Aug 26

The 2013 Canada Conference Report

Via JETAA Ottawa. Posted by Gemma Villanueva (Fukushima 2008-11), the current newsletter editor for the JETAA Ottawa Newsletter.

Note from JETAA Québec/Atlantique:

The 2013 JETAA Canada Conference, nicknamed “CanCon”, was held in Montréal, Québec, from May 24 to 26. It was hosted by JETAA Québec/Atlantique, with the support and sponsorship of CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) through the Japan Local Government Center (JLGC) in New York, and MoFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) of Japan through the Consulate-General of Japan at Montréal.

In attendance were JETAA delegates from the 5 of 6 other Canadian chapters, namely BC/Yukon, Southern Alberta, Manitoba/Saskatchewan, Toronto and Ottawa; representatives from the JLGC, as well as staff from the Japanese Consulate at Montreal. A representative of the Embassy of Japan was also present as an observer.

This year’s keynote presentation, “JET: From Classroom to Career”, addressed the challenge of what is seldom a fluid transition from Japanese classrooms to a career back home.

Download your copy of the 2013 JETAA Canada Conference report now! (PDF, 1.81 MB) Direct link here:

Dec 5

Interesse Club: Matchmaking Service is pleased to welcome its newest sponsor, interesseclub, a subsidiary company of staffing/recruiting firm Interesse International, Inc.

interesseclub offers a progressive matchmaking service, from registration through marriage, and is based in both the U.S. and Japan.

To learn more and/or to register, visit the interesseclub website or contact them in:

  • New York: 212-391-7767
  • Los Angeles: 310-414-4541
  • Sillicon Valley: 650-218-9464

Online registration available 24/7!

Jun 24

Posted by Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91), coauthor of The Sushi Lover’s Cookbook and Tokyo Chic and contributor to Time Out Tokyo and Time Out Shortlist Tokyo. He blogs as “Tokyo Tom Baker.”

“Setsuden,” or conserving electricity, has become a huge buzzword in Japan as the weather heats up and many nuclear power plants remain shut down. Many businesses have put up signs explaining their own setsuden activities and asking the public to join in.

Recently I have been been photographing setsuden signs around the Tokyo area for my blog.

Some of the signs are very simple and functional, like the message seen here on a closed escalator at a train station, which simply says, “Setsuden-chuu.”

Others are clever pieces of writing and/or graphic design.

I have a gallery of signs here, as well as explanations of my picks for the best-designed sign here and the best slogan here.

Sep 3

Structural Unemployment Plagues U.S. Legal Sector


Matt Leichter (matt [dot] leichter [at] gmail [dot] com) (Saitama-ken 2003-05) is a renegade attorney who plays by his own rules.  He operates his own blog, The Law School Tuition Bubble, where he archives, chronicles, and analyzes the rising cost and declining value of legal education in the United States.  He also maintains the “Bankruptcy Legal Topics,” and, “Bankruptcy Billables,” sections for Steven Horowitz’s Bankruptcy Bill.  For further reading regarding JETs and the law, he recommends JETs with J.D.s.

I’ve read how young adults in Japan are sometimes criticized for being lazily unemployed and living with their parents.  I don’t know how common or fair that depiction is, but it’s out there.  Economists’ term for this phenomenon is “structural unemployment.” Guess what awaits the U.S. legal profession?

Jul 14

Learn Kanji on the iPad with New “Kanji for Fun!” App

JET alum Blaine Leckett (Shimane-ken, 1990-92) has designed a new app for the iPad and available at the iTunes Store for Kanji learners everywhere. With Kanji for Fun! you’ll be remembering your Kanji in no time… and have fun doing it!

Kanji for Fun! is a puzzle game where you match up the Kanji character with its English meaning. There is also a reference section that contains the entire joyo Kanji list. In the reference section you can see the Japanese and Chinese readings and have the ability to practice writing each character with the proper stroke order.

First is the game – A simple yet addictive matching game that will have you pairing Japanese characters to their English meanings in no time. Even if you know nothing about Japanese, just playing in practice mode or sneaking a peek at the game list will greatly increase your Kanji proficiency. And if you’re an expert, try some of the more advanced grades and play with a larger grid.

Second is the reference list – With nearly 2,000 Kanji at your finger tips, take a few quiet moments with your iPad where you can learn new characters, study their readings, or practice writing stroke orders with your finger.

