Kitcher’s Café, a new series by Lana Kitcher (Yamanashi-ken, 2010-12) is an assortment of articles, topics and commentary written for the JET Alumni community. Lana currently serves as the Business Development Associate at Bridges to Japan, a New York-based cross-cultural consulting firm founded by JET alum Jennifer Jakubowski (Hokkaido, 1995-97).
Dear recent JET returnees and current “job hunters,”
I was given the opportunity to speak at the JETAANY Career Forum in New York City a few weeks ago. Approximately 25 recent returnees (plus JET alumni going through a career transition) attended the event and were able to learn from the presenters, and also from one another, about how to successfully land a job in today’s economy. We learned that it is important to keep strategies current as technology continues to change and as the methods of yesterday are not necessarily effective for our search today.
I would like to share with you some of the points from my presentation called “Making the Most of Your Network,” in case some of you are also going through this transition now. When I first returned home from the JET Program I had a really difficult time figuring out how to start the job search. At that point my only full-time job had been teaching English in Japan, and I didn’t know how to start looking for a new job from scratch. It took me until mid February to get a job, and I really wish someone had told me what I needed to hear earlier.
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REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR ALL JETAA AND NON JETAA MEMBERS
The Pacific Northwest Chapter of the JET Alumni Association will be hosting its annual fall event, “Transitions 2013: Opportunities Forum & Networking Expo”. While this event is primarily produced for our members, we welcome anyone from the community at large who are interested in joining the conversation. If you are new to the Northwest, curious about pursuing a graduate degree, looking to switch careers, or recently returned from Japan, Transitions is an event you won’t want to miss.
Transitions seeks to provide a place and space for people to exchange ideas and business cards. There will be keynote speeches on HR, the non-profit sector, and LinkedIn, round-table discussions on pursuing higher education and careers, and a special topics presentation on personal finance. There will also be a panel discussion session followed by a Networking Expo with a variety of local organizations, companies, and universities. Read More
In the dog days of summer, it’s best to escape the heat in a place that’s cozy and cool. For those into Japanese cultural events, this month offers a diverse selection of music, film premieres and parties—all in the comfort of indoor air conditioning.
This month’s highlights include:
Thursday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$10 for corporate and individual members, $15 for non-members
Japan Society’s Young Professionals events provide the opportunity for emerging business leaders from the U.S. and Japan (aged 25-45) to meet people with similar interests, experience programming on timely topics, and network with their peers. Attendees are invited to join for a night of networking, singing, eating and drinking featuring singer and Japanese TV personality Alex York as MC! Yukata and other summer attire are welcome, and admission includes light Japanese food and one drink ticket, cash bar thereafter. Space is limited; for advance registration email email@example.com or call 212-715-1219.
Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$35 members/students/seniors, $40 nonmembers
As part of the closing night presentation of the 36th Asian American International Film Festival, this screening of Our Homeland includes a Q&A with the director followed by an awards ceremony and gala reception featuring chef’s tasting tables and open bar with specialty cocktails sponsored by Rémy Martin. Sent decades ago as a child to North Korea under a repatriation program, Sungho returns to Japan for a temporary medical visit. A wrenching human drama unfolds as his family grapples with why he was ever let go. Under the constant surveillance by an accompanying North Korean official, Sungho and his family reunite again in this sensitive tale inspired by Korean-Japanese director Yang Yonghi’s true family story. Capturing the tender feelings of separation, memory, and belonging, the film also provides a rare glimpse into the life of ethnic Koreans in Japan. Presented in Japanese and Korean with English subtitles.
Friday, Aug. 16
Winner of the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and a hit at film festivals around the world, this candid New York story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of renowned “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara and his artist wife, Noriko. As a rowdy, confrontational young artist in Tokyo, Ushio seemed destined for fame, but met with little commercial success after he moved to New York City in 1969, seeking international recognition. When 19-year-old Noriko moved to New York to study art, she fell in love with Ushio—abandoning her education to become the wife and assistant to an unruly, husband. Over the course of their marriage, the roles have shifted. Now 80, Ushio struggles to establish his artistic legacy, while Noriko is at last being recognized for her own art—a series of drawings entitled “Cutie,” depicting her challenging past with Ushio. Spanning four decades, the film is a moving portrait of a couple wrestling with the eternal themes of sacrifice, disappointment and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.
For the complete story, click here.
Via the extremely wonderful JETAA UK website:
JETAA UK is keen to find new ways to help returning JETs with their job search if/when they return to the UK. One popular idea is to set up a mentoring scheme to link returning JETs with other ex-JETs that have already established their careers in the UK.
