Jan 20
Japan PM Kishida gets Biden's "strong" commitment on Senkaku defense

In advance of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Friday virtual meeting with President Joe Biden, the US-Japan community has issued a letter to the government of Japan urging it to relax its border restrictions in order to allow foreign students and scholars as well as family members abroad to enter Japan.

“Members of the US-Japan Network for the Future initiated this petition to call on the Japanese government to expand the range of foreign visitors allowed to enter Japan subject to vaccine, testing, and quarantine requirements. The petition will be delivered to representatives of the Japanese government in Washington, DC, and in Tokyo. We encourage Japan scholars, experts, and others involved in student exchange, regardless of nationality, to sign the petition.”

https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/calling-on-japan-to-open-to-foreign-students-and-scholars.html

Over 100 scholars, educators, policy practitioners, and bridge builders of the US-Japan community have signed the letter, a number of whom are JET alumni:

Paige Cottingham-Streater | JUSFC
  • Paige Cottingham Streater, Executive Director, Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (Also co-founder and Board Chair of US JETAA, and one of the original founders of the JET Alumni Association back in 1988!)
Jim Gannon (@JimGGannon) / Twitter
  • James Gannon, Senior Fellow, Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/USA) (Also Vice-Director of US JETAA and a member of the JETAA USA Board of Advisors)
The Asia Group | Michael Green - The Asia Group
  • Michael Green, Director of Asian Studies and Chair in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy, Georgetown University; Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Michael was a Monbusho English Fellow (MEF) which was like the beta version of the JET Program.)
Drake University on Twitter: "Associate Professor of Political Science Mary  McCarthy was in South Korea in June as part of the Bridging the Divide  program. Attendees met with Korean policymakers, politicians, academics,
  • Mary M. McCarthy, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Department of Political Science, Drake University
Anand Rao | SUNY Geneseo
  • Anand Rao, Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Relations, State University of New York at Geneseo
FSI | Shorenstein APARC - Benjamin Self
  • Benjamin Self, Vice President, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation
  • Note: There may be other JET alumni among the signatories. If you identify one, you can email jetwit@jetwit.com.
Leonard J. Schoppa, Jr. · Conference on Cultural and Educational  Interchange (CULCON)
  • Leonard Schoppa, Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia; Senior Advisor, US-Japan Network for the Future
  • Ryan Shaffer, President of Japan-America Society of Washington DC
GAVIN H. WHITELAW | Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies
  • Gavin Whitelaw, Executive Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University
Bahia Simons-Lane - Numata, Gunma (2005-2007)
  • Bahia Simons-Lane, Director, US JETAA and former President of JETAA Florida


Jan 18

Hi, and welcome to the new podcast space here on JETwit.com. I’m Scot Maupin (Hokkaido, 2005-09), a JET alum/podcaster, and every month I’ll serve you up a list of podcasts with new episodes by myself and other JET Alumni/podcasters. I will also be featuring some episodes from month to month with more detailed write-ups.

But for now, let me start by just introducing myself (Is your 自己紹介 still etched into your brain?) and presenting a full list of podcasts I have (so far) and a bit about them. If you’d like to be added to this list, or let me know something to change, then please still use this form to let us know about it and we’ll add you to the subscriptions we monitor.

AIGA Design Podcasts

by Lee-Sean Huang (Oita ’03-06)

How is design changing as a discipline and profession? What are the current landscapes and future horizons of innovation? ​What are the opportunities for the design community? AIGA’s Lee-Sean Huang explores these questions and more with creative practitioners and​ business​ leaders​ to deepen the impact of design across all disciplines on business, society, and our collective future.

Asian American Podcasters Assn Podcast

Lee Uehara (Chiba ’93-95)

The official podcast of the Asian American Podcasters Association.

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EFT Tapping Like a Mother

Lee Uehara (Chiba ’93-95)

EFT Tapping Like a Mother is where you’ll meet your EFT fairy godmothers, Lee Uehara and Collette Schildkraut. Lee and Collette will help you navigate the ocean of crappy emotions and blocks that a getting in your way of a fantastic life.