For a limited time, Blaine is offering promo codes so you can try Kanji for Fun! for free. Contact him through his site at to request a code.

Jun 3

The Big Bubble Battle (Bart II)


Matt Leichter (matt [dot] leichter [at] gmail [dot] com) (Saitama-ken 2003-05) is a renegade attorney who plays by his own rules.  He operates his own blog, The Law School Tuition Bubble, where he archives, chronicles, and analyzes the rising cost and declining value of legal education in the United States.  He also maintains the “Bankruptcy Legal Topics,” and, “Bankruptcy Billables,” sections for Steven Horowitz’s Bankruptcy Bill.

Higher education costs more each year, but if a law school is just a bunch of classrooms, a library, and faculty, why is attending it so much more expensive?  Place your bets on who will win the final bout of the Big Bubble Battle before clicking!

Apr 16


Laura is a current JET who writes fantasy and science fiction for children and young adults, and is an occasional playwright/film maker.

Namaskaram! Greetings from India! Ever consider volunteering abroad? With all our JET paid vacation time, there`s lots of opportunities. It looks great on your resume, and it’s a sure way to give you inspiration for your writing! Why stick to the touristy spots you can read about? You can get a feel for “the real thing” by helping out in the rural villages and slums, and see a part of the world you might never see otherwise.

I definitely just got a feel for the “real India” after spending ten days in Andhra Pradesh building houses and teaching the children of Dalits (untouchables) with five other English teachers through Longitude International. What an amazing experience! The moment we entered Chuvuru village we were greeted by drums and dancing. The people welcomed us into their homes and there seemed no end to the smiles, laughter, and chai tea! 

We spent our mornings helping build new cement houses that would stand the tempest of the fall monsoons, and our evenings teaching and playing with the children. In the beginning they were shy and called me “madam,” but within a few hours they completely opened up and called me “sister.” “Sister, one more song, one more photo, one more dance!” Boy, did they love to dance! We taught them the hokey pokey, the Macarena, head-shoulders-knees-and-toes, everything we could think of, and in return they showed us their “Bollywood moves.” They also loved my fife and recorder. Whenever I brought them out, they instantly began shouting requests.

During a game of “let`s travel,” one of the kids asked me, “Your village?” I didn`t know how to respond. Temple, Texas, where I was born? Owasso or Tulsa Oklahoma where I was raised and went to school? Nabari, Japan, where I live now? Malawi, Africa, where I left a huge part of my heart with the AIDS orphans? Or right there in Chuvuru where I felt so at home? 

It was a bit of an identity crisis. I asked myself if I really “belong” anywhere. For weeks I`ve been nervous about my upcoming visit back to the States and wondering if it has “changed,” or more importantly, if I`ve changed. Will I feel “at home” in the place my friends and family consider to be my “home?” 

After puzzling over it I came to a rather relieving, though somewhat clichéd conclusion. The world is my village. Perhaps that sounds cheesy, but I really think so. Not that I would be welcome let alone feel comfortable anywhere in the world, but I think wherever I do go where there are welcoming hearts and warm smiles, that place will be my home, my village for as long as I am there. And the villagers of India really are so welcoming, so loving that you feel like one of them from the very beginning. There is no insider/outsider. Only friend and family.

Of course, the trip wasn`t all fuzzy feelings. It was very difficult to see how some of the people suffered. Thirty years ago in a nearby village, the government gave the Dalits land to farm, but are now taking it back. This forces the villagers to migrate long distances through dangerous roads or hire themselves out as domestic servants where they are physically and sexually abused. Disease is still a major problem, claiming many lives.   

So a lot of people have asked me, why did you bother going to India? There`s not much you can do to help anyway; why not just send money? Sending money is great, but if I`m traveling anyway, I might as well make a difference as I do and experience the “real world.” I can already tell you, those kids and that place are already showing up in my fiction!   

We were the first volunteer group to visit Chuvuru, but this is only the beginning of their brighter future. Hopefully many more teams will come to help build and teach, continuing the cause of awareness, human rights, and global friendship. Who knows, maybe you`re next? If you`re interested in learning more about longitude and their work, you can visit their website at

For more details, pictures, and videos about Laura`s adventures in Asia, visit her weekly blog at

Aug 28

japaneseuniversityhatDoes anyone in the JetWit-a-sphere have any connections with administrations or faculty at any Japanese universities?

I ask because I know that there’s been a trend of Japanese universities trying to attract foreign students to study on their campuses.  I think the reason is related to the declining population in Japan but I’m not sure.

