The 2014 Leavers’ Party

The fourth of July was certainly a day to remember for many Miyazaki JETs. While those leaving us may not be returning to their homes until later this month or next, July 4 was the night when many ALTs, CIRs, and their non-JET friends came together for one last hurrah to honor our dear friends at the MAJET Leavers’ party.

This was the first event for the new 2014 MAJET Board, and it sure was a  blast! The party was held at Sky Gold on Tachibanadori in Miyazaki City. The space was cozy and classy, but not too formal, allowing the party-goers to dress up or dress down as they chose. Many people from all over Miyazaki came to celebrate and say goodbye to their friends.

Each leaver was presented with a banzai headband upon arrival. Throughout the night, we had shikishi boards laid out for everyone to sign and leave messages for each leaver. Another fun activity involved writing notes and messages on labels and sticking them on the leavers. This eventually spread to include everyone else, as well. In some cases, the labels were abandoned entirely and people began writing directly on each other!

The food was amazing! Sky Gold featured a variety of dishes. The appetizers included a fresh salad, pizza, and delicious herbed potato fries. The rest of the courses ranged everywhere from spaghetti to tandoori chicken. The dessert was a little rushed, but included some delicious pastries with whipped cream. Everything was truly fantastic!

Throughout dinner, we played a slideshow of group photos including both leavers and non-leavers. It was great fun to see the reactions and surprise when a leaver saw a photo they didn’t expect or didn’t know existed. Jodi compiled an awesome soundtrack to go with it, but it was often drowned out by the boisterous conversation. You can can see the slideshow below.

About halfway through the night, we had a representative from each year of JETs give a speech.

Bane spoke for the first years and shared how much he was going to miss everyone. He also talked about keeping in touch through LINE and all the joy and envy it would bring to see everyone continuing on their Miyazaki adventures.

Jaime spoke for the second years, and shared a fantastic poem she had written, heralding both the fun and frustrations of JET life in Miyazaki. You can read Jaime’s poem on her blog here.

Beth was up for the third years and spoke on the trials and tribulations, but also the amazing points of living in Miyazaki. Beth has been the rallier for many weekend adventures in the prefecture, so she had tons of memories to share!

Tracey spoke for the fourth years, sharing wonderful stories of moments she had encountered in her life in Miyazaki; some were uncannily humorous, while others were more sentimental and touching.

Sascha spoke for the fifth years. He asked that we all have a moment of silence for those leaving and then got the room to break out into loving farewells as we all went around to hug one another.

The speakers elicited many memories and emotions from all listening.

 After the speeches, we watched a special slideshow showcasing each of the leavers individually. Jaime had requested “Time of My Life” as a slideshow song, and it fit perfectly. We began with the first year JETs and progressed up through the fifth year JETs.

Next up was a quick show involving a practical joke on Jeremy. Throughout the year, Bane had been sneaking pictures of Jeremy as he took pictures of various things. It was a small private joke and Jeremy had had no idea at all! Everyone got a good laugh out of it, including Jeremy.

After the speeches and the special slideshows, everyone resumed socializing and having a grand old time. All in all, it was a fantastic evening. We are all very sad to see so many of our friends go, but we can’t think of a better way to have sent them off on their next adventures!

You can check out the full album at our Facebook group! (sorry, you’ll need to be a member of our group to see the photos)

*Photos by Cassie Conrad

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