JET Programme Voices / Seeing with new eyes

Courtesy of Chris Covington

Chris Covington shoots a video on the streets of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

By Chris Covington / Special to The Japan NewsMy name is Chris Covington and I am a third-year assistant language teacher (ALT) for the Board of Education in Nabari, Mie Prefecture. I am originally from North Carolina in the United States and moved out here in July of 2015. Recently I took part in a video contest held by the JET Programme encompassing the year of 2017. The theme was to show off our home establishments here in Japan and present them in a way that would be appealing to others. I had searched around but could never find any videos that captured the beauty of the area I live in and felt this was great opportunity to take. Speech

Nabari is a smaller town located just outside of Nara and about one hour from Osaka. It sits in a valley in between two beautiful mountain ranges that stretch out and meet the sunset every evening. As I sit in the Board of Education office, I have this magnificent view of the city, and every day leaving work during my first and second year, I dreamed of being able to capture this beautiful scenery and convey it to those who were following my adventures back home. The JET Video Contest gave me the push I needed to go for that.

Japan, in my eyes, is one of the most beautiful countries, and I love so many aspects of it. For me to have an opportunity to capture the things which I love and display them to others is a dream, yet also a real challenge. One thing I quickly realized is that for me to be able to show off Japan to people who may not be as infatuated with the country as I am, I would need to use a style of storytelling that could gather many eyes. Video, being one of the fasting growing forms of media, has an advantage over other forms, but I also wanted something that would leave an impression. I decided on a high energy, fun style of video to show off my town.

It was an amazing time gathering footage and watching my idea come into being. I started to love how when making a film I really had to look at my life in Japan differently. I had to look at things that I saw every day and find the value in them. It gave me more perspective on things I encountered on a daily basis. I also noticed that as I recorded my places and went out to get certain shots, many people were interested in what I was doing. It started up many conversations, and people liked that I was making a video about their hometown. It made me feel like this video was more than just something I wanted to make, but was a way to give back to this town and its people who have helped me grow over these past few years.

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  • Courtesy of Chris Covington

    Chris Covington

It was fun watching the faces of the many people who saw their town portrayed in a light that was different from what they had come to know. It was a thrilling experience and has helped inspire me to continue to make videos about my time here in Japan. I loved being able to tell a story through an exciting format such as video, and definitely feel it has given me new love for sharing Japan with others. I’ve been continually making videos since the contest and posting them on my personal YouTube account at CovieLovie and look forward to every new idea as a possibility to share the amazing aspects of Japan.

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The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is administered through the collaboration of Japan’s local and national government authorities and promotes grass-roots internationalisation at the local level. Learn more: http://www.jetprogramme.orgSpeech

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