Sep 20


Here are updates from a few more of the 20 Tohoku region JET alumni selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to return to their town to both engage in volunteer efforts and also help document and share what’s going on there.

  • Ben Erickson (Iwate-ken, Ninohe-shi) of Pacific Northwest JETAA left yesterday for Iwate.  You can follow his experience on his blog at – One JET’s Return to Iwate.  Here’s Ben’s current itinerary:

Day One: Tokyo, Ichinoseki, The Coast

My first official duty will be a meeting with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in the Kasumigaseki area of Tokyo.  After a brief meeting to discuss the goals of my program, there is no time to waste.  I head from Tokyo to Ichinoseki to meet with Peace Winds America, and their staff member Mari Poorman who is overseeing their efforts in Japan.  Time permitting, Mari and I may head south into Miyagi, and the town of Minamisanriku.

Day Two: The Coast

Mari and I are planning to head to the coastal cities of Ofunato and Rikuzen-Takata.

Day Three: Ninohe

After a late night train back to my second hometown, I’ll be back on familiar ground.  In the morning, I’ll have a meeting with the good people of the Ninohe City Board of Education who have been working with me on this trip.  I’ll also have a meeting with the Superintendent of Schools, and the Mayor.  The real joy will be in the afternoon.  A trip to the local High School and a chance to see my former Junior High School students now in High School.

Day Four: Ninohe

The schedule for this day is being determined.

Day Five: Ninohe, Northern Iwate and Hanamaki

The schedule for this day is being determined.

Day Six: Hiraizumi, Ichinoseki

Today I’ll visit the newly designate UNESCO World Heritage site in Hiraizumi.  I’ll also be staying in a traditional Japanese Inn for my last night in Japan.

Day Seven: Return to Tokyo, Seattle.

My last day will be travel.  A train to Tokyo and my flight home.


Day 1: Wednesday September 21st – Depart from Ottawa for Japan

Day 2: Thursday, September 22nd – Arrive in Tokyo. Go straight to MOFA, then check into my hotel.  (Spend the night in Tokyo)

Day 3: Friday, September 23rd – Tokyo to Koriyama city, then travel to Aizu-Wakamatsu to see Enzo-ji, Iimoriyama andTsuruga Castle.  (Stay in Aizu-Wakamatsu)

Day 4: Saturday, September 24th – Take part in the Global Citizen’s Festival in Fukushima city that the Fukushima AJET Chapter will be taking part in. There will be facepainting, games and food from all different parts of the world and this is something that JETs in Fukushima do every year.  (Stay in Fukushima)

Day 5: Sunday, September 25th (Tourist Destination) – Volunteer on the coast in Soma.  Head to Soma to volunteer with Hearts for Haragama, a charity created by current Fukushima JETs, which provides funds and assistance to a kindergarten in Soma.  (Stay in Fukushima)

Day 6: Monday, September 26th – In the morning, visit Fukushima Senior High School with Jason Ishida (Fukushima SHS ALT) to participate in classes and conversations with his students.  (Stay in Fukushima)

Day 7: Tuesday, September 27th – Visit Nihonmatsu Adachi Senior High School to partake in their yearly bunkasai (oh ya, that’s right, who picked the best time to go?  Oh this guy…BUNKASAI!!!!)  (Stay in Fukushima)

Day 8: Wednesday, September 28th – Visit Nihonmatsu Technical Senior High School in the morning and then depart for Tokyo. (Stay in Tokyo)

Day 9: Thursday, September 29th – Depart from Tokyo for Ottawa

CLICK HERE to read the full post.

You can also check the JETAA USA website post (“JET Alums Return to Tohoku”) for additional information.


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