People were delighted to find that the day held a chance to enjoy the culture of Japan, right here at the Castries City Hall. Whether they were approached by cheerful Japanese handing out fliers in the street, or just happened to pass by on Peynier street that day, all came flocking to participate in the once-a-year event.
Despite its slow start, more and more persons kept coming, intrigued to learn more about Japan. The offerings of the morning; enka singing and music by professionally trained music volunteers, quizzes about Japan, an educational lecture and display of cultural dance served to enervate the crowd.
And in the afternoon, persons got to actually try out some things for themselves. Men, women and children learned how to use chopsticks and then competed against each other in a chopsticks race. Others chose more sedate activities like sampling various Japanese teas or trying on kimono (yukata) and posing for pictures. And, no matter the age or address, everyone just had to visit the writing booth to have their names written in Japanese.
The Japan Day event is hosted annually by the volunteers of the Japan International Cooperation Agency/ Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JICA/JOCV) in Saint Lucia as a chance to share some of their home’s culture with their host nation. The volunteers live and work among us in various fields and in various activities and use this day as a friendship activity with the public. The event may be held one day out of the year, but the impact is lasting.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of JOCV in Japan and it is also the 20th year since the JOCV Saint Lucia branch was established. JICA/JOCV’s aim is to share the benefits of international cooperation with the host country. The most common approach of this agency is through grant aid assistance and loans, technical cooperation and volunteer activities.
Our volunteers are involved in many sectors on the island. You can find them teaching music, being involved in community development island-wide, assisting in the fisheries sector and in education. They also collaborate on projects with government- and non-government agencies.
If you would like to learn more about the Japan International Cooperation Agency/ Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JICA/JOCV) please call us at 453-6032/3.