The “Best Thing” being back (1:20)
Using Credit Cards Over There (4:10)
Music/Concerts in Japan (8:38)
Japan Apologists (15:20)
Why do the JET Program? (17:10)
What kept you going for 5 years? (20:10)
Is JET “worth it” for personal and professional development? (26:41)
“Just living alone and kind of having to start fresh, I could throw away any ties I had to people, right? Okay, I can finally be me. No one expects anything of me because they don’t know me. So I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations. Be 100% me and build my reputation around that.”
Traveling “Outside” (31:17)
Silence on the Struggle (33:07)
— Jon Dao (@CommDao) August 10, 2016
Get the Pension Refund (37:40)
Fan Question (40:32)
— Jon Dao (@CommDao) August 8, 2016
“If you find yourself doing things that you could’ve been doing where you came from, You shouldn’t be there. You’re making a mistake. You’re not making the most of your time, and you’re wasting someone else’s opportunity.”
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.
In this episode, Nick speaks with JET Program alumni Chelsea Reidy and Elayna Snyder about their upcoming 900-mile bicycle tour of Shikoku’s famous 88 temple pilgrimage.
Listen to hear them describe their creative “Temple by Temple Project,” which they are funding through Kickstarter, and how they plan to share their adventure with others.
******* JET Alum Artist Beat is a periodic feature organized by Jessica Sattell (Fukuoka-ken, 2007-2008) intending to share the wide scope of creative work that JET alumni are pursuing as artists, designers, and/or craftspeople. She is interested in interviewing and providing exposure for artists and arts professionals, and welcomes links to online portfolios, stores and businesses. Feel free to email Jessica at hello (dot) jessicasattell (at) gmail (dot) com with suggestions.
Joshua Powell (Saitama-ken, 2005-2007) is a Seattle-based book designer and illustrator. He has designed and produced a number of books for Japan-focused (and JET alum run) independent publisher Chin Music Press, including Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer, which was a 2011 Washington State Book Award Finalist and won First Place in the Quality Paperback category at the 2012 New York Book Show. NPR called another title that he designed, Oh! a mystery of mono no aware, “a triumphant kick in the pants for anyone who doubts the future of paper-and-ink books.”
Josh graciously took the time to discuss his JET tenure and how his experiences in Japan influence his design sensibilities.
Tell us a little about your background. How did you decide to apply to JET and live in Japan?
From the ages of 9-17 I practiced traditional Japanese martial arts, training under a Japanese teacher who had relocated to my home state of Virginia. His two sons as well as other Japanese sensei would visit and teach at the dojo for extended periods of time.
When I was fifteen I was lucky enough to travel to Japan for a karate competition. I never really sought out Japanese culture. I just kind of fell into marital arts and by virtue of that, Japan became a pretty central part of my childhood and teenage years. The trip I took to Japan lasted two weeks, and after it was over I always had this feeling that I wanted to get back and live there – I wondered what it would be like to have things become more familiar, to feel comfortable there. It was a thought that just stuck in the back of my mind, and then when I found out about the JET Program years later, I didn’t think twice about applying.
Were there any experiences while you were on JET that you found particularly meaningful or memorable?
My two years on JET are very important to me – a consistently rewarding and meaningful time. There are many things that contributed to the experience being so great, but it really came down to the people I met and the places I visited while in Japan. I felt extremely lucky with the school I worked at – Omiya High School in Saitama-ken. I had great co-workers, some of whom I considered close friends, and so many enthusiastic and positive students. Outside of work I had some really great friends, other JETs as well as Japanese friends who I mainly met while traveling. There were so many opportunities to get out and explore the country. Unlike many JETs, I only left the country once during my two years. I almost exclusively spent my time off exploring Japan. Coming from the U.S., the ability and ease with which I could explore the country never ceased to amaze me – just hop on a train and you’re off on a new adventure.
One of the things that I came away from Japan with was the knowledge that you don’t need a lot of things to be happy. You can live in a tiny apartment and have few material possessions (no point in buying a lot of stuff when you aren’t staying somewhere permanently), but as long as there are good people in your life and you’re able to get out and experience new things, life can be very fulfilling.
As you mention in your interview with One A Day, you’re trained in printmaking. Has that influenced your work as a book designer?
