Looking for an excuse to go explore the tranquil mountainous Kuma area of Kumamoto? Whether you want to sample some renowned Kuma Shochu or be a part of traditional Japanese festivals, check out the table below for upcoming events. (If you don’t drive, Hitoyoshi City can also be reached by train directly, and Asagiri can be reached by train after changing at Hitoyoshi. )
There is a festival on 19th of August in Uchinomaki, Aso!
There will be free entry to hot springs and a fireworks show. Each company/group will do the bonodori dance. The B.O.E. usually participates every year and they change their colours too. The hospital workers will wear green happi coats, the city hall will wear purple, the firemen will wear red etc. The food stalls are awesome!
See the blog post below for more details (in English and Japanese)
The 40th Hinokuni Festival will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2017! The Hinokuni Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Kumamoto with the highlight of the festival being the Otemoyan Dance on Saturday night that takes place in downtown Kumamoto City.
All Kumamoto JETs are invited to dance in the Otemoyan Dance with the Kencho team. You can learn the dance right before the festival starts, so no previous dance skills are required! The dance will start at 19:00 on August 5, but the meeting time and place will be announced later.
If you are Kumamoto JET and are interested in participating in the Otemoyan Dance, please let Laura (PA) know by Wednesday, July 19. It doesn’t matter if you are leaving or an incoming JET, as long as you are here on August 5 you can participate. In addition, friends and family are more than welcome to join. You can contact Laura at the Kumamoto PA email address or at email@example.com.
It is free to participate and the Kencho will provide happi (coats) to all participants. However, they do request that you wear white shorts. If you do not own white shorts you can order them through the kencho for 1,200 yen. If you would like to order white shorts for the dance (sizes S, M, L, LL, and 3L), please say so.
For more information about the festival itself, please check out the Hinokuni Festival website.
On Friday, June 23, we held a meeting for Kumamoto JETs who will be leaving the JET Programme this summer. Thank you to everyone who attended, thank you to our speakers, and thank you to Governor Kabashima and Kumamon!
The leaving JETs discussed many things, including the challenges they have faced on JET, what they will miss after leaving Kumamoto, and what they are looking forward to (eating “real” cheese, apparently). We hope that this meeting was beneficial to all who attended!
We wish everyone the best of luck in their post-JET lives!
If you would like more information on the procedures and necessary preparation for after JET, please take a look at the Information Packet for Non-Reappointing JETs.
Thank you to everyone who came to the International Friendship Festival on November 27!
And an extra special thank you to everyone who volunteered at the festival! This year, we had a number of JETs participate in the festival by running booths, performing on stage, and helping out with general (but necessary and hugely appreciated!) volunteer work.
If you missed it this year, please consider volunteering or attending next year! 😉
Here are some photos from the event.
This Sunday, November 27 is the International Friendship Festival!
If you have free time and happen to be in the area, please stop by! Several JETs will be participating in the festival and they would surely love your support. There will be booth exhibits, a bazaar, a world gourmet food corner, a cultural exchange corner, stage performances, tea tasting, kimono dress up, and more! There will also be a stamp rally with prizes.
The festival will be held at Hotel Eminence (https://goo.gl/maps/FBFNjvFHwDo) in Mashiki from 11:00 to 16:00. The event is free to attend, but bring some money for food and shopping.
Click here to see the event program flyer (in Japanese).
This is a good chance to connect with the international community within Kumamoto Prefecture.
Hope to see you there!
Oh, and maybe bring a rain jacket…!
The second annual Junior High School Higokko Wakuwaku English Camp was held on Saturday, October 29. Junior High School students interested in English came from all over Kumamoto Prefecture to the camp to enjoy using English and learning about other cultures.
Our favorite mascot, Kumamon, joined the party! Feel free to check out some photos from the camp.
Still looking for something to do for the three-day weekend coming up?
Come see some beautiful handmade lanterns in Kumamoto City! There will be bamboo and paper lanterns all around the Hanabatacho area of the city and near Kumamoto Castle.
October 8 (Sat.), 18:00 – 22:00
October 9 (Sun.), 18:00 – 21:00
Near the statue of Kato Kiyomasa (across from the International Center)
Click here for more information about the festival (Japanese only).
The second annual Elementary School Higokko Wakuwaku English Camp was held on Saturday, October 1. Elementary school students from all over the prefecture came to Hotel Terrsa in Kumamoto City to participate in the camp. Together with Kumamoto ALTs, the students enjoyed a full day of English communication and cultural exchange!
There was also a special guest this year… Kumamon!
Here are a bunch of photos from the camp. Take a look!