Nara JETNet 30th Event
A JETNet Scenic Journey through Soni Village
On April 19th, 2010, Nara JETNet held its 30th event entitled “A JETNet Scenic Journey through Soni Village” in cooperation with the Soni Village Board of Education at Soni Village. 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 events are the 5 Coordinators for International Relations (CIR) in Nara City, and members are JET Programme participants located throughout Nara Prefecture. This event saw 61 citizens of the prefecture participate alongside 28 JETs who enjoyed a day of international exchange as they hiked a small mountain path.
After riding buses provided by the Soni Village BOE from Haibara Station to Soni Village Elementary School, an opening ceremony was held. Following a greeting by the JETNet chairperson at 10am, the event started in full. As there had been rainy weather the day before, it was judged to no longer be possible for participants to enjoy lunch together at the climb summit, so the icebreaker game portion of the morning’s activities was lengthened. After an early lunch in the school’s gymnasium, everyone gathered outside to record the opening segment for a Nara Television broadcast. The hike started afterward, and everyone made their way toward Byobuiwa Rock at the top of the path. Here, participants enjoyed the Cherry Blossom Festival that was being held and, after about 40 minutes or so, began to make their way back down the mountain. A closing ceremony was held after arriving back at the elementary school, and everyone then returned to Haibara.
Some participants expressed their disappointment with being unable to eat lunch at Byobuiwa Rock, but everyone was understanding of the schedule changes. According to participant surveys, 60% of those who came were first-timers to a JETNet event. Regarding exchange with JETs, comments such as “the children had a lot of fun chatting” and “the kids really enjoyed nature” were received. It seems participants also enjoyed activities other than conversation, with one comment explaining “thank you for explaining the games so kindly, especially to those who can’t understand English very well.” Comments from JETs reflected similar positive feelings, such as “the event location was great!” and “I had fun interacting with participants!” Others appreciated the nature of JETNet itself, saying “We’re really lucky to have JETNet and these opportunities!”
Thank you to everyone who participated in making the day such a great success!