IVIS(Ichikawa Volunteers Interpreters' Society)


To do volunteer interpreting, such as helping foreigners who have difficulties in the Japanese language, to understand the International situation and to promote cross-cultural communication


It was founded on February 14th, 1994 by a small group of volunteer interpreters, who had registered at the Ichikawa City.

Number of members

42 members (as of May 2021)


IVIS is open to anyone who is interested in cross-cultural communication and volunteer activities using English

Membership Fee

\2,000 biannual


Regular Meetings
Date & Time: 2nd,3rd,and 4th Wednesdays, 10:00-12:00
Place: I-link, The Towers East 3F

Date & Time: 1st and 3rd Saturdays, 10:00-12:00 .
Place: The Gender Equality Center and others

The regular meetings are now held as follows due to the pandemic.
Eone Saturday meeting per month E one Wednesday meeting per month ETwo online meetings per month

If you are interested in attending these meetings, please contact Ms. Chieko Ito, the Chair of IVIS, phone 047-376-7302.

*Cross-cultural discussion
*Interpretation Drills
*Guest speaker's talks
*Study about other countries
*Discussion of current issues
*General meeting, Year- end party, Anniversary luncheon, others
*Study Tours to historical spots etc.
Gyoda-city Oshi Castle, Sakitama Kofun Park; Kashima Jingu Shrine, Boso-No-Mura; Open-air folk museum (Nihon-Minkaen), Kawasaki-Daishi Heikenji Temple

Open Seminar
Seminars by guest speakers, open to the public have been held since
November 1994.
Recent topics:
gRobert Burns and the History of Scottish Songs and Poetryh
gPhotographing Japanese Nature and Countrysideh
gSurprising things that your dentist might not knowh
gA Lasting Appreciation of Minyoh
gVocabulary Learning Through Popular Songsh
gBuilding a glossary for interpretingh

Volunteer Interpretation and Translation Works
*Interpretation for public institutions and other non-profit organization
*Advisory service at the Foreign Residentsf Assistance Desk at the Ichikawa City Hall and the Gyotoku Branch Office entrusted by Ichikawa International Relation Section

Recent Activities

Year-End Party In 2021 @new

IVIS held their Year-End Party online at 7:00 pm on December 22. Beforehand, participants prepared with Santa costumes, reindeer antlers, etc... As the ice breaker, we described our own favorite snacks and drinks. When one of the participants, an American man said that he liked his sake hot, there were cheers of "Oh!" When a participant explained that the homemade dried enoki mushrooms were dried on the balcony, other participants nodded with admiration. Then, it was time for games. We played games like "Difference Hunt," "Geography Quiz," "Yamanote Line Game," and "Say Hah.h In addition to English, we used our memory, rhythm, and acting skills to the fullest. I got it right!", "I got it wrong!h We had a lot of fun. In the end, two magic tricks using hands and cards were performed, which were followed by great applause. We had a great time speaking various genres of English and deepening our friendships.

Regular Meeting at Satomi Park on 20th November(Sat) 2021@@new

We had not seen each other in person for almost two years due to the pandemic. "Since the situation has improved, we are able to meet now. " Voices were heard - a meeting outside was immediately planned to replace the zoom meeting. "Bring your lunch and something to sit on." was suggested and thirteen delighted members turned up. We had arranged to meet in the rose garden but the members who hadn't seen each other for a long time started chatting immediately and roses were hardly looked at. We sat in a circle on the lawn and the MC announced the start of the meeting. Each person turned into English mode. One of our usual icebreakers has been "What's up?" The various stories by members were really interesting. For example, history of Satomi park, an English book titled Kamala Haris, a popular YouTuber Nas Daily, human compost burial, the struggle to follow the new international postal rules, TV drama " Japan is sinking" (popular among IVIS), making Spanish subtitles for the blockbuster "Crash Landing on You", enjoyable fan activities and more. One member showed up with a dog in a stroller. The old Shiba was gently cared for which touched our hearts. From noon, we enjoyed more chatting over our bentos though we found ourselves speaking totally in Japanese. This great day reminded us once again how important it is to meet face-to-face. The fresh autumn air enhanced the happy atmosphere.

