Nara JETNet 27th Event
International Arts Festival
On June 28th, 2009, Nara JETNet in cooperation with the Town of Kawanishi held its 27th event entitled, “International Arts Festival” at the Town of Kawanishi Cultural Hall. 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 approximately 400 citizens of the prefecture participate alongside 50 JETs who introduced visitors to different countries and cultures of the world, held an art exhibition, and participated in a variety of performances.
The event began at 1pm after greetings from the JETNet chairperson, and attendees visited country booths, the art expo and took part in other exchange activities. France, China, America (Tennessee and California), Jamaica, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Korea, New Zealand and Palestine were represented at the country booths, and other activities included 1-minute sketch, UK experience corner (soccer, etc.), capoeira, tea ceremony, Celtic dance, Indian dance, face painting, magic experience, and the koto. The event was not one where things were simply looked at or observed, but where participants could actively take part and experience the traditions of other cultures.
From 3pm, performances by JETs and other citizens of Nara Prefecture began in Cosmos Hall. Taiko, Iaido, Korean traditional dance, rock music, a Shakespearean play, acrobatics, capoeira, basara dance, magic show, a haka dance and a didgeridoo/vocal percussion performance showed the creativity of the JETs in the prefecture.
Not only was this event aimed at giving citizens the chance to interact with foreign cultures, but gave JETs a chance to show how involved and interested they are in Japanese culture as well. In regard to activities like the tea ceremony or the taiko performance, Japanese participants offered positive comments, such as “The taiko performance was magnificent,” and “I was moved when I saw dances and art that I had never seen live before!” Most participants who completed surveys indicated that they enjoyed all portions of the event, that they were able to understand more about foreign countries, and that the performances were thoroughly enjoyed. The surveys completed by JETs indicate that they really had fun talking with citizens and that they found visitors to be extremely friendly and engaging. We are happy to once again have successfully carried out international exchange with help from our friends in Kawanishi.