Saturday, 6 November 2010

School Festival FAIL

Gaidai School Festival pissed me off big time!

Lets start from the beginning: Students were asked if they would like to volunteer for something called INFES (International Festival) before we even came out to Japan and I thought why not. So I signed up saying I’d be happy to do anything and would even donate clothes for the fashion booth. Time eventually goes by and I get an e-mail saying I’ll be working on the World Booth representing England (nothing about if they wanted to use my clothes and it was never mentioned again).

So there’s apparently a meeting but I missed it for some reason and since then it just went down hill. Because I hadn’t met the girl I was doing the England booth with we decided to meet up and start organising what we were going to do. So after a few meetings we decide that a word game of English to American English, some England pop music, photos and she’ll get together some introductions of famous people.

But then there are some meetings to see how we’re doing, I only find out about this from the girl who says “Are you going to the meeting later?” to which I have to reply “what meeting?” I can’t really go to something if I didn’t know it was on. AND it didn’t finish until really late with nothing sorted at all. We had a few of these and I think I ended up going to 2. Turns out a few of the other foreigners had the same experience.

Not only that but I was really confused as to what the whole thing entailed. My partner nor the organisers (who are all students, no teachers involved) told me what the stalls were going to be like, where it was, what time. My partner got a time table in Japanese and just told me we were preparing on the Thursday and Friday just gone and then INFEW was Saturday. Or at least that’s the impression I got. Turns out it actually started Friday and I was expected to work on the booth all Friday afternoon (despite having classes) and all Saturday.

NOT ONLY THAT! But it turns out Thursday-Saturday was also the Gaidaisei Festival. The Japanese students organised a HUGE festival and INFEW was just a tiny part of this festival…NO ONE told the international students. We all just…found out!

I was really annoyed, mainly because there had just been no communication between the Japanese and the foreign students. And they had no excuse not to have contacted us because they’re learning English and we’re leaning Japanese. So there shouldn’t have been anything wrong with putting a pamphlet in our draws advertising the event. Turns out there was a famous J-Pop singer there too who hadn’t sold many tickets- again we didn’t know about it. I’m sure more people would have gone if they’d been told.

My impression is that the foreign students are just outsiders of the Japanese’s students system and that they feel like they don’t have to include us in their activities. I didn’t feel welcome or encouraged to partake in the activity they’d asked me to do. So I didn’t exactly put as much effort in as I could have, and I missed most of the festival because I was working for 6 hours straight.

You want to know the icing on the cake? Although I admit there were many meetings that I missed and a few I skaived off of, as well as stuff that I forgot on a regular basis, so I was feeling bad and felt obliged to go along to certain things. But my partner, who said she’s make intros for celebrities, didn’t! Yes she did work hard but the one thing I asked her do she didn’t…actually there was another and was to translate the Japanese on the English cards so the Japanese could understand.

Overall the fair was ok. A lot of food stalls and a lot of Japanese people running around in silly costumes trying to sell me the stuff. Turns out there were other activities too like dance productions etc, but once again we didn’t know about it. They could have at least given us programs for the event. So yeah. From what I can tell the Japanese students just don’t care about the foreigners and if they’re not going to communicate with us how do they expect us to act towards them?

It’s been a long weekend and this stupid volunteering has dug into time I could have spent doing productive things like not spending money on food and working on my Japanese, which I seem to be learning more from self study then talking to any of the Japanese kids. GRRRRRRR >_<

1 comment:

  1. *hug* silly wombles. Sounds remarkably disorganised. I wonder if foreign students in the UK have a similar experience...