Sep 6

Time to Vote! Chicago JETAA “Daily Life in Japan” Photo Contest 2012

Chicago JETAA “Daily Life in Japan” Photo Contest 2012


Pick your favorite photos, one from each of the six categories. A big thanks to all our participants so far who have submitted photos! ELIGIBILITY: Anyone with a valid email address is welcome to cast a vote. JETs and non-JETs alike are encouraged to participate. One voting session per person is allowed. Voting ends Sept 19th!!

Jul 28

Note:  While this is a JETAA Chicago photo contest, they welcome submissions from everyone.

Join the Chicago Chapter of JETAA in celebrating our 30-year anniversary of cultural exchange with the country of Japan. Daily Life in Japan is a one-night only exhibition that will feature a wide array of photography from those who have experienced Japan and are invested in rebuilding it.

Hobby to professional photographers are invited to submit their digital photos. You can submit up to one photo per category. You can find instructions to submit photos

Juried by a panel of two community leaders and by you in an online vote, this exhibition highlights the essence of Japanese life with an emphasis on culture, education, and community outreach.

You’re invited to the opening reception to view the winning photographs on Saturday, October 6, 2012, 6-9pm at Studio 24 hosted by Chicago’s Brian Sorg.

All proceeds from the exhibition and reception will go to the Soma City Tsunami Orphan fund.

Aug 28  Deadline for submission
Sept 19  Online voting ends
Sept 20  Winners notified
Oct 6  Opening reception, 6-9pm


1. Best 80s/90s
2. Best nature scene
3. Best cityscape
4. Community engagement
5. Historic traditions
6. Did that really just happen?

For more information, email Shannon Copp at

Oct 27

JET alum collaborates on documentary about photographers of Tohoku Disaster


Here’s a unique and compelling short documentary–an academic non-profit venture–by JET alum Janak Bhimani (who has been studying at the Keio Graduate School of Media Design after hosting an online Japanese TV show in New York a few years ago) made with some of his Keio classmates. The film is about Tohoku post 3.11 from the point of view of the people who took photographs and was shown at a special session of the 2011 Tokyo International Film Festival.  It was originally shown in 4K (which was part of Janak’s research).

Here’s the link:


lenses + landscapes from KMD 4KNarrative on Vimeo.


Janak says feel free to share with others as they’d like to get it shown in more places in Japan and elsewhere.

Jul 24

JETs volunteer in Ishinomaki with British Chamber of Commerce in Japan effort

Thanks to Andy Anderson (father of Taylor Anderson) for sharing a link to the photos (below) of JETs and others volunteering with the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s (BCCJ) efforts in Ishinomaki, where Taylor served as a JET.

Photos aren’t tagged, but two of the JETs pictured are Jane Suh and Kat Sheu in photos 69, 70 and 72.  Also apparently the people in photo #40 are JETs.

Here’s text accompanying the photos from the BCCJ:

“From July 15-18 we travelled back to Ishinomaki, this time to support Peaceboat’s recovery activities as well as follow up with key contacts we met in June. We also had the opportunity to meet a politician from Miyagi Prefecture and the Japanese Ambassador to the USA.”

“Standing as a complement to larger relief and recovery organisations, the BCCJ will continue to work with the people of Tohoku to build an ever-expanding open network of supporters that will allow us to boost the rejuvenation of north eastern Japan.”

Jun 24

Posted by Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91), coauthor of The Sushi Lover’s Cookbook and Tokyo Chic and contributor to Time Out Tokyo and Time Out Shortlist Tokyo. He blogs as “Tokyo Tom Baker.”

“Setsuden,” or conserving electricity, has become a huge buzzword in Japan as the weather heats up and many nuclear power plants remain shut down. Many businesses have put up signs explaining their own setsuden activities and asking the public to join in.

Recently I have been been photographing setsuden signs around the Tokyo area for my blog.

Some of the signs are very simple and functional, like the message seen here on a closed escalator at a train station, which simply says, “Setsuden-chuu.”

Others are clever pieces of writing and/or graphic design.

I have a gallery of signs here, as well as explanations of my picks for the best-designed sign here and the best slogan here.

May 16

Earthquake Support Event: WE ARE HERE – Little voice and art 311 Japan (NYC)

Posted at the request of CLAIR New York:

WE ARE HERE – Little voice and art 311 JAPAN is an exhibition of messages from Japanese children of areas affected by the disaster as well as photos of the area.  The exhibition is being held at the AIGA Gallery in New York on 22nd St and 5th Avenue in Manhattan from today through May 20.  They are also collecting messages from visitors to those children.

