Mar 1

JETAA Chapter Beat 3.11 5th Anniversary Memorial Edition

Ashlie O’Neill (Hyogo-Ken, 2013-Present) AJET National Council Vice Chair and Director of Alumni Relations. Ashlie is in her second year on the AJET National Council as the Director of Alumni Relations. She works alongside Ryan Hata (National AJET Director of Alumni Resources ) and members of JETAA to strengthen the relationship between former JETs, current JETs and Japan. Please feel free to contact her email at or her Linkedin profile. Ashlie helps to keep you up up to date with JETAA happenings around the world.

This month marks the 5th anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake and the loss of the lives of the two JETs Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson.  Many JETAA chapters around the world are getting together to remember those affected by the disaster as well as raise money for various organisations in Tohoku. This edition of the JETAA Chapter Beat will focus on these events.

Screenings of Tohoku Tomo


About the film: In March 2013, Wesley Julian launched and successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to create Tohoku Tomo — a documentary film telling the story of true friendship and commitment to Japan’s recovery by the international community following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Julian and a small team traveled across the United States and Japan to interview individuals who have made and continue to make a difference in Tohoku.

Many of these people dropped what they were doing and dedicated themselves to Japan’s recovery. Many of them even took it upon themselves to establish non-profit organizations aimed at connecting with and rebuilding Tohoku and its communities. At the core of all of these organizations are individuals. Many of these groups were founded by members of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET Program). What started as a love of Japan through teaching blossomed into a true friendship and commitment to the Tohoku region. These founders and many other volunteers have truly become friends of Tohoku. They are, in Japanese, Tohoku Tomo.


JETAA Alaska
When: February 29th, 6:00pm
Where: The BP Energy Center, Anchorage

When: March 3rd, 5:30pm
Where: Tulane University, Newcomb Campus, Jones Hall 102, New Orleans

JETAA Toronto
When: March 9th, 6:30pm
Where: Revue Cinema

Sasakawa Peace Foundation and JETAADC
When: March 11th, 4:30pm
Where: The Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC

When: March 16th, 6:00pm
Where: Japan Foundation, Sydney

JETAA Southern California
When: March 18th, 7:00pm
Where: Occidental College, Choi Auditorium, los Angeles

Florida JETAA-Miami
When: March 30th, 8:00pm
Where: Florida  International University, modesto A. Maidique Campus, Room GL 100

Florida JETAA-Orlando
When: March 31st, 8:00pm
Where: Asia Trend/ Y.E.S.S Center


113 Projects

About the Project: The mission of the 113 Project is to create a venue for dialogue and action that reclaims the message of the Tohoku disaster as an opportunity for good. The 113 Project will encourage collaboration among thought leaders, activists, community members and volunteers to continue the critical work of recovery and revitalization in Tohoku as well as to look at and address together challenges faced by others through the lens of lessons learned out of the Tohoku experience.

JETAA Northern California
When: March 8th, 6:30pm
Where: JCCC NC , 1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco

JETAA Rocky Mountain
When: March 13th, 2:00pm
Where: Sie Film Center, Denver

When: April 22-24th
Where: Cherry Blossom Festival, Seattle

For a full list of Tohoku Tomo and 113 Project events, please see the Tohoku Tomo website at or email them at

Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story

Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story Logo


About the film: This film is a story about Taylor Anderson and all the young people who travel the world trying to make a difference. Taylor was an extraordinary American who dedicated herself to teaching Japanese children, living her dream right up to the events of March 11, 2011. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan were a disaster that no one could have expected. 

When:March 13th, 1:00pm
Where: Sendai Mediatheque, Sendai, Japan



Additional Events around the world

JETAAWJ and National AJET

D-prep: A disaster Preparation Event

Recognizing the need for more disaster preparation events in English, JETAA Western Japan and AJET will hold D-PREP.
When: March 13th,10:00-3:00
Where:Canadian Academy ,Rokko Island, Kobe
RSVP: by March 10th at this link

For more information, please e-mail Rose Tanasugarn at

The Big Bento Lunch

When:March 1st-31st
Where: Anywhere you wish

Hosting a Big Bento Lunch is as easy as rounding up up a group of your friends and work mates and eating some delicious Japanese food!
Since 2012, Big Bento Lunch participants have raise more than $30,000 for many charities by holding family picnics or parties or and getting bentos delivered to work places. It is simple and fun!

To register your lunch and help us support the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund, visit the Big Bento Lunch website at

Feb 3

JETAA Chapter Beat February 2nd 2016

Ashlie O’Neill (Hyogo-Ken, 2013-Present) AJET National Council Vice Chair and Director of Alumni Relations. Ashlie is in her second year on the AJET National Council as the Director of Alumni Relations. She works alongside Ryan Hata (National AJET Director of Alumni Resources ) and members of JETAA to strengthen the relationship between former JETs, current JETs and Japan. Please feel free to contact her email at or her Linkedin profile. Ashlie helps to keep you up up to date with JETAA happenings around the world.

February is a big month for JETAA chapters around the world , with many of them hosting elections for the next JETAA councils and representatives. However, that does not stop JETAA chapters from holding some really great events too! Let’s have a look at some of the events happening this month.

1.JETAA Portland

Shinnenkai 2016 @ Grand Central Restaurant & Bowling Lounge

When: February 18th, 7-10pm
Where: Grand Central Restaurant & Bowling Lounge (808 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97232)

It may already be February, but it isn’t really the new year until you’ve celebrated it with JETAA Portland! This year JETAA Portland are bringing you a Shinnenkai full of food, fun, and games for the whole family. Join them at Grand Central Restaurant & Bowling Lounge for a casual evening of tacos and bowling as they celebrate the year of the monkey. 明けましておめでとう!


