Nov 3

jetaaoc2015

The JETAA Oceania Regional Conference took place in Christchurch, New Zealand this year, over the weekend of Oct 16th-18th. JETAA Oceania is a meeting of chapters from two countries, Australia (5) and New Zealand (3), as well as the respective country representatives. Australia’s Country Representative, Eden Law (ALT Fukushima 2010-2011) reports on the proceedings of the 2015 JETAA Oceania Conference.

As far as I know, the JETAA Oceania Regional Conference is unique in the JETAA world, where two countries share an annual convention – not surprising, considering the geographical proximity and historically close relations (buddies and often times frenemies) of Australia and New Zealand. This year’s theme is “Staying Connected” – to past and present JETs and JET community, local Japanese organisations and cultural groups, sister city initiatives and of course, with other chapters. Because it’s such a core issue to many chapters, we had a lot to say, discuss and share – opinions, ideas and examples that have work and didn’t. Some ideas:

  • Maintaining connections with new JETs by following up after a month to see how they are going. If you have a newsletter, ask for article contributions (e.g. “Best experience”, “Most surprising aspect”, “What I should have packed”). These can also be used as material for the next pre-departure orientation.
  • Have a committee retreat – have a mini conference by going away to a nice country location to discuss ideas, plan schedule etc.
  • Provide some kind of charity work opportunity to give a sense of purpose and satisfaction
  • Market JET Programme as a way to gain transitional skills (e.g. being bilingual means you can see things from different viewpoints)
  • Sell JET as a professional development program
  • For a fun fundraising idea, have a trivia night where answers/clues can be bought for a small fee. Cheat for charity!

This conference also marks my presentation debut as a shiny, newly minted country representative, which was also the same for my New Zealand equivalent, Raewyn MacGregor. Our presentations were about what we’d do as CRs, considering that the role tended to be re-invented to suit each new candidate’s needs and personality. Apart from trying to reduce the wheel-reinvention aspect by keeping records and procedure documentation, we will also aim to focus on community and communication. To that end, I put forward a proposal to have regular, scheduled Google Hangouts for Oceania to keep in touch and continue the flow of dialogue, ideas and support for each other (and if possible, get some participants from outside Oceania to join in!). We will also look at ways of supporting recent returnees, whether in the form of support, mentorship or career opportunities.

We also discussed the Satogaeri Project and the Tokyo November conference, where Satogaeri representatives from several countries (and AJET) will meet and discuss several ideas, such as next year’s 30th Anniversary celebratory plans, and, most interestingly of all, the possible revival of JETAA International (JETAAI). This chapter had gone dormant for the last few years since losing funding during austerity measures implemented by previous governments. For some of you out there, you may be aware of (or have participating in) the short bursts of email communications regarding this chapter. From the documentation presented by CLAIR at the conference, it’s now clear why this was occuring, as JETAAI’s revival looks fairly certain, with proposed committee members election to be held (presumably with those present). There are other further surprising items on the agenda regarding country representatives, so I’ll await the post-conference report with interest.

On a final note, it became clear that the common ingredient running through all successful ideas was networking – building and maintaining relationships which can be tapped into for opportunities. This does require work and commitment – as is the case with anything worthwhile. You can’t go at it half-arsed if you intend to make things a success, after all. Special thanks go to our great chapter hosts, New Zealand’s JETAA South Island, lead by president Caroline Pope (and NZ’s Satogaeri representative) who ran a very efficient and tight ship, which our visiting CLAIR official from Tokyo even remarked on, as being better organised than recent conferences that he had attended. High praise indeed!

The conference site is still up in the meantime. Check out all the pics and posts on Twitter and Facebook by searching for #jetaaoc.


