Maori and Japanese Cultures Meet in New JET-Made Documentary Union

JETAA Wellington was excited to recently receive a message from Josh Rollo, a Wellington-based film producer who worked with a Kiwi JET in Shizuoka, Jared James, to create a short documentary about cultural isolation and the universal language of sports. The film was directed by Jericho Rock-Archer, another New Zealander and former JET also currently living in Shizuoka.

Here’s a bit more about the documentary from the film’s producer:

Cultural isolation affects many JETs living in Japan, but finding connection in your new community and sharing your own culture can be one of the most rewarding parts of your JET experience.

In this beautiful short film Union we follow Jared James, a Shizuoka-based ALT, as he struggles to find his place in this strange new environment. Jared wrestles with the difficulties of day-to-day living in a society where he always stands out from the crowd, only after discovering motivation and pushing his body to the limit does he find acceptance in an all-Japanese rugby team. The director of Union, Jericho Rock-Archer, was also a Shizuoka-based ALT who used filmmaking as a tool to get a deeper insight into the heart of Japanese culture.

Jericho describes the challenges faced as he and producer Joshua Rollo attempted to complete the project. “The problems that we tried to articulate as steps of Jared’s journey turned out to be the exact difficulties we faced in the production process. As always, navigating cultural boundaries and overcoming language barriers, finding ways to communicate and solving problems proved to be an invaluable and fulfilling part of the whole experience.” 

One of our main goals here at JET is to encourage and facilitate cultural exchange. Jericho and Jared bring that message to life in this film and we congratulate them for making the most of their JET experience.

Check out the film below, and let us know your thoughts! Or feel free to send us your own films, photos, and stories from your JET experience!