Oct 12

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘Healing Labor’

Healing Labor reveals that there’s more than meets the eye for those who have spent a night out in a seedy Japanese neighborhood.” (Stanford University Press)

By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagataken, 2008-10; Kochi-ken, 2018-2020) for JQ magazine. A former head of JETAA Philadelphia’s SubChapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a masters degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.

Modern Japan is a huge market for sex.

That statement probably isn’t surprising to those who have spent a night out in certain parts of Tokyo. But this is a reality for people who devote a lot of time to sex work.

Gabriele Koch tackles that statement and more in her examination of Japanese sex workers in Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy. Koch, an assistant professor of anthropology at Yale-NUS College, conducted 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo from 2008 to 2013 (she also gathered information from additional trips to the metropolis in 2016 and 2017). During her fieldwork, the author explored sites connected to the sex industry as well as diverse groups of people involved in it. Koch would seemingly have had plenty of opportunities to do so: according to research she cited in the book, roughly 22,000 legal sex industry businesses are in operation in Japan.  

The information in Healing Labor (a term used to illustrate the view many sex workers have of the reparative aspects of their care since it’s ostensibly vital to any success in the male-gendered economy) is largely qualitative, so Koch doesn’t heavily rely on statistics. But she does use numbers to illustrate the risks for sex workers at Tokyo deriheru (an escort business in which a sex worker is sent to a hotel, rental room or private residence): mainly, in that instance, the relatively low condom use by male patrons.

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Oct 12

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: John McGee, Nagano and Kyoto (2004-2005, 2018-2019)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

John McGee, Nagano and Kyoto (2004-2005, 2018-2019)

Accomplishment:
Environmental Team connects you to nature through guided adventures, workshops, and speaking engagements.

More Information:
John is one of the rare two-time JET participants. In the gap, he created and managed Tampa Natsumatsuri and won the Foreign Minister’s Accomodation from Japan. Now he has started Environmental Team. His 20 year (and growing) career in Environmental Science and his intercultural experience allow him to draw from both cultures’ wildreness traditions and offer truly unique experiences in the US and Japan.

Public Information:
Email: Info@eteamsvc.com
Website: EteamSVC.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/eteamoutdoors
Instagram: Instagram.com/eteamsvc


Oct 5

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Austin Gilkeson, Nagasaki-ken (2004-2006)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Austin Gilkeson, Nagasaki-ken (2004-2006)

Accomplishment:
A writer of humorous, personal, and critical essays published in “Foreign Policy,” “Tin House,” “McSweeney’s,” “Catapult,” “The Toast,” and other venues.

More Information:
After two years as an ALT on the island of Tsushima, Austin returned to Chicago and began working as the JET Program & MEXT Scholarships Coordinator at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago. In his free time, he writes essays and articles, most of which are either about, or in some way inspired by, his time as a JET. He currently lives with his wife and son just outside Chicago. Recently, he wrote about the video game “Ghost of Tsushima” and how it differs from the real island for “Foreign Policy” magazine (https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/20/the-half-real-world-of-ghost-of-tsushima/), and his chapter “On Tsushima” appears in Camphor Press’ anthology “Inaka: Portraits of Life in Rural Japan” (https://camphorpress.com/books/inaka-portraits-life-rural-japan/).

Public Information:
Website: https://austinhgilkeson.wordpress.com/publications/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/osutein


Oct 2

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

Isla and Tsukasa

While checking JETwit recently, I noticed a post announcing a virtual roundtable asking: “why do we study anime and manga?” I was taken aback at first. I asked myself: “do people study anime and manga academically?” During my time in undergrad, I never heard of anyone studying anything other than the classics and a few select animated works: Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi come to mind. My interest was piqued. I decided to sign up for the event; it started a mental journey.

The event was hosted by the Japan Foundation. The panelists were Dr. Christopher Bolton, Dr. Wendy Goldberg, Dr. N.C. Christopher Couch, and Dr. Frenchy Lunning. All of the panelists started the discussion by establishing their love of anime and manga while also speaking about their experiences either teaching or working in the industry. The experts explained that they arrived at manga and anime after exploring things like science fiction and American comics. The panel then considered the main question: “why study anime and manga?” This question necessitated a larger discussion on studying pop culture and mass media and the panelists found that the content of pop culture is a reflection of society at large: mass media has messages and the consumers of media are receiving those messages. Dr. Goldberg brought up the fact that the U.S. Army uses video games to recruit young people and Dr. Couch added that art is always created in social and economic conditions that are relevant to both the artist and viewer. After hearing the experts talk about how media is never simply media, I started to ask myself, “why do I enjoy certain anime and manga, and what are those things saying to me and about me?” Those questions are truly difficult to answer and yet fascinating to think about. Come with me on my mental journey, exploring an anime I recently watched and enjoyed.

