The GAJET community gathered in Maebashi this past Saturday for the eighth annual I Can Japan charity event. ALTs and locals alike gathered for an evening of great food, performances, and prizes. All the money raised at this event is given to the Komochiyama foster home in Shibukawa, Gunma.
We hope to see you all next year. In the meantime, check out the photos from the event. Thanks to Jansen Magarro and Gavin Au-Yeung for taking pictures.
Last weekend, members of GAJET had an opportunity to give back to the community by spending a playful afternoon at the Komochiyama Foster Home in Shibukawa. The brief visit is an early indicator for GAJET’s annual I Can Japan event, being held this year on May 25.
I Can Japan began as an endeavor to support the communities affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Borrowing the kanji characters for love (愛, ‘ai’) and feelings (感, ‘kan’), I Can Japan 2019 will mark the third year of GAJET supporting Komochiyama’s cause; 100% of the proceeds raised will be donated to the foster home. Your contributions will help provide invaluable resources for the children living there.
Komochiyama is home to more than 50 children ranging from infants to teenagers. The home provides a safe, supportive, and engaging environment for these growing children.
During the visit, GAJET members took part in many fun activities with the children. The afternoon started off with self-introductions from the kids, staff, and GAJET members. After we got to know each other, we began the fun activities outside.
The first game we played was a hybrid of Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light. The goal of the game was to listen carefully and move forward only when ‘Simon says’. The kids caught on quick and it became an intense race to the finish line. The children had a great time taking large leaps towards the goal, while GAJET members struggled to keep their balance.
Afterwards, the group played Capture the Bacon. This game involved arranging the kids in numbered groups based on their size. When a number gets called out, the corresponding group would race towards the ‘bacon’ (in this case, a small bag), the first person to pick it up is the winner. This was initially confusing for some of the younger kids. It was hilarious to see some of them charging at the ‘bacon’ at every chance they got – regardless of which number was called out.
Finally, we played a fierce game of Duck-Duck-Goose. Racing around the circle of people with a 5 year old chasing after you was a challenge. It was actually quite defeating to be tagged by a kid a quarter of your size. Once tagged you would be forced to sit in the middle of the circle, and become the ‘duck soup.’ While in the circle, the slurping sounds and tiny chomping jaws begin. Some of the kids would say you are delicious while others would show disgust. The children had no restraint in telling us what they thought.
To cool down after all the excitement, we ventured back inside to make paper suns for I Can Japan. Be sure to come out on May 25 to see their beautiful creations. Suns, faces, and cartoon characters were only some of the pieces of art that were made.
Four o’clock had come and we had to say our goodbyes. Hugs and head pats were a plenty, and some kids held on to us a little longer than others. I found myself surrounded by the children, ripping off their nametags and slapping them onto my jacket.
This afternoon served as a reminder that we are easily caught up in our lives; losing sight of what is happening around the community. We are truly fortunate to be ALTs in Gunma. The time we spent at the foster home showed us that children are able to enjoy their lives despite their unfortunate experiences. It showed us the strength of these children. Furthermore, the workers at Komochiyama deserve recognition for maintaining a safe, clean and healthy place for these kids to grow. We were able to witness the love, compassion and kindness they have for these children.
It is from this strong sense of community that we can move forward and proudly say “I Can!”
Jansen Magarro is a fourth year JET in Tatebayashi. He is on this year’s GAJET committee as the Tobu representative. Come out and say “hi” to him at I Can Japan.
When the dust settled, it was the team in green who hoisted the coveted Golden Cabbage; the second consecutive year in which the Tobu region would win the late-summer classic.
ALTs from all across Gunma traveled to Takasaki as the Gunma Games returned for its sixth iteration on September 1. As always, the event attracted a large crowd of both new and returning JETs. Throughout the day, competitors from the five regions of Gunma competed in a series of events in which – keeping on topic with Gunma – involved A LOT of cabbages.
Competitors jump, tossed, and stomped their way through the day’s eight events before the Tobu team took home the trophy. Events included the cabbage toss, cabbage bowling, Gunma trivia, and the ever-popular Ultimate Cabbage.
Often considered the first major GAJET event of the new JET-year, the Gunma Games is a great chance for everyone to gather and make new friends . Despite the competitive energy in the air, camaraderie and friendship stood out to be the real main events of the day.
Relive the action by checking out the photos here (Facebook album)
Looking for a way to meet new people in Gunma while having fun and competing? Say no more! It’s almost time for the sixth annual Gunma Games!
Never heard of the Gunma Games? The Gunma Games is usually the first large GAJET event after the new JETs arrive in Gunma. Come on out and represent your region in this Olympic-style sporting event! Events can range from trivia, paper crane folding, relay-race, and of course the ever-popular Ultimate Cabbage!
Athletes and non-athletes alike are welcome to participate. Regardless of your abilities, you’ll be sure to have a fun time.
The Gunma Games will be held on September 1st at Takasaki Ishihara Green Space. Please arrive by 11:30 as the opening ceremonies will commence at noon.
The Gunma Games wouldn’t be complete without the following Welcome Beer Garden. There’s no better way to end off a day in the sun than with drinking with your fellow competitors. Everyone is welcome to join us as the Takasaki Takashiyama Rooftop Beer Garden after the festivities.
Please sign up via the google document (click here), and remember to wear your region appropriate color to the event (PS. Speak to your regional representative if you don’t know what color you are)!
Time: Gunma Games (11:30 – 16:00) and Welcome Beer Garden (17:00 – 21:00)
Fee: Gunma Games (free) and Welcome Beer Garden (￥3,000 for males and ￥2,600 for females)
For more information, please check out the Facebook event or contact a GAJET member.
Welcome to Gunma! You’ve just arrived in Japan (more specifically, Gunma), and have spent the past few days trying to get acclimated to your new home. Perhaps you’ve been fighting the sweltering heat, navigating the soy-sauce aisle at your local grocery store, and facing off against other daily challenges which would not be a problem back in your home country.
Regardless of how your new adventures in Gunma have been, it’s definitely time for a proper welcome for the new JETs. GAJET is hosting a Welcome Party on Friday, August 17. Hosted by your lovely GAJET Seibu Reps, the party is aimed towards new JETs living in Gunma’s Seibu region (Takasaki, Kanra, Tomioka, Shimonita, Kanna, Uenomura, Nanmoku, Annaka, and Fujioka). Of course, everyone – new, old, and non-Seibu JETs – is welcome to come!
The party will be hosted at Gru Cafe and Restaurant in Takasaki City, and festivities will be from 6 PM to 9 PM. The cost for the event will be ￥2,700 per person, and will cover two drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) as well as a buffet-style pasta menu. Registration is mandatory via Google Documents (click here). Please confirm your attendence by August 13th (those who cancel after this date will still be charged). For more information, please visit the Facebook event page or contact your Seibu Reps.
With summer in full swing, we are once again approaching matsuri (festival) season. Within Gunma, the Takasaki matsuri is always a popular attration. This year, the festival will fall on August 4th and 5th. There’s no better way to enjoy the festival than with your fellow JETs. So let’s put on our yukatas, grab some delicious street food, and enjoy the fireworks!
If you would like to experience this event with your fellow JETs, please come out on August 4th to Takasaki Park (specific meeting spot TBD). Takasaki matsuri is usually a busy event; taking public transit is the recommended method of transportation. The park is just a 15 minute walk from Takasaki Station. GAJET will be gathering at Takasaki City Hall and heading towards the park at 6 PM. The fireworks are set to begin around 7:40 PM.
Hope to see you there!