How to Japanese Podcast

Daniel Morales (Fukushima ’05-08)

Everyone learning Japanese needs a senpai – this podcast is your digital senpai. Join Daniel from HowToJapanese.com and guests to learn what strategies have been effective for them as they study, live, and work in Japan and using Japanese.

House of Lee NYC

Lee Uehara (Chiba ’93-95)

Lee and her guests will share life’s random DIYs, hacks, tips and how-tos for resourceful living. A former teacher, Lee breaks it down and keeps it real. With New York City as home base, you’ll get Lee’s latest fun spots to explore in town

Japan On Film

Percival Constantine (Kagoshima ’08-13)

The top podcast for discussion of Japanese movies.

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Krewe of Japan

Doug Tassin (Fukushima ’07-10)

Krewe of Japan is a weekly podcast co-hosted by Doug Tassin that takes listeners on audio journeys through Japanese culture. With our hosts as your guide, and the help of guest experts, Japanese natives, and ex-pats, understanding Japan is now easier than ever before.

Now and Zen Japan

Andrew Hankinson

Insightful conversations with Japan experts focused on business and culture, with stories of success & failure and lessons learned. Entertaining and educational, discover first-hand what it’s like to live, work, and experience the most fascinating country in the world. Direct from Tokyo, this is the Now and Zen Podcast!

PractiMama Parenting

Lee Uehara (Chiba ’93-95)

The PractiMama NYC Show is where your host, Lee, keeps it real with practical tips for resourceful parenting – because honestly, who has time for anything else?!

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Reinventing Professionals

Ari Kaplan (Hyogo ’93-94)

This podcast hosted by Ari Kaplan is designed to offer ideas, guidance, and perspectives on how to effectively navigate a perpetually shifting professional landscape, with a unique focus on the legal industry and the technology that is driving its evolution.

Season by Season

Alexis Agliano Sanborn (Shimane ’09 – 11)

Join Alexis and Kit, lifelong friends who now live on opposite coasts, as they explore poetry, music, and sound on a journey through the rhythm of nature expressed by the seasons.

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The Perfect Show

Scot Maupin (Hokkaido ’05-09)

The Perfect Show is a podcast where host Scot Maupin catalogs the perfect things in life, one by one. Each episode he examines something that he or someone else thinks is perfect.

USLawEssentials Law & Language

Stephen Horowitz (Aichi ’92-94)

The USLawEssentials Law & Language Podcast helps non-native English-speaking lawyers and law students improve their English and better understand US law and American legal culture. Many of these short episodes are tied to a legal news event or case in the United States. Others include interviews with multilingual lawyers (including a number of JET alumni.) The shows are hosted by attorneys experienced teaching US law and legal English to students and lawyers from around the world.

Upper West Side Corner Talk

Lee Uehara (Chiba ’93-95)

Welcome to the Upper West Side (UWS, NYC) Corner Talk podcast with your host, Lee Uehara. You know, it’s news that you’d get from a friend or neighbor – at the corner.

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よっぱれ英会話 English Nomikai

Emmalee Manes (Toyama ’16-19)

In this eikaiwa podcast targeted to Japanese English-learners, Emmalee Manes talks to fellow JET alumni, current JETs, and Japanese English teachers and friends about cultural differences between Japan and their home countries (all while sharing some drinks!)


Jan 14

Posted by: Doug Tassin (Fukushima-Ken ALT, 2007-2010 & Krewe of Japan Podcast Co-Host)

Last week on the Krewe of Japan Podcast

The whole Krewe sits down with famous comedian and Youtuber (and former JET Program participant in Oita Prefecture), Dogen! In Part 1, Dogen shares his background including how he became interested in Japan and its culture, his background in martial arts tricking, early attempts at learning Japanese, his path to writing comedy in Japanese, and so much more.