51st IVIS Open Seminar "Building a Glossary for Interpreting"@@

The COVID-19 epidemic, which began at the end of 2019, has greatly restricted IVIS activities. Our open seminars were held every February, but it was difficult to hold them as usual under the emergency declaration. Thanks to the cooperation of an IVIS member who has other experience hosting seminars on Zoom, the 51st open seminar was held online on June 6, 2021. We were waiting for the seminar day worrying about the number of applicants, but up to 57 people participated.
We asked Ms. Allyson Sigman, a professional interpreter, to be the speaker. She is currently living in Japan and has been teaching students online at Ohio State University in interpretation classes.
At the seminar, she first showed some modes of interpreting and the differences between them. Then she told us about the golden rules of interpreting in an easy-to-understand manner.
She also explained what to do before attending the meeting and how to search for the necessary audio and reading materials by using the PowerPoint screen.
After that, she built a glossary using the corresponding Japanese and English articles. Before that, she introduced some websites that would help us to find terms. She showed us how to utilize them while sharing the screen, as well. She also told us about the training she does how to apply the glossary in actual interpretation.
In the practice, each participant read a Japanese and an English article for 15 minutes and then selected some keywords they thought to be important. Ms. Allyson asked what they chose and created the glossary by typing those on the Excel sheet. By seeing the actual work, participants understood how to make a glossary easily. Glossaries once you made like this will be useful for another occasion of interpretation.
In the Q&A session, Ms. Allyson answered our questions with interesting stories about how to overcome the difficulties of interpreting with her hands-on experience.
We had a very fulfilling time because she explained a very rich content in clear English.
In the survey after the seminar, the speaker was evaluated "very good" in every category and the participants seemed to be highly satisfied.
Although we faced some connection problems, we were able to finish it safely. By holding an open seminar online, we realized the new possibility. It became a seminar that will remain in the history of IVIS.

Year End Party 2020@@

IVIS usually holds an annual year-end party in December and have a good time talking with friends and enjoy some activities like singing and dancing with food and drinks. In 2020, we had an unprecedented party amid the pandemic.
The event went online because getting a group of people together was almost impossible. Sadly, some IVIS activities like a bus trip were cancelled, but some study sessions have already been held online since April. We are getting used to learning English on Zoom.
Saying that, we were worried if it would work because we had never had an online party before. At the beginning of the party, it was a little awkward, but we enjoyed a beer toast, playing some games, listening to a memberfs traditional short comic story, conversation, laughter and finally, drinks began to flow. With Zoomfs benefits like sharing a screen, we were able to have some activities like a drawing game. One player draws the word and others try to guess. Some messy drawings and funny answers cracked everyone up. It was amazing to find other playersf strong points-some have a good memory, others are very quick to respond or have a good sense of humor.
At the end of the party, we sang together. Singing in sync on Zoom was a big challenge because of latency. We even enjoyed the delay or lag and had fun sing along together.
We did not meet in person, but we felt a bond with the friends during the party which was ended with big and happy smiles.

Year End Party@

It was held at an Izakayah Japanese style barh near Motoyawata Station on December 7th. 2019. This party in this year was held at an Izakaya gJapanese style restauranth to response to some memberfs request to take alcohol drinks and delicious dishes in the party. About 30 people including some foreigner guests participated in the party of Izakaya. It was the remarkable rate of attendance, because it seemed many members looked forward to the party of Izakaya.
The party was started with the opening speech of the chairman in English. Although IVIS member have been normally speaking an English in principle at regular meetings, all attendants were speaking each other in Japanese in the party, except around the foreign guests. The seats were decided by lot, so that alcohol drinkers and non-alcohol drinkers were properly mixed and they were chatting with each other pleasantly. The seats were changed several times in the party, but they enjoyed the chatting every time. They usually had little opportunity to talk closely each other, but in this time, they were able to hear about an unusual interpretersf experiences and interesting stories of foreign countries with effects of alcohol drink.
The party were ended with the closing speech of the chairman in English.
The IVIS members were able to spend a pleasant time on December, 2019, so that they are looking forward to the next year-end party in the Izakaya.

