17th October 2019

Fuji Fest begins for 2019

by James Gamgee, JETAA Scotland Chair

Our first educational events have taken place this year. A special thank you to JETAA members Jess Williams and Luca Fois for their help in completing application forms. They raised £500 each. Together with £2,000 funding from the Japanese government via JETAA, this means we raised £3,000 this year.

Our first event was taiko drumming on 26th September at a special educational needs school in Cupar. Children with special educational needs were also bussed in from a nearby mainstream school. The taiko teacher from Tsuchiguno Daiko was incredibly sensitive in making sure the noise was just at the right level to meet the needs of the the various students. It was an intense and very moving experience and I left with my heart full of admiration for the teachers and nurses who care for these students every day. They must have so much stamina. It made me think my time as a JET was quite straight forward by comparison.

On 27th September and 4th October we paid for a professional manga artist to visit P7s at Dedridge Primary, a school in an area of multiple deprivation. We are trialing the use of manga to help students learn about emotions, which we hope will improve the learning environment in the class as well as benefit students long term. It was a challenging teaching environment but the educational consultant Jenifer McKay was able to advise on the best approach, as she had done with the taiko drumming and the second session went more smoothly.

We are now looking forward to bringing together taiko and manga with sushi making, origami, karate and calligraphy at our joint event on 7th November at Dedridge Primary. The event will also involve nearby catholic school St Ninians and be a chance to bring the two school communities together through the common medium of Japanese culture. This is our main event this year and will involve hundreds of students passing through a large hall in groups of 15, stopping at stalls to enjoy each activity. We are looking for volunteers, so please do email me at to volunteer. Travel costs and a sushi lunch are provided.

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