2.  JETAA Ottawa


When: February 13th, 5-7pm
Where: Ottawa Curling Club ,440 O’Connor St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1W4

Curling, the king of sports! Come and enjoy casual, beginner-friendly curling at the Ottawa Curling Club. You don’t need any experience or equipment to have a nice time! JETAA Ottawa has reserved two sheets of ice as well as instruction for the first half hour.


 3.JETAA Southern California

SuperBowl Sunday Hike

When: February 7th, 8:45-12pm PST
Where:859 E Sierra Madre Ave, Glendora, CA 91741

Want to go hiking ? This is a pretty easy 1.5 mile hike, but then the last part definitely gets your heart rate up. It’s about 1 1/4 hours to the top and about an hour down, depending on how much time the group spends taking breaks. It’s a good hike with great views from the top.
If you would like to go please RSVP on the JETAASC Facebook page.


4. JETAA Northern California 

JETAANC Volunteer Nite for Berkeley-Sakai Sister City Association!

Berkeley-Sakai Sister City Association needs our help! Come enjoy some pizza and beer and learn how you can assist their efforts to re-establish their student exchange programs and prepare for their 50th Anniversary in 2017.

**Register here:

JET alumni and friends have helped revitalize U.S.-Japan sister city groups across the Bay Area and now we are turning our attention to Berkeley-Sakai! What they are trying to do is at the heart of the grassroots exchange mission of the JET Program and so it is naturally close to our hearts.

When: February 18th, 6:30-8:30pm PST
Where: Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley,California 94704


5.JETAA South Island

Summer j-kaiwa

Celebrate 2016 with drinks and nibbles at Space Academy on St Asaph Street. Anyone/everyone welcome for casual conversation in English or Japanese. It is a great place to meet new people and practice your language (or just hang out). JETAA South Island are looking forward to seeing lots of new and old faces!

When: February 2nd, 5:30pm ~
Where: Space Academy, 371 St Asaph Street, Christchurch, New Zealand 8011


6.JETAA Hawaii

Shinnekai and talk on the ‘other’ side of Japan

JETAA Hawaii is pleased to announce that for it’s 2016 Shinnenkai, that they will be hosting a presentation on the “other” side of Japan — organized crime (aka Yakuza) and its effect on Japan’s government, business and financial worlds, and society-at-large.

The speaker will be US Marine Colonel Grant Newsham, a senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo. Colonel Newsham lived in Japan for 20 years, and worked as a US diplomat and military officer, and in the investment banking and high-tech industries.

RSVP to by Tuesday, February 2, 2016

When: February 5th,6-8pm
Where: Box Jelly Co-working space, 07 Kamani St, Honolulu, HI 96813

Jan 18

Ashlie O’Neill (Hyogo-Ken, 2013-Present) AJET National Council Vice Chair and Director of Alumni Relations. Ashlie is in her second year on the AJET National Council as the Director of Alumni Relations. She works alongside Ryan Hata (National AJET Director of Alumni Resources ) and members of JETAA to strengthen the relationship between former JETs, current JETs and Japan. Please feel free to contact her email at or her Linkedin profile. Ashlie helps to keep you up up to date with JETAA happenings around the world.

Welcome to the second chapter beat for 2016 . There is so much happening in January in the JETAA world so I have selected just a sample for everyone to enjoy. For more information on events around the world please visit your nearest chapters Facebook pages or websites.


JETAA NSW New Years Beach BBQ

When: January 31st, 12pm
Where: Coogee Beach, NSW

Head to Coogee Beach to join JETAA NSW for their annual summer BBQ.

Take along your swimmers, snacks and BBQ favourites and help them kick off the new year with a bang!

2.JETAA Singapore

JETAA SG Welcome Back Reception

When: February 2nd, 6:30-9pm
Where: Japan Creative Centre (JCC), 4 Nassim Road, Singapore 258372

Join  JETAA SG for the Welcome Back Reception organised by Embassy of Japan and CLAIR!

You’ll get to meet fellow ex-JETs, old and new, and also external companies and associations like JCCI, JUGAS, and SSEAYP.

Please RSVP your attendance by 24th January here:

3.JETAA British Columbia

Annual General Meeting and Shinnenkai

When: January 29th, 6-9pm
Where: YWCA Hotel, 733 Beatty Street (Between Robson and Georgia St)

JETAABC is proud to invite all JETAABC members and their guests to the Annual General Meeting and Shinnenkai 2016. This is a great opportunity to stay connected with JETs and continue contributing to Japan/Canada relations in an amazing way. Please consider joining the JETAABC Board of Directors whether you are a recent returnee or have been beck for decades.

Annual General Meeting 2016

4.JETAA Mid-South

First Thursday (Muses Parade Edition)

When: February 4th, 8pm
Where:TBC on Muses Parade Route

First Thursdays are a casual monthly get together designed to allow JETAA members to meet up and hang out.  If you are interested in attending please feel free to drop in.

5.JETAA Northern California

JETAANC East Bay Networking Nomikai

When: January 21st, 7:30-9:30pm
Where:Diving Dog Brewhouse. 1802 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, California 94612

Join alumni and friends at our New Year’s East Bay Networking Nomikai (happy hour)! Let’s ring in the Year of the Monkey together at Diving Dog Brewhouse in the heart of Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood.

Register here.

