Aug 14

Nathaniel Simmons (Nara-ken, 2007-2009) is currently is currently a communication faculty member at Western Governors University and lives in Columbus, OH, USA.  He teaches a variety of intercultural, interpersonal, and health communication courses. He has researched and published several scholarly articles regarding privacy management between foreign English teachers and Japanese co-workers in Japan.

“Something of and in Japan, [is that] it doesn’t matter about who you are. Your health is never private.  They [Japanese] don’t see health as a privacy thing.  So you know, if you want to keep it private, don’t talk to anyone about it.” – Alice

After having my own interesting health experiences in Japan, I remained curious as to what other ALTs experienced.  Therefore, I went back to Japan and interviewed 10 ALTs (5 women and 5 men) about their medical encounters.  I quickly learned that it wasn’t “just me.”  I heard a lot of strong comments such as Alice’s.  In fact, everyone managed their medical privacy to some extent.  I share one story below:

“There were no barriers. Every person in the village, every school, you know everyone in the Board of Education, the whole school knew that I broke my leg and what days I was going to the hospital, and medication I’ve been given.  There’s no quiet, patient confidentiality.”

Meet “Jamie.”

An ALT in rural Japan like most of the ALTs employed by ALT organizations.  She loved her job, teachers, and students.  She worked hard and was enthusiastic about English education.

After breaking her leg, everyone knew.  But how?  She explained:

“It starts off with the supervisor who tells the Board of Education, they then informed the schools, and well, the schools tell the teachers, and the students ask, they tell the students, the students tell the parents, the parents go to the restaurant down the road and tell them, and the whole village knows.”

For Jamie, living in rural Japan meant that she wasn’t able to obtain her desired privacy levels.  Suddenly, she was not just the “foreigner,” but the “foreigner with the broken leg.”  She was the talk of the town.  Even her prescribed medication wasn’t a secret.  At the same time, Jamie was a “good sport.”  She laughed about the spectacle of her situation.  However, this somewhat uncomfortable experience influenced later health encounters.

After having appendicitis, Jamie didn’t want to go to the hospital as her doctor suggested.  She told her Board of Education (BOE) that she just needed to go home and “sleep it off.”  However, her tale doesn’t end there.

“I got a phone call from my Board of Education! [The] Doctor called the hospital when I didn’t turn up.  So, the doctor then called the Board of Education and told them everything, what he thought, and that I needed to go to the hospital.  The Board of Education called me and I said “No, I just want to sleep,” and they are like, “It’s too late. Your supervisor is coming to your house to pick you up, to take you to the hospital.”

Although somewhat comical to Jamie, she saw this as a privacy violation.  After-all, this isn’t a situation Jamie would have experienced in her home country.  People now knew information she didn’t want them to know.  She attempted to not have her school involved, but things didn’t go the way she planned.  In reality, the doctor’s decision potentially saved her life, but, at the same time, Jamie perceived her privacy to be violated.

This sentiment was echoed throughout stories of ALTs’ health experiences.  Someone told someone, who told someone else…and before they knew it, everyone knew information about them and, yet, they didn’t know much about anyone else.

How did ALTs manage their privacy in this study?

Withdrawing from workplace relationships (i.e., not talking to co-workers), lying, intentionally or through omission, and relying on the help of a non-workplace related friend (i.e., another ALT, Japanese friend, etc.) were the three most common strategies shared.  For example, if an ALT was on medication that they didn’t want their co-workers to know about, they might say it was an “allergy” pill.  If any ALT felt their privacy was violated, they stopped talking to co-workers…sometimes about everything.

Questions for you:

  • To what extent was privacy a concern for you?  Why/why not?
  • How did you protect your secrets?  (It doesn’t just have to be health!)
  • What do you recommend to current ALTs regarding their private health information?  Future ALTs?  Do you agree with Alice?

This blog post is an adaptation of the scholarly article: Simmons, N. (2012). The tales of gaijin: Health privacy perspectives of foreign English teachers in Japan. Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research, 11, 17-38. Retrieved from

Apr 14

Emily Metzgar’s op-ed: “The JET Program and the US-Japan Relationship”

A great summary of the long-term value of the JET Program (i.e., Return on JET-vestment) by University of Indiana journalism professor (and JET alum) Emily Metzgar:

The JET Program and the US-Japan Relationship:  Alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program are an important part of bilateral ties.

As official Washington prepares for the late April visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his scheduled address to a joint session of Congress, many aspects of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Japan will rightly be feted, including a robust strategic alliance and significant economic ties between the two nations. The visit also presents an opportunity to consider a less discussed but increasingly important aspect of the U.S.-Japan relationship writ large: The extensive – and growing – network of American alumni of Japan’s long-standing Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed:


Apr 6

Be interviewed for a book about the JET Program!

