This year, the JET Programme selected three people from Manitoba and six from Saskatchewan for the 2019-2020 year. JETAA Prairies alumni held an orientation at the Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba for the new JETs. Alumni brought the doughnuts, coffee, and lunch for everyone involved in the full-day event. Above all, alumni brought a lot of vital information about Japan and what’s to come.
Alumni talked about what to bring to Japan, how to get involved with the community, and an interactive time-capsule activity where the new JETs wrote their goals for Japan and current emotions (subsequently, alumni will mail these worksheets to the new JETs in December). More importantly, there were surprises for the new JETs. The new JETs tried on yukatas/jinbeis (brought by alumni). Next, alumni Michelle brought her photo albums about her experience on JET in the late 90s and talked about how JET affected her career path. Following that, everyone chowed down on Chosabi sushi burritos.
After that, alumni talked via Appear.in with a current JET, Jenna, who departed Winnipeg last year. She talked about her JET life so far. Interestingly, one of the new JETs is friends with Jenna.
We held our first meeting of the new year at Chosabi’s in Winnipeg. We have a couple of events coming up in the next couple of months: namely, we are planning to have a Japan panel at next month’s Winterfest (a.k.a. Ai-kon Lite), and a March screening of a documentary commemorating the Great Tohoku Earthquake. If you are a JET alumni who would like to get involved, please let us know!
Afterward, via Skype, JETAA Prairies members talked to a JET alumni in Saskatchewan and would like to contribute to JETAA. One of the challenges for JETAA Prairies is to connect and work with JET alumni living in Saskatchewan. However, the distance and transportation costs are always a barrier. As a result, JETAA Prairies don’t have an enough presence in Saskatchewan. Hopefully, we can slowly change this in the upcoming future.
A Piece of History
Lastly, after we concluded our Skype teleconference, we went through this bin of old JET Prairies materials. Most materials looked like they are mostly from the early 2000s. Then we found this disc that said “JET Video”. Our curiosities peaked. What was this? We popped it into a player. We were not disappointed.
It looked like an informational, yet casual, video of JET Program life, particularly in the southern island of Kyushu. The fashion was definitely early 90s and in one of the scenes, there was a timestamp of “1993”. All of us were in awe. The best way to describe the video: combine JET informational content with the aesthetic of 90s skateboard videos done in 8mm.
There were nice sceneries of Fukuoka and a shot of an ice hockey game. There were also some strange scenes in the video. The most hilarious part was when a JET participant and her Japanese friend were talking about their art exhibit. The JET participant tried to explain the theme of their art but couldn’t explain very clearly. Her Japanese friend also made an attempt….and said the art being “something sexual”. Then for some reason, the editor of the video decided to loop that sound clip three more times.
All of us were so enamoured by this video that we decided to reach out to one of the hosts. Hopefully, we can get the complete story (or a sequel). This video made our night, at least, made my night. To all of our JET senpais: WE SALUTE YOU!
“Sometimes, I do need to go karaoke, sometimes I need to relax.” – Jackie Chan
On May 12th, we had our first Karaoke Night! Once you do karaoke in Japan, it’s very hard to shake the habit off after returning to your home country. If you are wondering which karaoke machine we used, we used Karafun. Flight of Conchords songs ruled the evening. If you somehow didn’t get the chance to go, don’t worry! We will hold another JETAA Prairies Karaoke Night again! So, stay tuned!