Bus Tour in 2019@

It was like a hot summer day. The total number of participants were 32 including
students from Tibet, Taiwan, France, the Filipino family and the German mother and daughter.@On the way to the destination, a self-introduction in English started right after the departure. Everybody seemed to become relaxed and friendly after hearing some humorous speeches.
The first visiting site was the Japanese open-air folk museum (Nihon Minkaen). It is known for the collection of 25 Japanese folk houses (such as farmers and merchants), which were built in the 17th -19th century, using traditional Japanese architecture techniques. While walking along with an unpaved sloping road, we could hear the murmuring of a stream and feel a nice breeze. Also we saw a beautifully preserved watermill and observed Irori (Japanese traditional fireplace) from the smoke that was billowing up. Having reconnecting with our childhood, we were playing quoits which were produced by a craft group belonged to the Minkaen. This area including the Minkaen is called Ikuta Green Park (Ikuta tract of land). The Okamoto Taro Museum and the Fujiko Fujio Museum (famous for Cartoon character Doraemon), existed adjacent to the Minkaen. This district seems to be a citizenfs place of rest and relaxation.
Next, the bus was heading south along the Tamagawa River and reached the lunch place, the Nikko Hotel. There, each of us enjoyed onefs favorite dishes at the reserved room.
Under the afternoonfs sticky hot temperature, the bus went to the second destination, the Kawasaki Heigenji Temple.@This temple is very popular for the Hatsumode (the first visit to a place of worship in the New Year) and believed to ward off all evils of prayers and protect people for safe driving. In huge premises, there was an outward appearance of Indian temple-style architecture, in which there is a small statue called Yakushinyorai. You can pray for recovery from illness and for a sound body by gently stroking the part of the statue that relates to your own ailment. So, members were enthusiastically patting the objective points. At the part of the main building, we were served with Maccha (Powdered Green Tea) sitting on the red-color carpet bench. What a great relief!! At the solemn main hall we worshiped the sacred statue. The great gate, where a big lantern made of steel was hanging down. We listened to the explanation on this historical monument from the local volunteer guide.
In front of it, there was a shopping arcade with so many stores that were selling Daruma dolls, cough drops, and Daruma shaped rice crackers. In the bus on the way back home, one Tibet student was eagerly talking about his countryf present circumstances.
We reached our home town in the blink of an eye. We experienced the modern and traditional aspects of Japan on this outing.
I would like to thank all people who engaged in planning and carrying out this project, and the participants as well.

IVIS 25th Anniversary@

The celebration for the 25th anniversary of IVIS was held near a restaurant close to I-Link Tower, Ichikawa city.
After the 49th Open Seminar, which title was gVocabulary Learning through Popular Songsh was over, the Vice President acted as MC. She explained IVISfs history.
The President made a speech, gwe owe what we are to those peoplefs contribution to the
development of IVIS, who went before us, also, to appreciate membersf continuous support and dedication to IVIS. I sincerely hope we will continue walking towards the 30, 40th anniversary together with you.h
In the party, someone said, gIVIS has been part of my daily lifeh. gBeing stimulated by other members, intellectual curiosity has enhancedh, gAdmire memberfs willingness to take on new challengesh, and gLetfs work on volunteer activity together by improving Englishh. Someone said, gOuting and bus tours bring us a new world, they are exciting
Mr. Romanko who was lecturer of the Open Seminar attended. We, the members enjoyed talking with him. The Director of the Division of International Relations who attended as a guest, expressed sincere thanks to IVIS, and said gWe wish IVIS will have many more successful years.h The party ended with a round of clapping hands.

IVIS Open Seminar eVocabulary Learning Through Popular Songs e

Over 90 people gathered on a beautiful Sunday morning despite the snowy weather the previous day. The 49th IVIS Open Seminar was held on February 10th at I-Link Tower Conference Room.
Mr.Rick Romanko, a professor of Wayo Womenfs University, was the speaker.
He is from Canada and has an 18-year long teaching experience at the university level in Japan. Mr. Romanko selected 2,175 popular songs and analyzed their words for his doctoral dissertation.
In the seminar, he talked about his research findings that the most frequent 2,000 words are essential to understanding songs and the benefits of vocabulary learning through songs.
A music quiz where the audience must guess a song name by only its first few notes. We were familiar with each melody but not able to recall the song's name. When Mr. Romanko gave an answer like e Smoke Gets in Your Eyesf ( The Platters), the audience said, eO yes.f
He explained melody and rhythm help people remember a word. He added, eI remembered the word eSokenbichaf easily, which is the name of bottled green tea. And he sang e Soookennbieechaa e as its TV commercial goes. This good example of his explanation made the attendees nod in agreement at him.
He also introduced three useful web sites like eLex Tutor', 'Official Lyric Videof and eLyrics Trainingf. The audience watched the screen eagerly.
eThe seminar was interesting,f 93% respondents of the questionnaire said. A certain person wrote a message on the questionnaire. gIfve understood that English songs improve my English, so Ifm motivated to learn English through songs. g With the motivation from the language expert, a chance to get knowledge of English learning as listing to new and old tunes, and a friendly atmosphere throughout the seminar, it was truly an event to remember.