Regardless, it seems to me that perhaps some of them would be interested in advertising on JetWit.  JetWit has recently been getting over 400 hits per day and is used not just by JET alums all around the world but also by current JETs who are interested in getting a sense of what comes after JET.  Simply put, there’s no other way to reach this many JETs and JET alums this efficiently.

So if anyone can put me in touch with appropriate people at some of these universities, or better yet, make them aware of JetWit and get them interested in sponsoring the site in some way, then that kind of help would be greatly appreciated.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu,

Steven (Aichi-ken, 1992-94)

jetwit [at] jetwit [dot] com

Feb 23

Spread the love for Jetwit

Spread the love for Jetwit. Now you can have your very own Jetwit virtual button to put on your website or blog. Or use it to pimp your MySpace profile. All you have to do is copy and paste the HTML code below into your blog or site:

<a href=””<img src=”” width=”150″/></a>

AJ, the elephant by Zi Mei.  Button design by Amber Liang.

Dec 9

Swirly Swirl Dates – an intercultural dating experience

Even in such a melting pot as the U.S. is known to be, who’d actually understand how difficult it is to meet single people from other cultures?

SwirlySwirlDates does!

If you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and date outside of your race, SwirlySwirlDates provides you with the opportunity to do just that!

SwirlySwirlDates is a speed dating company which attracts an interesting mix of charming, educated and motivated singles and we promote and encourage diversity among its members.

As a participant, you get to chat with someone new every 6 minutes at an event. In order for the contact information to be exchanged, the people you have picked must also have chosen you. After your initial meeting, you will be able to engage in SwirlySwirlMessages – a special feature on the website which allows its members to contact other compatible members.

Speed dating is all about having fun and meeting new people. Whether you’re looking for a causal or a meaningful relationship, you will find plenty of people, with different backgrounds and yet similar interest, at SwirlySwirlDates’ events.

*Sign up now and apply a 20% off coupon code: 6N68N6 for upcoming events this month!

Have fun and good luck!

Dec 8

Staffing/Recruiting Companies Directory now on

I’ve created a directory for staffing/recruiting firms that are popular with JET alumni, organized by city.  So far it has New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Did I miss any good ones?  E-mail me at jetwit /atto/ jetwit /dotto/ com.

Note to staffing/recruiting firms:  If you would like your company to have a link, website address, larger font, an image and/or other information listed below, please contact Steven at jetwit /atto/ jetwit /dotto/ com for pricing information.

Dec 4

A-Kind online travel agency – Discount Air Tickets

JetWit is pleased to welcome A-Kind online travel agency as its newest sponsor – a good source for discount tickets to Japan.  They also advertise in the JETAA NY Newsletter.

Dec 1


Interac Co., Ltd., Japan’s leading private provider of Assistant Language Teachers to the Japanese public schooling system, is accepting applications from motivated and committed educators currently residing N. America to join our team of over 1,700 teaching professionals for positions commencing in March/April 2009.

If you love working with kids ranging in age from elementary to junior high school, have a passion for teaching, a willingness to adapt to a culture that is different from yours, and wish to expand your horizons and teaching skills by working in the public schooling system in Japan as an ALT, then you are the candidate we are looking for.

Based out of its head office in Tokyo and its eight branch offices located throughout Japan, Interac’s staff of approximately 1,700 ALTs are now working in locations throughout Japan. Read More

Nov 19

Help JetWit find sponsors

JetWit is seeking sponsors (or other forms of support).  Here’s how you can help:

  • E-mail me at stevenwaseda /atto/ jetwit /dotto/ com with contact information and a contact person for any potential sponsors.
  • Contact potential advertisers yourself and encourage them to get in touch to discuss advertising.
  • Be an ad sales rep for JetWit.  Contact me to discuss if interested.

The reasons a company might want to advertise on JetWit:

  • A unique centralized channel for reaching a national audience of JET alums and other people with a connection to Japan along with current JETs and prospective JETs.  (FYI, there are approximately 20,000 JET alums in the US.)  (Not that all of them read JetWit. :-)
  • Positive publicity and good karma from showing support for JET alumni
  • JetWit’s ability to provide creative advertising solutions.
  • Benefit from my 7 years of experience communicating with and supporting the JET alumni network in my role as the JETAA NY Newsletter Editor.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, and thanks for your help.

Steven (Aichi-ken, 1992-94)

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