The AYF International Event Team is one of the working teams at Awaji Youth Federation. Its main activity is to organize international events with the local community with the hope to create an environment where locals and foreigners could enjoy, as well as bringing in new ideas to the island. The latest events by the team include the Tanabata festival, Undoukai Event, and TEDxAwaji.
Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, is one of Japan’s five traditional festivals which means “evening of the seventh”. It is based on a legend about two lovers represented by the stars Altair and Vega who could only meet once a year. In the present day, people celebrated the event by writing wishes in the form of paper and hanging them on bamboo. This is an event that is held yearly by Awaji Youth Federation, and after the following two years were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were high expectations for this year, and to everyone’s surprise and delight, over 120 people attended the event.
Activities from the day included origami folding stations with multiple difficulty levels, Yo-Yo Tsuri (balloon catching in the water), a bamboo arts and crafts worship, writing and attaching wishes to bamboo trees, and musical performances including taiko, piano, singing, etc. The international team worked very hard organizing the event, planning all the activities, preparing the performances, and doing marketing to the locals.
In November 2022, in honor of wellness-week Pasona joined forces with other Japanese companies and the community of Awaji to spread the spirit of health and wellness. The much-anticipated health and wellness sports event took place on the 3rd, 5th, and 6th of November, seeing approximately 1000 participants gather in Awaji island over the 3 days. Families and friends took part in a series of exciting sports activities including relay, sprinting, bubble soccer, ball throwing, Leapfrog, three-legged race, and free throw.
The Awaji Youth Federation organized 6 booths for the event to engage participants in cultural exchange experiences. Each participant was provided a passport-like card where they could collect all the stamps from the booths they visited. Upon collecting all the stamps they received a reward.
These booths include Indonesian booth where 4 types of Indonesian games could be played by participants, Colombia and Costa-Rico Coffee tasting booth where participants get to taste and participate in a tasting contest, Australia game booth where participants throw a blow up dice in hopes of it landing on the highest number being 6, fashion booth where African printed clothing can be purchased and tried on, Kumihoimo booth where participants can make their own bracelets using a variety of sting colours and spicy challenge booth where participants can try various spicy levels from India.
In addition to all these exciting activities, the AYF fellows performed an international dance medley infusing African, Indian, Japanese, Finnish dance and music. We look forward to seeing what exciting booths and activities the future 2023 fellows will host at the 2023 Undokai Event.
Another event that is planned by the international team is TEDxAwaji, which will be held at the end of this year. TEDxAwaji was founded by the residents of Awaji Island to give locals a voice and a platform to the world, and to bring new ideas to the community of Awaji Island. The speakers will speak about their inspiring stories and thoughtful insights about a wide variety of topics.
The first TEDxAwaji was held last year, inviting speakers from different backgrounds and expertise. The speakers include Shinnichi Fukuyama who talked about what little steps we can take to improve global environmental issues, Yoji Kurokawa recalls the story that made him start working with young people in risk of social exclusion & the importance of having a good model to follow the right path, Elizabeth Masamune who talked about life pathways and the invisible connections between people, and many more.
There will be more events organized by the AYF International Event Team in the future with the hope to create a more international environment in Awaji and bringing creative ideas to the island.