Yes. I’m mostly self-taught when it comes to design, so of course I’m building off of the visual language I learned through making art, and particularly printmaking. And of course bookmaking is a form of printmaking – making an edition of ink on paper objects. So naturally, my enthusiasm for the physical book is greatly influenced by my background in printmaking. I’ve always worked with commercial printers – none of which were in Seattle. So in a way that’s very odd, that I’m giving up the actual printing aspect of the whole process to someone else. Nonetheless, since I’m not only doing the design but also handling the production aspect of the process (preparing files, choosing papers, communicating with the printer), I still have a hand in it. If I were to print the books myself or to work closely with a local printer, Read More
******** JET Alum Artist Beat is a new feature organized by Jessica Sattell (Fukuoka-ken, 2007-2008) intending to share the wide scope of creative work that JET alumni are pursuing as artists, designers, and/or craftspeople, either professionally or for personal enjoyment. She is interested in interviewing and providing exposure for artists and arts professionals, and welcomes links to online portfolios, stores and businesses. Feel free to email Jessica at hello (dot) jessicasattell (at) gmail (dot) com with suggestions.
How do artists get their work into world-renowned galleries? How do companies find ways to visually enhance their brand images? How do publishers find illustrators for manuscripts and cover art? The answers are all rooted in the diverse fields of arts marketing and artist representation! LeJarie (Battieste) Noguchi (Aichi-ken, 1995-1998) is an Artist’s Representative at ARTas1, a Torrance, California-based company that helps bring the visions of dynamic Japanese visual artists to North America through licensing channels and gallery exhibitions. ARTas1 positions itself as a unique firm in that it represents and promotes exclusively Japanese artists. Their goal is to bridge the Japanese and the worldwide art communities into a shared celebration of creative talent, hence the “1” in their title.
LeJarie brings her experiences as a reporter, writer, translator, and Japanese media consultant to her position, where she represents over 70 unique artists working in a wide variety of mediums and styles. She graciously took the time to share a little more about her profession as well as the work of one of her favorite up-and-coming artists.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you become interested in Japan and choose to participate in the JET Program?
I majored in Japanese Studies at UCLA, and when I first began my studies, I had never heard of the JET Program. Originally, I thought I would just go to Japan and find a job or continue my studies there. But, when I heard about the opportunity to live and work in Japan through JET, I was determined to go. Thankfully, I was accepted. I didn’t really have a Plan B, but I do remember asking all of my family members for enough money for a one-way ticket to Tokyo if I didn’t get accepted to the JET Program!
How did you become involved with ARTas1?
I saw a job listing there about six years ago and contacted them about the position. At that time I didn’t have any direct sales experience and wasn’t involved much with Japanese art. But then I happened to see another listing with them about two years ago, contacted them, and they hired me! By then I had a bit more sales experience and more experience with art and media.
What does an Artist’s Representative do?
As an Artists’ Representative, Read More
JET Alum Artist Beat is a new feature organized by Jessica Sattell (Fukuoka-ken, 2007-2008) intending to share the wide scope of creative work that JET alumni are pursuing as artists, designers, and/or craftspeople, either professionally or for personal enjoyment. She is interested in interviewing and providing exposure for artists of all mediums, and welcomes links to online portfolios or stores.
The beauty (and the greatest strength) of the JET program is that is attracts such a wide variety of dedicated, talented people from all walks of life. We’re a wonderfully diverse bunch, and JET allows us to further explore and develop our interests, hobbies, and passions within new communities. Whether you’re an alum, a current JET or a prospective JET, we all have stories to tell about how Japan has inspired us, no matter our professional path.
As an aspiring fashion stylist living in Japan during my JET tenure, I saw my own creativity blossom exponentially. My community’s many galleries, museums, cafes and shops spoke to Japan’s inherent acceptance of a DIY mentality and curiosity about art. While I didn’t choose to pursue a path in fashion, I did follow my love of visual art and am crafting a career to help promote the work of artists and creative individuals.
JET Alum Artist Beat aims to profile JETs working as professional artists or who create art for personal enjoyment. There are many JET alums working as artists and in the art world, and many of them wear several different hats! Explore the Art Library here at JETwit to learn more about what some of them are up to, and check out the art category archives for a glimpse of some past projects involving the JET community. There’s also the JET Alum Creative Types LinkedIn group, which is open to new members.
Are you an artist, designer or craftsperson? We’d love to hear your story and share your creative work in a profile piece. Contact Jessica at hello.jessicasattell (at) gmail (dot) com to say hello and introduce yourself!