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.
Over 150 people stopped by at the JETAA Prairies desk over the past weekend at Ai-Kon at the RBC Convention Centre. People of all ages and backgrounds asked questions and picked up free swag. (Also, it does help that a couple of the JETs cosplayed, too.)
In addition, we held a panel/Q&A regarding our wonderful/wackiest stories from Japan. We gave our presentation at the JCAM room and each JET took turns telling their stories. Likewise, at the end of the panel, we invited the audience to share their stories. For example, one member of the audience told a story about when she was in Japan for a school trip, the class accidentally took a wrong turn and found themselves in the red light district.
Interestingly, we met several people who are close to or have already graduated from university. We encouraged them to apply for the JET Programme. More importantly, we only hope that they can apply and we see them at Pre-Departure Orientation. We wish them the best of luck!
Yes, we’re planning for our much-anticipated Wild and Wonderful Stories from Japan panel for Friday, July 26th at 7:30pm. The above image is one of our slides for the upcoming panel. Likewise, there will be more material to cover.
In the meantime, we will also try to trend Twitter by inviting people to ask questions before and during the panel by using “#AskaJET”. For example, a potential tweet might be “Hey @jetaaprairies, what are the coolest spots in Japan? #AskaJET”. If you have questions, feel free to give @jetaaprairies a shoutout!
With Folklorama on the horizon, we are looking for volunteers to staff the JETAA Prairies table at the Japanese pavilion. This is a great place to meet people who have been to Japan, who want to go to Japan or who may be interested in the JET Programme. As this is a multi day event, we are hoping to get many volunteers as we can. At least 2 volunteers are needed each day. Even if you can only help out for one day, that would be great!
FOLKLORAMA: Location: Petrus Hall | 2624 Inkster Blvd.
Dates: Sunday, August 11 – Saturday, August 17, 2019 (Folklorama week 2) Times: 5:30pm to 10:30pm
*Show times are 6:45, 8:15, 9:45 pm Sun to Fri and 5:15, 6:45, 8:15, 9:45 pm on Sat. If we can get more than 2 volunteers per day, we can split the time up as only 2 staff are needed at a time. Please let us know via our Facebook Group or our Contact Form if you can help out and what day/days you are available.
Do you see that dotted red circle in the above image? That is the JETAA Prairies panel + Q & A called Wild and Wonderful Stories from Japan. It will take place at Room 15 at the RBC Convention Centre, Friday, July 26th, at 7:30pm. More importantly, our alumni will be present to share their wacky stories from the Land of the Rising Sun. Also, for those who are thinking about applying for JET Programme some time in the future, this is the perfect opportunity to ask your questions.
Hidehiro Otake will be making an appearance at the Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba, 180 McPhillips Street, on August 19th, 2018 at 8pm.
The Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba, JCAM, will be hosting an evening with Hidehiro Otake, a wildlife photographer originally from Winnipeg’s sister city, Setagaya, this Sunday, August 19th starting at 8pm. Otake has been photographing the wildlife and their enviornment in Canada and the USA. He has published his photos in forms of children’s books in Japan. His photographs can been seen in other publications and are so loved that various people have asked him to take them to these spots.
Obon Matsuri, Burton Cummings Community Centre, Winnipeg, July 7th, 2018
This past Saturday on the Japanese holiday of Tanabata (the Star Festival), Winnipeg held it’s first Bon Odori Matsuri organized by JCAM (Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba). The venue was the Burton Cummings Community Centre (Yes, the guy who sang “These Eyes” and “American Woman”). JCAM served cold drinks and beer, sold taiyaki (think of them as a cake in the shape of a fish and usually filled with azuki beans/cream), takoyaki (fried octopus covered in batter), and kakigori (shaved ice with your choice of flavour). Also, there was entertainment in the form of traditional Japanese dances, taiko drumming, and otaku dancing. This event was the perfect example of the small but burgeoning Japanese community in Winnipeg.
A few members of JETAA Prairies volunteered for the day with responsibilities ranging from setup/takedown, entertainment, security, and concessions. Our next event will be the JETAA Prairies Cooking Class and Karaoke Night for our new JETs on July 21st. To all alumni, let us know if you want participate!