2017–2018 Block and CIR Platforms

2017–2018 Block and CIR Platforms – Click here for Japanese version

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Block 1 Platforms

Lauren Handlon

Lauren Handlon

Hello! I’m Lauren Handlon and am running for the position of Block 1 Representative!
I’m a 1st year JET in Yubari in Central, Hokkaido. I come from Colorado (USA) and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in Japanese Language & Civilization. In university, I was the Treasurer of the Japanese Student Association and helped to plan and facilitate events for international Japanese students and the university Japanese club.  My long-rooted passion for Japanese culture spreads from Genji to Momoiro Clover-Z and everything in between (particularly pop culture). It’s been a lifelong dream to live in Japan, which I am making happen on the JET program.
Apart from its urban centers, Hokkaido is spread out, remote, and in many cases, can feel quite isolating or inaccessible. Outside of Sapporo, there are few English speakers and finding a community can be a difficult and daunting task. Like many JETs in Block 1, when I first arrived, I came into a small town with no English speakers, and had to rely heavily on nearby JETs for community. My resources for survival, similar to many of you, were what AJET and HAJET provided.  As your Block 1 Representative, my goal is to continue and expand that beacon of support for new and continuing JETs, providing more opportunities for community among us. I will also provide more opportunities to connect to the culture of this unique country we get to inhabit. Being the largest block by physical area, I will strive for all of our unique concerns to be heard at the bi-annual
AJET national meetings in Tokyo. I will work to help alleviate the stresses of isolation that new and returning JETs alike can feel.  And, of course, I offer my extensive knowledge of idol groups to anyone who is curious which Morning Musume singles topped the Oricon charts.

Lauren Molin

Lauren Molin

Hello! My name is Lauren Molin and I’m a first year ALT in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture from Billings, Montana in the United States. I graduated last spring from the University of Montana with a Bachelors in Asian Studies and a minor in Political Science. After JET, I hope to get a PhD in Asian Studies and either become a professor myself, or undertake an International Relations career. My hobbies are writing, studying Asian culture, going to conversation tables with other ALTs, and listening to music.

When I first arrived, I was warmly welcomed and guided by the ALTs of Block 1, all of whom have shown me an incredible amount of support. It is because of them that I will do what I can as my way of giving thanks and showing appreciation. I want to welcome new ALTs just as I have been welcomed. I will strive to make their voices heard and I will encourage the strengthening of the relationship between ALTs, CLAIR, and the JET Programme.

In college, I was a member of the University Crafters Club and, for the last two years, I was a member of the board, first as secretary, and finally as president. As president, my main duties included setting up crafts for the group to work on, organizing club events, and arranging meetings with the University Student Senate as well as discussing budget with them. I was also a member of a capstone project in my senior year of college, where we designed a phone application. In the group, I was selected as scribe and it was my duty to take down the meeting minutes, organize documents, and make sure the other members received important information regarding the project.

I enjoy putting together projects and events, and I really love creating discussions. I think it’s fun and interesting to look at others views on different topics! I believe that communication, whether it’s with English, Japanese, or silly hand gestures and facial expressions, is extremely important.


Block 2 Platforms

Surie Vixaysakd

Surie Vixaysakd

Who am I?

Hey Block 2 JETs! My name is Surie Vixaysakd and you can catch me chasing sunsets in the rice fields of northern Miyagi. Miyagi AJET events were hands down, the highlights of my past two years on JET. MAJET gave me a sense of community and that’s something I want to pass on to the incoming JETs and continue building for returning JETs as your Block 2 representative.

Why me?

I spent the last year on MAJET’s council as its secretary. Apart from helping plan small and large scale events with the MAJET team, I was responsible for managing the MAJET email account, creating event forms, and promoting MAJET events through email and Facebook.
My past experiences as a waitress and retail worker taught me how to effectively communicate with different types of people and how to provide excellent customer service. I will use these skills to communicate your opinions and concerns to the National AJET Council to improve your JET experience and the programme as a whole.
Lastly, a personal goal of mine is to bring Block 2 together by working with your prefectural AJET councils to plan and coordinate fun and accessible events. One event I want to plan is a Block 2 Olympics where we meet up for a weekend of friendly competition and making new connections.

Even though we have our own communities in our respective prefectures, we are all part of the JET community in Tohoku. I want to inspire you to explore more of our part of Tohoku and make connections with the people in your own backyard. Thank you for considering me for your 2017-2018 Block 2 representative!

Block 3 Platforms

Jacob Waalk

Jacob Waalk

I would like to apply for the Block 3 Representative position. I am currently a second year JET, starting year three in a few months. I have many interests, such as mountaineering, writing, running, Japanese study, and reading. In the course of living in Japan I have also become an onsen fan, and enjoy exploring places well off the beaten tracks of giant cities and amusement parks, preferring quieter and less rushed experiences.