Year End Party 2018

On the day, Dec. 2nd, 2018, ladies and gentlemen who wore "something RED" gathered and enjoyed the last YE party in Heisei.
I was impressed and thanked the people who spared no effort to make this party lively and gave us a happy time. The party organizers would have had to do a lot of work, scheduling, arrangement, ordering, shopping so on. Thanks to the backstage workers devotion, all the participants seemed to be fun.
While enjoying foods and conversations, the program went onc
1. All of us stand up and chorus "Besame mucho =Kiss Me a lot" (under daylight.. all togethercUmm subtle feeling of mismatch. Don't you think?)
2. Song by Baumgartner family: Mr. and Mrs. + three energetic boys ((We are good at singing like Trapp family*, aren't we? Ouch! They outnumber us!))
*the movie "The sound of music", Trapp Family has 7 children.
3. Michelle and her husband showed us witty and amusing words game. They are like double act, having perfect chemistry.
4.A Gesture Game for all : We performed eagerly, seriously, frantically like a child
(That seriousness not often seen in the classroom)
Thank you again to those who took care of.
Last hurrah for Heisei, Welcome new era, Cheers!

IVIS Bus Tour in Spring on May 27th, 2018

Our annual bus tour was held in a comfortable weather.
32participants including 10 foreign friends from 5countries such as France, the Philippines, the Tibet, the UK and the US took part in it.
We visited Kashima Jingu Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture and Chiba Prefectural Open-Air Museum called gBoso-no-Murah near Narita City this year.
We left the parking lot of the Ichikawa@minami temporary building of the City Hall for Kashima Jingu Shrine by a bus operated by the City Hall at a little before 9:00AM.
It is said that Kashima Jingu Shrine was established by the Emperor Jinmu in 660BC to worship the deity of the military arts.
We passed through the tower gate entrance, gRomonh , entered the central area of the shrine and prayed in front of the prayer hall,gHaidenh.
After that, we proceeded on the inner approach,gOkusandoh, feeling fresh and crisp air under the shade made by several-hundred-year-old cedar trees, seeing the deer pen, gShikaenh
where deer are taken care of as messengers of the god, and then we arrived at the Inner ShrinegOkumiyah, where we prayed again.
We proceeded further and strolled in the forest, stopping by the Mitarashi Pond with the source of fresh water and the legendary stone, gKanameishih that is said to be pinning the catfish, gNamazuh which causes earthquakes and went back to the entrance.
At a nearby Japanese restaurant, we had enjoyed Japanese cuisine,gSashimih and gTenpurah etc. for lunch.
In the afternoon, we visited the Chiba Prefectural Open-air-Museum, gBoso-no-Murah which was built to learn the traditional life-style in Chiba area.
In the reproduction area of a row of old stores on the street, we listened to the explanation in English by a guide, and then visited Samurai residence, gBuke Yashikih, Farmhouse, and Village Kabuki Stage.
At the Farmhouse, some of our participants walked on bamboo stilts gTakeumah remembering our old days, and many people applauded the collaboration in playing Japanese drums, gWadaikohby one of IVIS members and an American friend on the Village Kabuki Stage.
After that, we left there and arrived at Ichikawa at a little past 4:00PM.
In the bus on the way to and from, some of IVIS members gave explanations in English about places we visited and so on, all the members sang gOh, Susannah, and we also enjoyed the comic dialogues on the baseballgWhofs on First?hby an American couple which made us laugh involuntarily .
We had enjoyable and pleasant time together.
Lastly, we would like to express our heartful thanks to the division of international relations of the City Hall, IVIS members who took their roles and all the participants.

Open Seminar , " A Lasting Appreciation of Minyo"

The 48th IVIS Open seminar was held on Feb.4th, 2018. The speaker was Ms. Maud Archambaut from Canada, a professional Minyo dancer who has appeared on TV and Radio.
She came to Japan during her university days when she studied about Asia. After she returned home, her interest in Japan gradually developed.
She really wanted to study Japanese more and decided to come to Japan. She started practicing Shamisen(or Japanese guitar) which lead her to meet with Minyo or Japanese folk song.
Maud-san in chic striped Kimono said we can see the way of living of ordinary people in old days through Minyo. Some Minyos are just for fun like a bon-dancing. Others are songs sung to help harmonizing working pace when they worked in groups like rice planting, digging holes, etc. To explain special vocal vibration "Kobushi", she sang Soranbushi in both ways of Minyo and pop song. Then she had some audience touch and play her musical instruments such as Sasara and bou-sasara. She showed how to play them and gave a rhythm pattern. She sang Kokirikobushi to their immediate accompaniment. The highlight was dancing Tankobushi all together. First she explained that each action expresses the process of digging out coals. After having a short practice, everyone enjoyed dancing in a big circle. I was impressed with a lot of smiles on attendants when they left.
These days there are a growing number of foreign people who know much about Japan. It is not unusual we learn about our culture from them. They will help preserve our traditional culture a lot. And maybe we should pay a little more attention to our own culture.



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