Oct 6

New: JETAA Middle East

Just want to share that JET Alum Ahmad Butt has just set up the new JETAA Middle East on FB and LinkedIn.  Ahmad is based in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) and is trying to get some momentum going for a chapter there.  Here’s the info. Please feel free to share with others.
JETAA Middle East

Sep 11

A loss in the JET alumni community

From the CLAIR New York Facebook page:

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Ms. Nancy Kikuchi, one of the founding members of the JETAA Southern California chapter and a tireless advocate for the Japanese-American community in Los Angeles. Nancy was a Mombusho English Fellow before becoming one of the original JETs back in 1987. Returning to LA, she helped organize the chapter and served as its president from 1989 to 1993. Remaining active in alumni affairs, she went on to pursue a career in real estate, served as an advocate and consultant for the people of Little Tokyo, and worked for a number of community-based organizations. She was among five 2012 Women of the Year named by the Downtown Los Angeles Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and the Japanese Women’s Society of Southern California . Nancy embodied the talents, abilities, and aspirations of the finest JET Program participants, strengthening ties between Japan and her home country, and building on that experience to serve her community while always being there for Japan, for JET, and for her fellow alumni.


Jul 18

JET Talks Film Screening – “Kokoyakyu High School Baseball” Documentary and Q&A Panel

 

JETAA DC is proud to present the launch of JET Talks– a speaker series modeled after TED Talks that will feature dynamic and interesting individuals to inspire innovative ideas and conversation on Japan within the DC community.

JETtalks

 

Upcoming Events: Kokoyakyu Documentary and Q&A – Tuesday, July 22

Play Ball! On July 22, please join JETAADC at the Japan Information and Culture Center (1150 18th St NW #100, Washington, DC 20036) as it presents its first “JET Talk” of the 2014-2015 season: a screening of the award winning documentary Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball, followed by a discussion with two of the film’s producers.

Kokoyakyu is the first English-language film to examine high school baseball in Japan, in particular, the annual summer high school baseball tournament. The film follows one team as it seeks to play in the prestigious tournament, and along the way demonstrates why high school baseball has become a national rite of passage for many of Japan’s youth.

Following the film, Nick Harling (Mie-ken, 2001-03), JET Talks Co-Chair and creator of the Let’s Talk Japan Podcast, will lead a discussion with Kokoyakyu’s Producers Alex Shear and Takayo Nagasawa as they discuss the making of the film and the differences between the U.S. and Japan when it comes to the “National Pastime.”

Click here to register for Kokoyakyu.

Light refreshments will be served. Identification will be required to consume alcoholic beverages. Admission is free, but you must preregister.

If you have an interesting and dynamic speaker you’d like to hear speak on anything related to Japan, email us at jet.talks@jetaadc.org.


Jul 3

Leading U.S.-Japan Exchange in Northern California: JETAANC

The following was written by JETAA Northern California President Mark Frey (Kumamoto-ken, 2002-06) with contributions from Xander Peterson (Miyazaki, 2009-2012) and was originally published in Japanese in the most recent edition of the CLAIR Forum which is distributed to pretty much every prefecture and town government in Japan as well as every Japanese consulate and embassy.  Below is the English version.  Here’s a link to the CLAIR Forum (PDF) which has the article in Japanese.

Leading U.S.-Japan Exchange in Northern California: JETAANC

By Mark Frey, President, JETAANC, mark.frey@jetaanc.org

Many of you know participants of the JET Program (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program). They may be your co-workers or friends. But what happens to them when they return to their home countries? I hope to show you some of the exciting things that former JETs are doing on behalf of U.S.-Japan relations. I will also suggest some ways that you can engage JET alumni to further your own goals.

In 1989, two years after the start of the JET Program, former JETs gathered and established the JET Program Alumni Association (JETAA) with the aim of giving each other support and continuing the mission of the JET Program to foster grassroots international exchange.

Over the past 25 years, JETAA has grown into a vibrant worldwide organization. There are now over 57,000 JET alumni living across the globe. Over 28,000 of them live in America. That’s about 1 in every 8,000 American adults! You can see the positive impact that JET alumni can have in promoting Japan around the world.

This year I became President of JETAA’s Northern California chapter, JETAANC. With over 3,000 members, I am proud to say that we are one of the largest and most active chapters in the world. Next year we will celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

Our alumni are working at every level of every sector of the local economy, including for-profit, non-profit, education, and government. They are promoting exchange between the U.S. and Japan whenever and however they can.