The Block 3 representative position was recommended to me by Ashley Fox, and I have been considering it since attending the Karuizawa biking event last fall. I am also curious in National AJET after being consistently involved with my local AJET groups. Being able to plan events and involve people from other prefectures. I’ve been involved with Nagano AJET for two years now, and I have decent experience with what event planning details. In addition, I speak pretty good Japanese (borderline JLPT N2) and can get by researching potential events and contacting people and venues that do not have English language options, which to be frank, is going to be most places outside of the major urban and tourist centers. As a creative person, I am interested in what kinds of events I can help plan and bringing people together for very interesting or unique events. I have also traveled extensively in Japan, and have a wide knowledge for people to reference when it comes to public transit and famous places around central Japan and beyond. Therefore I would like to tender my application for Block 3 Representative.

Block 4 Platforms

Benjamin Garton

Benjamin Garton

Hi! My name is Benjamin Garton (I usually go by Benji) and I’m a first-year ALT living and working in rural Chiba Prefecture. Last year I graduated from UW-Madison with a BA in French, Japanese, East Asian Studies, and Linguistics with ambitions of pursuing a career in International Relations that led me to join JET. My hobbies include composing music (mostly classical), learning languages, watching movies, and having good conversations.

I am running for Block 4 Representative because I enjoy connecting with people, planning events, and community-building—all of which are things I feel I have a lot of experience with. In college I worked as an Involvement Coordinator for three residence halls, undertaking projects to strengthen the community and fostering an environment in which people can build lasting friendships. I further developed these skills as an RA, forging connections within the residence halls and also with the campus at large. I’m ready to do this on a much larger scale and apply my strengths to Block 4!

I aim to make Block 4 a welcoming place for new ALTs and to create an environment where all ALTs (and other JETs) feel free to voice their opinions, ask for help, and get to know one another. I hope to get your vote!

Block 5 Platforms

Daniel Galloway

Daniel Eli Galloway

My name is Daniel Galloway, I am a second year ALT in Nanto city, and I love the Japanese inaka.
I have wanted to teach English in Japan as an ALT since I was fourteen years old, so my time here is truly a dream come true. I have worked hard and have gotten this far, in no small part, thanks to the support of my dearest family and friends and the blessings from God. I have enjoyed my time in Toyama more than even I expected, and while I miss my family and friends back home, it is my every intention to remain here until the fifth year. I have always had a fanciful imagination, but now that I know Unicorns are real, I just have to become one!

So far, living in Toyama’s inaka has taught me a great many things. Living in the inaka you come to understand the importance of community. My neighbor, a sweet little old lady, occasionally gives me home-grown vegetables. Owing to her generosity, I have survived healthy and happy through two winters. Twice a year my apartment block gets together to brush-cut the lawns and clear the grounds in preparation for summer and winter. Through these iconic examples of Japanese togetherness, I have learnt the importance of community and supporting each other. I would like to extend what I have learnt to all my friends in Aichi, Gifu, Ishikawa, Fukui, and Toyama, in any way I can.

I am motivated, optimistic, and strive for excellence in everything I do. I would like the opportunity to work hard and prove myself a reliably and sagacious representative for all the wonderful people of Block 5. I strive to be considerate and supportive in my community.
Thank you for considering me as a representative for all you fine people. It would be my pleasure to represent you, and serve you all as the Block 5 Representative in AJET.
Please consider me for your vote.

Roxana Daliana

Roxana M. Daliana

Hello! My name is Roxana Daliana. I am a first year ALT in the lovely Fukui City. I am an organized, adventurous, caring person who wants to be your Block 5 Representative!

My time on JET has been an amazing experience not only because Japan is a beautiful country
(with delicious food!), but also because of the relationships I have made within the ALT and wider Japanese communities. I feel any opportunity one has to interact with other people and experience the unique things this country has to offer, promotes cross-cultural exchanges and enriches one’s experience. I want everyone to have the best experience possible and feeling like part of a community with knowledge of events and opportunities can enrich anyone’s situation!

Therefore, as your Block Representative, I will promote and facilitate events and make certain that information about these events, and those occurring in other blocks, are known. By doing so, I hope to expand the opportunities we have to strengthen our relationships and sense of community. Additionally, I will act as an ear- and mouthpiece to ensure that you all, as parts of this community, are heard by the National AJET Council.

Through my past experiences, I have gained knowledge and skills that would benefit anyone in this position. In University, I planned and oversaw events for exchanges students. These large-scale events required the coordination of many parties to ensure their success. Additionally, I acted as the liaison between the representative for the community of Japanese exchange students on campus and the larger student council to encourage dialogue and inclusivity. Leadership, communication, and follow through were vital in my past positions and those skills will undoubtedly benefit our block if I am elected as your representative. I hope to meet many of you in the future! Thank you!


Block 6 Platforms

May Zhang

May Zhang

Hey Block 6! My name is May Zhang and I’m a first-year ALT in lovely Shiga (praise be to the motherlake). Since August, I’ve been fortunate to meet a bunch of real quality people and expand my social circles here, much thanks to the friendly AJET community and the opportunities they provided. But after seeing my fellow JETs work to build that community and be generally productive, I’ve had enough of sitting by the lake watching the fish slowly thaw. AJET has helped make my JET experience a fulfilling one, and I want to do the same for Block 6 so our year ahead is the best one possible.