6. JETAA Chicago

YPC Koval Whiskey Tour, Tasting & Discussion

When: January 21st, 6:30-8pm
Where: KOVAL Distillery, 5121 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640, United States

Join JASC and JETAA members for a tour, tasting and discussion of Chicago’s very own KOVAL Distillery, set on the Northside of Chicago in Ravenswood.

Sample whiskey, gin, vodka and liqueurs while touring the distillery and learning more about the whiskey making process, and what sets KOVAL apart from the competition.  The tour will end with a discussion from Fuyuko Kojima, Japanese market manager for KOVAL, who will lend insight into KOVAL’s marketing strategies in Japan and discuss cultural obstacles and challenges.  Products will be available for sale during the event with a 10% discount for all attendees.


7.Texoma JETAA

Dallas-Fort Worth(DFW) Shinnenkai Karaoke

When: January 30th, 2-4pm CST
Where: Round One Arlington Texas 76015

Sing you hello to 2016 and a belated welcome to returning JETAA members at Round One in Arlington with the DFW JET Alumni. 

8. JETAA Canberra

February Oshaberikai

When: February 3rd , 6:30~
Where: King O’Malleys, Civic

JETAA Canberra’s February Oshaberikai and get together will be at held at King O’Malleys.
If you can’t speak Japanese come along anyway, we all speak English too! This is a great way to meet the other JET Alumni in Canberra.

For those who haven’t been before here’s how it works: You only pay for what you eat/drink and JETAA Canberra provides the bar snacks.



That’s all for this fortnights chapter beat. If you have any events that you want listed please contact me on my email
Have a great week

Jan 6

JETAA Chapter Beat- January 7th, 2016

Ashlie O’Neill (Hyogo-Ken, 2013-Present) AJET National Council Director of Alumni Relations. Ashlie is in her second year on the AJET National Council as the Director of Alumni Relations. She works alongside Ryan Hata (National AJET Director of Alumni Resources ) and members of JETAA to strengthen the relationship between former JETs, current JETs and Japan. Please feel free to contact her email at or her Linkedin profile. Ashlie helps to keep you up up to date with JETAA happenings around the world.

Welcome to the very first chapter beat for 2016 and a big Happy New Year to everyone around the world.
Let’s see what JETAA has coming up in January.

1. JETAA Rocky Mountains

Monthly Board Meeting and Second Sunday Social Meetup

When: Sunday January 10th, 12-4pm
Where: Coffee at The Point, 710 E 26th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80205

JETAA Rocky Mountains will host their monthly board meeting and Second Sunday meetup this Sunday, January 10th.

Any interested JET alums are invited to join the board meeting from 12-2pm. Then from 2-4pm, kick back and relax, reminisce about teaching, living in Japan, practice Japanese, or just catch up with friends.


2. JETAA Northern California

SF Networking Nomikai

When: Thursday January 7th, 5:30-7:30pm (PST)
Where:  Crystal Jade San Francisco.
4 Embarcadero Ctr, Ste e, Lbby Level San Francisco, California

Join alumni and friends at our San Francisco Networking Nomikai (happy hour)! Ring in the new Year of the Monkey together!

Come out, make new friends, and catch up with old ones. This is a great chance for networking.


3. Heartland JETAA

Heartland JETAA January Meeting

When: Thursday January 14th, 6:30pm (CST)
Blackdog Coffee House
12815 W 87th St, Lenexa Kansas 66215

Join Heartland JETAA at their January meeting to discuss upcoming events,ask questions and share ideas.


4. Florida JETAA

Annual Shinnenkai

When: Sunday January 24th, 6-8pm (EST)
Where:Michael Maloney’s House in Tampa (email for RSVP and directions)

Join Florida JETAA for their Annual Shinnenkai celebrating the start of 2016.


5. JETAA Washington DC

Networking Happy Hour

When: Tuesday January 12th, 5-7pm
Where: Laughing Man Tavern, 1306 G St.NW

Join members of JETAADC at their first networking event of 2016. For those interested, there will be trivia starting at 7pm and JETAADC are planning on forming a JETAADC team (or 2 depending on numbers)!


6. JETAA Midlands

Japanese Lessons

When: Throughout January 21st to February 25th
Where: Birmingham’s MAC Arts Centre

This January, JETAA Midlands are hosting tailored Japanese lessons every Thursday evening from January 21st to February 25th at , mac Birmingham in Cannon Hill Park.

Lessons will be with other ex-JETs enthusiastic about learning Japanese again. The class size will be small at 8 students which will allow you the teaching time you need to get started learning Japanese again or get help to improve weaker areas and take your Japanese ability to the next level.

Sep 4

JETAA Chapter beat-September 4th

Ashlie O’Neill (Hyogo-Ken, 2013-Present) AJET National Council Director of Alumni Relations. This is a new position to help strengthen the relationship between JETAA/AJET. Please feel free to contact her email at or her Linkedin profile. Ashlie helps to keep you up up to date with JETAA happenings around the world.

Let’s see what is coming up in September in JETAA Chapters .


Okinawan Performing arts at the Kennedy Center

Enjoy Performances by

  • Creative Eisa –Shishi-mai (Dance of Japanese lion)
  • Traditional Karate –Breathing methodologies, Kata, Sanchin-kata
  • Ryukyu Buyo (Classical Dance) –Yotsutake, Kasekake, Hatomabushi

If you are interested in going with JETAADC please send a message to with the number of people in your party and where you will meet them.