Read More

Apr 4

Has your JETAA chapter had its hanami gathering yet?  If so, please send a couple photos (or link to photos) to Gail Meadows at gail [at] so we can start sharing some of them with the alumni community on JETwit.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Mar 24

Tokyo JET alum photojournalist seeks contact with displaced Tohoku JETs

Thanks to Ed Snook of JETAA Tokyo for sharing this information:

JETAA Tokyo member Wes Cheek is planning on visiting the Tohoku region beginning Friday for a photojournalism assignment. He has expressed an interest in trying to get in touch with JETs who may have been displaced by the recent earthquake/tsunami.  Additionally, Wes welcomes contact from any family or friends of JETs in Tohoku who would like him to try and get in touch with JETs.

  • To contact Wes, you can e-mail Ed Snook at career [at]
  • For updates on Wes and more information about his trip, go to Wes’ blog where you can find details and updates about his trip.

Jun 26

Samurai in New York Exhibition Opens in NYC

 By JQ Magazine’s Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Visit his NY Japanese Culture page here to subscribe for free alerts on newly published stories. 

The year 2010 is an auspicious one for New York and Japan. Fifty years ago, Gotham became Tokyo’s first sister city, and 150 years ago this month, a samurai envoy paraded down Broadway after clinching diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Nippon.

To celebrate that distinguished day, tributary events here in New York have included the annual Japan Day @ Central Park on June 6 which recreated the original samurai procession, a special lighting of the Empire State Building on June 16 to commemorate the actual anniversary date, and now, the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition Samurai in New York: The First Japanese Delegation, 1860, on view from June 25 through October 11, with a special gallery tour on Saturday, June 26 hosted by project director Kathleen Benson, Yuko Suzuki of the Consulate General of Japan and Eric Campbell of the consulate’s Japan Information Center.

Read the rest of the article here.

Feb 26

Submit your “Shin” photos for the JETAA Toronto Photo Exhibit – March 6

The JETAA Toronto photo exhibit, entitled ‘shin‘ for the Japanese symbol for “new,” is our way of marking the start of a decade.

What symbolizes shin?

Perhaps it’s a picture that sums up the way everything felt new to you in Japan when you first arrived. A festival, a ritual, a small cultural difference. Or perhaps it’s a Japan-inspired photo taken back home in Canada that shows the old in a new light.

Selected works will be exhibited March 6 at the Gladstone Art Bar, where we will also have a deejay spinning tracks throughout the night.

Come join us as we celebrate the memories of our time in Japan and enjoy the good music. Drinks will be available on site.    

Date: Saturday March 6, 2010 
Shin Photo Exhibit: Japan-inspired works by former JET’s
Gladstone Art Bar, 1214 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON, Canada  See map
Website:  Toronto JETAA Homepage
7 p.m. until the bar’s closing time  Cost: $5 entrance fee

Nov 17

New JET alum book: “People of the 21st Century: A Portrait of Japanese Society” by Taylor Chapman


Thanks to a post on the JETAA Texoma (Chapter 9) yahoogroup, just found out about JET alum Taylor Chapman, a professional photographer who has a new book out titled People of the 21st Century:  A Portrait of Japanese Society.  Additionally, Taylor has a book signing coming up in Houston, TX.  (Details below.)  Meanwhile, if you know of any other JET alums out there with published books, by all means let JetWit know and we’ll post about it here to let everyone know.

Here’s the info from JETAA Texoma:

Hi All,

I am excited to let you know about a book signing by photographer and JET alumnus Taylor Chapman that will take place at the River Oaks Bookstore on Friday, November 27 from 5pm-7pm. Taylor would love to have folks stop by to say hello, even if you haven’t bought his book.

Taylor Chapman spent the last two years living in Kumamoto, Japan with the JET Program, teaching English at a local high school. As his Japanese proficiency grew, he became increasingly fascinated by Japan’s distinctive culture, and decided to embark on a unique photographic project to document Japanese society.

Having pursued photography for ten years now, including extensive study at Yale University, Chapman developed a specific methodology, adapted from a 1930’s German photographer’ s approach. He classified all members of Japanese society by their occupations and societal roles, and set out to create a portrait of Japanese society as a whole by photographing as many of its component parts–in other words, these individuals- – as possible in their natural environments.

In his last six months in Japan, Chapman went out shooting almost every single day, ending up with an archive of thousands of pictures spanning hundreds of individuals and social roles. Included are bakers and butchers, salarymen and snack bar girls, farmers and fishermen, teachers and students.

In July, he held an exhibition of his work in Japan; this Thanksgiving, he’ll be having a book release/signing party at the River Oaks Bookstore in Houston (across the street from Lamar High School, next to Baskin Robbins). Please come! There will be wine and hors d’oeuvres from 5 to 7.

