Nara JETNet 6th Event
International Food Festival
After the success of the first JETNet event, the 2002 Food Festival in Gojo, JETNet decided to hold a similar event in Kashiba. Being the 6th JETNet event, the experience that we had accumulated enable us to fine-tune our organisation and planning with the help and support of the JETs.
Planning for the event began in December with the task of coordinating the venue, advertising, communication between JETs, budget, evaluation and logo implementation. Securing a venue for this event was made easier by the fact that we had a budget to work with! The budget to cover venue costs and ingredients was kindly provided by the Nara Chapter of the United Nations. With this money, we were able to secure an affordable, well-equipped venue that suited our needs: the Kashiba Community Centre.
Advertising to secure participants was carried out via Kashiba's local newspaper, members of the United Nations in Nara Prefecture, many prefectural publications, and word-of-mouth. Nara Television's Kensei Flash attended on the day and their coverage of the event went to air that night.
The JETs were divided into nine groups representing the following countries: Canada, Italy, Mexico, UK, Vietnam, USA, New Zealand, France and Australia. Each group set up a culture display booth in the main exchange room and covered it with posters, maps, flags, and more.
The event was divided into two international exchange and cooking sessions (A and B). The cultural booths in the main room were staffed by many an energetic JETs who talked with Japanese participants about the country they represented and offered sample food that had been prepared ahead of time. Interviews were conducted with a selection of booths during Session A, and the Australian and Canadian teams spiced up the entertainment with a version of the Heel & Toe Polka, and a Canadian quiz resepctively. And just as the presentations were wrapping up, in came group A with what they had cooked, wonderfully seasoned with international conversion – the all-you-can-eat festival had begun!
With that, Session A came to an end and Session B got underway. All groups cooked twice with Japanese participants, with the exceptions of New Zealand, USA, France and Australia, who only had one shot at showing their culinary expertise. The highlights of session B included interviews with the groups who had cooked in session A and presentations from the country booths not yet featured. The New Zealand team preformed a traditional Maori Poi dance to entertain the punters and some Japanese participants had a go at flinging pois around. Were pleased to report that everyone enoyed a good laugh!
At the end of this session, the hard working group B cooking teams brought their gourmet creations up to the main room and the food frenzy ensued. By the end of the day, most Japanese participants and JETs had tried several different countries' cuisine, enjoyed heaps of entertainment, attained a deeper knowledge of other countries, and had been inspired to learn more.
Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with many mentioning they would like to attend another JETNet Event. Interaction with the JETs at the booths and in the kitchen was the highlight for many. With 150 Japanese participants and 50 JETs, this event was an organisational feat made possible by the hard work of the kanji representing each group and all of the JETs and volunteers who made the event a memorable experience for the Japanese community. Thank you for your continued support of JETNet!