Every year, our alumni provide substantial support to the JET Program. Read More


May 20

JETAA Scotland logo

Very nice!  I’m not sure if it’s new, but I hadn’t seen it before and I just noticed it in a JETAA UK Facebook post:

JETAAScotland

 


May 13

CLAIR Sydney Newsletter No. 75

CLAIRlogoPosted originally by Hiromi Hakuta to the JETAA Oceania FB page.

“In CLAIR monthly Newsletter No.75, we introduce JETAA South Island activities, a cycling festival in Hiroshima and Japanese schools that are seeking Sister School relationships with Australian or NZ schools. My business trip to New Zealand is also introduced on that!”

http://www.jlgc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CLAIR-newsletter-No.75.pdf


Apr 12
Members of the JET Alumni Association of New York Japan-a-Mania 1-18-2014 (Courtesy of Monica Yuki)

Members of the JET Alumni Association of New York volunteering in the annual Japan-a-Mania community event with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, January 2014. (Courtesy of Monica Yuki)

 

By Eden Law (Fukushima-ken, 2010-11) for JQ magazine. Eden is JETAA New South Wales‘s webmaster, meaning he is the voice on all the online and social media for the Sydney-based chapter like Twitter, Instagram (both @jetaansw) and Facebook. Outside of JETAA, he doesn’t exist, and is merely a concept of a shadow of a dream of an enigma, wrapped in mystery and served with a side of salad. 

Introduction

The following is a shamelessly biased opinion: Being a member of JETAA is fantastic. One gets to help organise and be involved in events and projects that reach the general public here in Sydney (like the Japan Festival), hang out with a great group of like-minded people that know all the best Japanese places to eat, drink and be merry, and who are rarely inhibited in any karaoke session. There is ample opportunity to new people constantly, both inside and outside that chapter’s home city’s J-community, so in a way, the JET experience never truly ends.

That’s a personal assessment of what it’s like being a member of JETAA, the alumni association for former JETs. JETAA chapters exist all over the world from where the JET Programme has drawn its recruits. They give former JETs a way to connect with their local J-community and like-minded peers, and are essentially a non-profit social organisation with a Japanese cultural bent. And because JET is made up of a diverse group of people from all walks of life, JETAA chapters have great potential as a resource with links in government, business, education, academia and social networks.

But it can’t be denied that many chapters struggle with visibility or relevancy, in attracting members to events or to join their committees. The last point is especially important, as new members help to keep the organisation dynamic and active. And while the reasons for this are different for every situation, some similar and salient points can be discerned, notably from online forum comments (like LinkedIn). While a comprehensive discussion can probably fill a volume or ten, this article will nevertheless discuss these points.

So what does JETAA have to deal with?

Read More


Apr 5

JQ Magazine: NY JET Alum Collaborates with Japanese Expats on ‘2nd Avenue’

JET alum Tony Waldman (second from left) on the set of Web series "2nd Avenue." (Courtesy of Tsukasa Kondo)

JET alum Tony Waldman (second from left) on the set of Web series 2nd Avenue. (Courtesy of Tsukasa Kondo)

 

By Julio Perez Jr. (Kyoto-shi, 2011-13) for JQ magazine. A bibliophile, writer, translator, and graduate from Columbia University, Julio is currently working at Ishikawa Prefecture’s New York office while seeking opportunities with publications in New York. Follow his enthusiasm for Japan, literature, and board gaming on his blog and Twitter @brittlejules.

She’s an aspiring actress with visa problems; he’s a gay law student and newly homeless. Can a fake marriage solve their problems? Mariko and Taichi are the stars of a goofy Web comedy filmed on location in New York called 2nd Avenue. You can tune into their zany adventures on YouTube and view the entire six-episode first season, which ended this past February.

The creative team behind 2nd Avenue includes Mari Kawade (director), Maho Honda (who plays Mariko), and Tsukasa Kondo (who plays Taichi). Kondo, who also is the writer for the series, was inspired by the many Web series online and decided to try writing something that would never be seen on Japanese TV, but would have a place on YouTube. He adds that his biggest inspirations for the story are “the actress Maho Honda, my life in New York as a gay man, and American TV shows.” Honda and Kawade also cite the diversity of New York City itself, and the stories of what people do just to survive in it, as a significant creative inspiration.

