Sep 2
James Rolfe, left, on the "Angry Video Game Nerd" movie with co-writer/co-director Kevin Finn: "To me, it’s the ultimate fan-film. It’s made by fans, for fans. It means dreams can come true, with a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice." (Justin Tedaldi)

James Rolfe, left, on the Angry Video Game Nerd movie with co-writer/co-director Kevin Finn: “To me, it’s the ultimate fan-film. It’s made by fans, for fans. It means dreams can come true, with a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice.” (Justin Tedaldi)

 

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

An Internet sensation that debuted as the Angry Video Game Nerd ten years ago, filmmaker James Rolfe has taken millions of YouTube visitors back to the past with his hotheaded, foulmouthed alter ego, who gleefully tears down some of the most notorious titles and accessories (the Power Glove, anyone?) from the golden age of retrogaming. (If you’ve ever thrown a controller across the room, you’ll understand.)

As the creative linchpin of his website and production company Cinemassacre, the AVGN legend culminates with this year’s release of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, a feature-length, years-in-the-making collaborative effort between Rolfe and co-writer/co-director Kevin Finn. A satisfyingly silly sci-fi/adventure hybrid in the Troma tradition, the film enjoyed a sold out 16-city North American screening tour earlier this summer, and makes its  Vimeo on Demand debut today (Sept. 2), with a DVD/Blu-ray release planned for the holiday season.

In this exclusive, wide-ranging interview, I spoke with Rolfe about everything from the film’s New York premiere last month, the Nerd Renaissance we’re currently living in, and the most “Japanese” (i.e., insane) game he’s ever played.

It feels like we’re living in some kind of Nerd Renaissance—even “Weird Al” Yankovic’s last album went to number one. How do you feel about all this?

Nerds were big in the ’80s. It’s all coming back now. I feel there’s a much broader definition of “nerd” now, and it’s something to be proud of.

What are your thoughts on the live appearances you’ve had promoting the film so far? Which moments have been the most memorable?

Since July 21, we’ve been touring this movie around, city by city. It’s been amazing. The energy from the crowd is fantastic! There’s nothing like watching the movie with live reactions. The best moment is during the opening credits. Everyone cheers. Sometimes they clap along with the music. You can really feel the hype building up to the AVGN title screen. Then it explodes, and everyone goes nuts.

What can you share about the back-to-back screenings held for the New York premiere?

It was a rowdy crowd. Especially the second screening. I loved it, though it was exhausting. Under normal circumstances, I would be sick of looking at this movie, but the fans make it exciting every time. It never gets old.

Mount Fuji and Godzilla movies play a prominent role in the film. If you were to ever visit Japan, what would you most want to see and do there?
I’ve always wanted to go. There isn’t one thing in particular. I’d just like to see all around the major cities like Tokyo. Just normal tourist things.

What are some of your favorite moments of “Japaneseness” in video games that you’d like to give a shout-out to?

Hmmm. Not sure. Probably Ninja Baseball Bat Man! That game is insane.

For the complete story, click here.


Sep 2
Osaka-based Geisha Kikuno comes to J-LABO Brooklyn for two performances with multimedia director Kenji Williams Sept. 7. (Courtesy of J-COLLABO)

Osaka-based Geisha Kikuno comes to J-LABO Brooklyn for two performances with multimedia director Kenji Williams Sept. 7. (Courtesy of J-COLLABO)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

As the summer winds fade into fall colors, the weeks ahead are shaping up with these exciting events, ready to be enjoyed after Labor Day.

Sunday, Sept. 7, 1:00 p.m.

J-COLLABO Fall Festival feat. Geisha Kikuno

J-LABO Brooklyn, 300 Seventh Street

Suggested donation: $20

The history of the geisha spans over 300 years. Their beauty and grace is legendary as is their exceptional skill in music, dance and entertainment. In spite of a near worldwide fascination, the number of geisha is decreasing year by year. Geisha Kikuno is a unique Geisha from Osaka. She is dedicated to finding new approaches to promote this unique history to the next generation, and will come to New York for two performances to demonstrate this ancient art form in collaboration with multimedia director Kenji Williams.

Friday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m.

