Dec 7

Mask Up 2020

The Japan Foundation, New York (JF) and The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) has launched “Mask Up 2020,” an original face mask design contest open to all U.S.-residing amateur artists – from children to adults – and participation is free. Winning designs will be printed on masks, winners will receive 25 masks; the rest will be distributed. Winners will be announced during a live event on our YouTube channel. For more details:

Here is a brief outline of the contest:  

  • Deadline: Friday, January 22, 2021 by 6:00pm (EST)  
  • Voting: February 8-17, 2021
  • Winners announced: March 1, 2021  

Dec 4

Submissions Now Open for JETs on Japan Forum

Thanks to USJETAA’s Executive Director and JET alumna, Bahia Simons-Lane (Gunma-ken, 2005-2007) for passing along this fantastic opportunity!

JETs on Japan Forum

Submissions are open for article abstracts for the JETs on Japan Forum. The forum is a new partnership between USJETAA and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (Sasakawa USA). It will feature selected articles of JET alumni perspectives on U.S.-Japan relations and provides a platform for JET alumni to contribute to deeper understanding of U.S.-Japan relations from their fields.

Authors will receive an honorarium of between $250 and $500 (depending on word length, amount of research, etc.) from USJETAA upon the article’s publication.

Submissions are encouraged from mid-to-senior level professionals who are established in the current fields OR current/recent graduate degree students in both masters and doctoral programs. Submissions should provide in-depth commentary or analysis from the JET alumni perspective of political, economic, or diplomatic ties between the United States and Japan. It should highlight the positive impacts of U.S.-Japan relations on both U.S. and Japanese communities.

Interested authors should submit an abstract of up to 300 words on your proposed topic, your bio, and a writing sample to USJETAA via email to, Subject: JETs on Japan. Abstracts will be accepted until February 1, 2021 and articles are published on a rolling basis from now until the end of February. More info at

Dec 4

Japan Insights—The Gardens and Landscape of Tohoku

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

View from the Great Japan Earthquake Memorial Garden, March 2019

Dear Friends,

Have you visited the gardens in Tohoku?

Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives.

The fifth one is on the gardens and landscape of Tohoku by Fran and Jake of KEW.

Please share this expert’s experience!

Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database compiled by leading experts in Japanese studies. The posts present a broad range of historical and contemporary topics that encourage visitors to engage with the real Japan through immersive experiences. Follow the Facebook page and website to learn about and share these insights from around the country!”

#japan #japaneseculture #tohoku

Nov 30

WIT Life #348: Japan’s Joe Biden?

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, Joe Biden has been officially declared the winner in the election. My former home prefecture in Japan has a surprising connection to our next President. Yutaka Umeda is the mayor of a 15,000 person small town in Kumamoto called Yamato. The kanji for his name (梅田穣) can also be read as Jo Baiden, allowing him to capitalize on this coincidence. It remains to be seen if he will have as much success as the city of Obama (小浜市) in Fukui Prefecture, which gained much attention when the former president with this name took office.

Greetings from Yutaka Umeda (aka Jo Baiden), Mayor of Yamato Town in Kumamoto
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Nov 30

JQ Magazine: Book Review — ‘The View from Breast Pocket Mountain’

“Finding one’s home is often an experience. If told correctly, its story can be thrilling. The View from Breast Pocket Mountain will captivate those eager to learn more about gaikokujin who have made a home in Japan.” (Senyume Press)

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

There are gaikokujin whose journey to Japan is quite an adventure. One of them is Karen Hill Anton. She takes readers on a tour of her unconventional life in The View from Breast Pocket Mountain: A Memoir (the mountain is the translated name of the area home of her and her husband’s farmhouse). This is a life that sees her become a columnist for two Japanese newspapers as part of a 45-year (and counting) history with her adoptive country.

Anton’s story starts in New York City, where she grew up in a tenement apartment. The author spends most of the early chapters telling stories of life in the city. Her father often struggled to find work (but did so occasionally as a presser) while her mother was institutionalized. View really takes off when Anton details the period when she traveled outside the United States for the first time. Her adventures took her around Europe (often getting around the Old Continent by sticking her thumb out), where she hung out with a cast of colorful characters, including Swedish painter and textile artist Moki Karlsson, the mother of Swedish music star Neneh Cherry.