This week…

Nigel, Jenn, & Doug conclude their awesome discussion with comedian and Youtuber, Dogen! In Part 2, the Krewe joins Dogen as they embark on a deep dive into learning Japanese. This discussion takes them to many places from discovering the meaning of pitch accent and how to study effectively, to setting appropriate goals and hilarious language learning stories. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!

The Krewe of Japan Podcast is a weekly episodic podcast sponsored by the Japan Society of New Orleans. Check them out every Friday afternoon around noon CST on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Stitcher.  Want to share your experiences with the Krewe? Or perhaps you have ideas for episodes, feedback, comments, or questions? Let the Krewe know by e-mail at kreweofjapanpodcast@gmail.com or on social media (Twitter: @kreweofjapan, Instagram: @kreweofjapanpodcast, Facebook: Krewe of Japan Podcast Page, & the Krewe of Japan Youtube Channel). Until next time, enjoy!


Jan 10

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Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum Joe Palermo (actually a trailblazing MEF) spoke at the Japan Writers Conference in October about self-publishing his memoir, “No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners.” You can watch his talk below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.


Jul 14

JETAA‎‎‎‏‏‎​ Podcast Beat is a weekly round-up of current JET and JET alumni podcasts and podcast appearances compiled by Emmalee Manes (Toyama-ken, 2016-19)

Do you have a podcast or did you recently appear in a podcast? Help us share it with the community by filling out this form.

Welcome to the first-ever JETAA Podcast Beat post! I hope the beat will be a great way for everyone to stay updated on JET alumni as well as current JET involvement in podcasts. If you have the chance, please enjoy listening to one of these recent episodes this week!

よっぱれい英会話 English Nomikai Podcast

In this eikaiwa podcast targeted to Japanese English-learners, Emmalee Manes (Toyama-ken, 2016-19) talks to fellow JET alumni, current JETs, and Japanese English teachers and friends about cultural differences between Japan and their home countries (all while sharing some drinks!)

BONUS: POWER HOUR II with Joe, James, and Caralynn

このエピソードでは、EmmaleeとJoeとJamesとCaralynnは、一時間で60杯のショットを飲みます。その時間で色々のトピック話して、段々酔っ払いになっています。

Instagram: @yoppareikaiwa

Krewe of Japan

Krewe of Japan is a weekly podcast co-hosted by Doug Tassin (Fukushima-ken, 2007-10) that takes listeners on audio journeys through Japanese culture. With our hosts as your guide, and the help of guest experts, Japanese natives, and ex-pats, understanding Japan is now easier than ever before.

20. Season 1 Recap

Just like that, Season 1 comes to a close! Nigel, Jenn, & Doug peel back the curtain and reflect on all the behind-the-scenes effort & challenges that went into launching, continuing, and finishing the inaugural season of Krewe of Japan!

They discuss their favorite episodes, re-visit bloopers (#DougThings), read out some listener feedback, & tease what’s to come! Don’t miss out on this fun stroll down memory lane and help re-live the first season (of hopefully many) of the Krewe of Japan Podcast. See you in August for Season 2!

Mata kondo ne!

USLawEssentials Law & Language

The USLawEssentials Law & Language Podcast, co-hosted by Stephen Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94) helps non-native English speaking lawyers and law students improve their English and better understand US law and American legal culture. Many of these short episodes are tied to a legal news event or case in the United States. Others include interviews with multilingual lawyers (including a number of JET alumni.) The shows are hosted by attorneys experienced teaching US law and legal English to students and lawyers from around the world.

10. The Multilingual Professional: Rebecca Chen

This episode of the USLawEssentials Law & Language Podcast continues our series of interviews with multilingual lawyers — but this time with multilingual paralegal Rebecca Chen (Akita-ken, 2014-17). Stephen Horowitz is our interviewer and he talks to Rebecca about the important roles paralegals play in law firms. Rebecca offers a great inside perspective on her work with a prominent immigration law firm and how a team of legal professionals helps diverse clients from around the world achieve their immigration goals. And you probably have goals, too – such as learning legal English!


