November 2010: JET Effect Spotlight

Kat Rally 2This week JET Effect is focusing on an event that can mix internationalisation, encouraging other ALTs to visit your prefecture with having a awesome time! Lucia Brea, a 3rd year ALT from Mihama Town in Fukui prefecture talks us through her huge yearly project called the Reinan Krazy Kar Rally.

Lucia fills us in on how she got involved in the project ‘for the past 2 years I have been in charge of the Krazy Kar Rally which is now in its eighth year. Previous ALTs started the car rally as an initiative for ALTs from the northern part of the prefecture to discover the beauty of the southernmost parts of Fukui. However, due to its popularity, the car rally has expanded. Now it not only involves ALTs, but members of the local community, as well as ALTs and locals from other prefectures too.’

The car rally is a yearly event held in Fukui prefecture. It is one of the most popular events in the FJET calender, but it certainly takes a lot of organising. Lucia says ‘The poeple involved come from all areas of the community – ALTs, Japanese co-workers and local people. It is a very time consuming project that usually takes 5 months to plan.’

Kar Rally 1Perhaps you are new to the concept of a Kar Rally. The idea is that teams (one to a car) must follow clues and directions around the beautiful mountains of the Reinan area. Whilst there, they must spot answers to prepared questions – much like a scavenger hunt. However, the Kar Rally has some interesting twists – there are points for the best costume and best photos. Usually, the photos must involve the local community in some way. Lucia explains, ‘the rally serves as a way of bringing internationalisation through the participants, a way for the local community to interact with people from all over the world. This is one of the few times that the towns around the Reinan area get to experience foreigners. Most of the towns are very small, usually only having one ALT.  Many of the challenges include interaction with the community in a very positive light. Whether it is; taking a photo with a Junior high school baseball team, or as simple as giving flowers to a local grandmother. The community is always helpful around the course, always willing to help the dressed up participants with photos, directions or short cuts!’

Of course, being a Fukui prefecture project, the Kar Rally has links to Smile Kids Japan and the local orphanages. ‘Every team must bring a mascot that matches their costumes’ Lucia comments. ‘They are usually stuffed toys. We gather the toys at the end of the rally and donate them to the local orphanage in Tsuruga’.

This project is a big commitment but with a good team it can be a real highlight in the year. Lucia offers some final advice ‘[It] is like a second job at the weekends. However, if you are not discouraged by the workload then it is a great event for any prefecture. The best part of it all is how open people in your community are to help with the organisation and even having fun while participating.’

If you are interested in implementing a Kar Rally in your prefecture please email Lucia and/or the Kar Really team at ">. They will be able to supply information on past rallies and advice on how to get the ball rolling on your own project.