While rain threatened most of the week, we had clear sunny skies all day long for this year’s Amazing Race, and an amazing event it was!
The participants arrived bright and early–all 74 of them!–eager and ready for a day of fun games and challenges. This was definitely our biggest race yet! We were very happy to see so many local college students participating and getting a chance to have some real-world encounters engaging with foreigners.
This event seems to grow more and more popular each year, and we couldn’t be more excited! This year posed an interesting challenge for MAJET, however. After hosting the race in central Miyazaki for three years in a row, we were running out of ideas for new and interesting places to send our participants throughout the day. We are happy to have made so many connections with local shops and businesses downtown, but the race route had become predictable, giving an advantage to repeat participants.
So, we asked the Miyazaki City International Association (MCIA) for some ideas, and they suggested hosting the race in Aoshima this year. We were a little nervous at first; many people (foreigners and Japanese alike) don’t know much about the area besides the beach and the shrine. But, we figured this was a perfect chance to meet our goal of introducing participants to new and possibly unknown places in Miyazaki while giving them a chance to interact with people from a different culture. The new plan worked! We were able to send teams on a journey throughout Aoshima to discover new places and shops to visit.
Our Disney/Ghibli theme was also a huge success! Not only did the participants really enjoy the games and challenges, but the volunteers also had a great time coming up with the ideas in the first place. From broomstick deliveries to pirate battles and tea parties, a fantastic time was had by all!
Our winning teams this year truly went above and beyond to claim their victories. Team 10 won the fastest time prize, finishing the race at 2:27pm (after bonuses and deductions)–a full two hours earlier than we’s anticipated! Team 16 proved that underdog stories can come true, for while this team was the last to finish, they blew the other teams away with 58 points earned throughout the day!
We’re so glad that everyone who volunteered and participated had such a great time. We can’t wait for next year’s race!
A special thanks to MCIA and the Aoshima Chiiki Machizukuri Office for helping us with all of the planning and arrangements for the day, Mr. Genki Kobayashi at Miyazaki Municipal University for helping us recruit student volunteers and participants, Rika Lucy Kubota and the Ikime no Mori Yuukokan for helping us borrow archery equipment, Sakura Nakamura for introducing us to the Miyazaki Municipal University Hula Club, the MMU Hula Club for being the best hula teachers in Miyazaki 😉 , and Bon Delice, Aoshima Guesthouse, Aoshima Shrine, and Aoshima Botanical Garden for allowing us to use their space for the event. Without help from all of these great people and businesses, this event could not have been as successful as it was!
We hope you’ll join us next year!
Check out our photo album on Facebook!
* Photos submitted by Cassie Conrad, Tim Gibbs, Jodi Dobinsky, and Hayley Closter