Jun 23

JETSites: JET Prefectural Websites and Newsletters?

map_japanJetWit has just created a new page in the JETLinks section of this site called “JET Prefectural Websites and Newsletters.”

So far, the only ones listed are Hiroshima-ken and Akita-ken.  There are, of course, many more out there.  So please send an e-mail to jetwit [at] jetwit [dot] com to share links for your prefecture’s:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Yahoo or Google group
  • Wiki-site
  • Facebook page
  • Twitter feed
  • LinkedIn group
  • Any other crazy new form of media the kids have come up with recently

Thanks and yoroshiku.

Jun 23

Akita_Prefecture_cities_and_townsDan Dooher, an Akita-ken ALT and who also serves as the Prefectural Advisor, recently let JetWit know about their English-language guide to Akita-ken for JETs.


Not sure if other prefectures have done something similar or if this is standard, but Akita-ken has put together a fantastic wiki-style site.  When you first arrive you see a map of Akita divided into cities.  Clicking on a city leads to a whole wealth of useful information for any JET (or any English-speaker for that matter) who’s planning on going there.

The left sidebar includes links to topics such as Entering JET, Financing, Travel, Health, Driving, Computers and Phones, Entertainment, Volunteer Opportunities and other extremely helpful topics.  On the right are feeds for “Latest Discussion” and “Events/Updates.”  And scrolling down leads to a Calendar as well as an Article Spotlight featuring “What is the Akita International Sumo Taikai?”  (Note: How come my prefecture didn’t have a sumo taikia?)  (Additional note: How come the internet didn’t exist when I was on JET?)

Do other prefectures have JET sites like this? (We know, for example, that Hiroshima-ken has The Wide Island View, a terrific e-zine for the JET community there, published by Gail Cetnar Meadows and Josh Zimmer.)

If so, please send the link to JetWit along with any other info and we’ll be more than happy to post it on the site for the benefit of readers.

Jun 22

JETAA NY Webmaster Lee-Sean Huang (Oita-ken, 2003-06) is settling into his summer internship at Creative Commons in San Francisco and is working on a site called OpenEd that will act as a kind of portal for the open education community.

Lee-Sean suggested that the JET community, which already does a lot to share their lesson plans and ESL games, might be a good group to engage on OpenEd site.

Lee-Sean has started a a preliminary Wiki page and says he would welcome any input as well as more links to relevant resources.  Since the site is a wiki, anyone can create an account and edit the site.


Jun 4

This is actually the old, PDF version of The Wide Island View. Click this image to go to the new website and prepare to be suitably impressed.

Hiroshima-ken’s Gail Cetnar Meadows and Joshua Zimmerman have announced the launch of Wide Island View, their super-sweet online prefectural newsletter (though “newsletter” doesn’t really do justice to what they’ve put together).

Featured articles include:

To put it in perspective, when A.J. the JetWit mascot goes to bed at night, this is what he dreams about. :-)

Keep up the good work, Hiroshimites (or whatever the proper term is)!

May 25

There’s a nice mention of JetWit in a recent post on The Wide Island View–The JET Programme Newsletter of Hiroshima Prefecture.  (www.wideislandview.com)  Glad to see that word awareness of JetWit is on the rise among current JETs.  Especially since it’s intended to be a helpful resource with the transition, and due to Japanese privacy laws it’s relatively difficult to get contact information to reach out to current JETs.

JetWit is also thrilled to find out that such a beautiful website of a prefectural newsletter even exists.  It’s definitely worth a visit for the articles as well as for the easy-on-the-eyes layout.  And they even pay tribute to the past, posting links to the PDF versions of newsletters past, before everything moved to the web.

By the way, if there are any other prefectural newsletter websites out there, please contact JetWit and let us know so we can post links to you guys.

Apr 19

Just found out about another JET alum author out there in the JETAA-sphere…

Suzanne (Borsum) Kamata (Tokushima, 1988-90) is the author of the novel Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), a picture book, Playing for Papa (Topka Books, 2008) and the editor of three anthologies – Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009), Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs (Beacon Press, 2008) and The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan (Stone Bridge Press, 1997). Her articles, essays, and short stories have appeared in over 100 publications, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. She is also the 2008 recipient of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Fiction. She is currently fiction editor of literarymama.com, and provides manuscript critiques on a freelance basis.

Feb 6

MyShigoto.com – Jobs in Japan

I just found out about a new job site for jobs in Japan called MyShigoto.com started by a guy named Daniel Davis.  There’s now a box in the sidebar of JetWit with the RSS feed from MyShigoto.com, so you can see the latest listings as well.