Jun 18

Episode 8 of the USLawEssentials Law & Language Podcast an interview with Scott Alprin (Aichi-ken, Kariya-shi, 1992-95) of Alprin Law Office, P.C. Scott is trademark and intellectual property attorney who speaks Japanese and works with many international clients. He discusses his career path and shares insights on law and practicing as an IP attorney.

JET alum Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, Kariya-shi, 1992-94), in collaboration with Daniel Edelson of USLawEssentials.com, recently launched “USLawEssentials: Law & Language,” a legal English podcast intended for foreign lawyers, law students, and LLM students as well as other non-native English speakers who want an enjoyable way to improve their legal English. The podcast episodes cover a variety of topics including legal news events and discussions of recent cases as well as interviews with multilingual lawyers. The discussions use accessible language with helpful explanations along the way.


Jun 15

JET alum Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, Kariya-shi, 1992-94), in collaboration with Daniel Edelson of USLawEssentials.com, has launched a new legal English podcast titled “USLawEssentials: Law & Language.”

The podcast is intended for foreign lawyers, law students, and LLM students as well as other non-native English speakers who want an enjoyable way to improve their legal English. The podcast episodes cover a variety of topics including legal news events and discussions of recent cases as well as interviews with multilingual lawyers. The discussions use accessible language with helpful explanations along the way.

Notably, the first two multilingual lawyers interviewed are both JET alumni! Brian Hersey (Fukuoka-ken, 1994-96) and Brenda McKinney (Hyogo-ken, 2006-09)

Horowitz, the founder of JETwit.com, is a Professor of Legal English and the Director of Online Legal English Programs at Georgetown Law School. He previously served as Director of Legal English Programs at St. John’s Law School.

Edelson is an Adjunct Professor of Law at St. John’s Law School and a practicing attorney in addition to founding USLawEssentials.com. He has previously taught English in Japan and has taught legal English in Korea.

Horowitz and Edelson encourage readers to share the podcast with students and others they know who are seeking to improve their legal English or simply their English in connection with sophisticated topics.


Jun 11

Posted by: Doug Tassin (Fukushima-Ken ALT, 2007-2010 & Krewe of Japan Podcast Co-Host)

This week on the Krewe of Japan Podcast

JET Program acceptance letters have gone out & short-listers are on the edge of their seats waiting to find out their placements. Nigel, Jennifer, & Doug talk about the months-long emotional roller coaster of preparing to relocate to a new country (for JET or any program). Departing JETAA Mid-South President Megan DeVille stops by to talk about her pre-departure JET experiences, from interviews to arriving at a tiny regional airport in Aomori Prefecture. She also talks about life after JET and how to keep Japan in your life despite returning to your home country.

The Krewe of Japan Podcast is a weekly episodic podcast sponsored by the Japan Society of New Orleans. Check them out every Friday afternoon around noon CST on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Stitcher.  Want to share your experiences with the Krewe? Or perhaps you have ideas for episodes, feedback, comments, or questions? Let the Krewe know by e-mail at kreweofjapanpodcast@gmail.com or on social media (Twitter: @kreweofjapan, Instagram: @kreweofjapanpodcast, Facebook: Krewe of Japan Podcast Page, & the Krewe of Japan Youtube Channel). Until next time, enjoy!


Mar 19

Posted by: Doug Tassin (Fukushima-Ken ALT, 2007-2010 & Krewe of Japan Podcast Co-Host)

This week on the Krewe of Japan Podcast

In the first of many episodes focusing on English teaching in Japan, Doug & Jenn take a look at various types of teaching opportunities, both JET and non-JET avenues. This conversation transitions into an interview with two English professionals based out of Fukushima Prefecture: John Loynes (British former-JET-turned-eikaiwa-entrepreneur) & Bradley Trenery (Australian private school English instructor). John & Bradley share their unique journeys to Japan and offer some interesting insights into working in their respective educational environments, along with some hilarious tales that will permanently etch the Japanese word for “population” in your memory bank.

