Promoting Otsu's Charms to ForeignersOtsu International Goodwill Association Organizes Lecture on Worshipping at Shinto Shrines
Under the theme of " Let's share the charms of Japan and Otsu with foreigners," a cultural exchange program began on April 26 at Omi Jingu Shrine, Jingu-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. The program is a six-part series. For the first event, approximately 20 participants, including Japanese citizens, international students, learned proper decorum for visiting Shinto shrines and so on.
The program is the first organized by Otsu International Goodwill Association, in order to encourage people to understand Japanese culture and tradition correctly to prepare for welcoming foreigners who are visiting Japan for tourism or other purposes.
Participants heard lectures about basic manners and other related things by Etsuo Kawake, the senior priest at Omi Jingu Shrine, while worshipping. He explained, "We clean our hands with water to ceremonially purify ourselves. The worship ritual of 'bow twice, clap twice and bow once' is to show deities the utmost respect while making 90-degree bows. We clap our hands to touch deities' hearts with nice sounds."
The program also included an English conversation lesson given by Emily Hammond, Otsu City Coordinator for International Relations. Zhang Shuangshuang, a Chinese student in her first year at Ritsumeikan University Graduate School who is living in Otsu City, was pleased with the program. She said, "I am interested in cultural differences between Japan and China so it was fascinating."
Among the program's future plans are how to enjoy Japanese gardens, the Otsu Festival, manners for traditional Japanese cuisine, etc.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)