If you're in the JET programme for about five minutes and have any interests, skills or talents that your students or colleagues can feed or find a use for, it shall be so. I love watching friends perform in serious-looking Japanese plays or posting pictures of the bugs students and teachers must love showing to them.
So I suppose word got around that I could supposedly draw or design and my first project, way back in 2008—remember that? because I know I barely do—, was a T-shirt design for a small, combined school and community sports festival. The drawing combined two of the main sights of the village: the old weeping cherry blossom tree and one of the traditional watermills. After the sports incarnation, pictured on left, it went on to be printed in pink on navy windbreakers and aprons for the autumn watermill festival.
Fast forward some years and they were thinking about an update. First we talked about a cap, which I didn't get around to, and then before I left the one teacher said she'd been thinking about a picture-letter idea (letter as in character) and showed me some examples. I had seen some of my junior high students do a project with kanji, and then you can get something like this, though theirs looked cooler. Anyway, it seemed a fun idea. I just had to make sure to finish it after all the madness of an international move.
But here we are, it's DONE. I'll see what configuration is chosen, but below are two ways to do it. どう？
P.P.S. If you haven't been to Ishidatami I suppose it would be good to know that: the Is represent the big flat rocks—rocks like tatami mats— that you get there as well as the stone walls 石垣 you can see in the area; the S is the Fumoto River 麓川 that runs there and has a covered bridge like the Tamaru Bridge 田丸橋 you can see on your way to the village or the bridge at Yuge shrine 弓削神社; the H is the elementary schoolers who all learn to ride a unicycle; the first D is part of a watermill 水車 wheel; the first A is rice; the T is a wayfinder to the two major sights; the second A is soba noodles 蕎麦; and the M is the weeping cherry blossom tree しだれ桜. If you don't get it, that's okay. But let's hope the locals do! Fingers crossed!