Plastic Memories by Noataka Hayashi and Yoshiyuki Fujiwara is an anime that came out in 2015.  The plot put simply, with spoilers: boy meets girl, girl is an android, girl has an expiration date, tragic love ensues.  Set in the future, the protagonist Tsukasa joins Terminal Service One, which collects androids, called “giftias,” at the end of their lifespans. Tsukasa’s partner is the giftia Isla, who is nearing her expiration date . Plastic Memories lets you know upfront that there is no way to avoid the expiration of a giftia, all the while making you root for Tsukasa and Isla’s union. The power of the story is that you watch in both elation at the romance between the duo while dreading the fact that Isla’s time is only days, then hours, then minutes, then seconds away from being up.

So what is this story saying about the love between the two characters? Their love was worth it, even if it was only days long. What does my enjoyment of this anime say about me, and everyone else who shares that enjoyment? Even though I knew Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship was doomed, I believed that they should love each other and face the consequences rather than stay shut off from each other. I think this belief translates to real-world situations: it is better to try and experience than to play it safe. We all ascribe to this belief, in one form or another; otherwise, no one would get married or start a business, etc.

Alfred Tennyson wrote, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” and while that sounds cliche, the creators of Plastic Memories took that idea and created an anime based on it. When I finished Plastic Memories, I couldn’t articulate why it was so powerful and why it resonated with me so much. I knew the outcome and yet I watched it anyway. I knew that Tsukasa was destined for heartbreak and Isla was going to die; yet I cheered on as they decided to be together, if only for a moment. Would I have ever thought this deeply about Plastic Memories without watching the aforementioned panel? Probably not, but going forward I will try to probe my mind immediately after consuming future anime and manga. I hope you do too; it’s much more fun that way.

For those that missed it, here is the link to the panel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBO1BHyjyQ0


Sep 29

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Gil Cardon, Hiroshima-ken (2001-2004)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Gil Cardon, Hiroshima-ken (2001-2004)

Accomplishment:
After completing his 3-year adventure with the JET Programme, Gil moved on to live and work in New York City to further explore new opportunities. Building upon his experience in sales, management, and understanding of Japanese culture, he secured a job with the North American headquarters of NTT DOCOMO. Long story short, he learned a lot in a short amount of time, and decided to leave DOCOMO to launch his own business consulting company – RIFFSLINGER.

Soon after the launch, Gil received an invitation to do contract work for the Japan National Tourism Organization, Convention Bureau division. He served as the primary contact for promoting Japan as a premier conventions destination to the North American market.

Gil went on to work on other government contract work, including conducting the research project which established the vehicle license plate commemoration program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Several months after accomplishing the major milestone of producing two live music shows for the CBGB Music & Film Festival in New York, Gil moved to Portland, Oregon to explore new opportunities once again. While in Portland he expanded his repertoire further by doing contract work for nonprofit organizations. He became involved with a local community radio station – KBOO FM – as an event producer, board director, and briefly as station manager.

Gil decided to return to his hometown in California in 2018, where he relaunched operations to serve entrepreneurs and nonprofits in the Central Valley region. With the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, he has been at the forefront of providing specialized support to small businesses and community organizations, and RIFFSLINGER consulting agency was able to mark its 10-year anniversary in May.

More Information:
If you are interested in starting your own business, or expanding/redeveloping your current business operations, please reach out to Gil for more information.

Public Contact Information:
Website: https://www.riffslinger.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gilcardon
Additional Links: https://linktr.ee/riffslinger


Sep 25

WIT Life #346: 「OO活」・「OOハラ」

Professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Since I last wrote, Japan has ushered in new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. He served as Chief Cabinet Secretary under PM Abe for a decade (and also served as Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications for a year in his previous administration ). Best of luck to the first new PM of the Reiwa Era!

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Sep 21

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Zaynab Nakhid, Kumamoto (4 years)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Zaynab Nakhid, Kumamoto (4 years)

Accomplishment:
Participation in The Embassy of Japan T&T’s Japanese Speech Contest.

More Information:
(The photo is unrelated to the event since there are no pictures from the online event). This year the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago held their 3rd annual Japanese Speech Contest. There were three categories: Beginners, Intermediate and Special- for former residents of Japan. Zay competed in the Special Category of the contest to motivate her former students to continue to enter the English Speech and Recitation contests at school. She won and hopes that this will inspire her students to keep working hard despite how nervous and embarrassed they might feel.