Kampai! The World of Japanese Beer

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$28, $23 Japan Society members/seniors

Pull up a stool to Japan Society’s annual beer lecture and tasting, featuring unique and rare brews from Japan’s emerging craft beer industry. Mark Meli, professor at Kansai University and author of Craft Beer in Japan: The Essential Guide, delves into the culture, history and innovative brews coming out of Japan’s beer scene during the lecture. At the tasting reception, enjoy the opportunity to sample many unique and hard-to-come-by brews. Must be at least 21 years old.

Sept. 12-Oct. 10

Japan — An Island Nation: 1870-1890

Resobox Gallery, 41-26 27th Street, Long Island City

Free

An exhibition of entrepreneurial class culture from the Burns Archive. Japan — An Island Nation showcase the best of Japanese photographs that were made to show the perceived exotic nature of Japan to the West. Photographers, under government supervision, documented the artisans, shopkeepers and workers that made up the bulk of the Japanese middle and working class entrepreneurial society. It was critical for Japanese “public relations” of the era to put a face on Japan’s people and products, and through international fairs and expositions the world was introduced to Japan. A free opening reception will be held Friday, Sept. 12 from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

For the complete story, click here.


Sep 1

WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03).  She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve last written here and that we are already welcoming the new school year.  I spent a large portion of my summer interpreting for clients on a project in Cleveland, Ohio.  I didn’t have high hopes for Japanese connections in this small city, but was determined to find them where they existed.  Due to being busy with my job and returning home on weekends, I wasn’t able to explore much outside of the downtown area, but that was enough to find some Japanese influences.

First was the restaurant Noodlecat, said to be “inspired by Tokyo noodle worship and New York City noodle houses.”  There is a restaurant downtown as well an outpost at the West Side Market in Ohio City, but I opted for the former to get the full experience.  I got the Smoked Tomato Coconut Curry Udon with poached tofu, kohlrabi, potato, scallion and coconut curry kombu broth, as it sounded like a really unique combination of ingredients.  Unfortunately, both the udon and its companions were disappointing.  The noodles had a strange chewiness and even the texture of the tofu was off.  Sure enough, when I told my clients that I was surprised the quality of the food had been so poor, they all agreed and said they had Read More


Sep 1

These Kit Kats may be old news in Japan, but I finally got my hands on some in Seattle at Uwajimaya and tried them!

 

Click HERE to read MORE.


Aug 31

hiroshima landslidesDonate to help disaster victims in Hiroshima! 

The death toll from mudslides in the city of Hiroshima jumped to 71 recently, with at least 15 people still missing. Nearly 1,000 people out of about 1,300 evacuees are sheltered in nine local elementary schools:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/08/27/national/hiroshima-slide-toll-rises-66-dead-21-missing-mayor-admits-delayed-alert/#.VAAfDPldV8E

Hiroshima Kenjin Kai of Southern California has formally joined the efforts of Hiroshima Prefecture and various Hiroshima-based NGOs and NPOs in the effort to raise funds in support of the victims of the disaster that befell the local community and residents of northern Hiroshima.

Anyone interested in joining in this effort, please send donations to:

Hiroshima Kenjin Kai of Southern California
(payable to “Hiroshima Kenjin Kai of SC”; write “JET Program Alumni – Hiroshima Relief” in memo)
Attention: Mr. Takami Igawa – HKSC President
712 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

This fundraising drive will be carried through the end of September (September 30, 2014).

All funds collected in this drive will be sent to Japan Red Cross Hiroshima Office for distribution to the disaster victims.

For any inquiry, please contact Dr. Charles Igawa, HKSC Secretary via email at <icigawa@gmail.com> or via (562) 818-7857.

For those who are in Japan or who would prefer to donate directly to the City’s disaster relief bank/postal accounts, visit:
http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/0000000000000/1408607160410/index.html

 

 


Aug 31

Via Idealist. Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: Program Officer, Global Exchange Operations
Posted by: Institute of International Education
Location: New York, NY
Type: Full-time 

Overview:

Carry out and advise colleagues in Foreign Fulbright Program divisions on various operational aspects of Fulbright Programs including tasks related to J visa sponsorship, grantee placement process, grant renewal process, and review of documentation for all Fulbright participants upon arrival and continuation of participation. Read More


Aug 31

Thanks to JET alum Mya Fisher who works for the US-Japan Council for passing this along. 

Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: Intern
Posted by: U.S.-Japan Council & Tomodachi Initiative
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Type: Full-time 

Overview:

The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt organization in the United States which has recently incorporated in Japan as a koeki zaidan hojin. The Council administers the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership forged after the Great East Japan Earthquake in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo with the support of the Government of Japan.  TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs. We seek to foster a “TOMODACHI generation” of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other’s countries and cultures, and possess the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world. Read More


Aug 31

Thanks to JET alum Mya Fisher who works for the US-Japan Council for passing this along. 

Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: Program Manager
Posted by: U.S.-Japan Council & Tomodachi Initiative
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Type: Full-time 

Overview:

The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt organization in the United States which has recently incorporated in Japan as a koeki zaidan hojin. The Council administers the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership forged after the Great East Japan Earthquake in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo with the support of the Government of Japan.  TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs. We seek to foster a “TOMODACHI generation” of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other’s countries and cultures, and possess the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world. Read More


Aug 30

 

Let’s Talk Japan is a monthly, interview format podcast covering a wide range of Japan-related topics. Host Nick Harling (Mie-ken, 2001-03) lived in Japan from 2001 until 2005, including two great years as a JET Program participant in Mie-Ken. He practices law in Washington, D.C., and lives with his wife who patiently listens to him talk about Japan . . . a lot.

It’s late summer, and that means hundreds of new JET Program participants have recently started their new life in Japan. In this episode, I share my thoughts on what steps they can take to have an enjoyable and memorable Japan experience.

If you have not already done so, be sure to follow the podcast on Twitter @letstalkjapan and leave a positive rating/review in iTunes.


Aug 30
"Sake is so deep and varied that one could never stop talking about it. Every day is full of surprises. Not major ones, but usually surprises related to the attention to detail that goes into sake and the interesting stories behind it." (Courtesy of John Gauntner)

“Sake is so deep and varied that one could never stop talking about it. Every day is full of surprises. Not major ones, but usually surprises related to the attention to detail that goes into sake and the interesting stories behind it.” (Courtesy of John Gauntner)

By Eden Law (Fukushima-ken, 2010-11) for JQ magazine. Eden is a JETAA New South Wales committee member, who would like it to be known that if it wasn’t for getting involved with JETAA, he wouldn’t know what to do with his spare time after hours. JET: It’s like the Illuminati, except less about the world domination and more about the fun denomination. Got feedback on this article? Leave a comment below.

If ever there was a prize for most unexpected job opportunity spin-off from the JET Program, the career of John Gauntner (Kanagawa-ken, 1988-89) would be hard to beat, especially after a few rounds of nihonshu. A longtime resident of Kamakura and the world’s first (and only) non-Japanese to hold certification as both a Master of Sake Tasting and Sake Expert Assessor, Gauntner has come a long way since a drinking session with a buddy from The Japan Times led him to this series of fortunate events.

Proving that this beverage continues to be an infinite font of inspiration, Gauntner has recently added a new book to his growing stable of literary output, Sake Confidential: A Beyond-the-Basics Guide to Understanding, Tasting, Selection, and Enjoyment. In it, he covers all aspects of the precious drop: from what it is, how it is made, and how it is meant to be enjoyed (spoiler: any way you like it), to the inside story of its politics, marketing, and the industry itself. But this is no textbook: Like a true sake evangelist, Gauntner enlightens beginners and insiders alike, pairing clear and simple language with confidence and unabashed passion.

In this exclusive interview, Gauntner discusses the state of sake’s popularity in its own country and abroad, what it means being a non-Japanese sake evangelist with his unique qualifications, and what the future holds for him.

What was the reason behind writing this book, and who is its audience?

I wanted to show the depth and breadth of the sake world, to show it has as many avenues for exploration as wine does.

How is this book different from the others?

This book goes beyond the basics and more into depth about many interesting side topics of the sake world.

Is this book designed to replace or update your previous books?

No, it is intended to augment them. This one introduces less sake and is light on the basics,

What’s the market like for these books?

So far it is selling well, but ask me in two years!

What’s left to be said about sake? Are there any surprises left in the industry?

It is so deep and varied that one could never stop talking about it. Every day is full of surprises. Not major ones, but usually surprises related to the attention to detail that goes into sake and the interesting stories behind it.

Read More


Aug 29

Yvonne Thurman-Dogruer (Kagoshima-ken, 1994-95) is a former JETAANY President and Treasurer. She has a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University, had a ten-year career at its Center on Japanese Economy and Business, and ran her own business for a number of years.  Yvonne currently consults for small businesses and start-ups while continuing the full-time job-search, and is an avid sailor.

