Jellyfish, Vanquished Giant Snakes, and Sleeping Bags

 2017 Welcome Weekend Summary

The final weekend of summer holidays saw over 50 JETs and our friends attending MAJET’s 2017 Welcome Weekend. Spread across a Beach BBQ, the Cape Toi Fire Festival and Sakaematsu Camping, there was something for everyone! It was the perfect event to welcome the new JETs to our beautiful (and HOT!) home prefecture.

The day started with a BBQ at Ishinami Beach in Kushima, a hefty drive for our friends out in the further reaches of Miyazaki. Many of the Miyazaki Senpai’s kindly offered to give lifts to the new JETs which was deeply appreciated and made the day extremely smooth. A special shout out to those patient souls who navigated around a road closure and to those whose cars literally broke down. Automobiles, right?

Basil Car

Ishinami Beach is right across from the famous Kojima Island, which is home to a large group of cultured monkeys. They’re called “cultured” because they climb down to the water’s edge to wash their food in the ocean. Alas, there weren’t any sightings of the cultured monkeys that day. There also weren’t any cases of jellyfish attacks either, thank goodness!

After a quick game of Frisbee (in which there were almost a few injuries), we all jumped in cars bound for Cape Toi’s Fire Festival. Kyle had already beat everyone there, having benevolently reserved a spot to view the fiery show – right up front too! Even more friends arrived, taking the party to over 50 people! Everyone conversed over sweet potato chips and giant kakkigori until the show began. After a precious traditional dance performed by young local citizens, the older men took their positions to slay the giant snake – er, 30m pole! The festival itself celebrates the dramatic death of an ancient giant snake that terrorised the village long ago. A brave monk vanquished the snake by throwing fire into its mouth. Hence the festival’s slightly hazardous practice.

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It took the local men just over 40 minutes but eventually one torch fell into the ‘mouth’ of the snake, felling it and triggering a wonderful fireworks display. A quick thank you must go out to those who helped with the clean-up process after the festival or those who offered last minute rides to those in need. True Miyazaki spirit there.

real mvp

On to the final event of the weekend – camping! Despite arriving rather late at night to Sakaematsu Beach Camp, our MAJET campers were very cooperative in collecting their camping equipment and locating their tents in the dark. Must have been eating their carrots! The night wasn’t over though as we partied long into the early hours of the morning.

The benefits of vinegar on jellyfish stings were discovered during early morning beach swims (Ishinami Beach’s jellyfish-luck must have run out). Some of our new JETs even attempted a marathon swim to a nearby island, and succeeded! After all was said and done though, it was time to return home to prepare for the next day’s classes. What a great way to end the summer holidays though!

A Letter from the Events Team

This event marked the first event the Events Team has organised independently this year and I could not have been happier with the outcome. Having missed the Fire Festival in my first year due to lack of transportation, the initial idea behind this extended welcome party was to make sure this year’s JETs didn’t miss out on the experience too. MAJET relied heavily on the generosity of Miyazaki Senpais to solve this problem but I’m very happy to say that our trust was definitely placed in the right people. On the beach, at the festival and at the camping grounds, I saw nothing but happy, smiling faces and warm conversations. Miyazaki is full of kind, effervescent Senpais who all stepped up to help and welcome the new JETs in any way they could. I’m sure we can all agree that Miyazaki welcomed a lovely group of new additions this year and we’re so excited to make Miyazaki memories with you all!

See you at the next event in September!

Hayley Closter
MAJET Second Events Coordinator

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