JETAA New York

Yukata Hop in Astoria-September 6th

Summer’s not over until September 21st (at least according to the official calendar)- so in order to keep the summer going JETAANY is having a Yukata Hop in Queens! Meet JETAANY at the Strand Smokehouse in Astoria and then head out to a couple other bars in the area (TBA soon). If you don’t have a Yukata, you are still welcome to join! Please feel free to wear other festive garb (happi coats, jinbei, etc.).

JETAA Music City

Japan Summer Fest-13th of September

Join JETAA Music City for games, delicious food, Japanese culture, and of course some great performances, including taiko, kendo and more at Japan Summer Fest! For a list of performances and activities, visit:


JETAA Pacific Northwest

PNWJETAA booth at the 17th Annual Aki Matsuri presented by the Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association – 6 & 7th of September

Every Fall, ENMA presents “Aki Matsuri (Fall Festival)”, a 2-day program of Japanese cultural, educational, and fun events for all age groups.The Aki Matsuri is a celebration of Japan’s rich cultural heritage. A large number of local artists and craft persons practicing Japanese-style arts and crafts (including the performing arts and martial arts), and Japan related businesses & organizations will be participating during the entire two day event activities.
PNWJETAA will have a booth where they will have volunteers sharing their experiences in Japan.
If you are interested in volunteering for the both please contact Jennifer at


JETAA Toronto

Support JETAA Toronto while they compete in a Dragon Boat Race

Ever wanted to see a dragon boat race? Or even better – Ever wanted to see your fellow JETAA members race for glory and for good food? Then join JETAA Toronto this weekend at Marilyn Bell Park on Saturday or Sunday and cheer them on!

Feb 25

JETAA Chapter Beat 25th February 2014

Welcome to JETAA Chapter Beat. Theodore Genba Bigby (Yamagata 2008-12) walks you through some of the highlights from JET alumni associations across the globe. Genba currently serves as the JETAA UK Webmaster and as the JETAA Midlands chair.

JETAA Chapter Beat for 2014 kicks off with two films and alumni efforts to support Japan in the wake of the the 2011 earthquake. So much was lost during such a relatively short period of time, and the JET community is proud to continue supporting the north of Japan as it continues its recovery.
JETAA Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia

    Big Bento Lunch is on again this year!
    Throughout March 2014
    Throughout Oceania

    “March 11 is the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.

    To commemorate the disaster and raise much-needed funds for the Save Minamisoma Project, Big Bento Lunch encourages people to get together for a Japanese-style lunch and collect donations.

    Get your colleagues, family, friends or school together and host a bento lunch between March 1 and 31.

    Last year Big Bento Lunch raised more than $7000 for the Save Minamisoma Project, and in 2012 raised more than $15,000 for UNICEF’s work supporting children in the affected regions of Tohoku.

    The initiative is proudly organised by JETAA Victoria/Tasmania/South Australia, with support from the Consulate-General of Japan, Melbourne.

    Head to our website at to register your lunch.”

JETAA Chicago

    “HAFU” ”ハーフ” screening
    28th February 2014
    Depaul University Schmitt Academic Center, Room 154, 2320 N. Kenmore Avenue

    This is a film I really want to see. I’m interested to learn about how people in Japan construct their own identities and how Japanese society constructs the identity of others. This has to be a must see and I’d encourage everyone who can to catch a screening of it.

    “Please join us for an exclusive screening of:



    With an ever increasing movement of people between places in this transnational age, there is a mounting number of mixed-race people in Japan, some visible others not. “Hafu” is the unfolding journey of discovery into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experience in modern day Japan. The film follows the lives of five “hafus”–the Japanese term for people who are half-Japanese–as they explore what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a nation that once proudly proclaimed itself as the mono-ethnic nation.

    Narrated by the hafus themselves, along with candid interviews and cinéma vérité footage, the viewer is guided through a myriad of hafu experiences that are influenced by upbringing, family relationships, education, and even physical appearance. As the film interweaves five unique life stories, audiences discover the depth and diversity of hafu personal identities.”

    You can get in contact with JETAA Chicago by email: Admission is free, but there are a limited number of spaces available, so please reserve your place at this free event by registering at: Doors open at 6:15pm. The film will begin at 6:30pm.

    To learn more about the film, you can visit their website and why not see if there’s a screening near to you?
    Tohoku Tomo 東北友 Documentary Premiere
    12th March 2014
    The Adler Planetarium 1300 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

    “Save the date for the exclusive premiere of Tohoku Tomo 東北友 ! Three JETAAs -Wesley Julian, Daniel Martin, and Elizabeth Gordon- have been working hard to complete this project and are looking forward to sharing it.

    In March 2013, Wesley Julian launched and successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to create Tohoku Tomo – a documentary film telling the story of true friendship and commitment to Japan’s recovery by the international community following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Julian and a small team traveled across the United States and Japan to interview individuals who have made and continue to make a difference in Tohoku.

    Countless people dropped what they were doing and dedicated themselves to Japan’s recovery. Many of them even took it upon themselves to establish non-profit organizations aimed at connecting with and rebuilding Tohoku and its communities. At the core of all these organizations are individuals—people connected and committed to the Tohoku region. These founders and volunteers are true friends of Tohoku. They are, in Japanese, Tohoku Tomo. For more information, visit

    Ticket price is free but space is limited. RSVP is required prior to the event.

    Please rsvp here:

JETAA Rocky Mountain

    Donate for Tohoku
    Starts: 12:00 midnight Japan time on 3/11 (8 a.m. MST on March 10)
    Ends: 11:59 p.m. Japan time on 3/11 (7:59 a.m. MST on March 11)

    “Three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the devastation in Tohoku has largely faded from the news. However, so much remains to be done for the survivors and TAMF has been partnering with a number of organizations in Japan to provide relief and help the people of Tohoku build a strong and vibrant future.”

