19 Jul 2018
2nd July 2018
JETAA NORTH WEST Japan Day 2018
On June 3rd JETAA North West attended Japan Day as an exhibitor. We had a stand where we exhibited paraphernalia from our time teaching in Japan, kimono and Japanese culture books. Japan Day is Japan Society North West's free all-day festival celebrating the many fascinating aspects of Japanese culture. Since 2006, it has been held every two years, alternating between Manchester and Liverpool. This year was Manchester’s turn and the venue was the spacious Sugden Sports Centre.
There were displays and demonstrations of Japanese crafts and activities including the board games Shogi and Go, weaving and embroidery, koto and shamisen playing, taiko drumming, Awa Odori dance and shodo (Japanese calligraphy). There were martial arts displays from a number of different groups and there was the opportunity to dress up in kimono with kimono-dressers. Contemporary culture was also celebrated through a Cosplay competition, anime-goods stalls, and manga-artists. Delicious food was available too. I enjoyed curry and rice. Natsukashii!
There were also a large number of stalls featuring the Japanese-culture societies from the North West of England. We were situated next to the Manchester Kyudo Group (photo below) and it was fascinating to watch them shoot their enormous bows and arrows with extreme concentration. I think my co-exhibitor was sorely tempted to join their group. There are still so many aspects of Japanese culture to learn about, even for JET veterans.
We had the privilege to chat with numerous members of the public about the JET programme, our experience of teaching and living in Japan and the role of JETAA. There was a very positive reaction from people who had never heard of JET and those who had only a vague impression of JET. We also met people who wanted to apply for JET in the near future and were keen to hear about our experiences.
Crucially, we were able to connect with past JETs who we hadn’t met before and encourage them to sign up for the JETAA website and follow our Facebook page. We hope that they will be able to attend some of the fantastic events that JETAA NW have coming up in the next few months. It was also interesting to hear what the ex-JETs are up to in the North West (law seemed to be a common theme!) and meet some of their partners and family members. It seems like every time we have a stall at this kind of event we can make new connections with ex-JETs and those in our community who have a real enthusiasm for Japan. It is always worthwhile and a pleasure to be included. We look forward to seeing you at the next one!
Kind regards, Caroline Oakley - North West Chapter Vice Chair