After a year-long absence, JETAA Prairies (the local JET alumni for Manitoba and Saskatchewan) returned for this year’s Folklorama. The Japanese Pavilion is one of the most popular pavilions. This year’s iteration took place at the large Petrus Hall on Inkster from August 11th to August 17th. Out of the Japanese Pavilion audience who attended the week-long festivities, over 400 patrons visited the JETAA Prairies table.
What’s New at the JETAA Prairies Table?
Coupled with the traditional brochures and pamphlets, we brought back the Japan map and invited the public to place stars on where they’ve been. We also had an ema made of paper and cardboard. An ema is a small wooden plaque found at Shinto/Buddhist shrines. People write their wishes and hang them at a specific place at the shrine. We asked people to write down their wishes. Here are some of their wishes:
The Entertainment and the Food/Refreshments
In terms of entertainment, this year’s Japanese Pavilion provided folk dancing performances, martial arts demonstrations (judo and karate), and even an idol dance group. After those performances, the final act of the show is the thunderous sounds of Hinode Taiko. Also, the Pavilion offered Japanese food like sushi, Japanese beer, and kakigori (shaved ice flavoured with syrup).
A Diverse Group of People
Interestingly, we met a diverse group of people who have Japan as part of their lives. Firstly, we met people who are planning to apply for the JET Programme this year (or the following year). Secondly, we met people who had lived and worked in Japan via a private teaching company and we also met a former JET from the late 90s! Lastly, a teen stopped by and explained that her parents were both JETs! For the most part, JET alumni enjoyed their interactions with the crowd.
By the end of the week, the people filled our Japan map with stars and ema. We even ran out of JET pamphlets towards Friday! Good thing we’ve found a pile of them in one alumni’s home. Above all, JETAA Prairies would like to thank JCAM (Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba) for allowing us to have a presence at the Japanese Pavilion. Likewise, thank you to all the JETAA Prairies volunteers who administered our table.