    The best thing about this donation drive is that “all donations up to $1,000 per individual donor made to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund on March 11th Japan time will be matched by Global Giving through their Japan Match Global Giving program.”

    For full details of the event from JETAA Rocky Mountain, check out this page on their website:

    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:

    Jun 4

    JETAANC Pacific Bridge: Alumni Spotlight with Xander Peterson

    Spotlight on:  Xander Peterson (Miyazaki, 2009-12) JET Program Coordinator for San Francisco. Xander became the new coordinator earlier this year.

    Why did you apply for the position?Xander2

    I applied for the position because I truly believe in the purpose of JET, and I want to see the program flourish. The cultural exchange and friendships that I built with my students and community changed my life and hopefully influenced theirs, too. I knew that it wasn’t just me who felt this way; nearly everyone who goes on JET is profoundly impacted in some manner.

    Did you ever see yourself becoming the Program Coordinator during JET/JET application process?

    When I first applied to JET, I didn’t see myself as becoming the Program Coordinator. However, after my first year as an ALT, I was in love with the program and began to think of ways that I could support not just the JETs in my area but all JETs across Japan and the program as a whole. At the end of my final year in Japan, I applied to CLAIR but to no avail. A couple of months after I returned to Santa Cruz, the position of JET Program Coordinator (for Northern California / Nevada) opened up. I applied and got the job.

    How do you see yourself working with JETAANC?

    I see myself as the liaison between the Consulate and JETAANC. I’d like to do whatever I can to build a strong working relationship between the two. One area that I think we can work on is connecting our local JET alums with the local Sister City Associations. Local Sister City Associations are a great place for alumni to share their Japan experiences and adventures with American students who are interested in learning more about Japanese language and culture.
    Read More

    May 31

    Each month, current and former JET participants are featured in the “JET Plaza” section of the CLAIR Forum magazine. The June 2013 edition includes an article by JET alumn David Namisato. Posted by Celine Castex (Chiba-ken, 2006-11), currently programme coordinator at CLAIR Tokyo.



    “I went on the JET Programme because I had quit art, but I returned to art because I went on the JET Programme, and thanks to that, here I am, over a decade later, an illustrator and comic book creator, with my JET experience influencing many of my works.”

    David Namisato (Aomori-ken, Ajigasawa Town, 2002-04), is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He came to Japan on the JET Programme looking for a different career path after animation school, and spent two years in a rural town of Aomori as a CIR. Back in Canada, he started a comic series about the JET Programme experience for the JETAA Toronto Newsletter. Life After the B.O.E. quickly gained popularity inside and outside the JET community, to become a book in 2011. David is now a professional illustrator and has just released his new fantasy comic The Long Kingdom #1.

    My Long Journey to the Beginning

    In October of 2001, having become disillusioned with art, I decided to drop out of animation school, and to try something completely different and applied to the JET Programme.

    Fluent in Japanese and looking for translation and interpretation experience as well as to transition in to a more planning and administrative career, I thought the position of Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) would be a good fit.

    I was admitted to the JET Programme in 2002 as a CIR, and went to Japan. However, my contracting organization, Ajigasawa Town in Aomori Prefecture, used CIRs as elementary school English instructors. I had no planning or administrative duties beyond curriculum design and lesson planning, nor did I have translation or interpretation work. Rather, I was entrusted to teach English to children grades one through six at six of the town’s elementary schools.

    As an elementary school English instructor, my art skills that I had abandoned were quickly resurrected and came in quite handy as I would use drawings to explain difficult vocabulary and grammar to my students. Slowly my joy of drawing returned, and as it returned, I also began contributing covers to the Aomori AJET newsletter.

    In the spring of 2005, six months after my two years as a CIR ended, I decided to give art another try, and I started work as an illustrator creating illustrations and comics for children’s science, and history magazines in Canada. Read More

    May 14

    JETAA Chapter Beat 14th May 2013

    Welcome to JETAA Chapter Beat. Theodore Genba Bigby (Yamagata 2008-12) walks you through some of the highlights from JET alumni associations across the globe. Genba currently serves as the chair of JETAA Midlands and JETAA UK Webmaster.

    This month, I’ve been keeping an eye on the world of JETAA with a slightly different perspective. I’ve recently connected with a lot of chapters via social media and I’m glad to say that spirits are high. With recent news that numbers on the JET Programme are set to rise, that means our committed membership will also rise. There are a lot of great events this month for the JET alumni community and from this month, there are even events created not just for the sake of current alumni, but also for JETs departing later this year. Let’s see what’s up with alumni!

    JETAA Toronto

      Sake Brewery Tour
      1st June, 2013
      51 Gristmill Lane, Toronto (Distillery District)

      JETAA Toronto Sake Brewery Tour

      JETAA Toronto Culture Series: Sake Brewery Tour

      JETAA Toronto will kick off its culture series in 2013 with an educational sake tasting tour at the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company.

      There are two two private, expert-guided tasting tours available especially for JETAA Toronto members. Tours will consist of an overview of the sake brewing process, raw materials and equipment, followed by a guided tasting of several of their freshly-brewed unpasteurised and pasteurised brews. The tasting tour will last for around an hour and includes a souvenir IZUMI sake tasting cup.

      Spaces are limited and although the tour is open to non JET alumni, priority will be given to ex-JETs.

