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So, part two, the finals again, the previous week I attempted to get more people to come, but it didn’t work out very well. I guess the biggest issue is that people don’t really want to watch something that they don’t really understand, or know much about. The singing contest is still building tradition, but it pales in comparison to the one I remember attending when I was approximately in grade 9, and I think that was what really inspired me to do something like run Japan Club.

Well, the process for the finals went by slightly easier since, there is now only 11 contestants with an additional two special performances, but most of the work come in discussion and purchasing material. In the preliminaries we knew there was a lack of atmosphere due to lack of decor and also lack of audience members. There was the usual materials that we needed to purchase, such as decorations (balloons, banners, and trophies or some kind of award for the finalists. I even wrote a template for a sponsorship letter to be used most likely for next year, since it was not really used this year. Other than those, it was confirming needed material, such as music equipment. Everything went well during the finals except the lack of atmosphere.

So, Japan Club’s second main event, the Japanese singing Contest happened on April 5th this year. Our club of executives (3 people, and various volunteers) organized the whole event with the help of various others such as the sound techs and lighting personnel. There was really a lot to do, but we pulled off the preliminaries smoothly besides the smaller than expected audience. There was a large amount of stuff to get done, with just a simple school singing contest. Due to the small number of people that we predicted would be joining and also watching, we also invited two other schools to our event to increase our viewers/contestants, and also to establish some tradition and build up a reputation for our school’s Japanese Singing Contest.

This year, due to the Richter 9 earthquake in Japan that struck the Sendai region we decided to make all the proceeds that the Japanese Singing Contest usually earns to be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. This was a significant thing us as a club to do. In addition to making all the ticket money go towards the earthquake fund, we also sold pocky during lunchtimes, and had an additional event going on, which involved folding paper cranes, or origami, which we would sell for donations.

This year we were lucky to have much more contestants willing to participate (25 people) although two dropped out before the preliminary round 23 was still a good number. The finals we designated to cut the finalists in half. Between the three of us exec members we spent many long hours during the weekends actually meeting and talking online about how the event was going to go. Of the duties that I did most of them were quite time consuming but I learned quite a lot. Its not everyday that you can personally organize a singing contest. We made surpassing the Mandarin Singing Contest our goal. Of course, in the end, with more man power and a longer standing tradition (12 years vs. 5years) we did not really match up, however, we surpassed the singing contest of last year, which is a small achievement.

Many of the tasks I had to handle were the following

-writing and planning how the actual event it going to run (scheduling, with further discussion from the other two execs) I also wrote the entire english script myself and attempted as much of the Japanese script as I could although pretty much 90% of it required the assistance of a really really nice Japanese TOC that took the time out of her personal life to help us. We presented her with a small gift and I made her a card to go along with it, we really needed her help since we’re limited with the Japanese we know. I was one of the MC’s for the event during the preliminaries.

There wasn’t as much of discussion as there was in actually doing the event itself, and preliminaries had less to worry about, including prizes, decorations, and contacting the people whom passed the preliminaries. There was a lot of work involved in organizing song information, finding some lyrics, and double check with contestants about their song, lyrics, and to make sure each of them had edited their songs to the designated 1:30min.

There were also many small administrative stuff such as getting ticket money sorted out, and promoting the event itself. I was taking care of the marketing aspect of it, by posting event pages on facebook, and making and posting up flyers and posters with the help of some friends. I myself, sold some tickets.

With the real event itself, it went through okay, although there were some technical difficulties, and the very evident lack of audience, which I really wanted to tackle, but had so little resources.

Community Dinner and Preteen Cooking Session

There was excellent Promotion with 16/18 preteens signed up for the event

Our team (C-Change) cooked a full meal completely for free to the community and on our team’s budget. There was a co-op with Greenfriends. The event was successful, in fact,  preteens were asking if it is possible for the future cooking programs to teach more and more variety in the activities.