The Krewe of Japan Podcast is a weekly episodic podcast sponsored by the Japan Society of New Orleans. Check them out every Friday afternoon around noon CST on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Stitcher.  Want to share your experiences with the Krewe? Or perhaps you have ideas for episodes, feedback, comments, or questions? Let the Krewe know by e-mail at kreweofjapanpodcast@gmail.com or on social media (Twitter: @kreweofjapan, Instagram: @kreweofjapanpodcast, & the Krewe of Japan Youtube Channel). Until next time, enjoy!


Mar 7

Posted by Tom Baker (Chiba 1989-91)

The 15th annual Japan Writers Conference will be held in October this year. The organizers are now looking for writers, editors and publishers to give presentations on the art, craft and business of writing. If you are a writer, now is a good time to think about taking part.

The conference is a free event, held in English. It covers publishable writing of all types: poetry, fiction, journalism, memoir, translation and more.

Past presenters have included best-selling thriller author Barry Eisler, Edgar-winning mystery novelist Naomi Hirahara and “Slumdog Millionaire” creator Vikas Swarup. There have also been presentations by many JET writers over the years, including poets Warren Decker and Michael Frazier, novelists Percival Constantine and Benjamin Martin, journalists Elaine Lies and Tom Baker, textbook author Todd Jay Leonard, and writing renaissance woman Suzanne Kamata. This year’s event will be cohosted by JET alum and novelist Charles Kowalski, together with nonfiction writer Joan Bailey.

Here are the official details:

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The 2021 Japan Writers Conference will be at Tokai University, Shonan Campus in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, on Saturday, October 16th and Sunday, October 17th, 2020. Hiratsuka is on Sagami Bay, not far from Odawara. As in the past, the conference will be free and open to all who wish to attend. Please mark your calendars and plan to join in. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, there is a possibility we’ll have to move online again this year, or it may be a hybrid, with some sessions held live, some online.

All published writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers are welcome to submit presentation proposals for the 2021 Japan Writers Conference. The deadline for your proposal is Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Please send your proposals via this page on the JWC website: http://japanwritersconference.org/submit-proposal/

We especially encourage proposals from new submitters. One of our strengths has been variety, and the best way to foster variety is to have new presenters each year.

When planning your JWC proposal, keep your audience in mind. Your listeners will be writers and others (translators, editors, publishers, and agents) concerned with creating publishable writing. While teaching, literary studies and private self-expression are all worthy activities, they are not the focus of this conference.

Standard conference sessions are fifty minutes long, but if you have something longer in mind, please let us know and we will accommodate if possible.

To submit a proposal for a conference presentation, send the following information, using the form here to submit: http://japanwritersconference.org/submit-proposal/

1. Your name (or names)
2. Title of presentation (20 words or less)
3. Type of presentation (short lecture with Q&A, craft workshop, panel discussion, reading with Q&A, etc.)
4. Genre (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Translation, Instructional, Career)
5. Short summary (50 words or less)
6. Abstract (150 words or less)
7. Personal and professional biography (50 words or less. Mention your publications, as this will be part of the Conference program)
8. Your publications (Need not be complete, but give names of journals and genre for short pieces; title, publisher and date for books; venues and dates for plays, and so on)
9. Are you available on both days?
10. Any special needs?
11. Contact information (email address, telephone number) These remain confidential. Please include everyone who will be part of the presentation.

If you are unable to use the website form, or
have questions concerning your idea or the conference in general, you may use this email address: japanwritersconference@gmail.com

Novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski will be one of the hosts of the 2021 Japan Writers Conference.


Feb 6

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We recently learned about the National Association for Black Engagement with Asia (NABEA) which seeks to connect Black Asia specialists in both the public and private sectors. They also hope to increase the representation of Black Americans engaging with Asia. Through their programming, they work towards building a mutually beneficial economic, political, social, and cultural relationship between Black America and the Indo-Pacific region.