As you may have guessed, you can’t do something awesome involving Japan in New York without some JET alumni getting involved. Tony Waldman (Mie-ken, 2005-09) and his group New Beard provide the soundtrack for the show. The idea for this pairing took root after he met Kawade at the JET Alumni Association of New York’s annual Meishi Exchange event in 2013.

“She mentioned that she was looking for music for this Web series,” Waldman says. “We exchanged contact info and kept in touch. Many months later, she…asked if we could use my band New Beard’s music in the show. Us here in Beard Town (Williamsburg) gave her the OK, and our music became the soundtrack to the entire show…a true JETAANY Meishi Exchange success story!”

Read More


Apr 3

JETAA Portland announces new officers

jetaa_portland_logoSaw this on the JETAA Portland email blast:

New JETAA Portland Officers Announced

The votes have been counted! The officers elected to the new April-to-March term are below.  Congratulate them the next time you see them.  Also, thanks to last year’s officers — Brooke, Jeffrey, Veronica and Matt Turner.

President   Jeffrey Houser
Vice President      Brooke Muetzel
Treasurer   Veronica Adversalo
Secretary   Matt Krzyzynski

ALSO…. JETAA Portland continues its long tradition of one of the greatest JETAA events out there, the Iron Chef Potluck, where they typically invite the JETAA Pacific Northwest (based in Seattle) folks to come down for some friendly competition and communal eating.

Iron Chef: May 17th

The JETAA Iron Chef competitive potluck is planned for Saturday, May 17th.  Check the JETAA Portland website or look for an email with more detail in the next few weeks.  Start thinking about those recipes!


Apr 2

JETAA Northern Ireland looking for more ex-JETs in Northern Ireland

UK-JAPAN_kanji_03Taken from a recent JETAA UK email blast:

Hello everyone,

My name is Richard Fleming (a.k.a Richie, The Richie, Tricky, and Dick). I have recently been nominated to chair the Northern Ireland chapter of JETAA UK and I need your help.

I am reaching out to everyone in the hope that there are some former JETs here in NI who still want to be involved with JETAA events. Are you one of them?! If so, get in touch!

If you are lucky enough to be reading this from a location outside of NI, good for you. Thanks for still reading. Are you formerly from here? Do you know any former JETs who may be lying around Belfast/Derry wishing they had someone to talk to about how amazing Japan is? They obviously don’t have to be from here, they could be from anywhere, as long as they’re here and interested in getting involved.

We’re a small province and we all pretty much know each other through no more than 2 or 3 degrees of separation. Everyone knows my mate Paddy. He has a beard and drinks Guinness.

I welcome contact from all quarters. I’m determined to reinvigorate the NI chapter and link in with other individuals/organisations which have a connection with Japan. The Japan Society have already invited me to their Hanami event, I would like to have a few former JETs to accompany me!

Anyway, apologies for the mass Mailshot, but the wider you cast the net the better your chances of catching something. If you’ve been on a night out in Belfast you’ll understand why that saying is not always good advice.

Also, even if you don’t know any former JETs here, I welcome any suggestions to try to kick start our chapter!

Best regards,

Richie

JETAA Northern Ireland:  http://www.jetaa.org.uk/about-jetaa/chapters/northern-ireland/


Mar 10

Donate for Tohoku on March 11 and Make Your Support TWICE As Effective!

2x4-Vertical3/11 Update:  FYI, the 24 hour deadline for Global Giving to match donations to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund and other 3/11 initiatives has been lifted, and they will continue to match JET contributions until matching funds run out. So JETs/alums can continue to double their donations!

*Link to the Global Giving Matching Page:  http://www.globalgiving.org/leaderboards/japan-matching-2014/ to see how much various groups are raising.

*Link to the JETAA USA Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/jetaausa

*The link to donate has been added!

Put this on your calendar!  

JETAA USA is supporting the Taylor Anderson Memorial Foundation for a 24 hour donation drive that starts when the clock strikes midnight in Japan on March 11. And GlobalGiving has offered to match these donations.

This is a great opportunity to show our ongoing support for Tohoku by going to the Global Giving website on March 11th to make a donation during the matching grant period.

