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Rugby World Cup 2011, Nostalgia and Planning for the Future

It has been almost two months since I last blogged! It has been a rather hectic time and the Rugby World Cup (RWC) has been a healthy distraction. What an amazing tournament it was! The next World Cup will be in England in 2015 and then in Japan in 2019!

Here’s a few things Auckland JETAA has been up to over the last two months.

The RWC started with a very impressive opening ceremony and many of the Auckland Japanese community went to see the second game where Japan’s Brave Blossoms gallantly took on France. I along with JETAA members Justin, Nicole and Deanne went to see the game. Our seats were in a part of the stadium where fellow JETAA committee member Shelley, was volunteering for the RWC as an usher. (See the photo below). It was a fantastic game and Japan played very well. The atmosphere at North Harbour Stadium was amazing. I had the Japanese flag draped around my shoulders and I did my best  to drown out the French supporters’ chants of “Allez les Bleus” with shouts of “Ganbare Nippon!”. Thank you must go to Justin, our longstanding Treasurer for organising tickets many months in advance.

The New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland (NZJS) held rugby viewing events in Newmarket for all the Japan games and a lot of JETAA members attended. See the photo below of Jo, our committee liason officer, at one of the events showing her support for NZ-Japan relations!

Late in September I along with other committee members, Sonia, Shelley, Jo and Amelia presented and talked at three JET promotion events organised by the Japanese consulate at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland University and Massey University’s Albany Campus. Rose from Hamilton helped out with the JET presentation at Waikato University. It was great to see a wide range of people interested in the JET programme and a lot of questions were asked. Talking about my time and experiences on JET and showing a powerpoint presentation of photos brought a real sense of nostalgia.

Also in September, I had the opportunity to see another JETAA member, University lecturer Corey Wallace participate in a debate on human rights during a human rights week at Auckland University. See the picture below.

The Rotorua Ekiden was the next big event where the JETAA “Usagi” team participated and defended the Usagi vs Kame competition that JETAA and NZJS have been contesting over the last few years. It was a great weekend and soaking in a hot pool brought back memories of “onsens” from Japan, and more of that nostalgia. Next year will be the 10 year anniversary of the Rotorua Ekiden so hopefully JETAA will have more than just one team. It really is a good weekend as the event is on the Saturday and then on Sunday you can enjoy all that Rotorua has to offer, and it’s only a 2 hour drive from Auckland.

Brendan Bergin, a past Auckland JETAA President, who left in August for his second time on JET wrote a report for us. Olivia Upton, a 2011 JET also wrote a report on her first few months in Japan and you can read both reports in our most recent newsletter. Thank you to both of them.

On October 15th we had the annual JETAA NCEA Revision Day and while the numbers weren’t very high it was a successful day for the students and all who were involved. Thank you to Caroline, Jenni and Grant for their time and their efforts to make the day go smoothly.

Even though there’s still two months to go before 2012, I have started thinking about and planning for next year and looking at what Auckland JETAA will be involved in and what we can do to really promote the JET programme, and the NZ-Japan relationship. Recently Jo, our liason officer, and I met with the International department of the Auckland City Council and introduced Auckland JETAA and what we do. It was a good way to start what will hopefully be a strong relationship. Next year the Auckland area will celebrate long standing sister city relationships with cities in Japan.

Planning is important in a volunteer organisation and providing a vision or purpose provides a form of motivation for its members to get involved and offer their time and services for the benefit of the community. Auckland JETAA members, past and present are an amazing group of people who have all sorts of skills, abilities and talents. Hopefully being able to tap into all that will allow the JETAA committee to organise fantastic activities and events that help to promote the JET programme and the NZ-Japan relationship well into the future. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or you would like to get involved next year with the committee or would just like to volunteer your time.

Will be posting again soon…(from Kyoto!)

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