The European portion of the book includes more than anecdotes involving interesting figures she met. Anton adroitly captures the vibe of not just a bygone era, but apparently a different planet from the United States—writing that it’s “common sense” in Denmark (where she gave birth to her first child) to put babies outside. You get the sense that she’s completely in tune with her surroundings there as she includes other fascinating tidbits about the Scandinavian country. Through her writing, she comes across as someone who can feel at home almost anywhere.

Read More
Nov 30

United States National Language Teacher of the Year: Elena Kamenetzky (Aichi-ken, 2006-2009)

Congratulations to JET alumna, Elena Kamenetzky for winning the United States National Language Teacher of the Year award! Elena was an ALT at two middle schools in Aichi-ken from 2006-2009. She is currently a Japanese teacher at Eastern High School in Louisville, KY. Read more about Elena’s accomplishment here.

Nov 25

The Global Script Regime: Writing Systems and Writing Technologies in Modern Japan

The Global Script Regime: Writing Systems and Writing Technologies in Modern Japan

Monday November 30, 8PM (EST)YouTube Live

The second lecture in our “Illuminating Japanese Studies” series is coming up! Join us with JF Former Fellow Raja Adal, who will discuss his research on the relationship of writing and technology, by focusing on the Japanese 3,000-character typewriter. Why was this typewriter unpopular in other parts of Asia but such a huge success in Japan? And how have scripts around the world, aided by such technologies, survived into the modern era? Live Q&A moderated by Kay Shimizu, Research Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh, will follow.

We hope that this series will illuminate what exactly Japanese Studies can teach us, not only about Japan but about the world.

Send us your questions through Eventbrite: or in the YouTubeLive chat

Nov 23

JETwit’s JET Alum Movers & Shakers: M.T. White, Hiroshima-ken (2003-2005)

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.

M.T. White, Hiroshima-ken (2003-2005)


More Information:
I was a JET from 2003-2005 in Hiroshima-Ken (on the island of Etajima adjacent to Hiroshima-shi and Kure). Some of that experience was put into my novel CONTENT which is a mixture of Bret Easton Ellis, Michel Houellebecq, and Ryu Murakami…kind of. I’m also a columnist for the online publication PunchRiot. Here is the first issue from PunchRiot, which also contains an excerpt from CONTENT.

Nov 21

Japan Insights—Spectacular Buildings

*********By Makoto Shirai, secretary, Japan-Insights Research Institute (Non-profit organization in Tokyo)

Under the roof of Zuihoden ©Miyagi Prefectural Government

Dear Friends,

Have you visited Sendai, Japan? Let me introduce an essay from Japan-Insights archives. The fourth one is on Sendai’s legacy of Architecture and Art by Dr. Anton Schwizer.

Japan-Insights is a nonprofit open database compiled by leading experts in Japanese studies. The posts present a broad range of historical and contemporary topics that encourage visitors to engage with the real Japan through immersive experiences. Follow the Facebook page and website to learn about and share these insights from around the country!

#japan #japaneseculture #sendai

Nov 17

JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — Home (Media) for the Holidays

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

As fall turns to winter, some spiffed up favorites, holiday hits and new discoveries are coming your way to close out the year.

This season’s highlights include:

VIZ Media

Available Nov. 17

Mermaid Saga Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1

392 pp, $24.99

From Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame inductee Rumiko Takahashi, the legendary creator of Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha! Yuta became immortal when he unwittingly ate mermaid flesh, and now he seeks a way to become human again. Hundreds of years later, he encounters a volatile and determined young lady named Mana while searching for a mermaid. Could this mysterious woman hold the key to saving Yuta’s humanity?

Read More
Nov 17

Job: UNT Program Director in Japan – University of North Texas (Hirakata, Osaka)

Posted by Sydney Sparrow. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email

Position: UNT Program Director in Japan
Posted by:
University of North Texas
Location: Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
Contract: Full-Time

Here’s a JET-relevant job that was passed along to us by a JET alumna. It’s based in Japan, requires a TESOL degree, and housing is provided:

Founded in 1977, the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) at the University of North Texas was one of the first IEPs to receive accreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). In the IELI’s storied 43-year history, thousands of students have achieved English proficiency for degree study at UNT and other universities both in the U.S. and overseas.

Since 2014, IELI has successfully run an intensive English program for our long-term partner institution, Kansai Gaidai University, in Hirakata, Osaka, Japan. The main purpose of the KGUUNT Super IES Program is to prepare KGU students in English skills and academic culture for successful study abroad experiences at U.S. universities.

