An appeal for pen friends that's difficult to resist.
I know this because I have a letter from Hiroki Inoue, President of the International Friendship Club in Hatogaya, on my desk.
In charming but not-quite-perfectly-formed English, I am told that the club is one of the biggest correspondence societies in Japan, set up in 1950 for the purpose of promoting friendly relations and cultural exchange between Japan and other countries.
"We believe it is a basis of peace of the world," says Hiroki.
Of couse, I'm in no position to nitpick over Hiroki's quaint use of language as my Japanese extends only to "Hai" and the words for "How are you?", which I can't spell. And I know from my studies of Spanish the difficulties and pitfalls of translating one language into another.
If anyone is interested in promoting world peace by corresponding with a Japanese member of the society then they should write, to: Japanese Friend, c/o International Friendshiip Club, PO Box 6, Hatogaya, Saitama, 334 Japan. As Hiroki so rightly points out: "Please never forget to print your full address, name, sex and age clearly in your letter."
I'm guessing that the letters you receive in return will be a good deal more interesting than those I used to get from my French pen pal in primary school.
"Your letters," adds Hiroki, "will always be heartily welcomed by them, since they are looking forward to hearing nicely from a lot of people in other countries. They do promise you that they will be very dear pen friends of yours." Who could resist. I think I'll write myself.