JETwit is very excited to share the below message from Emily Metzgar (Shimane-1993-95), Professor of Journalism at University of Indiana who has already published prior research on the JET Program and alumni community. To help Emily with the book, read below and click this link:

Dear American JET Alumni,

I’m writing a book about American alumni of the JET Program and the growing influence of this community on the broader US-Japan relationship. I’m a professor at Indiana University and a JET alum (Shimane, 1993-1995). I’ve already published some research  about American alumni of JET and the tremendous potential of this pool of college educated people with on-the-ground experience in Japan. My book will document that influence in a variety of contexts — political, cultural, educational, corporate, etc.

As I work on this book I need your help. I’m interested in talking with American alumni about the various ways they remain involved with Japan after finishing their tenure with JET. Would you be willing to be interviewed for this project?

I’ve set up an online data collection site and am asking that alumni who are willing to be interviewed use that link to provide a few details about themselves so I can determine whom to contact and when, based on my research timeline. This project is authorized by my university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and as the first item at the link below indicates, all safeguards associated with such university-approved research are in place.

If you’re willing to share your post-JET experiences and your insights about the growing influence of the American JET alumni community please click on this link ( and provide the requested information (name, contact info, years & position on JET, current job, and nature of continued involvement with Japan). I will follow up with you soon to set up a phone or Skype interview.

If you have any questions about this request or if you’d just like to know more about this book project — I’m always happy to talk about it! — please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks so much for any insights you can share. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.



Emily Metzgar, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Journalism
The Media School @ Indiana University
Note:  Do not post your responses to Emily in the comment field below.  She won’t see them there.  You must click the link above.

Mar 3

JALT Shinshu-AJET Conference-18th of April 2015

JALT and AJET have teamed up bring you the JALT Shinshu-AJET Conference in Matsumoto City, Japan.

Featuring lectures from Morten Hunke and Yumiko Miyamoto the conference will focus on Can-do Statements & Assessment in a Japanese Context.

Many teachers are under immense pressure to prepare Can-Do statements that specify what aspects of communicative competence their courses are designed to develop, and clarify how students are assessed in relation to these statements. To explore this issue, Morten Hunke will discuss how the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) can be applied at the university level in Japan, and Yumiko Miyamoto will discuss assessment at the Senior High School level.

When:Sat 18th of April, 2015.14:00-17:00
Venue: Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture
Price:JALT members: Free; Non-members 1000 yen

For latest details, see event page.
For any inquiries please contact:
Chris Low(AJET Director of Professional and educational Development)
or Gregory Birch (JALT)

Sep 22

Job: DePaul University – Study Abroad Program Manager

Posted by Sean Pavlik (Fukui-ken, 2010-12), International Programs Officer for the DC-based Congressional Study Group on Japan. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


DePaul University in Chicago, IL, is currently accepting applications for the position of Program Manager within our Study Abroad Program Office.

Please visit for the full position description and application details.

Brief Position Summary: The Program Manager (PM) position manages a program portfolio of faculty-led programs and serves as the primary point of contact for faculty directors, students, vendors, providers, and other key stakeholders. The PM develops and implements regular program assessment procedures in collaboration with staff and faculty, and also evaluates the viability of new programs with the Associate Director Program Management. This position also participates in first level crisis response, led by the Associate Director Program Management, within the study abroad office. This position has both administrative and management responsibilities and plays a key role to ensure the success of program implementation for both students and faculty.

Sep 22

Job: Faculty-Led Advisor Position at San Diego State University

Posted by Sean Pavlik (Fukui-ken, 2010-12), International Programs Officer for the DC-based Congressional Study Group on Japan. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies is continuing the search for an advisor for faculty-led study abroad programs. The successful candidate will join a dynamic team and be directly responsible for designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating a full range of services and programs to meet the international objectives of the university and the needs of students seeking, engaged in, or who have returned from education abroad programs. Application review will begin on October 6th.
You can view this posting at:

Please direct questions to SDSU’s Center for Human Resources rather than to the hiring department.

Sep 13

Job: NC State Study Abroad Office- Regional Coordinator position

Posted by Sean Pavlik (Fukui-ken, 2010-12), International Programs Officer for the DC-based Congressional Study Group on Japan. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


An opening in the Study Abroad Office at North Carolina State University for a full-time Regional Coordinator for Latin-America and Sub-Saharan Africa. A full job description can be found at

In designated geographic regions (currently the Americas, Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa), serve as the lead contact and advisor for NC State study abroad programs. Manage student exchange agreements for designated region, including facilitating renewals and initiating new agreements, as well as maintaining balance of enrollment numbers. Research programs and communicate with colleagues at partner institutions and program providers in the United States and abroad regarding academic opportunities, costs, housing options, support services, and exchange agreements.

Read More

Sep 13

Job: Stanford Univ. Special Programs Coordinator, BING Overseas Studies Program

Posted by Sean Pavlik (Fukui-ken, 2010-12), International Programs Officer for the DC-based Congressional Study Group on Japan. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


Stanford University is pleased to announce the following position:

*Special Programs Coordinator (64192), BING Overseas Studies Program*

The Special Programs Coordinator is responsible for managing and coordinating overseas seminars and other short-term, faculty-initiated programs. The Special Programs Coordinator exercises a high degree of independence and judgment in solving problems, executing and completing projects, interacting with colleagues and managers throughout the University, as well as faculty, students, and parents.