JETAA NY President in 1999. Columbia grad in 2002. Director at Columbia Business School in 2005. Entrepreneur and business owner in 2008. Now? Unemployed.

Rarely do I say that I’m unemployed. That’s never my response when someone asks what I do. I’m consulting. I’m job-searching. I work from home. All true. I don’t know how to relate to ‘unemployed’ as a status. It’s easier on the ego to instead talk about what I’ve done up until this point. But after a year and a half with no steady paycheck, there is no doubt I am one of the many unemployed in this country, regardless of how the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics might choose to define me. I do consulting work when I can get it, and I continue to look for a full-time, salaried position. I am unemployed.

This summer marked a couple of milestones in my life; 25 years since graduating high school, and 20 years since I was on the JET program. I’ve attended really great reunions — hours full of fun and therapeutic reminiscing about the past. I would come home from them feeling good about reconnecting with those who had played an important role in my personal and professional growth, and proud of the many things I’ve accomplished in life so far. And then comes the question, “where am I now?”. That has me stumped. What are these invisible barriers holding me back from moving forward? This all feels so foreign to me, as I had always felt grounded in my professional life. Every day is a challenge to keep steady, strong, and navigate myself through such an unpredictable environment. And every day, I seem to get through, and continue to look for that thing called a job to give me some sense of stability.

So I chatted with Steven Horowitz a few months back and with his encouragement decided to write for JETwit and reflect on this past year-and-a-half of my professional life, and make some observations about this job market. It’s my hope that while I continue zig-zagging through the murky waters of the New York job hunt and share my experiences, it might help my fellow JET alumni who are going through the same thing. Whether you’ve returned from your Japan stint some decades ago like me, or have come back more recently, if you are job searching now – you will have a voice to contribute here. I do not aim to give advice, only to encourage discussion. Let’s start talking, continue to keep our heads about us, and our humor.  Stay tuned…


Aug 28

Via Idealist. Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: ESL Instructor
Posted by: Showa Boston Institute
Location: Boston, MA
Type: Full-time 

Overview:

Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture, an affiliate of Showa Women’s University Tokyo, has part-time openings for teachers in ESL skills and content courses in the Fall Program September 22 – January 14. Morning skills, afternoon content, and evening TOEIC prep courses available. Read More


Aug 28

Thanks to jet alum Daniel Goldstein for passing this on. Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: Outside Account Representative
Posted by: Yamamotoyama
Location: East Coast
Type: Full-time 

Purpose of Position:

• To effectively promote, and introduce various Yamamotoyama of America products that are available for purchase to potential clients and customers.
• Upon creating new relationships with clients, it is the responsibility of the sales representative to continuously foster and maintain a positive relationship with their respective clients to ensure each client’s needs and concerns are immediately addressed. Read More

Aug 28

Thanks to Osaka-fu JET alum Kate Maruyama who works for CET for sharing this opening at her organization.

Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: Resident Director, CET Intensive Japanese Language & Culture Studies
Posted by: CET Academic Programs
Location: Osaka, Japan
Type: Full-time 

Overview:

CET Academic Programs seeks a Resident Director for the CET Intensive Japanese Language & Culture Studies in Osaka, Japan.

The Resident Director (RD) oversees the non-academic aspects of CET’s Japan programs. General responsibilities include managing and implementing activities, excursions, housing, Japanese roommate selection and the language pledge. The RD works cooperatively with a small group of CET Japan staff to ensure that overall goals and expectations of the program are being met through these program components. Excellent communication and team work skills are essential.  Read More


Aug 28

Thanks to JET alum David Nelson, who works for WKU and found his job through JETwit, for sharing these.

Posted by Jayme Tsutsuse (Kyoto-fu, 2013-2014), organizer of Cross-Cultural Kansai.  Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Position: Instructional Support Specialist (Multimedia)
Posted by: Western Kentucky University
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Type: Full-time 

Overview:

Western Kentucky University aspires to be the University of choice for faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping advance academic excellence. True to its spirit, WKU offers an inviting, nurturing, and challenging work environment, which is responsive to the needs of a diverse and ambitious learning community. WKU’s main campus is located on a hill overlooking the city of Bowling Green (population est. 60,000), and is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful in the nation. We invite you to consider WKU as a place where your academic and professional dreams can be realized. Read More


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