We are looking for mentors from various working sectors with (in principle) five years work experience post-JET. This is a chance for you to build your leadership skills while giving back to the JET community. Please, please get involved, and pass this on to other ex-JET friends that might be interested.
For possible mentors:
You can sign up to the scheme here:
***Please note your personal information will not be used for any purpose other than the administration of the Mentor Program.***
For returning JETs:
We have a separate sign up sheet for you here:
The deadline for mentor sign-ups is August 30th, 2013. We plan to assign mentors and mentees within two weeks of that date.
*****Also from the JETAA UK website**********
JETAA UK wants to support JETs with their post-JET careers and provide nationwide professional networking opportunities and JET connect events for its members. In order to do this, we want to know what professional and regional areas you would be interested in and whether you would be willing to help out in any way.
Please fill in this quick questionnaire to help us help you!
Contact Sarah Parsons, National Careers and Networking Coordinator for more info. on firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark Flanigan (Nagasaki-ken, 2000-04) for JQ magazine. Mark is a program director with The Japan ICU Foundation in New York. Prior to his current position, he was a Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University in Tokyo.
The JET Alumni Association of New York is fortunate to benefit from the diversity of such a major metropolitan area like greater NYC. As JET alumni, the members also have the pleasure of joining in with various events and activities with other Japan-related organizations. One of the most active of these organizations over the past few years is the Kyushu Battenkai. JETAANY members have been fortunate to be able to enjoy many get-togethers with them here in the city.
What is Kyushu Battenkai? It’s a very friendly and casual New York civic-based organization that was founded in 1997. Unlike many more formal Japanese organizations, they have no membership fee or official application process. They communicate with their approximately 150 members primarily by email as well as with updates on their website, which was launched in 2007.
The organization was started by a small group of New York-based Japanese people primarily from Nagasaki and Saga Prefectures. They later expanded to include people from all over Kyushu, and have added more activities over the years. They used to celebrate with just the Bonnenkai and Shinnenkai events, but now include about five events throughout the year, including festive spring and summer festival parties and, more recently, exciting jointly planned events with JETAANY.
Click here to join the new JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn, created by Leah Zoller.
Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight and creator of the JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn. A writer and web administrator for The Art of Travel, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan, and curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan. New Rice Cooker Chronicles submissions always welcome. Just e-mail it to Leah at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.
JET Alums pursue work and hobbies in diverse fields after their time on JET. While we have alum groups like JETWit for writers, interpreters, and translators, and JETs with JDs for lawyers and those in the legal field, we wanted a place for JETs and JET alums in the culinary world connect to and interact with each other beyond of JETWit’s food and drink category.
In creating this group, we aim not only to highlight alums who work as sake experts, food bloggers, writers, restaurant owners, and food-related-non-profit workers, but to provide space for those who just enjoy food to share and discuss the latest in the Japanese food world. Learn more about other alums like sake experts John Gautner and Chris Johnson; read about trends about the Japanese food world; share relevant blogs; check out the latest from JQ‘s food articles and the Rice Cooker Chronicles, and find Japanese-food-related events wherever you are.
Please feel free to join the JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn. We encourage you to share relevant articles, resources, reviews, events, and more.
Update #1: We’re pleased to announce the addition to the panel of Matthew Cook (Osaka-fu, 2007-12), former AJET Chair and now advisor to the Osaka Board of Education’s Native English Teacher (NET) Program.
Update #2: We are planning on webcasting the event through my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/stevenwaseda?feature=mhee). Go to that link at 6:30 pm (NY time) to watch live (and post comments and questions). Or, go there any other time to watch the recording. (Apologies in advance for any technical difficulties. This will be my first time trying a webcast using Google+ and YouTube.)
- WHEN: Tuesday, Aug 28, 6:30pm-8:30pm
- WHERE: Japan Local Government Center office, 3 Park Ave., 20th Floor
- RSVP on JETAANY Facebook Event page, or by email to professional [at] jetaany.org
This JETAANY Career panel will consist of a presentation by JET alum James Rogers, Assistant Professor at Kansai Gaidai, followed by Q&A with James and a panel of JET alum language teachers, including former AJET Chair and now .