Over 85 individuals signed up for the dinner and the team fed 110 people.

Purchases were well established as only salads were short and one of the team members (Nicky) recovered the shortage by making an extra trip.

Sponsorships for our event was from Terra Bread and Safeway. The Youth Council had approved $100.00 deficit earlier and C-Change was able to stay within the budget limit. (deficit $93.29)

The kitchen was chaotic and lacked in order during the preparation, but this was due to some lack of experience with cooking and how the recipe’s all were different from the ingredients bought e.g. fruit platter was one of the dishes, but we ended up purchasing only oranges so we had to combine it with the salad.

Food delivery to the people was a bit more inconsistent and Greenfriends had to step up and took on a lot of public complaints. Thanks to Greenfriend’s professionalism and dedication the event was held together.

The event had a good overall review by the public. Took care of and got preteens and younger to help us cook and prepare a meal. Had some setbacks: forgot to cook ham and miscounted the food.
The cooking Instructor complained that the room was a mess after we left. Youth Development had agreed to have future Cooking room orientation for volunteers so we can make sure the room is returned back to original state. Clean up by our team and Greenfriends was efficient enough however because we were required to clean up the entire kitchen before 9pm.

This year’s Japan Fair was a success in many ways. First, there were a variety of performances available and activities too mentioned in the previous post about Japan Fair. The executive team, meaning the president, secretary, and I discussed the activities for Japan club members first, and coordinated the ticket selling. Punch-a-bunch the pieing game was added the week before Japan Fair but that was quickly arranged with enough volunteers. There was an estimated 100+ people that came to watch or participate at the Fair. This number  was way better than I hoped because last school year’s attendance. The Grade 12’s admittedly had a lot of trouble with the play. It was just the level of commitment people put into the play itself. A lot of people did not show up after school to practice. But, on the day of, we all managed to memorize our lines and pull off the play without major hitch backs.

There was good marketing as the number of people that were present at the Fair double or triple last year’s. The Soran Bushi event was great everyone went and we were synchronized. This would be expected as the president and I put in a lot of effort and stayed after school at least twice a week for a whole month to practice and teach people the moves over and over. It was one of the highlights of the Fair and I’m quite proud of that.

This is not to say that Japan Fair as  successful as it was, is perfect. For one, we had problems with J-club members for certain booths actually e.g. Origami table
in the beginning of the event was undermanned, plus some booths did not know what they were doing. Next year, although I won’t be here I would make sure that there are at least two appointed leaders for each booth who have their research down, and have made sure each person knows what they’re doing
such as Punch-a-bunch, which worked out well because of the two people responsible.

For the main events: fashion demo (involved in), traditional Soran Bushi, Rock version of Soran Bushi (involved in), Gr. 12 play (involved in), martial arts demo cancelled due to lack of preparation, and taiko performance group. I was supervising whatever I could doing the Fair and running around getting materials and assisting people and preparing for the fashion demo, play myself.

Hopefully the president, which I will leave in charge can handle more of the responsibility next year. For me, I would admit its a difficult and stressful position, which is also why I opted for Vice president position instead of president even when the choice was offered to me.

All in all, I wish for Japan Fair next year to be as great as this one, if not better! It was nice seeing grad come back to watch the fair, I aim to be like them and come back to the event next year.

For the Halloween Fireworks event that happens annually at Minoru Park, my Social Responsibility team (C-Change) from City Centre Association were asked to make a booth for games. We successfully implemented that today.