The book (there are mini and deluxe editions available in-store and online: makes a great Christmas present.  But please feel free to just drop by, say hi, and have a glass of wine– the author is happy just to share his work and his love of Japan, and there’s no need to buy anything.

If you’d like to get a feel for the work in the book, here are some of the images posted online:

Finally, for any comments or questions, feel free to contact the author at taylor.c.chapman [/at/] gmail [/dot/] com.

Nov 16

Photos: JET alum Aaron Woolfolk’s 5-week Japan promotional tour for “The Harimaya Bridge”

HarimayaPressConfJET alum Aaron Woolfolks film The Harimaya Bridge, starring starring Ben Guillory, Saki Takaoka, Misa Shimizu, and Danny Glover, is making its New York debut on Sunday December 6 (with Q&A and cocktail reception to follow) and Sunday December 13 as part of the African Diaspora Film Festival.  (See the JetWit post about the upcoming event here for details and ticket info.)

The film had a nationwide theatrical release in Japan beginning in June, and Aaron was involved in a five-week promotional tour in Japan for the film.  What is it like for a former JET to go on a five-week promotional tour in Japan?  Well, Aaron captured much of it in photographs available on Facebook along with informative and entertaining captions.  (FYI, you don’t need to have an account to view the pictures.)

Here’s the link:

And here’s Aaron’s intro commentary on the photos along with a couple samples of what you’ll see:

Five weeks in Japan in May and June of 2009, traveling all around the country doing promotion in the run-up to the June 13th nationwide opening of “The Harimaya Bridge.” Most days were spent doing loads of media interviews and promotional appearances. This here is just a small sampling, as I wasn’t able to come anywhere close to capturing everything with a camera. It was hectic and exhausting…but talking to the media and connecting with audiences only reaffirmed my desire to live my life telling stories via film, television and theater. :-)




Sep 19

JETAA New York Softball Tournament – PHOTOS!

JET alum Francis Lee took a whole bunch of great photos from the JETAA NY Softball Tournament, held last Saturday, September 12.  The winners in the two divisions were Kintetsu and Docomo.  (Though JETAA NY was one error away from holding the lead in that game! :-)  Special thanks to JETAA NY Vice-Prez Monica Yuki for organizing, to Liz Wanic for captaining the JETAA NY squad and cheering with extreme genki-ness, to Ito-en for once again providing cold, yummy tea drinks, and to all the teams for coming out, having fun and keeping the tradition alive!

Teams (in no particular order):

  1. JETAA New York
  2. Japan Local Government Center (JLGC) + Consulate General of Japan in New York (i.e., the parent organizations of JETAA)
  3. Columbia’s Center on Japanese Economy & Business (ably managed by Jennifer Olayon)
  4. Kintetsu
  5. Mitsubishi (featuring Zack Ferguson)
  6. Docomo
  8. TV Japan (starring Scott & Keiko Hiniker :-)

Dozo shyashin wo mite kudasai!


Jul 12

JETAA DC: Japan Through Our Eyes: Photographs by JET Program Participants

jetaadcVia JETAA DC:

Greetings JETAA DC members!

We are proud to announce plans to hold a JETAA photo exhibit entitled, “Japan Through Our Eyes: Photographs by JET Program Participants,” which will be held at the Embassy of Japan’s Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC) this December. This exhibit will highlight the works of current and former participants as a way to celebrate Japan and give JET Program participants an outlet for sharing their favorite memories of their time on the JET Program.

The objective of “Japan Through Our Eyes: Photographs by JET Program Participants” is to educate the public about Japan via the eyes of current and former JET participants.

To make this possible, we need YOUR photo submissions! We are now accepting photographs taken in Japan. Full submission guidelines are listed below. Make sure to send your photos by September 12th in order to be considered!

This exhibit is coordinated by JETAA DC, JICC, the JET Program office at the Embassy of Japan, and the Center for Professional Exchange (CEPEX).

I’m very excited that we’ve been given the opportunity to exhibit our photography at the Embassy of Japan.  Let’s show the DC area our images from Japan!  I look forward to seeing everyone’s submissions.

With best wishes,

Heather McDonald
Ad Hoc Chair
jetaadc_photos [at]


NOTE 1: Please limit your submission to no more than 3 photos.

NOTE 2: By entering your submission you are deemed to have accepted Terms and Conditions provided in the Group Rules, below. Read More

May 17

Photos from JET alum David Flynn

davidflynn1David Flynn (Osaka, 1987-88) has shared links to three galleries of photos taken in Japan.

A little context:  David was one of the winners of the 2007 JETAA Kintestu Essay Contest and went on the free trip to Japan in December 2007 along with the other contest winners.  What made David’s perspective somewhat unique was that he was not only the only winner from the first year of the JET Program, but at the time of his trip his daughter was also a JET!

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