Feb 4

JET Alum Business Beat: Yvonne Thurman starts Dolly Bella Bakery

Yvonne Thurman (Kagoshima-ken, 1994-95), former JETAA NY President, recently left her position as Director of the Columbia Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB) to start her own baked goods business, Dolly Bella Bakery (www.dollybellabakery.com).  Read below as she explains what led her down this path and how it’s all going.

I have enjoyed my career at Columbia Business School , directing its Center on Japanese Economy and Business with Professor Hugh Patrick.  After 10 years of working there, I was searching in the corporate sector for business development positions but couldn’t find something that really excited me.  So I pushed myself to think outside of the box, and really took a good look at my strengths and skills, work experience and education, and analyzed what I really enjoyed doing.

I was fixated on keeping my career in the international organization/international business arena, but I had to explore all options.  I had solid management skills, a degree in finance and business, international experience (same as so many…but wait!)…liked boating as a hobby…loved baking. Hmm.  I started to put all that together. Read More

Jan 29


I recently learned of the existence of the Society for Writers, Editors and Translators (SWET) (www.swet.jp), a Tokyo-based group that seems to share a lot in common with JetWit and the Writers Interpreters Translators (WIT) Group–except that SWET has been in existence for 25 years!  (Read the full history of the group here.)

In 1998 SWET members collaboratively published the Japan Style Sheet as a guide for professional translators

The other day I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth Stevens, one of the founders of SWET who now lives in the NY area.  She introduced me (via email) to Lynne Riggs, the co-founder and current organizer of SWET, who in turn introduced me to SWET webmaster Sako Eaton.

Needless to say, we were all happy to learn of each others’ existence, and I wanted to make sure to let all the JET alumni and Friend of JET readers out there know about SWET (which, amusingly, has “SWET Shirts” for sale on their website).

In addition to a terrific website, SWET also has an e-mail list and RSS feed that are free.  You can also sign up for SWET membership for 5,000 yen or $50/year which entitles you to receive their newsletter containing various info and articles that do not appear elsewhere.

I look forward to future collaboration with the SWET folks.  (You’ll notice there’s already a sidebar widget for SWET with the RSS feed from their site.) And I encourage any readers to suggest and help implement additional ideas to help foster collaboration as well.

Jan 13

Black Tokyo

JETAA NY Magazine editor Justin Tedaldi recently alerted me to a great website:  Black Tokyo – “Information on Japan from an Afro Perspective!”  (http://www.blacktokyo.com/).

Have a look.  I haven’t looked through it enough yet to see if there are any JET connections, but seems interesting and relevant enough regardless.

Oct 28

WITLife is a periodic post by Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken, 2000-03).

Since becoming a freelance translator/interpreter/writer, one of the new opportunities that I have enjoyed the most has been interpreting for the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP: http://exchanges.state.gov/ivlp/ivlp.html).

The IVLP is an exchange program designed to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through carefully designed visits that reflect the participants’ professional interests and support U.S. foreign policy goals. For participants, it involves meeting and conferring with professional counterparts and gaining an appreciation of the ethnic, cultural, political and socio-economic diversity of the U.S.

Participants are established or potential foreign opinion makers in government, public policy, media, education, labor, the arts and other key fields, and they are selected by American embassies abroad. Since its inception in 1940, over 135,000 people have participated in the program, and in 2007 over 4000 IVs came over on 900 projects of various themes. 65 IVLP alumni are current Chiefs of State/Heads of Government, including Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou. However, while they are here all IVs are considered “honorary Americans.” This means that no matter how highly ranked they are back home, during this program in our egalitarian country everyone is of equal status. This certainly takes a bit of pressure off the lowly interpreter!

My first assignment was in September for two Japanese men studying the theme of Planning for Crises: Disasters and Pandemics. Read More

Oct 8

JETAA Resume Guide 2008

If anyone is looking for some help with their resume, Clara Solomon (CIR Tottori-ken, 1999-2001), who is now the Director of Career Services at NYU Law School, put together a great JETAA Resume Guide for the recent JETAA NY Career Forum.  It was passed out to all the attendees in conjunction with her presentation, and she agreed to let Jetwit.com post a copy.

Particularly helpful are a range of suggested ways to characterize JET experience.

Sep 28

JET Alum Article in The Guardian

See JET alum Julie Ferry’s article entitled The Knowledge Gap which ran in The Guardian on 9/26/08 and which references her experience on JET in a discussion of the evolution of the “gap year”.  To learn more about Julie, you can visit her website at http://www.julieferry.co.uk/.

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