I go to City Centre weekly as one of the group leaders, as I co-run the team with another person who also happens to be a friend of mine. As a record of our success before the summer (completed 3 projects) we were asked to create a games booth that people would actually come  and enjoy. It took approximately 4 meetings each week from Oct. 7-28th on Thursdays each week. The first step was to think of ideas that we could make into enjoyable games for young children. As a team, we came up with 4 activities that were fun with some challenge but still ended up giving candy to the kids. Basically the initial idea was a fear factor booth that would have been targeted at an older audience but we realized that it wouldn’t be wise as logistics show that the older you got, the less interested you would be in this event of which you’ve seen every year. Younger kids with their parents would be the main target audience. So, in accordance to these stats we make more children friendly games. The above picture(s) are the pictures I took from my camera standing a few feet from the booths we made. It was actually much busier than we expected.  The worst thing was our team consisting of 14 people (when in full attendance) was cut down to 6 people on that night as a lot of people had plans on that day. Running the booths were quite hectic, and having 4 booths, among 6 people meant that most of the half the booths would have only 1 volunteer and there was no chance for shifts. This was the most difficult part of the event as it was not preventable. Luckily, there were some spare people who signed up by the City of Richmond that could help us with our event sometimes. Some of us still ended up sitting through their event from 3:00-9:00pm until it was done.

Another problem was that because we did not gage our time properly and on the day of the event, our activities still needed to be made and tested. Our whole team literally created games from scratch and cardboard. That had to be quite rushed though since we didn’t start making them earlier. It was a misjudgment on the part of myself and the other captain.

Our next event, called the Winter Community dinner, will take account for this minor mistake as we started 2 months earlier. More details on this later.

Last year Japan Club did a Soran Bushi and it was a success. This year we will do it again but with larger amount of people and add variations and perhaps create our own moves. For the past 4 or 5 practices I practiced and taught people how to dance the Soran Boshi and it was really fun but exhausting. We got exercise done. The above picture is just an image of how synchronized I wish I could be :).

From April the practicing took about 3 months which was not time effective. This time, the practices shall be weekly and with more availability for people to make it to the practices. Hopefully it will be more efficient.

In addition, our dance group decided to put some variations to it. It is my wish that it will add more humour to the dance and get more people enthusiastic about Japan Club!

Below is a hint of what we’re going to do:

did box drill, ran lots and worked on backhand/forehand drills.

I would say it was a pretty productive afterschool day 🙂

Tryouts were today!
Now I’m in the senior team instead of the junior team before the summer. I hope to be able to make it to most of the practices unlike before the summer. Realistically, I don’t think I can because I’m still working on my time management skills (of which I think I’m getting a little better but there’s a loooong way to go) .

Well a friend of mine recently found this opportunity at steveston, the salmon parade, and dragged me along to volunteer for it. Frankly I’m quite glad she did because one: I’ve never been in a Parade before. Two: it was good exercise. On behalf of the Japanese Language school a bunch of people came and learned a traditional dance called “So-ran Bushi (ソーラン節)” This was a traditional fisherman’s song in Japan one of the most famous traditional songs (min’yō). It is a Japanese sea shanty that is was initially sung by the fishermen of Hokkaido, northern Nippon. So-ran Bushi accompanies the bon dance in many parts of Japan, and it has its own dancing styles that date back. The dance moves depict fishermen dragging nets, pulling ropes and carrying luggage over their shoulders.

Besides that I learned this traditional festival dance and Okinawan folk dance. On the day of our group performed it. This kind of volunteering was more physical than many of my other ones, but quite interesting. If I had the chance I would do it again next year.

Walk-a-thon starting point at Aberdeen

Walk-a-thon starting point at Aberdeen

The social responsibiltity team planned out a fundraising event in order to raise money for the Haiti Earthquake victims. Lots of volunteers came and our group raised a total of $200 or so dollars walking around Richmond asking for donations. This event was pretty successful and rewarding. People were very responsive and on the walk, we met with someone that was actually from Haiti. He told us that we were doing a great job and it encouraged us greatly. The walk was a total of 4hrs from 1-5pm. It was very tiring carrying signs around. Despite having only 3 or 4 meetings to plan this out it was successful. I fully appreciate how difficult events such as the 30 hour famine or walk-a-thons are carried out.

Below is the event page conveniently made on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=285482679436&ref=ss

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