Jul 1

A Night Out with Fukuoka IT

Professional translator Joel Dechant (CIR Kagoshima-ken, 2001-04) is now guest blogging for Fukuoka Now


In my search for a local freelancer community, a friend of mine introduced me to a group called Fukuoka IT.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am no codejammer, but I am interested in web tools and IT as they relate to the field of translation. Not to mention, I am always game for meeting new people, so I got in touch with Mark Cowan, a self-confessed Java lover and the fearless leader of Fukuoka IT.

Mark, a native Canadian and long-time Fukuoka resident, started the Fukuoka IT Google group 2 years ago as a way for foreign IT specialists in the Fukuoka area to get together and  share ideas. In the beginning meetings were often comprised of Mark and one or two other brave souls, but he persisted. Membership grew by word of mouth and eventually the group decided to expand its network by inviting Japanese techies into the fray. With mailing list membership now at 50, the Fukuoka IT group saw a record 18 members turn up for June’s meeting held at the Chuo Civic Center. Each month, members set a different topic and conduct presentations or engage in coding competitions. The aim is to share ideas and build professional networks.

Continue reading ‘A Night Out with Fukuoka IT’

May 11

Professional translator Joel Dechant (CIR Kagoshima-ken, 2001-04) is now guest blogging for Fukuoka Now

Before moving my humble abode to the heart of Hakata, I had the esteemed pleasure of living in Beppu—the hot spring capital of the world—for 3 years. I worked at a university, did some volunteer guided tours and even got on TV several times  One of my most memorable odysseys in Spa Land was taking my son all over the city in a quest to become Hot Spring Masters.

Hot Spring Master?

Yes, I can proudly say that I am a Hot Spring Master. Here’s how it works. You go to the tourism bureau or train station and pay 50 yen for a hot spring passport, the Spaport. Then, you pick up a copy of the Onsenbon (Hot Spring Book) which lists all of the participating hot springs and comes chock full of coupons. After enjoying each hot spring (in whatever order you choose), you show your Spaport to the onsen staff and get it stamped. Every 8 hot springs, you advance to the next level, and you have the option of paying 500 yen to the tourism bureau to get a nifty certificate and colored towel, a la the different colored belts in karate. Once you reach 88 hot springs, you pay the final fee of 1500 yen to get the granddaddy of all towels, the black and gold Hot Spring Master towel. You get another cool certificate, and your photo goes on the Wall of Fame at Hyotan Onsen. Then you can tell everyone, “You know what? I’m a Hot Spring Master!” It makes for great party conversation, and it’s a great way to get to know Beppu.

So what does this have to do with Fukuoka?

Continue reading “Masters of the Noodleverse” at the FukuokaNOW blog!

Apr 30

Professional translator Joel Dechant (CIR Kagoshima-ken, 2001-04) is now guest blogging for Fukuoka Now


When I moved to Fukuoka a few years back, I was looking for something close to both Tenjin and Ohori Park. I found a great “mansion” in Ropponmatsu and have been discovering its hidden charms ever since.

Ropponmatsu is just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Tenjin but still very much alive. In my alcohol-fueled explorations with trusty sack o’ blues harmonicas on my shoulder, I have found a few wonderful bars for the inveterate music lover. Check ‘em out!

Continue reading “Roots, Rock, Reggae”

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