Nov 25

Thanks to Vancouver-based JET alum Alison Dacia Brown (Iwate-ken, Rikuzentakata-shi, 2005-08) for posting about this to Facebook.  From a JET perspective, it seems to offer a communications model for Japanese local governments in which perhaps JETs and JET alumni could play a helpful role:

Update:  Here’s the Rikuzentakata Facebook Page

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012

Tsunami-hit city a hit on Facebook


MORIOKA, Iwate Pref. — The coastal city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami, has gotten global attention thanks to its use of Facebook.

In July, the city set up an official page in both Japanese and English on Facebook, the first municipality to do so among those on the northeast coast that bore the full brunt of the March 2011 catastrophe.

Since then, officials have been updating the page to display and keep the world updated on the reconstruction process, an unusual move for a municipal government. The posts, mostly written in Japanese, include articles on Rikuzentakata from Japan and around the world, advisories on earthquakes and floods, and the mayor’s participation at a local festival.

When Rikuzentakata’s officials made a fundraising page in English to help preserve the city’s famed “miracle pine tree,” donations came in from around the world. Read More

Nov 16 – Richmond, VA News, Weather, Traffic
From Richmond, VA’s NBC news affiliate (click link below to see news video):

Taylor Anderson documentary draws thousands to Center Stage


Thousands of people turned out to Richmond’s Center Stage theater Friday, to see the documentary of Taylor Anderson – a young teacher from Chesterfield who worked and died in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last spring.

It’s the story of the 24-year-old who is believed to be the first American victim of the disaster.

The tsunami that followed the 8.9 magnitude quake rocked Japan’s eastern coast, killing hundreds.

Taylor was last seen after the earthquake riding her bike toward her apartment after ensuring that students at her school had been picked up by their parents.

More than a year later – Taylor’s story is shared through the documentary Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story.

Film maker Regge Life interviewed dozens even traveled to Japan to find her story.

“It wasn’t until I made the trip to Ishinomaki, and I can talk to her friends face to face, that I knew there was something there,” said Life.

At the screening, Andy Anderson was happy to see so many people take interest in his daughter’s story.

“Regge’s really good at being able to take all the people who are telling Taylor’s story and weaving us all together,” said Anderson.

“You see Taylor from her beginnings as a small child and her interests in Japan that just kept growing through her own nurturing,” said Life.

There may be more showings, but right now the documentary is not in theaters. It is being sold for educational purposes.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

For JQ Magazine‘s May 2012 interview with Regge Life on the making of the film, click here.

Nov 7

Regge Life documentary about Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson to premiere 11/9 in DC area

Via JETAA DC President Leigh Ann Mastrini (Hyogo-ken, 2006-08):

On November 9th will be the premiere of Regge Life’s documentary film about March 11, Taylor Anderson, and Monty Dickson.  Click the link below for more information:

The film is open to the community, with a suggested donation of $20 when you register. A small group of JETAA DC alumni will be driving down from DC between 2PM – 3PM.

Sep 12

Japan Society (NY) Event: Local Economic Recovery: Firsthand Accounts from Tohoku

Thanks to  Jim Gannon (Ehime-ken, 1992-94), Executive Director of the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/USA), for sharing this Japan Society event with which JCIE is involved.

Local Economic Recovery: Firsthand Accounts from Tohoku

LECTURE: Local Economic Recovery: Firsthand Accounts from Tohoku

Monday, September 17, 6:30 PM


The world’s eyes were on Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture a year and a half ago when a large portion of the city was devastated by the March 2011 tsunami. A number of small and mid-sized businesses—the lifeblood of the region—have taken innovative, entrepreneurial approaches that have yielded initial successes in revitalizing the local economy. Local leaders, Akiko Iwasaki, Owner, Horaikan ryokan, Akio Ono, President, Ono Foods Co., Ltd, and Takahiro Sasa, Deputy Manager, Industry Promotion Department, Kamaishi, as well as Takeo Kikkawa, an energy expert and Professor, Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University, will give firsthand accounts of how they have restarted their businesses against formidable odds and the challenges that continued to confront their community and others like it throughout the disaster zone.Followed by a reception.


$12/$8 Japan Society members, seniors & students

Buy Tickets Online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, Weekends 11 am – 5 pm.


Aug 23

JET alum helps Japan ICU Foundation to hold Tohoku fundraiser event at Japanese Embassy in DC

Junko Hibiya, President of ICU


JET Alum Mark Flanigan (Nagasaki-ken, 2000-04) volunteered for earthquake relief efforts in Ishinomaki following 3/11, as a way to give back to the country he has lived in twice now. As a Rotary Peace Fellow at the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Mark jumped at the opportunity to volunteer in Tohoku after the devastating earthquake struck Japan. He joined a group of international student volunteers, including graduate and undergraduate students of many nationalities, in helping to clean up a small fishing village in Oshika-hanto.  Now a graduate of ICU, Mark continues his efforts for ongoing Tohoku relief as a Program Director with the Japan ICU Foundation in New York City.

