Gunma Orientation, round two!

18 Aug

ImageLast year, I was a first-year JET participant, and as a result, was required to go to the prefectural orientation at Gunma’s prefectural office in the capital city, Maebashi.  This year, however, I went back again as a volunteer, helping to organize the orientation as a member of the Gunma Orientation Committee.  This means I helped to organize the schedule, give informational presentations, answer any questions the new JETs had, generally show them around, set up, and clean up the orientation.  It was a lot of work and was absolutely exhausting, but it was also a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed helping the new people and trying to make the orientation as useful and not-overwhelming as possible… and hey, I got to see Gunma’s prefectural mascot, Gunma-chan, too!

ImageBasically, the orientation was a series of presentations
on the first day, followed by Q&A from an anonymous box and then a “party” in the evening in the prefectural office basement cafeteria hosted by the education division.  There was food and drinks, as well as a few speeches and an opportunity to sign up for Gunma tourism emails and talk to various Japanese workers in the prefectural education division.  Afterwards, the JET association hosted karaoke parties, but I was far too exhausted after a day of moving things, running around the prefectural office building, and giving presentations.

ImageThe second day was a few more presentations, followed by a series of workshops.  The new JETs could be pick two between options like “Fun in Gunma” and “Special Dietary Needs.”  I presented on “Modern Pop Culture” and while sadly, there wasn’t a large turnout, I had a really good time talking about the things that I enjoy!  I hope that maybe I can be involved in the committee again next year, and that I can do a better job advertising it so that more people will choose to come.

ImageAfter the workshops was lunch, and then after that, there were cultural workshops! I was an assistant for the karate workshop, so I got to watch the karate classes, as well as the demonstrations that the teachers did.  They broke a lot of boards, which was really impressive, and did some sets of karate movements, as well.  To me, that was almost more impressive, because you could see how much technique and practice was involved in their precise movements.  They also taught the JETs to punch a hole in a newspaper, among other things, and it was fun to watch them learn and succeed.

ImageAfter the cultural workshops, there were some meetings between regional
representatives and the new JETs living in those areas, and then more Q&A from the box.  And then that was the end! We sent the new JETs on their way before cleaning up all the posters and decorations.  I was exhausted by the time we were done, but it was a really rewarding experience, and I hope that I can be involved again next year!

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