Public Contact Information:
N/A


Sep 17

Roundtable: Why Do We Study Anime and Manga?

The Japan Foundation, New York is launching a monthly online series delving into Japanese pop culture from academic and professional perspectives!

With the help of professors and creators all over the world, we will discuss various topics from anime, manga, video games, fashion, J-pop, and more. We hope that this series will be one of the platforms for you to learn more about what you love!

Join our first session with four of the leading experts who were instrumental in popularizing Anime and Manga Studies in U.S. academia. Come be a part of the panel discussion with Christopher BoltonWendy GoldbergN.C. Christopher Couch and Frenchy Lunning, as they discuss the deep and fascinating world of studying anime and manga. We will hear how their love of anime and manga led them down the path to advanced study.

The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. If you have any questions about anime, manga, or a related field of study prior to the event, please feel free to post it on the Eventbrite page when you register. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the live Q&A session.

This is a free event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email. Please register for the event here.


Sep 14

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Brian Watson, Saitama-ken, 1988 to 1991 (and 1991 to 1994 at CLAIR)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Brian Watson, Saitama-ken, 1988 to 1991 (and 1991 to 1994 at CLAIR)

Accomplishment:
Brian has spent the last 20 years pursuing a passion, originally nursed during his years in Japan, for photography. Specifically for macro floral photography. When you stop to look at flowers you see whole universes of beauty and complexity. As one of the photographers celebrating the wonders of public and private gardens in the Puget Sound area (at pugetsoundgardens.org/popup), his work is also available at his own website now, studiomomo.com.

More Information:
Brian is also forever indebted to his years in Japan because while there, he met the amazing man who became his husband. They will celebrate 27 years since their first date in Asakusa this November.

Public Contact Information:
Website:studiomomo.com
Email:brian.watson@gmail.com


Sep 13

Posted by Tom Baker

Warren Decker and Michael Frazier are two JET poets living in Japan who will each be hosting a workshop at the Oct. 10-11 Japan Writers Conference. This year’s conference is being held online, so you don’t need to be in Japan to attend. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Official descriptions of the workshops appear below.

Warren Decker

Pterodactylic Pentagrameter: Working with Rhyme and Meter

Craft Workshop

Poetry

In this workshop we will focus on poetry that incorporates rhyme and meter. As a participant, please bring 2-10 lines of rhymed and metered poetry for us to discuss. Please also be ready to share your unique techniques for finding the right meter and rhymes for your poetic lines.

Paradoxically, the confines of rhyme and meter can often serve to open unexpected creative doors. One who sets out to write about “fractals” may find “pterodactyls” swooping into their poem. Maintaining a regular pattern of stressed and unstressed beats might lead a poet—after many hours at the keyboard—feeling as though a supernatural rhythmic force is guiding them to choose the perfect words and in the perfect order. 

In this workshop, while looking at specific examples of rhyme and meter as exhibited in the participants’ samples, we will collectively attempt to recall the wonderful technical terminology describing syllabic meter (for example: “iambic pentameter,” and “dactylic tetrameter”), but also consider looser and more intuitive accentual poetic rhythms. 

Furthermore, we will discuss the incredible variation contained within the seemingly simple concept of “rhyme,” focusing on concrete examples to understand how and why certain rhymes work.

Warren Decker has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, NOON, The Font, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Acorn, The New Ohio Review, THINK, Sou’wester, Fifth Wednesday, and several other online and print journals. He also performs his poetry online and in front of live audiences in Osaka.

Michael Frazier
I AM MY FAMILY (a persona workshop)
Craft Workshop
Poetry

This is a poetry workshop (open to writers of all genres) who are interested in writing about and through their family. We will use the persona form—writing in the voice of family members—to interrogate ourselves. Some poets we’ll look at include Natalie Diaz, Paul Tran, and Julian Randall.

No one can move forward without looking back at where they’ve come from. This is the principle that guides this workshop. Persona poetry is poetry in the voice of someone, or thing, other than ourselves: shiba inu, wild iris, Sailor Moon, Kanye West, or even your bed. We will use the persona to focus on and interrogate our own families and make meaning out of the relationships that have formed us. In order to embody the voices of our family (biological or chosen) we must practice radical empathy. While a persona is in the voice of someone else, my hope is that in the poems we will write, we will turn inwards and learn something new about ourselves. We will look at writers who wield the persona and voices of their family with urgency like Paul Tran, Yalie Kamara, Hiwot Adilow, K-Ming Chang, Natalie Diaz, and Eduardo C. Corral.

