Nara JETNet 4th Event
Tenri Fureai Nukumori Festa
Due to staffing and time restrictions, Nara JETNet chose to participate in an existing event for its first event of the new JET year rather than planning one of our own. We took part in the Tenri Fureai Nukumori Festa – an event organised by the Human Rights Division of Tenri City Hall. The theme of the event was "Communication" and the importance of greeting people as a first step. On August 20, five JETs went to the Tenri Culture Centre to assemble a culture display. From the materials provided by a number of JETs, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, America, England and France were represented in a colourful international display. Those involved in the set-up were very proud of this display indeed!
The other activities were held on August 25, on a beautiful and warm Sunday when 21 Nara JETs made their way to Tenri for the festival. We met in front of Tenri station at 9.30am, and together headed to the Tenri City Hall. During the event, Nara JETNet held six different activities. The first was the aforementioned international culture display. Other activities were held throughout the morning, and after the lunch break at 11.30am the event officially began.
Three people were part of the face painting team and painted the faces or hands of about 70 children and JETs with Anpanman, cherries, hearts or flags. The hotdog stand and the popcorn stand were both huge successes. All 300 of the hot dogs prepared sold out as did all of the popcorn. The fifth activity was a stamp rally. To keep with the communication theme, Japanese participants at the festa were given a stamp card and were encouraged to find the greeters for each country group and greet them in their mother tongue. These greetings were written on brightly decorated t-shirts that the stamp rally team prepared in the morning and wore throughout the day. As the Japanese participants found and greeted each member, they were given a stamp – six in total for French, English, Italian, Chinese, sign language, and braille. This was very popular among children and elderly people.
The biggest success of the day among the JET community's activities was without a doubt, the stage performance. All the participating JETs introduced themselves and showed the audience something they were good at, and at the end they performed a version of Old MacDonald had a Farm that involved the audience. Everyone was delighted by their accurate imitations of farm animals including dogs, cows, chicken, ducks and pigs.
Approximately 300 people from the community came to the festa, and 21 JETs were involved, including many first years. The two most rewarding parts of JET involvement were communicating with Japanese people and other JETs and raising money at the various booths for "Children Without Borders", a charity in which one of the Nara JETs was heavily involved. Through this event we managed to raise 26,550 yen for disadvantaged children – perhaps the greatest success of all!