On Saturday 8th of July, 2017, JETAATT with the support of the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago hosted Subarashii Saturday (Tanabata Edition) at the Centre for Language Learning (CLL) at the UWI. The event was in celebration of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme’s 30th Anniversary. It was a day filled with fun activities, Japanese culture and of course promotion of the JET Programme. The Head Committee and the some volunteer alumni members all participated to make the day a great success.
There were light refreshments available throughout the event for those who were interested. A definite favourite of the day was the Photo-booth. The photo booth team worked tirelessly putting on traditional Japanese clothing (kimono, yukata, jinbei) on patrons while Events Coordinator Paul expertly managed the photography of those garbed in traditional Japanese fashion. Many patrons were excited to try on these clothing provided by members of the Committee. For some, it was their first time to don traditional Japanese clothing and having a Polaroid photo to capture the moment left patrons highly satisfied with this experience.
Another activity that drew a crowd was the fun yet delicate task of teaching members of the public the Japanese art of folding paper (origami). Persons learnt to fold paper cranes which is a cherished art form.
Information about the JET Programme was provided while the public perused the first ever JET Photo gallery, where photographs submitted by alumni members were on display. All this while next door there were demonstrations of how to play with fun and challenging traditional Japanese toys such as Kendama, Daruma Otoshi and Japanese tops. Patrons were delighted when they received small prizes for completing the goal of the toys. Persons enjoyed playing with these toys and some got a treat when a few Japanese nationals from the Embassy of Japan visited and showcased their skills with artistry.
Alumni member Radica helped patrons write their names in Japanese on a specially made commemorative bookmark for the event, as well as tell them about the story of Tanabata. Other alumni members pitched in taking shifts managing the refreshments cafe while the entire head committee were having a JET forum open to members of the public. Alumni member Chrisha answered questions from the public and shared a bit of her JET experience. Also showing their support were three local Japanese residents.
The JET Forum was well received. The auditorium – which has a capacity of one hundred seats – was nearly full. Students of the university, high schoolers, children, middle-aged and mature persons gathered anxiously to listen to the experiences of the committee and ask detailed questions about what it was like to live and work in Japan. We received a wide array of questions: from “What is a typical work day like?” to “How safe is Japan?” to “What is it like to work with Japanese students?” among many others. Shared and varied experiences regarding topics such as culture shock, daily routine, transport and medical care were shared with the audience. We walked patrons through the application process and encouraged everyone to apply for what could quite possibly be one of the best decision of their lives.
There was an anime movie screening by the Embassy which gathered a crowd. The movie titled Garden of Words proved to be entertaining and thought provoking. To close of the day of activities there was a cosplay show hosted by ALIAS. Patrons left satisfied, entertained, educated and motivated.
In our journey to strengthen bilateral relations between Japan and Trinidad and Tobago, JETAATT is constantly seeking opportunities to strengthen intercultural communication and awareness.
It has been just over a year since our Association was founded, and we have been honoured to play such key roles in its establishment. We will continue to work together and pursue cooperation initiatives with other organisations to enhance visibility of the programme.