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It was a Giant Family Reunion

Hip hip hooray for AFS events! Today was the Jenesys Festival, an event marking the end of the five-year program that brings people from Asia and the Pacific to Japan. (It was sponsored by the Japanese government, and the contract expires this year.) Most AFSers from around Japan and all of the Jenesys students on the two-week summer program gathered in one large room for this festival. All 1500 of us.

That made for a very crowded and hot room.
But I got to see people I hadn't seen in a long time (as much as four months). It made for a lot of shrieking--"AAAH, I haven't seen you in FOREVER! HISASHIBURI!" type screaming. It was a large family reunion. Everyone hit it off great, which put worries that most of us would have grown apart, to rest.

The festival itself wasn't the most interesting. Mostly speeches by important government officials affiliatd with Jenesys, AFS people, and short statements by representatives from each of the thirteen Jenesys countries.

There were, however, two very moving speeches by high school students from the prefectures affected by the March earthquake and tsunami. With two obviously rehearsed but emotional speeches, they talked about how they had been effected by the earthquakes and about the outreach they recieved.

They put up all the speeches on large screens, which was a good thing because we wouldn't have been able to see anything otherwise.

After that, we had to sing a song together. Yes. 1500 of us singing a very tacky song with a Laos "pop-princess".

Maybe we sounded all right as a group, but here's what we sounded like from MY section of the room:

After that the festival wrapped up, and I went out to dinner with Troy's AFS chapter. You remember Troy:

All in all, a very fun day. Next week: WINTER BREAK begins, CHRISTMAS, and off to OKINAWA. Epicness will ensue.


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