Nara JETNet 26th Event
A JETNet Adventure at the Old Fujiwara Capital
On April 18th, 2009, Nara JETNet held its 26th event in Kashihara City entitled, “A JETNet Adventure at the Old Fujiwara Capital”. Nara JETNet is a committee which plans events to promote cultural exchange and understanding between the members of the JET Programme and citizens of Nara Prefecture. The organizers of JETNet’s events are the 5 Coordinators for International Relations (CIR) in Nara City, as well as 1 Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) from the Nara Board of Education, while the members are JET Programme participants located throughout Nara Prefecture. This event saw 101 citizens of the prefecture participate alongside 37 JETs who split up into 10 teams and undertook an 8km hike while enjoying the day with one another.
The event started at 10am, and after greetings from the JETNet chairperson and an explanation of the day’s schedule, icebreaker games were played among the teams so that members could get to know each other. Hiking then got underway, with the first stop being at the traditional town of Imaicho where teams wandered around freely looking at the old architecture, shrines and temples. Teams then headed to the ancient Fujiwara capital site where they took a break to eat the lunches they had prepared and brought along and enjoy the weather together. After the break, teams continued on toward Kashihara Jingu Shrine, where upon arrival they took the opportunity to play in the shade, take some final commemorative photos and enjoy some time together before heading to Kashiharajingu-mae station and going their separate ways.
According to the surveys completed by Japanese participants, over two thirds said that the hike was the first time they had participated in a JETNet event. Overall impressions were positive, with many saying that the event was enjoyable because JETs were kind people who were easy to speak with. JETs responded similarly, saying that the reason they enjoyed the event was because of their interaction with the citizens who participated.
The purpose of the day’s event was of course to promote international exchange while enjoying hiking around an important cultural site, and participants demonstrated the success of the event as the smiles and laughter did not stop throughout the day. While over 100 citizens participated, due to the fact that many JETs took part as well, it seems the number of people was just right in terms of participants being able to interact with one another. Both parties enjoyed the day, and the event ended as a great success.