On Friday, September 14, the Japan ICU Foundation (JICUF) will hold a special Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction in WashingtonDC. The event will begin at 6:00 pm at the Old Ambassador’s Residence, adjacent to the Embassy of Japan on Massachusetts Avenue. Special guests will include the new (and first-ever female) ICU President Junko Hibiya, Dean of International Affairs Shaun Malarney and Mr. Kakutaro Kitashiro, the Chair of ICU’s board of trustees.

Mark Flanigan (Nagasaki-ken, 2000-04)

This Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction will continue JICUF’s ongoing support for a variety of recovery efforts in the wake of the tragic March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with the proceeds from the evening to go towards supporting ICU’s continuing earthquake relief projects in Tohoku. It follows on JICUF’s March Sake Tasting Fundraiser at the Penn Club in New York City, which raised nearly $10,000 to support these efforts. Since the devastating March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident, JICUF has worked with ICU in Tokyo on key aspects of the ongoing response.

If you would like to attend the fundraiser event on September 14, you can go here for more information:

Members of the JET Alumni community are welcome and encouraged to join! Special discounts are available for Students, Young Professionals and the Media.

To RSVP for this event, please contact the JICUF at

Aug 15

Roy Moneyhun (Mie-ken, 1996-98), founder of Tohoku Forward


JET Alum Cycling for Tohoku

For more information, contact Roy Moneyhun at The web address is The Facebook page is Tohoku Forward.

We all know what happened in northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. The devastation remained front page news for weeks following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Now—more than a year later—news of Tohoku must be actively sought out by anyone wanting to know what is going on up there. Tohoku has been relegated to the back burner of the international news cycle.

As the drama in Tohoku unfolded during the spring months of 2011, the world’s media understandably focused on the devastation, the death toll, and the threat of nuclear radiation escaping the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. A less generally reported catastrophe during the early weeks and months following the disaster was the creation of a new wave of orphans in Tohoku. If this crisis was overlooked during the initial period of the tsunami, it has now become close to invisible. Agencies such as Smile Kids Japan and Living Dreams toil in near-obscurity to address the crisis with little attention and limited funds.

Enter Tohoku Forward, the one-man project of JET alumnus Roy Moneyhun (Mie-ken, 1996-98) of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA. With Tohoku Forward, Moneyhun hopes to reach thousands of potential donors around the world, most of whom can be found in the JET alumni community.

Many orphans of the Tohoku disaster are babies, meaning that they will need support for at least another fifteen to eighteen years. Read More

Aug 7

JETAANC(Northern California)’s Pacific Bridge Spring 2012

The new issue of the official JETAANC magazine, Pacific Bridge, is now available. Read it online here.

In this issue you will:
-Learn about local efforts to support the recovery of the Tohoku region.
-Hear about how new JETs are settling into the Tohoku area.
-Read about recent events in the JETAANC chapter.
And much more!

Pacific Bridge Spring 2012

Aug 7

WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

Last month the NYT offered several interesting articles on Japan’s economic situation, and there are two in particular that I would like to share.  The first discusses how consumers are reevaluating their allegiance to Japanese rice in light cheaper options from places abroad like China, America and Australia.  This foreign rice which used to be largely shunned is now hard to get a hold of.  In addition, one major rice producing region in Japan is Fukushima where last year’s earthquake and tsunami hit.  Farmers there are struggling to Read More

Jul 28

JET Memorial Project: Montgomery Dickson Memorial

Thanks to JETAA USA Country Rep Jennifer Butler for circulating this item from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.


In the fall of 2011, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) announced the launch of the “JET Memorial Project,” to commemorate the two American JET participants, Ms. Taylor Anderson (Ishinomaki City, from Virginia) and Mr. Montgomery Dickson (Rikuzentakata City, from Alaska) who lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake. CGP will support various activities at each of their respective universities for 5 years, with the intent to enhance the younger generation’s further understanding of Japan.

This announcement introduces the first year project activities of the “Montgomery Dickson Memorial Project” at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA)

Montgomery Dickson Memorial Project (Year 1)
UAA has created the Montgomery Dickson Center for Japanese Language and Culture (MDCJLC) in an effort to develop Japanese Language education at UAA and throughout Alaska, as well as to promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan.  UAA will do this through the following projects:

1. Summer Institute: Post-Secondary Japanese Language Education with a Focus on 21st Century Skills (Summer 2012, 4 days)
A seminar-workshop for post-secondary full-time Japanese language instructors to discuss issues relating to student attainment of 21st Century skills.  Subtopics include AP Japanese Language and Culture, Thematic Approach, CBI, and Assessment and how they all relate to 21st Century Skills.

2. Cultural Event: Kimono Lecture and Demonstration (Fall 2012)
A cultural education event for UAA Japanese language students; students and teachers from the Anchorage School District; and Anchorage community members.

3. Montgomery Dickson/Japan Foundation Scholarship (2012 – 2013 academic year)
To provide an opportunity for 5 UAA students to participate the UAA exchange program with Hokkaido University of Education.

4. Visit to Rikuzentakata (Summer 2012, 2 days)
On behalf of UAA, the Director of the MDCJLC, accompanied by Mr. Dickson’s sister, will visit Rikuzentakata and strengthen relationships with the board of education and the community in order to explore future possibilities of cultural exchanges between UAA, Anchorage and Rikuzentakata.

