Nara JETNet 2nd Event
Hiking and Cleaning the Yamanobe-no-michi Trail
On March 30, 2002, 13 JETs participated with 35 Japanese participants on the 12km hike from Omiwa Shrine in Sakurai to Isonokami Shrine in Tenri in the second Nara JETNet event of the year.
Despite heavy rain the night before and concern that the entire event would need to be cancelled, the weather on the day couldn't have been better. The sky cleared and even left the participants a little more sun-tanned at the end of the day than they had been at the start. And to top things off, the chery blossoms were out in full force, resulting in some breathtaking scenery along the trail.
After gathering at 9am, registering the participants and explaining the day's activities, the 48 participants split into 6 groups and departed one group at a time. Participants discussed issues relating to the theme of environmental problems around the world, as well as brainstorming possible solutions while picking up rubbish along the trail. They also searched for answers to a quiz about the trail including several sketches of scenes they would find along the way. Each group consisted of 2 JETs and approximately 6–8 other participants; these small groups enabled the achievement of exchange on a more personal level in a relaxed atmosphere.
Arriving at the Tenri Trail Center right on time at 12 noon, participants stopped for lunch and a group photo before departing again 3/4 hour later. Throughout the afternoon participants continued the quiz and their discussions while also searching for prizes in a treasure hunt.
The groups arrived at Isonokami Shrine at 3pm and were surprised to find that most groups had almost completely filled their rubbish bags. Participants completed a questionnaire about their impressions of the day, and another group photo was taken before participants were given Yamanobenomichi postcards and a pencil as a souvenir of the day.
Amongst participants comments on the questionnaires were:
"It was very meaningful that we picked up rubbish as well as hiking. I feel like my awareness of environmental problems has increased."
"Thanks to being able to participate in today's event I now have a strong interest in international exchange and volunteer activities. I plan to get involved a lot more from now on."
There were also a lot of requests from participants wishing to participate in similar events to contact them when the next event takes place and to plan more similarly-themed events.