By Eden Law (Fukushima-ken, 2010-11). After the JET Programme more than fulfilled its promise of “an experience of a lifetime,” Eden returned to Sydney, Australia, where he joined the JETAA New South Wales chapter to take advantage of the network and connections available to undertake projects such as an uchiwa design competition for the Sydney Japan Festival. He also maintains the JETAANSW website and social media. Other than that, he’s a web designer and a poet, gentlemen and raconteur.
One of the best things about being a member of JETAA is the community, and over the weekend of 15-17 of November, the Oceania community of JETAA got together for our annual antipodean regional conference. For those of you up north who don’t know, JETAA Oceania comprises of five Australian chapters (the state chapters of Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra, the uber-chapter of South Australia-Victoria-Tasmania, Western Australia) and three New Zealand chapters (South Island, Auckland and Wellington). Representatives from Sydney’s CLAIR office (Tsuyoshi Ito, Hiromi Hakuta and Julien Ansart) attended as observers of the proceedings. This year, JETAA Queensland played host in Brisbane, the northern capital that looks to Asia and is close to the Gold Coast, a favoured destination for young Japanese looking for sun, surf and sand. Appropriately, we had our first lunch meet on Friday at MOS Burger, the famous Japanese fast food chain whose only non-Asian presence internationally is right in Brisbane.
JETAA Oceania was invited to attend the Welcome Back Reception for returning JETs at the Japanese Consul General’s home in Brisbane on the Friday night, a chance of course for us to network and hobnob with the cream of Brisbane’s Japanese cultural community. And after the reception finished (early, predictably), JETAA kicked on in town for a night out (hint: it’ll always involve karaoke—usually lots of obscure Japanese songs sung by that one quiet serious person who turns into a blurry, hip-thrusting maniac).
The first day of the conference began on Saturday, early (for some, too early) at our hotel and Laura Tasharofi, president of JETAA Qld, began proceedings by explaining the theme of this year: Australia-Japan sister-city relationships. As explained by Hakuta-san, of all countries, Japan has the most links in Oceania, with 108 sister city relationships in Australia and 44 in New Zealand. Therefore, the potential for JETAA to get involved is great, and the conference’s objective is to find ways to participate and be more prominent in our local communities. To start discussions and provide ideas and examples, two guest speakers, Ross Humphreys and Barry Hancock, were invited who are respected members of the Brisbane community and its influential sister city relationships.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The JET Alumni Association of Minnesota (JETAAMN) hosted this year’s USA National Conference from Sept. 26-29 with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). Attendees included delegates from all 19 JETAA USA chapters, as well as representatives from CLAIR, MOFA, and the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago.
Each national conference spotlights particular challenges facing the JETAA community. This year was no different, as critical topics included continuation of the JETAA national initiatives, common issues facing JETAA chapters, membership outreach, and collaboration between JETAA chapters and other Japan-related organizations.
Thursday, Sept. 26
The conference got underway with an evening reception at the restaurant Crave, featuring former Vice President of the United States Walter Mondale as a special guest. A native Minnesotan, Mondale was also the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1993-96. In his speech, Mr. Mondale praised the work that the JET Program has done in building personal relationships between Japan and the U.S., and called for “JETers” to continue fostering those ties.
Via the JETAA New South Wales (Australia) website: http://www.jetaansw.org/jets-recognised-in-award/
The work and support by members and participants of the JET Programme and JETAA chapters for the revitalisation of Tohoku after the 2011 earthquake, was formally recognised in an award presentation at the 2013 CLAIR Sister Cities Forum.
Presented by Alderman William (Bill) Willson, President of Sister Cities Australia, the award was received by Ben Trumbell, president of the NSW chapter of JETAA. It was given in the presence of Ms Yoko Kimura, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) and Dr Masahiro Kohara, Consul-General of Japan in Sydney.
“The award was presented to me as the closest president representative of JETAA. In my acceptance speech I outlined the importance of the JET Programme and the number of participants and members of JETAA, along with our objectives and a summary of our activities,” Ben said. “Australia has been fantastic in their response to the events in Tohoku. The Victorian JETAA chapter for example did fantastic work with the Big Bento Lunch initiative which raised more than $15,000 across our chapters.” The NSW chapter’s achievements should also be noted for raising awareness, starting with an exhibition of Fukushima school children’s letters at the 2011 Sydney Japan Festival, which lead to the visit of Councillor Alan de Surf of a junior high school in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima.
The 2013 CLAIR Sister Cities Forum marked the 50th Anniversary of the sister city relationship between Lismore, NSW and Yamato Takada in Nara, Japan. This was the first ever sister city relationship between Australia and Japan and was instrumental in initiating the close post-war relationship that exists between the two countries today, thanks to the efforts of Father Paul Glynn who began the first efforts in forging this link.
The subject of sister cities will continued to be explored by JETAA in the annual JETAA conference to be held later this year in Brisbane. Ben states that he hopes to share ideas and case studies including the Lismore-Yamato Takada story at the conference, as well as looking forward to sharing the award with the other chapters and presenting the certificate to the Australian country representative.
Here’s the latest video project by Hawaii-based JET Eliot Honda (Ehime-ken, Uwajima-shi), who previously created four videos about his JET town of Uwajima-shi as well as a video titled “Sister City Ties“:
Eliot says: “I finally completed the JET Program Introduction video. (Revised, hopefully audio and graphics look better.)”
Published on Dec 23, 2012
Wallpaper by Kevin Macleod
Sunshine by Kevin Macleod
(Click link above to see photos.)
In early September, Four Nagasaki JET alumni participated in an exchange meeting with a delegation from Nagasaki Prefecture (led by the incumbent Governor Nakamura) and the Nagasaki Association in New York (New York Batten-kai).
In the first part, Nagasaki residents in New York and the alumni spoke of their ideas and opinions about how to revitalize Nagasaki Prefecture. The alumni proposed the promotion of eco-tourism, making the most of the newly introduced Shinkansen, etc. The Governor, assembly members including the Assembly Speaker Mr. Watanabe and other prefecture officials listened to them earnestly.
After that, they happily spoke with each other about their memories of JET life in Nagasaki and so on.
September 17th, 2012
Counselor / Deputy Executive Director, Hotaka Kawasaki
The Rocky Mountain JETAA chapter has been busy with two recent events helping out their various Colorado sister cities.
Fujiyoshida, in Yamanashi-ken, and Colorado Springs just celebrated their 50th anniversary in early August, so RMJETAA mobilized their Colorado Springs and Denver JET alumni to participate in the festivities in Colorado Springs and be available to assist with translating, interpreting, and other duties for the 70 visitors from Japan. One main place they helped out was the family event held at America the Beautiful Park on August 4th. Because many JET alumni from Colorado Springs were placed in Fujiyoshida as ALTs and CIRs, the celebration was a great chance for friends and acquaintances on both sides to get together again and reminisce about old times spent together in Japan. As part of the celebration, Mayor Horiuchi of Fujiyoshida and the students presented a check to Colorado Springs for $11,415, raised by the citizens of Fujiyoshida to help their sister city recover from the recent devastating wildfires there. Although Fujiyoshida now directly contracts with Colorado Springs for private CIRs it was wonderful that they could still draw on the resources of their former ties to the JET Program.
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