There seems to be a natural connection between the JET alumni community and NABEA. And in fact, we’re currently aware of four JET alumni who are also members of NABEA:

According to Fisher, “NABEA is an important and growing community of Black Americans who are specialists actively engaged in Asia. Their publicly accessible and searchable database of Black, Indo-Asia experts is a great addition to the continued work of increasing representation and inclusion in the U.S.-Japan community specifically, and the Indo-Asia region more broadly.”

If you are interested in joining NABEA, go to their website for more info: http://usnabea.org/

And if you’re already a member, feel free to post in the comments section below and let everyone know!


Sep 6

Charles Kowalski to dissect villains at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

Many JETs are writers before coming to Japan, while others find that Japan give them something to write about. And many JET writers get involved in the Japan Writers Conference, which this year is being held online, Oct. 10-11.

One of this year’s featured writers is novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski, who will describe how to give your story a compelling villain.

Here’s the official description of Charles’ presentation:



Masterminds, Minions, and Monsters: Creating 3D Villains
(Craft Workshop)

Create compelling villains that readers will love to hate! This workshop will introduce three main villain motivations (the “3 D’s”) and show how these form seven archetypes, plus six effective recruiting tools for henchmen (FLAMES), the top five justifications for villainy, and how to defeat the villain for a satisfying ending.

“A story is only as good as the villain.” – Clive Barker

Bad guys make good stories, and this workshop will focus on creating compelling villains that readers will love to hate.

Here are the questions to be asked and answered in this workshop.

What makes a compelling villain? How can the BOOM technique help create a villain with a believable backstory?

How do the three main motivations of villains intersect to form seven villain archetypes? What are the common personality characteristics of each?

What are the six tools used by master villains to recruit followers? What are the top five justifications for villainy?

What are the five main patterns of villain defeat and their common variations?

Come find out!

Charles Kowalski is the award-winning author of contemporary thrillers MIND VIRUS and THE DEVIL’S SON, and the Japan-themed historical fantasy SIMON GREY AND THE MARCH OF A HUNDRED GHOSTS. When not writing, he teaches at Tokai University.


Aug 24

Panel discussion on MFAs at 2020 Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

Many JETs are writers before coming to Japan, while others find that Japan give them something to write about. If you’re thinking about furthering your writing career by getting an MFA, then you might want to listen to what JET alums Percival Constantine and Warren Decker have to say about.

The two will be part of a panel discussion at the 14th annual Japan Writers Conference, titled “The MFA: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive.”

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Japan Writers Conference is being held online, meaning there is no travel involved. Here’s the official description of Percy and Warren’s event:

The MFA: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive

John Gribble, Kristina Butke, Percival Constantine, Alec McAulay, Warren Decker
Panel Discussion

Should I get an MFA or other graduate-level degree in writing?
Aren’t they expensive? Are they difficult? Are they any good? What sort of program should I look at? What kind of benefits should I expect to receive? These questions and others will be addressed in this session.
Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and other advanced degrees with a writing emphasis have become a viable option for those seeking to improve their writing skills and advance themselves professionally. Some programs are full- or part-time on a university campus, some are on-line, some are hybrids, blending elements of both. The panelists, all with advanced writing degrees, will each talk about the programs they attended, their own experiences and answer your questions.


John Gribble is a noted gasbag. He rarely knows what he is talking about, but he states his ignorant opinions with great vigor. He has spent far too much of his life in school and other institutions. He is also a poet, co-organizer of the Japan Writers Conference and the Tokyo Writers Workshop, and earned his MFA at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.


Kristina Elyse Butke is an American writer, editor, and teacher who indulges in cosplay, art, and all things otaku. She has a BA in English Literature from Capital University and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A former college English teacher, playwright, and composer, she now writes fantasy and horror. Her work has been published by ExFic, First Class Literary, and Synaeresis Magazine, among others. She’s also worked the convention circuit, presenting panels on writing fanfiction and genre fiction at events such as Ohayocon, Matsuricon, and Colossalcon. In terms of editing, one of her latest projects included subtitle edits for Pied Piper Inc.’s release of the anime Skip Beat!, and she currently edits and contributes to Speculative Chic.