Presentation: The State of Language Education in Japan: Job Opportunities and Living in 21st Century Japan
This presentation will discuss various issues regarding working in the language industry in Japan. University work and the conditions and benefits of various levels of such positions, agent out-sourced jobs, union membership, the value of higher degrees and certificates, Japanese language skills, the nuclear crisis and the safety of living in certain areas, and the value of scholarly research will be discussed. The information presented at this event should be beneficial to JET alumni who are considering moving back to Japan and up in their career to the university level, and also those who have some university experience but are interested in learning more about what is needed to be successful at that level. Read More
By Jen Wang (Miyagi-ken, 2008-09) for JQ magazine. Jen is a research technician from Dallas who also writes for Purple SKY, a Japanese music website. Her love of cosplay and her junior high school students inspired the name for her own Japanese pop culture blog, Hibari-sensei’s Classroom.
The Japanese fashion subculture Lolita is based on Victorian and Rococo aesthetics. Its trademark look consists of a blouse, a knee-length skirt or jumper, a petticoat, stockings, and Mary Janes or platform shoes. Since its inception in the 1970s, Lolita has developed several sub-styles: gothic, sweet, classic, punk and more. There is also a mature variation known as aristocrat and a masculine equivalent known as ouji.
Although I had been interested in Lolita since college, I didn’t really start compiling a Lolita wardrobe until I was a JET. It was easier to figure out what styles worked when you could try on the clothes. I visited the seventh floor of Sendai Forus—the location of punk, gothic and Lolita stores—so frequently that the shopkeepers started to recognize me. The budding fashionista in me missed the shopping trips and opportunities to dress up once I returned to the U.S. Then I discovered the Metroplex Lolita LiveJournal group.
The Metroplex Lolitas are a group of from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Prior to their creation in January 2010, several of the girls had been arranging meet-ups through another group, Texas Lolis. They decided to branch off to encourage more conversation and gatherings.
My first meet-up was in March 2010. We went to watch Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and sat down for tea and a gift-exchange afterwards. The Metroplex Lolitas meet around once a month to enjoy a meal—true to our Victorian influences, we do love tea and pastries—or an activity, which can be anything from a trip to the museum to ice skating. The Texas heat has never deterred us from getting together in our layers of frills since many members have come up with more summer-friendly outfits. We also host meet-ups with out-of-town Lolitas at anime conventions.
Originally posted to the JETAANY website:
Are you freelancing? Thinking about freelancing? Want to meet and hear from other JET alum freelancers? Then join us for the first ever JET Alum Freelancers Career Panel! We know it’s a tough economy out there, and many of us are now freelancing, whether by design or involuntarily. It’s high time to get together, talk about it, learn from each other and help each other out.
When: Monday, March 5, 6:30pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Japan Local Government Center (aka CLAIR NY) – 3 Park Avenue, 20th Floor (34th & Park, entrance on southeast corner)
RSVP to: Steven Horowitz - stevenwaseda [at] jetwit.com (Please feel free to tell me a little more about yourself, your situation, and what you might be looking for.)
Note: Drinks and light snacks will be provided. (But feel free to bring your own food and to eat during the panel)
Moderator: Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94) - Steven is the founder of the Writers Interpreters Translators (WIT) Group that evolved in JETwit. In addition to being a full-time grant writer, he is also does freelance writing for law firms, has done work for the Ford Foundation, and is the creator of the Bankruptcy Bill cartoon series. (http://stevenwaseda.
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
You may recall last year (02.21.11 to be exact), JETwit revealed the “Best Prefectures” based on how many members each LinkedIn JET Alum prefecture group had. With a little help from JETwit’s friends, we’ve updated the numbers, and they now total 787 total members.
Shimane-ken continues to kick prefectural oshiri in a big way. Not sure what’s holding back JET and JET alums from other prefectures. But all you have to do to join your prefecture LinkedIn group is to click here and find your prefecture. A great way to not only stay connected with your community, but also to provide Return On JET-vestment at the local level. (Click here for more explanation about why this helps “save” JET. And click here for a list of JET alum LinkedIn groups by profession.)
The Top JET LinkedIn Prefecture Groups
(last year’s numbers in parentheses)
1. Shimane - 69 (44)
2. Fukushima JET Alumni - 38 (14)
2. Hokkaido - 38 (16)
4. Fukui JET Alumni - 32 (11)
4. Hyogo JET Alumni - 32 (12)
4. Niigata JET Alumni - 32 (16)
(in alphabetical order; last year’s numbers in parentheses) Read More
Update: This is now a “group.” I originally set it up as a “page” but realized that’s not the way to go. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Are you a JET or JET alum and a parent? Or planning on being a parent? Then here’s a new JET alumni group for you:
Yes, enough of us have reached that stage in our lives where it makes sense to set this up. So join the group, meet other JET alum parents, share stories and photos, and maybe even set up exchanges across countries where we swap our kids for a week or two! :-)
Update: I originally set this up as a FB “page” but have now more wisely switched it to a “group.” So make sure to sign up for the “group.”