      Tour #1 – 3:00-4:00pm (please arrive at 2:45pm), Tour #2 – 4:00-5:00pm (please arrive at 3:45pm)
      Price: $17.29 ($15 + HST + 2% Booking Fee) Register here:

      There will be a nijikai, to which everyone is welcome, scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. The location is yet to be decided, so it is recommended that you check the facebook event page “Due to tour capacity, there are only 15 tickets available for Tour #1 at 3:00pm and Tour #2 at 4:00pm respectively, so book your ticket ASAP. Please remember that tickets for Tour #1 and Tour #2 are NOT interchangeable, and must be used at the time indicated on the ticket.”

      Dragon Boat Team Opening
      Summer, 2013
      Sunnyside Paddling Club, Lake Ontario

      Fighting Carps

      Fighting Carps

      Why not enjoy summer by keeping fit and enjoying the beauty of the Great Lakes? There are currently only three places remaining on JETAA Toronto’s 22-person boat. The team, known as the Fighting Carps, paddle along the shore of Lake Ontario every Wednesday, departing from the Sunnyside Paddling Club.

      Meetings will begin in mid-June and run for 10 weeks. It costs around $170 to join the team, which includes equipment rental for all 10 practices, a team t-shirt and two races. The first race will take place on Sunday, 11th August, in Milton, with a two-day regatta, the GWN Dragon Boat Challenge on the 7th and 8th September to end the season. Check here for contact information to join the team:

    JETAA New York

      POP Exhibition @ Japan Society
      31st May, 2013
      Japan Society, 333 E 47th St New York, NY 10017

      JETAANY is organising a group outing to see Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints. “Edo Pop playfully juxtaposes classic ukiyo-e prints from such masters as Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige with contemporary works inspired by these artists and their works. Delve into alluring worlds created by the power of the Edo period and contemporary popular culture in which change is the only constant.”

      Gallery Associate Cory Campbell from Japan Society will be giving a tour/short introduction to JETAANY members. Find out more about the works displayed in the exhibition here. The exhibition will run until 9th June, 2013.

      Yukata Bar Crawl
      1st June, 2013

      JETAA is hitting the streets of Brooklyn donned in their finest Ykatas. Meandering through the the streets from Cobble Hill to Park Slope, they aim to get New York’s Jinbe and Yukata owners to dust them off and show BK how to party Japan style. Why? Because they’re just that cool. Save the date and check the JETAA New York site for updates.

    JETAA Queensland

      Queensland Night Out
      31st May 6:30pm
      Cyber City 2012, 245 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

      The time is about right for a meeting Yes! We were thinking the same thing! So it is for this very reason that we would like to invite the JETAA community to dinner and a spot of natsukashii karaoke at the action packed Cyber City 2012. This will be a great opportunity to meet fellow JETAA members, catch up, have a great night out and belt out a few tunes. The night will include a Japanese style banquet of meats (yakiniku), skewers, tempura, sushi and of course – karaoke. Please find the details below:

      The event is set to cost $30 per person, but that includes the banquet and karaoke, though drinks are to be purchased separately.

    JETAA Midlands

      Picnic in the Park
      8th June, 2013
      Wollaton Park, Nottingham

      There’s no hotter event in the JETAA calendar this month than a trip to the set of the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Meet at midday for a fun, relaxed British picnic. Kids and families are especially encouraged to attend this relaxed social event, where you can catch up with your fellow alumni from across the Midlands. Be sure to bring your spandex and a cape.

    JETAA South Alberta

      South Alberta New JET Conference Appeal

      I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the JET community that new JETs are preparing to start their adventure in Japan. The JETAA South Alberta New JET Conference is coming up in June and they’re looking for volunteers. Lunch is provided for any wonderful alumni who’d like to help out. Go to their site and drop them a line if you’re interested.

    JETAA Northern California

    Apr 12

    JETAA Chapter Beat 12th April 2013

    Welcome to JETAA Chapter Beat. Theodore Genba Bigby (Yamagata 2008-12) walks you through some of the highlights from JET alumni associations across the globe. Genba currently serves as the JETAA UK Webmaster and on the JETAA Midlands committee.

    It’s only the second time I’m doing this, but sometimes, I look at the events and where they’re going to be held and I wish I could attend! In fact, this month’s “headline” event, so to speak, is by JETAA New York. I’ll try to behave like the googlebot and return to chapters that keep producing events. That doesn’t mean I won’t be looking at all chapters as I have taken a look at as many as possible. What I’ve noticed is that some are more active than others. Hopefully, doing the JETAA Chapter Beat on a more regular basis will give all chapters ideas and encourage those chapters who are less active to become more active (or maybe publicise their activity). For me, the ability to exchange feelings and ideas between people who share similar experiences is the greatest benefit of JETwit. Let’s see what’s going on around the world of JETAA over the next few weeks.

    JETAA New York

    Hanami Picnic
    20th April 2013
    Central Park, New York

    What could be better than a Hanami party in Japan? I’d say a Hanami party in New York City has got to come pretty close to trumping it, especially when the venue is Central Park. Meet at the park’s Great Lawn (near The MET Museum~ 84th Street and 5th Avenue). To get there on the Subway, you need to take the 4/5/6 train to 86th Street  or  B/C train to 81st Street. I have no idea what all of that means, but one day I hope to find out by visiting NYC and perhaps even attending an event myself. There’s also a map to the location of the party that can be found by visiting the link above. “We will be picnicking on the east side of the Great Lawn between fields #2 and #4…We will have RED balloons and the JETAANY banner.  Contact Pam/Monica if you can’t find [the group].” Please take a look at their website for a map and contact details, though an RSVP is not mandatory

    JETAA London

    Japan vs MCC
    28 April 2013
    Lord’s Cricket Ground, London

    From New York, the home of Hip-Hop, to the greatest MCC battle of the decade. Actually, it has nothing to do with music, as MCC actually stands for Marylebone Cricket Club, one of the world’s most historical cricket clubs. Their main purpose is to promote cricket to young people. For this event, they’re having a one day 50-50 game against Japan. Simply put, this means the game will only last for one day and shouldn’t end in a draw. Although not a JETAA event, it is free! The event starts at 9:45 in the morning and finishes at 6:15, but there’s lots of traditional British food available all day.

