2012 JET Memorial Invitation Program

Hello from sunny southern California. My name is Thomas and I work at the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles!
太陽の光あふれる南カルフォニアからこんにちは!国際交流基金 ロサンゼルス日本文化センターのThomasです!

I want to share with you a program we organize called the JET Memorial Invitation Program (JET-MIP), which was started last year after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, to commemorate the lives of two Americans participating in the JET program named Taylor Anderson and Montgomery Dickson who sadly lost their lives during the disaster.
今回は国際交流基金が主催した「米国 JET 記念高校生招へい事業」というプログラムをご紹介しますね。東日本大震災の後、昨年スタートしたプログラムで、JETプログラムに参加されていたTaylor Anderson さんとMontgomery Dicksonさんという二人のアメリカ人を追悼するためのプログラムです。お二人は本当に残念なことに震災でお亡くなりになりました。

Participants for this program were selected from schools all across the United States and they have all been studying Japanese all throughout high school and most had never been to Japan. Their first stop was in Los Angeles where they participated in a pre-departure orientation at our office. Then it was off to Japan.

During their initial stay, the participants learned about the institute, the JET program, and even some Tohoku dialect. They also spent some time making a collage showing various landmarks in the United States and cities where they are from. This was later presented to the elementary schools they visited. Then it was off to the Tohoku region.
オリエンテーションでは、参加者は国際交流基金 関西国際センターやJETプログラムについて、そしてなんと東北弁についても学びました。そして、アメリカのランドマークや自分たちの地元の街のランドマークのコラージュを作成したりもしました。このコラージュは、日本を訪れた際に小学校で披露されました。そしてこのオリエンテーションの後、高校生たちは東北へと向かったのでした。

While in the Tohoku region, they visited an elementary school and also participated in the first ever high school summit with students from two local high schools in Rikuzentakata. The topic of the summit was how they can work together for the future and after the discussions; the students presented their findings. This was a good opportunity for the participants to exchange ideas with their counterparts in Japan and make some new friends in the process.

The last few days in Tohoku were spent orienteering in Sendai and then it was off to Ishinomaki where the participants visited the local elementary school where Taylor Anderson taught and also Taylor’s Bunko (Reading corner), which was created in her memory. Later that day they had an exchange with the Kiwi Club, an English conversation group where Taylor taught and made friends. This event wrapped up the Tohoku portion of the trip as the participants returned to Sendai that night and flew back to Osaka the following day.
東北滞在の後半、高校生たちは仙台でのオリエンテーションに参加しました。その後、石巻に移動し、Taylor Andersonさんが英語を教えていた地元の小学校とTaylor さんを追悼して設けられたTaylor’s Bunko(読書コーナー)を訪れました。同じ日にTaylorさんが英語を教え、親交があった英会話サークル「Kiwi Club」と交流しました。このイベントをもって東北訪問は終了し、参加者たちは夜には仙台へ戻り、翌日仙台から大阪へと飛行機で旅立ちました。

Upon their return, they paid a visit to a local High School where they met their host brother or sister. Together, they travelled to the Consulate General of the United States in Osaka to talk about themes relating to international diplomacy. After visiting the Consulate, the students parted ways and the next day was spent in the classroom going over the Tohoku trip, learning Osaka dialect, and preparing for the weekend homestay.

The big weekend finally arrived when the American students met their host families for a weekend of cultural experience in the Kansai region. When they returned from their homestay, the cultural experience continued at the Institute with workshops covering Wadaikos and Yukatas. On the final day at the institute, preparations began for the trip home and also for the completion ceremony. After the introductory speeches, the participants had a final chance to talk with their host families and even performed a song and dance. The night ended with final goodbyes and the next day, the group departed Osaka for the wrap-up meeting in Los Angeles.

At the wrap up meeting, the participants presented their experiences in Japan. Many talked about their eye opening experience, the friendly people they met during the trip and the new friends they made. This experience motivated them more to continue studying Japanese and eventually participate in exchange programs such as the JET program just like Taylor Anderson and Montgomery Dickson. After the meeting, the participants had one more night together as the program slowly came to a close. The following day, each participant would leave just as they had arrived and return back to their hometowns all across the United States.
ラップアップミーティングでは、参加者たちは日本で経験したことについてプレゼンをしました。多くの高校生たちが、初めて経験して驚いたこと、日本滞在中に出会った人たちのフレンドリーさ、新しく生まれた友情などについて触れました。今回のプログラムを経験し、高校生たちは日本語の勉強を続けたいとの思いをよりいっそう強くし、Taylor AndersonさんやMontgomery DicksonさんのようにJETプログラムなどの交流プログラムに参加したいとの声も聞かれました。ミーティングのあった日の夜は、もう一晩共に過ごし、プログラムの終わりがだんだんと近づいてきたのでした。翌日、参加者たちは初めてロサンゼルス日本文化センターにやって来た時と同じように、全米各地の地元の街へとそれぞれに戻っていきました。

I will be writing a more detailed overview of the trip in an eight part series in our monthly newsletter below. There you will also be able to read the essays written by the students, which will be distributed across the next eight issues. Hope you all enjoy their stories (English Only).