Michael Frazier is a poet in Kanazawa. He graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 poet commencement speaker & co-champion of CUPSI. He’s performed at venues including Nuyorican Poets Café & Lincoln Center. On staff at The Adroit Journal, his poems appear in COUNTERCLOCK, Construction, Visible Poetry Project, among others.


Sep 9

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

My family: John, Laurie, Gennie, myself, and Grace.

I remember sitting in the living room with my older sister, Gennie, excitedly waiting for our father to come home. He had mentioned that he would be stopping by blockbuster to get us a Disney movie: stories like Toy Story, Mulan, and The Lion King were among our favorites and we hoped he would bring us something similar. When he arrived, he presented a VHS tape of Kiki’s Delivery Service from Studio Ghibli. I recall being annoyed and questioned why he hadn’t brought us something Mickey Mouse. The cover of the VHS box depicted the titular Kiki on a broom and her feline companion, Jiji, by her side. “Just a girl and a cat?” I thought to myself. Even as I protested, my father assured me that I would like it and he played the tape. As my sister and I watched, my earlier frustration melted to elation as the story of Kiki becoming a witch and moving out on her own was filled with intensity and comedy. Our favorite was the snarky Jiji; we loved him so much that we even adopted a black cat and named it after the character. After finishing the film, I ran to my parents who were preparing dinner in the other room, and demanded that they rewind the tape and play it again. On our second viewing, my parents joined us and realized that Kiki’s story transcended age; they were surprised at the quality of the story and the emotion that they felt for its characters. We began to watch every Studio Ghibli movie we could get our hands on: Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, and our favorite My Neighbor Totoro stick out in my mind as the most impactful.  As much as I loved Studio Ghibli, age slowly eroded my interest in the studio and I spent more time playing video games and eventually working when reaching high school.

When I was nearing graduation, my younger sister Grace, seven years my junior, expressed her passion for a show titled Attack on Titan. She explained how it was one of the best bits of media ever created and that it was what sparked her love for anime. She often emulated Gennie and I and watched the Studio Ghibli movies herself, albeit years after we had lostinterest. I remember brushing her off; “I don’t like anime. That stuff is weird. Only the weird kids at school like anime.” My past love for Studio Ghibli was buried too deep under my teenage angst to convince me that I should give anime a chance. I snubbed her and later left for university.

Three years into undergrad, I found an internship in D.C. and lived with three other college kids who found similar opportunities. After about a week in, everyone was getting comfortable and Ty, one of my roommates, turned to me and said, “have you ever seen the show Attack on Titan?”I was perplexed: a seemingly “normal guy” was asking me about anime. I responded saying that I’ve heard of it but I haven’t seen it. Ty insisted that we watch it and we finished all three seasons in a matter of days. I called Grace and told her how wrong I was about the show and anime; I felt foolish for writing off an entire genre, one that I had previous affection for, and being an all-around jerk. Watching Japanese animation has become a pastime in our household, and while anime is certainly cool, its real value is that it allows me a chance to become closer to my sisters and my parents. Grace is an artist and she regularly draws the characters we watch every week in her sketchpad; she just recently opened an Etsy shop to share her renditions of anime characters with other fans in the community. Gennie and I recently exposed our dad to Attack on Titan and even our animation-averse mother who teared-up watching Your Name. None of that would have happened without watching a movie about a young witch in a purple dress who moves to the big city with her snippety cat.

A drawing of Kiki and Jiji by my sister, Grace

Sep 8

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: Joe Palermo, Gunma-ken, 1982-1983 (2 years)

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Joe Palermo, Gunma-ken, 1982-1983 (2 years)

Accomplishment:
Joe Palermo has published a book called “No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners! My Life in Japan in the 80s”. He originally went to Japan as a Mombusho English Fellow (Pre-JET) and lived in Numata City, Gunma for two years, followed by three years in Sakado, Saitama and three years in Narimasu, Tokyo. This book spans across his eight year stay and contains stories which are often humorous, though more serious topics are also featured.

More Information:
After his two year role as an MEF, Joe joined a Japanese company in their export department for three years. Following this, he joined the Nielsen company as a local hire, which turned into a career of 25 years where he worked in several senior global roles (VP, Marketing, VP, Sales, etc.). He capped his career with a seven year stint at Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) in Chicago, where he established several global services. He is now semi-retired and living in the Chicagoland area.