For academic assignments and duties, the UNT Program Director in Japan (PDJ) position is under the supervision of the Assistant Dean and Director of the IELI with UNT’s International Affairs. The PDJ also works closely with KGU’s Center for International Education to maintain a positive working relationship and to ensure compliance with host university rules and regulations.

Application Process: UNT Program Director in Japan

Nov 16

Job: Warehouse Assistant/non-CDL Driver – Yamato Transport USA (West Valley City, Utah)

Posted by Sydney Sparrow. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email

Position: Warehouse Assistant/non-CDL Driver
Posted by:
Yamato Transport USA
Location: West Valley City, Utah
Contract: Full-Time

Thanks to JET alumni, Javier Sevilla (Wakayama-ken) for passing along the following job opening with his company, which favors those with JET experience:

Job Description

Yamato is an **Essential Business** and is the number one small package door-to-door carrier in Japan. We have a conservative, multi-cultural environment in our West Valley warehouse. A clean and professional appearance is required for representing the company. Yamato takes pride in the logistics industry with our precise dedicated work to strive for perfection in a professional atmosphere.

Being at your best while assisting other team members in the following tasks is very important. We are seeking someone who is good at listening and receiving instructions to continue our vision. Japanese language not required but would be a plus, and multi-cultural appreciation and understanding is appreciated.


  • Assisting team members to fulfill orders before deadline
  • Prepping boxes and product for next day’s shipment
  • Pick up and drop off pallets and/or packages using our 26 ft. box truck or cargo van, within Salt Lake and Utah counties.
  • Load and unload pallets and/or packages at our location and customer’s location.

Read More

Nov 14

Hokkaido milk bread and Wolf Children

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

Our milk bread

Have you ever had Hokkaido milk bread? If you’ve ever watched the Youtuber Emmy Cho, who runs the channel emmymadeinjapan, you might be aware of this Japanese bread. My sister is a fan of Cho, and so we decided to try our hand at baking the bread. Not being a baker myself, I was skeptical about our ability to create anything resembling food, but our bread actually turned out to look and taste delicious. The bread was light, fluffy, and had a sweet taste; it was great in the morning with coffee for a nice breakfast. The baking of the bread proved to be surprisingly easy, as most of the process was spent waiting for the dough to prove and bake. 

Yuki, Hana, and Ame

While we baked the bread, we decided to watch the movie Wolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda. My younger sister Grace considers Wolf Children to be one of the best movies ever made; with a recommendation like that, I knew I had to give it a try. The film is about a young, single mother named Hana, who must raise her two children alone after the death of their father.  The children have inherited from their father the ability to transform into wolves. The boy Ame and the girl Yuki must decide whether they want to live life as humans or wolves. For Hana, she not only has to raise the children without their father, but she must also keep their ability secret so that Ame and Yuki can grow up safely. Most of the film is carried by the incredible animation: a style that is cute but realistic enough to give weight to the characters’ decisions. One scene in the film stands out: Ame and Yuki play in freshly fallen snow, where they transform between their human and lupine forms while enjoying themselves. While the animation is spectacular, I can’t say that I loved the film: the ending of the film stumbles a bit and fails to really give the story of Hana, Ame, and Yuki the send-off it deserves. I still recommend watching Wolf Children, especially to someone who enjoys great animation and heartfelt stories.

Mixing Wolf Children and baking Hokkaido milk bread made for a fun evening. I never expected to bake something delicious while watching a movie about children who can turn into wolves, but I would highly recommend combining baking and anime; you never know what you might get. 

Nov 12

Job: Translation/Interpretation Position – CSI Group (Lexington, KY, USA)

Posted by Sydney Sparrow. Click here to join the JETwit Jobs Google Group and receive job listings even sooner by email

Position: Translation/Interpretation Position
Posted by:
CSI Group
Location: Lexington, KY, USA
Contract: Full-Time

Thanks to JET alum Roy Harrison of the JET alum-owned company CSI for forwarding on another opening for a translator at their company:

A JET-founded company (CSI Group) is searching for candidates for a translation/interpretation position based in Lexington, Kentucky. 

Who You Are
  • Highly experienced Japanese/English interpreter/translator
  • Native Japanese ability
  • Familiar with (or able to learn) machine translation tools (SDL Trados, Systran, etc.)
  • Capable of demonstrating success in team/group workload sharing

Read More

Nov 11

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree was written by JET alumna, Bridget Thomas (Yamaguchi-ken, 1994-1997).

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree is based on a true story and is available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.

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