What’s JET Fest?

You can find the official definition in the ALT’s ABCs, but this festival is a shared part of Toyama CIR duties regardless of placement, as each CIR is a member of the Executive Committee (実行委員会). JET Fest is an international exchange festival taking place during the late winter, typically on a Sunday, and is held by the JET community for JETs and the larger community as a whole.

ALTs and foreign residents of Toyama are recruited as volunteers for different corners, such as international booths, multicultural experience workshops, stage performances, mini language cafes, and staffing the Photo Contest/Art&Design exhibit area, which display photos and art submitted by Toyama JETs. Visit the bilingual JET Fest website at toyamazing.wordpress.com for past JET Fest overviews and ask your senpai CIRs for past JET Fest reports.

Planning for JET Fest begins with the arrival of new CIRs, with senpai CIRs serving as President and Vice President and one or more CIRs assigned to oversee each corner. CIRs are all responsible for a) volunteer outreach to their specific regions, b) creating a proposal for how they will run their corner (depending on the corner, with a partner or senpai CIR), and c) gathering all necessary materials for their corner and receiving receipts of all expenses incurred by corner participants.

CIRs also participate in promoting JET Fest, whether it be appearances on local TV, blog posts, receiving flyers and distributing them at their workplaces, or simply spreading the word.

English-speaking CIRs in particular will be asked to reach out to ALTs or work at English-focused corners such as international booths and multicultural workshops. They may also interpret from English to Japanese for guests on the day of JET Fest. During the event, CIRs are usually stationed at their corners, but may also appear in other corners, including as a performer or workshop host. CIRs work the entire day of JET Fest, from 9 am to 5 pm, and receive 代休 (comp time) for it along with the ALTs.

Since JET Fest preparation will be a primary part of your work in the winter months, be sure to delegate and schedule accordingly. CIR work in general comes in waves, and if you ever feel overwhelmed, please reach out to your fellow CIRs or communicate with your workplace about your workload. Winter 定例会 will increase in number the closer it gets to JET Fest, and time should be allotted for preparation work during them.

JET Fest is one of the biggest opportunities CIRs get to work on managing an event and interacting one-on-one with JETs and Japanese visitors alike. While it requires a lot of effort, your experience in Toyama will be much richer for it!

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