    JETAA Northern California

    South San Francisco & Kishiwada Sister City Association – Talk With Students
    16th April 2013

    There were just 4 tickets left for this event at the time of publication.

    “Frank McAuley, president of the South San Francisco & Kishiwara Sister City Association, would like to have a JET alum talk to his group of 16-20 high school students about life in Japan and on JET at their next Sister City meeting. The talk does not need to be longer than 20 minutes and will be a good chance for the students to hear from someone who has recently lived in Japan and to ask questions about Japan.”

    Oakland Ramen Nite
    18th April 2013
    Sobo Ramen, 988 Franklin Street, Oakland

    Come out for a friendly networking event over a bowl of ramen in Oakland. Apparently, “Sobo has one of the best tonkotsu pork broths in the Bay Area”, so I’d say you had better not miss out!  The venue is 2 blocks from 12th Street BART station with an on-site car park.

    Book Club: The Salaryman’s Wife by Sujata Massey
    7th May 2013
    Peter’s Cafe 10 El Camino Real, Millbrae, California

    Discussing The Salaryman’s Wife, a tale of power, murder, sex and deception that takes place in one of Tokyo’s seediest neighbourhoods. The club will meet at 6:30.

    Haru Matsuri
    19th May 2013
    Hakone Gardens 21000 Big Basin Way Saratoga, California

    Spring festivals are always fun! Although this event is not organised by JETAA Northern California, they encourage alumni to participate. There will be a “Japanese Calligraphy demonstration on a large canvas, Mochi pounding performance, Tea Ceremony, Tsugaru shamisen and Koto performance, Flower Arrangement, Japanese Kimono Show, Silent Auction, and much more.  Foods served include: Yakitori, Ramen, Gyoza, Kagami Biraki, and Sake.” Almost like being back in Japan! Over 2,000 people are expected to attend; make sure you’re one of them.

    Mar 18

    JETAA Chapter Beat 18th March 2013

    Welcome to JETAA Chapter Beat. Theodore Genba Bigby (Yamagata 2008-12) walks you through some of the highlights from JET alumni associations across the globe.  Genba currently serves as the JETAA UK Webmaster and on the JETAA Midlands committee.

    Although JETAA Chapter Beat has been absent recently, the hearts of JET alumni have been going strong. Let’s take a look at some highlights for the next four weeks.

    JETAA Tokyo

    2012-2013 JETAA Tokyo Mentor Program

    JETAA Tokyo have announced that they intended to run a mentor programme with the aim of developing the careers of local alumni. As part of the programme, which is currently under way, alumni are offered the opportunity to be mentored by experienced alumni who have successfully established themselves as working professionals in the Tokyo area. It is hoped that this personal advice and insight will prove valuable to the development of their careers.

    Mentees can expect the following resources:

    • Monthly contact with their mentor through face-to-face meetings, telephone, Skype, Facebook or email (although mentees are responsible for initiating contact).
    • Advice and suggestions on researching career opportunities in the Tokyo area.
    • Feedback on job search materials (résumé, rirekisho, letters of recommendation, etc).
    • If possible, attendance to the JETAA Tokyo Mentor Program Kick-off and the Program Finale.

    Although internships are not officially offered as a part of the initiative, there is an opportunity for mentors and mentees to discuss future opportunities on a personal basis. This is an extremely interesting project and if it proves to be successful, it may be replicated by other chapters across the globe.

    JETAA Music City

    Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC)
    Friday 29th March 2013, 12am – Monday 1st April, 12am
    Nashville, Tennessee

    During this year’s MTAC, the JET Programme will be hosting its own table! People wishing to volunteer are urged to contact John Gale, JET Program Coordinator at the Consulate-General of Japan, or 615-340-4300. It would be a great opportunity to connect with the many university students who are expected to attend who have a strong interest in Japan. Why not come down and tell them about your experiences in Japan whilst enjoying the largest anime convention in Tennessee?

    Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival
    23rd March 2013, 10 am
    Nashville, Tennessee
    See here for more information:

    Why not get down to the 2013 Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival? JETAAMC are also looking for volunteers to staff the table and speak to the public about their JET experience. To volunteer, please contact John Gale at It must be noted that this event is imminent, so even if you can’t volunteer, please show some support!

    JETAA New York

    Spring Hike to Breakneck Ridge
    14th April 2013
    Beacon, New York

    JETAANY Breakneck Ridge

    JETAA NY at Breakneck Ridge.

     If you’re tired of being cooped up all winter, why not have a nice relaxing walk along Breakneck Ridge? Reliably reported to be the best hike in the Tristate area, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of New York state.

    “While no advanced hiking skill is needed, please note that the first part of this hike is strenuous with some rock scrambling. Please wear shoes with a good tread and comfortable clothing. We will be going very slowly and spotting each other.”

    See the link above for details.

    April Book Club: The Hare with the Amber Eyes
    16th April 2013 – 7 pm – 9 pm
    Flatiron Building, New York, New York

    Written by Edmund de Waal, April’s book will be The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance. Meeting on the 14th floor of the iconic Flatiron building, this is a must.

