This year I've made up my mind to spend more time as a volunteer guide interpreter rather than that of a language interpreter in English. It seems to me that there is more opportunity to act as an guide since recently we don't have big international events such as the Expo or the international conferences in Nagoya that many volunteer interpreters used to make the best of their language ability during the past few years.
One difference between an interpreter and a guide is the latter can talk and explain with her own words and idea ,while the former is required to translate what other speaks. Both are challenging and on a volunteer base I really like doing both.
This happened one day. The young man from Christchurch who landed on Japan for the first time in his life asked me to do this. He explained that he was going to show this piece of paper to anyone on a platform so that he would not take a wrong train. "Ah, that is smart," I thought.
Since then I have a small note pad with me in my bag. Just a piece of note can be a help.
At the same time, however, I have to keep it in mind that a foreigner in trouble is not necessarily a tourist but a resident and he/she speaks Japanese so well.