5. Professional Development (2012 – 2013 academic year)

Support for UAA Japanese language faculty members to participate in relevant professional development opportunities throughout the year.

In addition to the above endeavors, the Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institution, Kansai also started a 5-year project called JET-MIP which provides an opportunity for selected U.S. high school students to receive intensive Japanese language training and first-hand cultural experiences during the summer in Japan. Please see the detailshere.

Jul 19

Video Footage Needed for “Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story”

A request from  Regge Life who is working on a documentary about Taylor Anderson.

Producer/Director Regge Life is seeking video footage taken during the earthquake and tsunami for LIVE YOUR DREAM.

He prefers footage that has not been broadcast in the US or Japan and specifically taken in the cities of Ishinomaki, Matsushima, Kesenuma and Rikuzentakata.

All filmmakers will be credited for use of their footage in the final film. Please contact him at

Jul 11

Fukushima group releases the latest “akabeko” tees to support local charities

*********** Via Eyes 4 Fukushima 

For T-Shirt orders (international and w/in Japan), please visit

All procceds will go towards Fukushima charities which are actively promoting rebuilding efforts after the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and power plant disaster.

Latest Akabeko tee

Fukushima JETs recently launched a local initiative – Eyes for Fukushima (E4F). Quick blurb from their website: It aims to promote grass roots internationalization in Fukushima Prefecture with devotion to improving the lives of people affected by the March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster through events and fundraising. Eyes for Fukushima seeks to foster ties between Japanese citizens and JET participants at the person-to-person level.

Read More

Jul 10

Japan Society (NY) Allocates Additional $2.1 Million with 5th Round of Earthquake Relief Grants

Via Shannon Jowett, Director of Communications for Japan Society in New York:  

“With recovery and rebuilding expected to take 10 years or more, Japan Society announced the fifth round of grants from the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, focusing on economic and community revitalization and mental health services. Full details below.”

Japan Society Allocates Additional $2.1 Million with 5th Round of Earthquake Relief Grants

New York, NY – Japan Society announced this week the fifth round of grants from the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (JERF), supporting eight organizations, seven of which are first-time grantees. With additional grants totaling $2,131,000, this latest announcement brings total allocations from the $12.9 million fund to $9.4 million distributed to 27 organizations representing 34 grants that directly serve people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.

“While progress has been made sixteen months after Japan’s triple disasters, the work is far from over,” said Japan Society President, Motoatsu Sakurai upon the announcement.  “As the hard work of recovery and the complex process of rebuilding moves forward, we continue to put emphasis on areas where we see great need and where we think our support can have long-term impact: mental health services and economic and community revitalization projects.”

Sakurai told Reuters in a profile of the Society’s relief work earlier this year that focus should be on local entrepreneurship and lasting sustainable projects. “It is very, very evident in Japan this recovery process will continue for more than 10 years,” he said.


The latest grant recipients are: Read More

Jul 5

Job: Reservations and Sales Associate, Asia Division – Amnet (NYC)

Thanks to JET alum Kathryn Oi (Miyagi-ken, Minamisanriku-shi) who works at Amnet. Kathryn also wrote an essay about her experience in Minamisanriku following the 3/11 earthquake – read here: by Kay Monroe (Miyazaki-shi, 1995 -97).

Position: Reservations and Sales Associate, Asia Division
Posted by: Amnet Travel Agency
Type: Full-time
Location: New York, NY
Start date: NA

If you are interested in travel, have excellent people skills, and like working in a Japanese company environment, definitely consider Amnet New York as a great job opportunity. With an already strong Japanese clientele base, Amnet is looking to expand their name, brand and services to the American market as well as other Asian markets including the Philippines , Singapore and Malaysia . Read More

Jul 2

JETAA Ottawa charity concert aids Smile Kids Japan and the Tohoku Kids Project efforts

*********** Via JETAA Ottawa

By Ala Ji (Kyoto-fu, 2001-02) for the JETAA Ottawa Newsletter.

On May 24, JETAA Ottawa hosted a charity concert featuring two local bands to help raise money for children affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

While Japan recovers gradually a year after the catastrophe, many children are still struggling with the aftermath and trying to regain a sense of stability in their lives. To help them move past the tragedy and build a brighter future, JETAA Ottawa continues to put in its best effort. With a team of dedicated JET alumni and their supporting family and friends, the charity concert helped raise money for Smile Kids Japan and the Tohoku Kids Project.

The concert was held in the picturesque town of Wakefield, surrounded by Gatineau hills and lakes just 30 minutes outside of Ottawa. The Black Sheep Inn, a well-known local hub with open arms to all musicians and music lovers, generously donated this venue free for the concert. When dusk broke, a yellow school bus full of enthusiastic concert-goers pulled up to this live-music joint of an otherwise tranquil town. These guests consisted of JET alumni, friends and family, Embassy of Japan staff, and followers of the talented musicians who volunteered to provide music for the night.

Read More

Jun 26

Here’s a link to the latest issue of CLAIR Forum (Vol. 273), featuring an article on the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Other notable articles include:

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