    Registration is required in order to attend this event, so please click on the link above and follow the instructions.

    JETAA Midlands

    Midlands Meetup
    13th April 2013 12:30pm
    Woktastic, Birmingham, Midlands

    JETAA Midlands is now in the process of re-invigorating the group. Starting with this initial meeting, they are inviting not only alumni, but friends of Japan with a view to starting regular meetings and establishing a new committee.

    JETAA Minnesota

    March Networking Mixer
    27th March, 5:00pm – 7:30pm
    St. Paul, Minnesota

    Be sure not to miss this great chance to network with other alumni. This session will be held at Barrio Tequila Bar. Don’t forget to bring your meishi !

    JETAA Scotland

    Social Evening
    5th April 2013 7:30pm
    The Basement Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland

    JETAA Scotland is starts its monthly social meetings again this April and continue on the first Friday of every month. All comers are welcome!

    Feb 11

    JETAA Northern California Pacific Bridge Summer/Fall 2012

    The new issue of the official JETAANC magazine, Pacific Bridge, is now available. Read it online here.

    In this issue you will:
    -Read about the 2012 JETAA USA National Conference.
    -Learn about various art events in the Bay Area community.
    -Read about recent events in the JETAANC chapter.
    And more!

    Aug 7

    JETAANC(Northern California)’s Pacific Bridge Spring 2012

    The new issue of the official JETAANC magazine, Pacific Bridge, is now available. Read it online here.

    In this issue you will:
    -Learn about local efforts to support the recovery of the Tohoku region.
    -Hear about how new JETs are settling into the Tohoku area.
    -Read about recent events in the JETAANC chapter.
    And much more!

    Pacific Bridge Spring 2012

    May 8

    JETAA Chapter Beat 5.8.12

    Jonathan Trace (Fukuoka-ken, 2005-08) takes us on a walk around the JET Alumni community for another edition of JETAA Chapter Beat.

    JETAA D.C.

    • JBook Meeting – Monday, June 4th, 6:30 at the Japan America Society of Washington DC. Next month’s Japanese-themed book club selection is a collection of short stories entitled, Digital Geishas and Talking Frogs: The Best 21st Century Short Stories from Japan edited by Helen Mitsios.

    JETAA Northern California

    • Kabuki Club – Sunday, May 20th, 2:00 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. This month’s selection is the haunting Japanese folk story, The Black Mound (Kurozuka). View a live and unique dance, and watch video performances of a Medieval Noh and Modern Kabuki.

    JETAA Minnesota

    • Hanami – Sunday, May 20th, 3:00 to 7:00 in Lyndale Park. Spend a day under the cherry blossoms this May with a potluck style picnic in the park.
    • Kanna Club – Tuesday, May 15th, 6:00 to 8:00 at Wakame Sushi. Kanna club is a social networking club sponsored by the Japan American Society of Minnesota. Join in for some food, fun, and socializing.
    • Japanese Groceries Club – Sunday, May 27th, 11:00 at United Noodle. Get together for lunch and some food shopping with JETAA Minnesota folks to help recreate those delicious dishes from Japan in your own kitchen.

    JETAA Florida

    • Natsumatsuri – Saturday, June 9th, 9:00 to 12:00. Natsumatsuri is a community-based Japanese sumer festival akin to the typical small town festivals found throughout Japan. The festival features Japanese food, traditional festival games, culture, and art. Bring out your yukata or jinbei and celebrate the summer.

    JETAA New York

    • Japan Day Volunteers Needed – Volunteers are needed to help out with this year’s Japan Day in Central Park. JETAANY and the Japan Society are hosting the yo-yo Balloon Tent and need help in running the booth, greeting guests, explaining the rules of the Yo-yo Balloon game. Both morning and afternoon help is needed, so spare a day and join this fun-filled Japanese event.

    JETAA Southern California

    • Indoor Rock Climbing Social Event – Saturday, June 9th, 3:00 to 5:00 at Hangar 18. Scale the walls and share stories with friends and alumni at this exciting event. Introductory lessons, equipment and a two hour supervised climb is included.

    JETAA Pacific Northwest

    • Book Club – Saturday, May 19th, in the early afternoon. PNWJETAA is starting a new book club as a way to get alumni together and share stories and ideas over a bit of literature. The first section is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre. Start reading now so you can contribute to the discussion.

    JETAA Portland

    • 10th Annual Iron Chef Competition – Saturday, May 12th. Get ready for a fun and unique cookoff that tests your skills in the kitchen. Prizes are awarded for the best side dishes, main dishes and desserts. This event is co-sponsored by both JETAA Portland and PNWJETAA, so it’s a great opportunity to meet your neighbor JET alumni.

    JETAA New England

    • Opening Reception for NEJETAA Photo Exhibit – Monday, May 21st, 6:00 to 8:00 at the Logan Airport Terminal E. Susan Gil has organized a beautiful collection of photographs of Japan taken by JET alumni, and there will be an opening celebration for JET alumni and friends. Don’t miss this opportunity to see Japan through the eyes of fellow JETs.

    JETAA Sydney

    • Strike Out Depression Bowling Charity Event – Saturday, June 2nd, at Kingpin Bowling Darling Harbor. Help support those effected by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami by raising funds for survivors facing mental health difficulties. Roll some strikes, get together with friends, and support this great cause.
    What happened at your chapter’s event? If you attend(ed) any of these exciting events, JetWit would love to hear about them. Just contact Jonathan Trace with any info, stories or comments.


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