Online donation drive

Donation websitehttp://www.globalgiving.org/fundraisers/jets-rally-for-tohoku/

Starts: 12:00 midnight Japan time on 3/11 (11 am EST, March 10; 8 am PST, etc)

Ends: 11:59 p.m. Japan time on 3/11 (10:59 am EST on March 10)

Background

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.

Smile Together IshinomakiTAMF has provided funding to the following projects:

  • Living Dreams: Tohoku Kids Project

  • Hope for Tomorrow

  • JET Micro Grants

  • Taylor Anderson Reading Corners

  • Taylor Sendai YMCA Scholarships

  • Exchange Programs

For more information on TAMF, please go to http://www.taylorandersonmemorialfund.org/, their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/taylorandersonmemorialfund, or watch the NHK interview with Jeanne and Andy at https://vimeo.com/86637051.

JETAA USA is proud to partner with TAMF to carry on the support JETs and JET alumni have shown for Japan and the people of Tohoku ever since March 2011.

Caroline Kennedy visiting Miyagi Prefecture

Details:

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. (Global Giving will charge a 15% facilitation fee to cover their costs, which donors may choose to cover if they wish so that their full donation amount goes to TAMF. See the page for details.)

We are also very happy to see Ambassador Kennedy giving her backing to their mission, as well.  For coverage of her recent trip to Ishinomaki and visit to Mangokuura Elementary School, where Taylor taught, please check out the article at http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201311250099.


Feb 12

LinkedIn group for JET Alumni of France!

FranceJapanI just learned from Celine Castex (Chiba-ken, 2006-11) of CLAIR Tokyo that there is a LinkedIn group for French JET alumni:

Also, a reminder that you can find JET alum LinkedIn and other groups for every prefecture and nearly every professional field you can think of here:  http://jetwit.com/wordpress/jet-alum-groups/

 


Feb 8

JQ Magazine: JETAA UK Launches Careers and Networking Programme

JETAA UK members Sarah Parsons (second from right) and Rob Gorton of Toyota (second from left) attend the inaugural Careers and Networking Programme reception with guests in the fields of business and academia, Nottingham, Oct. 3, 2013. (University of Nottingham)

JETAA UK members Sarah Parsons (second from right) and Rob Gorton of Toyota (second from left) attend the inaugural Careers and Networking Programme reception with guests in the fields of business and academia, Nottingham, Oct. 3, 2013. (University of Nottingham)

By Sarah Parsons (Gunma-ken, 1995-97) for JQ magazine. Sarah is the careers and networking coordinator for JETAA UK and chair of the Midlands Chapter. She also runs her own business called Japan In Perspective, where she facilitates business links between the UK and Japan.

There are a variety of ex-JETs: those who have just returned looking for jobs and hoping to make sense of and use their JET experience, and those who are still interested in keeping in touch with Japan who have been very successful using their JET experience professionally—whether it be directly Japan-related or using it as a catalyst for a new career—but who have not been engaged with JETAA for a long time, if ever. Several things became evident.

First, JET can be a life-changing experience that offers so many potential professional opportunities, but the professional needs of our members are not being formally facilitated within JETAA UK. Secondly, the job environment in the UK is getting more and more competitive and it is very challenging for ex-JETs to stand out, gain more business skills and use their experiences professionally, so there is a demand for helping JETs with their post-Japan careers; and thirdly, in order to achieve any of this, JETAA needs to raise its profile professionally and engage with local business communities.

In this vein, we decided to map out a multifaceted programme within JETAA UK to facilitate these needs and to engage and utilise the expertise of some of our more experienced members. We wanted to organise networking events for local ex-JETs to meet the local business communities (UK companies that are interested in Japan as well as local Japanese companies) so as to offer great opportunities for JETs to develop important contacts and give attendees a chance to keep up to date on what is happening in the Japan-related business world.

Read More


Jan 22

JETAA British Columbia Newsletter – January 2014

JETAABC Newsletter V18N3

The latest issue of the JETAABC (JETAA British Columbia) Newsletter is now available. In this issue, they talk about the JET Returnees’ Reception and Career Development Seminar, a year-end summary from the Vancouver Island subgroup, how to get mobile data when travelling in Japan, how to eat gluten-free in Japan, and much more!


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