Public Contact Information:
E-mail: jpb4999@sbcglobal.net
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephmpalermo/


Sep 6

Japan Writers Conference: Todd Jay Leonard discusses the EFL textbook market

Posted by Tom Baker

Textbook author Todd Jay is one of the JET alumni writers who will be giving presentations at the 2020 Japan Writers Conference. Due to the coronavirus, this year’s event is being held online, so you can Zoom in from wherever you are. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Here’s the official description of his presentation:

Todd Jay Leonard
Publishing in the EFL Market in Japan: Four Perspectives on How to Make your Proposal Count
Short lecture with Q & A
Career

This presentation will outline the current publishing market in Japan for EFL/ESL textbooks by reviewing the various points of views of the publishing industry. The presenter has published extensively within the ESL/EFL market in Japan and will offer helpful advice to budding authors who wish to pursue projects geared to Japan’s domestic market.

Most likely, every language teacher in Japan has (at some point during his/her tenure) contemplated writing a textbook to fill a void in the market…in that constant search for the perfect, all encompassing textbook.

In today’s competitive publishing world, getting the proverbial “foot in the door” can seem daunting and nearly impossible. What are publishers looking for in the current market? What appeals to editors who ultimately decide which titles go to production and which ones do not? What are the salespeople on the front lines hearing from their market base? What must an author do in order to get his/her book published?

This presentation focuses on these very questions, offering inside insights from all the various points of view that must be considered when writing a proposal to publish a textbook–the publisher, the editor, the salesperson, and the author. Professor Leonard explains the realities within the publishing industry and addresses some common myths associated with EFL publishing.

Todd Jay Leonard has been actively involved in book publishing for thirty years. He is the author of 22 books. He has published books with a number of different Japanese publishing companies. He lives, writes, and teaches on the southern island of Kyushu, where he is a university professor at University of Teacher Education Fukuoka. He has also published extensively in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers on cross-cultural, historical, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) themes.


Sep 6

Japan Writers Conference: Suzanne Kamata speaks on writing about characters with disabilities

Posted by Tom Baker

Prolific author Suzanne Kamata is one of several JET alumni writers who will be giving presentations at the 2020 Japan Writers Conference. Due to the coronavirus, this year’s event is being held online, so you can Zoom in from wherever you are. For details, see http://japanwritersconference.org. Here’s the official description of Suzanne’s presentation:

Suzanne Kamata
Wheelchair User or Wheelchair-bound?: Writing About Disability
Short Lecture with Q&A
Fiction, Nonfiction

In this session, I will discuss positive and problematic representations of persons with disabilities in literature, including my own work, with a view to developing better awareness.

With the approach of the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics (hopefully), people with disabilities in Japan have been given more attention than perhaps ever before. English textbooks for Japanese children now frequently include stories about or representations of people with disabilities. Worldwide, initiatives such as #weneeddiversebooks and the call for #ownvoices have led to an increase of  books featuring characters with disabilities. That said, some of these representations, and the way that they are discussed remain problematic. When do stories about disability become “inspiration porn”? What kind of language should we use when discussing disability? Who has the right to tell these stories? In this session, I will address these questions, using examples from recently published Japanese textbooks and literature featuring children in Japan and other countries, including my own work.

Suzanne Kamata is the award-winning author or editor of twelve published books including Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs (Beacon Press, 2008), Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013), A Girls’ Guide to the Islands (Gemma Open Door, 2017), Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2019), and Indigo Girl (GemmaMedia, 2019). She is an Associate Professor at Naruto University of Education.


Sep 1

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JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers is produced by Ryan Hata (Tottori-ken, 2014-2017), Margie Banin (Kochi-ken, 2005-2007), and Jim Walsh (Fukushima-ken, 2018-2020). Want to be featured next? Submit your information here.

Jessica Brown, Oita-ken, 2000-2003

Accomplishment:
After returning to the UK from Japan in 2005 Jess made a promise to herself to maintain, if not improve, her intermediate Japanese language ability. Once settled in Scotland, she attended multiple Japanese courses and one-off lessons in search of what she had experienced when living in Japan. She craved immersion. Unable to find what she was looking for, Jess set up the Japanese language environment that she missed, an immersive Japanese conversation community. Nihongo Connection, started in 2014, now boasts 6 online conversation clubs per week with Japanese speakers based around the world. Jess also runs regular online courses to take Japanese language beginners from listening to chatting with other Japanese speakers in weeks.

More Information:
Just because you can’t find what you are looking for doesn’t mean it will never exist! If you want something badly enough you can create it yourself! What have you always wanted to do but you have been putting off? What has been stopping you? What can you do today to make a start to make it happen for you?

Public Contact Information:
Website: www.NihongoConnection.com
Email: Jess@jessicaBrowns.com
Nihongo Connection on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter


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