Kristina lives in Kumamoto prefecture in Japan, where she works in multiple high schools as an assistant language teacher. When she isn’t working on all the things, she travels to shrines, hunts for Kumamon, and spends more money than she should at the JUMP shop.


Raised on a consistent diet of superhero comics, action movies, and video games, Percival Constantine wanted to grow up and write the type of fiction he consumed. Now as a prolific author of pulp fiction, he’s written around thirty books across various genres. He’s also the host two podcasts—Japan On Film and Superhero Cinephiles. When he’s not working on projects, he somehow finds time to teach classes in literature, film, and English. Born and raised in Chicago, he’s now based in Kagoshima, Japan.


Alec McAulay is an award-winning writer and director. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he has lived in Japan since 1989. He teaches Creative Writing at Yokohama National University. Alec has an MA Screenwriting (Distinction), and a PhD (Screenwriting) from the Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University. His children’s novel Robot Santa (unpublished) is about a ‘hafu’ Scottish-Japanese girl who builds a robot Santa to save Christmas.


Warren Decker is a teacher and writer based in Izumi, Japan. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, The New Ohio Review, Modern Haiku, Sou’wester, and other journals. His first book of poetry The Long Side of the Midnight Sun is available from Isobar Press. He has an MFA in creative writing from the online program at the University of Texas, El Paso.


Apr 8

Posted by Tom Baker

The annual Japan Writers Conference is seeking writers, editors and translators to give presentations at this year’s event, to be held in October in Kanagawa Prefecture. Through the years, many JETs and JET alumni writers, including freelancers, have spoken at or attended this event. This year, former JET Charles Kowalski will be cohosting the conference at his university.

The organizers are aware that the coronavirus has added uncertainty to everyone’s plans this year, but they intend to go ahead with the event if it is safe to do so in the autumn. However, they are also contemplating online options, so it might become possible to attend remotely. Here’s the official announcement:

Each year, English-language writers from many fields gather at the Japan Writers Conference to share ideas and experiences on the art, craft and business of writing. In 2020, the 14th annual Japan Writer’s conference will be held on Oct. 10-11 at the Shonan campus of Tokai University in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Award-winning novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski, a popular speaker at past conferences, will cohost this year’s event with food and travel writer Joan Bailey.

“The Japan Writers Conference is something special,” said poet John Gribble, a co-organizer of the event. “It is open to all, beginner to pro. It is also an annual collection of rigorous, authoritative lectures, workshops, and discussion groups. Anyone with a concern for the written and published word would benefit from coming.”

The conference is now accepting proposals for presentations. All published writers, as well as translators, editors, agents and publishers, are welcome to submit proposals.

Last year’s JWC presenters included astrophysicst Elizabeth Tasker on writing about science, novelist Evan Fallenberg on writing about sex, and screenwriter Steven Wolfson on structuring plots. Authors Holly Thompson and Mariko Nagai held a workshop on revising young adult fiction.

“This has been a year of isolation for everyone,” Kowalski noted. “But for English-language writers in Japan, that’s familiar territory, and it’s often the most fertile soil for the seeds of inspiration to take root. I hope that, come autumn, we’ll all be able to poke our heads above ground again and share a rich harvest of ideas.”

Writers and others interested in giving presentations, or simply attending the 2020 conference, can find details, including proposal guidelines and a submission form, at http://www.japanwritersconference.org. The deadline for proposals is June 1.

Run entirely by volunteers, the Japan Writers Conference is a free event open to all. Inquiries should be sent to japanwritersconference@gmail.com


Feb 11

JET Program Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Kushner

Earlier this month, JET alum Jonathan Kushner was featured on the website of Connect, an online monthly dedicated to the JET Program and English-speaking community in Japan. Mr. Kushner talks about his experiences on JET and how they helped launch his post-JET career.

Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Kushner


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