For anyone who’s interested, I’ve set up the Brooklyn JET Alumni group on Facebook for JET alumni who live in Brooklyn, are from Brooklyn or are just interested in Brooklyn.
Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/319357708081547/
I’ve had an informal email list for a few years, since I live in Brooklyn. And it was just time to turn it into a Facebook page. It’s not an official chapter or sub-chapter. Just an informal group for the convenience of those of us living in Brooklyn-cho.
BTW, if anyone wants to come up with a better graphic, please feel free to make one and send it to me at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.
JETAANY held its annual Career Forum/Welcome Back Reception on Saturday at the Nippon Club in NYC. And in addition to the usual combination of useful advice, networking, natsukashii talk and reconnecting in general, this year’s Welcome Back Reception was notable for one other reason: It was attended by approximately 25 participants in Japan’s new Japan-U.S. Training Training and Exchange Program for English Language Teachers (JUSTE) program, sometimes referred to as the “Reverse JET” program.
The program selected 96 Japanese teachers of English to spend 6 months in the U.S. studying ESL teaching methodology–in English–at 6 different universities across the U.S.: Rutgers University (NJ), University of Delaware, University of Michigan, University of Texas, University of Iowa, UC Irvine and UC Davis. The teachers are in turn supposed to bring back their learning and share it with their respective school systems as part of an effort to improve English ability of Japanese students.
The Reverse JETs attending on Saturday came up from Rutgers and the University of Delaware. It was a terrific opportunity to get to know them and learn more about the program. Following a brief intro by all of the returning JETs, the Reverse JETs were asked to do the same. And as they said their names and prefectures, there was an almost instant connection as JET alums from various prefectures cheered when the Reverse JETs called out their own home prefecture.
It was also apparent that these were top rate teachers–the really genki, creative and engaged teachers you remember from your JET days. (We all were fortunate to have had at least one of these if not more.) This was made rather apparent when the Delaware contingency decided to forego the traditional introduction style and instead go with a teaching game they had all learned in class the day before. (See video below.)
Throughout the reception and the nijikai at Faces & Names, JET alumni found the Reverse JETs extremely friendly and easy to talk to. And it was interesting to hear about their situations and the parallels with our own first time experiences in Japan. For example:
- While the Rutgers participants are all living on campus in a dormitory for foreign students, the Delaware participants are all living with homestay families and generally need to rely on them for transportation to and from the campus (as they’re not permitted to drive while in the U.S.)
- Most participants were surprised to have been selected for the program. That’s because most of them hadn’t even known of the program’s existence until their principals called them into their offices and asked them if they’d like to go to the U.S. for 6 months. In same cases, participants only had hours to contact their spouse and decide whether to say yes. Though in everyone’s eyes, this was too good an opportunity to pass up, not to mention a terrific honor. They realized they had been 1 of 96 selected out of a total pool of 50,000 English teachers in Japan. It sounds like each prefecture is permitted to select a few school systems, and then the Board of Ed in those school systems chooses the teacher. Interestingly, some schools apparently passed on the opportunity because they didn’t feel they could afford to be without one of their top teachers for 6 months. And in some prefectures, the selection process is different and teachers can actually apply to be a participant.
- The teachers seemed to be aware of the costs involved in sending them to the U.S. and expressed a strong sense of obligation to study hard and share their learning upon return. Though one confessed to worrying about maintaining a delicate balance of sharing knowledge while also not wanting to be the nail that sticks up.
- And perhaps most interesting of all, in talking with one of the participants from Aichi (my JET prefecture), I learned that she grew up in Inuyama City and had JET alum and Inuyama City Council Member Anthony Bianchi (Aichi-ken, Inuyama-shi, 1988-89) as her ALT when she was a student! Now that’s full circle. (If anyone knows a good Japanese kotowaza for that idea, please share.)
Hopefully, the Reverse JETs through the U.S. will be able to find JET alumni in their area. And it would be really terrific if JETAA chapters as well as the JET alumni community in general could do its best to reach out to the participants wherever they are. They truly appreciate getting to spend time with the New York JET alumni on Saturday. Imagine how great it must feel to be from Tottori-ken and find an American who is also familiar with Tottori.
Unfortunately, they’re only here through January. So now is the time to reach out. In addition to meeting some great people, you’ll also be helping to support a very unique Japanese education program that we hope will continue in the future and grow to meet the English learning needs of Japan’s society.