A new organization that goes by the rather lengthy title of "Association Promoting the Legal Stay of Foreigners in Tsukuba Area" was formed in June. It is made up of representatives of the hotels and souvenir shops around Mt. Tsukuba, with the support of city hall, the police department, Tsukuba Shrine, etc., and it's dual purpose is to encourage foreign tourists to come to Mt. Tsukuba while at the same time discourage the illegal employment of undocumented foreign workers by the establisments involved.
As part of their initial promotion, the group is sponsoring 20 foreign residents to take part in the "Gama Matsutri" (The Festival of the Frog) to be held at Mt. Tsukuba August 4. Those chosen will be able to participate in the festival parade helping to carry the "omikoshi" protable shrine while shouting "wasshoi, wasshoi" (roughly translated as "heave, ho"). An evening bento-style dinner will be provided free-of-charge to the 20 participants. While carrying the "omikoshi" during the parade has traditionally been an all-male event, that is changing, and women are now very welcome to join in.
If you are interested in participating in this event, contact the Tsukuba Information Center at 52-6789 (Nemoto or Nishikawa for English speakers). It is on a first-come, first-served basis, so call right away if you are interested. Transportation by bus from downtown Tsukuba will be provided.
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