KANSAI Close-up

[Columns]Excellent American coordinator in Kawachinagano

He smiled quite often. His smiling face was still childlike. The first impression was that he is a Spanish young nobleman. In talking with Thomas Zelaya, 26, an American coordinator for international relations at the Kawachinagano International Friendship Association (KIFA) in Osaka Prefecture, this writer forgot the passage of time because there was a great deal of substance in what he said.
Why is there such an excellent coordinator in a peaceful, quiet rural city with a population of 122,000 people? The key to answer that question is that the city is undertaking numerous international exchange projects.
'I was assigned here only in July. From now on, I will have to do a serious job,' he said in fluent Japanese. 'Are you a graduate from a Japanese language faculty at university or have you studied in Japan?' 'No, my school is a small one only for men, called Wabash College in Indiana. I majored in the science of religion, especially religions in Japan and China.''Did you study Japanese religions in Japanese?''No, lessons were all given in English.'