To Apply*:
– Access the Stanford Careers website at
– Click on Job Search
– Enter “64192” the Job Number Search field (the search result will appear)

**Please Note: *Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume via the Stanford University website. Applications submitted directly to BING Overseas Studies Program office will not be considered.

Sep 13

Job: University of Georgia at Oxford – Associate Director position

 Posted by Sean Pavlik (Fukui-ken, 2010-12), International Programs Officer for the DC-based Congressional Study Group on Japan. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


The University of Georgia at Oxford Study Abroad Program seeks an Associate Director for the University’s Residential Center Study Abroad Program in Oxford, England. This position is based primarily at the UGA campus in Athens, Georgia, with significant travel duties to the U.K. The Associate Director assists the Director in the administration of the Oxford programs and Center and serves as the second-in-command for the UGA at Oxford Program. Duties include program and facilities oversight, communications and development, and IT development and support. The Associate Director will be responsible for marketing the UGA at Oxford Program, organizing Alumni events, planning special extension events such as lectures and debates, and preparing the Program’s annual newsletter. The Associate Director is also expected to remain active in research and academic life at the University of Georgia through teaching and curriculum development. Read More

Jul 24

CFR 2014–2015 International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd.

A nice JET-relevant opportunity, received directly from the Council on Foreign Relations which requested that it be shared with the JET alumni community.

Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.



Founded in 1997, the International Affairs Fellowship in Japan (IAF-J), sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd., seeks to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between the rising generations of leaders in the United States and Japan. The program provides a selected group of mid-career U.S. citizens the opportunity to expand their professional horizons by spending a period of research or other professional activity in Japan. Fellows are drawn from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks. In cooperation with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the program’s sponsor, Hitachi, Ltd., assists fellows in finding suitable host organizations in Japan. CFR awards approximately three to five fellowships annually.

Read More

Jun 17

Rotary Peace Fellowships – July 1 Deadline

Thanks to JETAANY Board member Mark Flanigan, himself a former Rotary Peace Fellow, for sharing this. Mark also mentioned that 6 JET alums in total have received Rotary Peace Fellowships. Please note the July 1 deadline.

Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.



Are you looking to make a significant impact on the world by promoting tolerance and cooperation? Each year, Rotary funds some of the world’s most dedicated and brightest professionals to study at our Rotary Peace Centers. These fellows are committed to the advancement of peace, and often go on to serve as leaders in national governments, NGOs, the military, law enforcement, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Bank.

Read More

May 23

2014-15 Harvard Fellowship in Japanese Digital Humanities & Social Sciences (Boston)

Thanks to Pamela Fields of CULCON for passing on this unique and JET-relevant opportunity, which came to her originally from Vickey Best, Executive Director of the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources. Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.


The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University announces a
special fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year (with the potential to be renewed for one
additional year), for a person in any field of East Asian studies, with extensive expertise in the
digital humanities or qualitative digital data management in the social sciences. The fellow will
be expected to assist faculty, students, and research affiliates, as described below, and assist
specific digital projectssuch as the Constitutional Revision in Japan Research Project and
especially the Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters (

Read More

Apr 1

MOOCs on English Teaching [英語教授法 無料オンラインコースのご案内]

Thanks to AJET Chair Kay Makishi for passing on this interesting ESL professional development opportunity which she received via the US Consulate in Fukuoka. Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.



The U.S. Department of State recently announced the launch of Shaping the Way We Teach English MOOC, a massive open online course (MOOC) for English as a foreign language (EFL) educators. The ten-week university-level course was developed by the University of Oregon and is currently available on the Coursera platform. The course is being offered globally and free of charge. Please click on the link above for more information.

Mar 7

Student Delegates Sought for Upcoming Japan-America Student Conference (Deadline March 31)

This isn’t for JET alums per se. But if you know anyone who might be interested, it’s a great way to help support the future of Japan-US relations. Please note the March 31 application deadline.

Thanks to AJET Chair Kay Makishi for pointing JASC Executive Director Yuuki Shinomiya towards JETwit.

 Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.



The Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) is currently recruiting student delegates for the 66th Annual Conference, which will be held in the U.S. in August 2014. This student-led exchange program, initiated in 1934 by university students concerned by the breakdown of bilateral relations prior to the Second World War, JASC has evolved into a leadership training program for both Japanese and American students. Read More

Mar 7

GLOBIS University MBA for JETs (Tokyo)

Thanks to JETAA UK Chair Sarah Parsons for sharing this info.  A great transition step opportunity for current JETs.  Sarah was recently in Tokyo to speak at the After JET Conference and while there met with people from GLOBIS who made her aware of this program and that scholarships are available for JETs.  Please not the March 12 deadline.  Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12)Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email.



GLOBIS University in Tokyo offers a full time and part-time MBA course taught in English with opportunities for internships. This is suitable for JETs wanting to bridge the gap between their time on JET and developing professional experience as well as a transferable qualification. There are scholarships available for fees that JETs are eligible for and also possible funding for living expenses. Read More

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