childcare
- Provide financial support
- Prepare and clean up meals
- Run errands (e.g. grocery shopping, go to the bank or the post office)
- Provide housing
How to Participate in the Program
- Eligibility: ・You must be a resident of Japan ・Have been a resident in Japan for about 5 years or less (negotiable depending on your circumstance) ・Priority will be placed on families with child(ren)
- Fee: ・Program fee: 1,500 yen per year
- Length of Program: ・One program lasts for 6 months (it may be extended as necessary) ・You can change Otonari-san any time during the program (up to 3 times) ・You can participate in the program as many times as you like
Who Volunteers to be Otonari-san?
People who volunteer to be Otonari-san are interested in learning about foreign cultures and interacting with foreigners; some people want to put their language skills to good use; some are active with volunteer work.