As the director of events for my university service fraternity, I regularly collaborated with my teammates to turn ideas for fun bonding events into reality. Two years of researching venues, reaching out to local groups, and leading team planning sessions has equipped me with the communication and organizational skills to tackle the demands of Block Rep with gusto. Having also worked as a recruitment and dedicated ask-me-anything guide for the marching band, I am more than happy to serve as an open and accessible resource for all Blockies. Whether you hit me up to request an all-night soba crawl, to seek a reference for identifying Kansai dog hairstyles, or to ask the difference between a wasp and a hornet, I’m here for you.

As your Block Rep, I am committed to bringing the fine folks of Hyogo, Kyoto, and Shiga closer together, not only with one another, but also with the national JET community as a whole by making sure your voices are heard on all levels. Let’s bring our heads (and stomachs) together this year and make it one to remember. Thanks for considering me as your 2017-2018 Block Rep!

Block 7 Platforms

Jordan Lambert

Jordan Lambert

Hello! My name is Jordan Lambert and I am a first year ALT in Nara prefecture. I live in a small town called Shimoichi where I primarily work at the elementary and kindergarten. I was lucky to be placed in an area where I can really get to know the kids and my coworkers, and I love being in a prefecture with such a close JET community!

Despite living in a fairly rural area, being a part of this community has really made me feel connected, and I’ve been introduced to many events I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise through the help of other JETs in Block 7. I also have become involved with the greater Japanese community through Nara JETNet events and as a regular volunteer through Nara Smile Kids. Through events with my local community as well as larger, block-wide events held throughout the year, I’ve been able to meet and keep in touch with fellow JETs no matter how far away we might live.

As Block 7 Representative, I would strive to further connect the people within our block by communicating with and supporting the individual prefectures, spreading important information, and helping to plan and facilitate engaging events. As Representative, I will use the leadership, organizational, and community outreach experience gained as Vice President of my university’s Japanese Tea Ceremony club in order to best achieve our goals. I also hope to help everyone know more about the areas and people around them, and to extend to newcomers the same great sense of community I have felt. I want everyone to know about the great things Block 7 has to offer! Finally, as Representative I will work to best represent Block 7 on a larger scale as a voice for our collective desires, concerns, and interests.

Rebekah Lan

Rebekah Lan

My name is Rebekah Lan and I am a 4th year JET in Mie prefecture located in the humble town of Matsusaka, where we’re known for our beef and tea. I am interested in the role of becoming Block 7’s Representative as I am excited at the prospect of promoting our Block and am interested in sharing the endless opportunities with fellow JETs. I am an avid traveller and I’ve really enjoyed the resources that AJET has provided so far and I would like to contribute back to the community who has done so much to make me feel welcome.

I am currently the Regional Advisor of Matsusaka and the Visual Communications Representative of Mie AJET. Regional Advisor duties involve making both new and current JETs feel like they are part of the community, to ensure their safety in the case of a disaster, and organizing events. JETs are also encouraged to speak to me when they are experiencing stress or problems and has therefore given me the valuable experience of being a counsellor and mentor. As Visual Communications Representative, I create and handle advertisement material as well as document events. This background in promoting events will be an asset to the Block 7 representative position.

While I enjoy and derive great satisfaction from both these responsibilities, I still feel like I can contribute more and nothing would give me greater pleasure than being able to do so on the national AJET team. With the above skill sets, I believe I can effectively support and encourage those who are interested in doing more around us.
The opportunity to become Block 7’s representative couldn’t be a more ideal position, literally! I look forward to sharing the well known locations of Japan: Osaka and Nara paired with the hidden gems of Mie and Wakayama to other JETs so they can get as much out of Japan as possible.

Teresa Beirne

Teresa Beirne

Hey, all! My name is Teresa Beirne, just finishing up my 1st year as an ALT in Nara. I currently live in Oyodo-cho, a town somewhere between Middle-of-Nowhere and The-Edge-Of-Civilization, a beautiful place where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms come spring at Mt. Yoshino and barbeques on the banks of the Yoshino River in the summer. Being placed in Oyodo has been nothing short of a blessing; not only is local community tight and many a person generous with their homegrown fruits and veggies, but the Nara JET community is one that is active within the prefecture and supportive to its members. This past year has been a blast!

Because I’ve had such wonderful time, I want to give back as Block Representative to help keep everyone’s in Block 7 experience in JET a blast. As your Block Representative, my goal is not only to keep the communications between the prefectures within the block running smoothly, but I want to make Block 7 a place where everyone and anyone can feel welcome.

I am a second generation JET; my mother was a JTE in Yamaguchi and my father was her ALT. Because of this, I have spent much of my life between the US and Japan and have had an upbringing that emphasized the importance of appreciating different cultures. With near N1 Japanese skills, real life experience with cultural exchanges, and a fair amount of enthusiasm, I may not bring much in terms of relevant official experience to the table, but I make up for it in practical skill. I promise that a vote for me won’t be a vote wasted.

Block 8 Platforms

Nikki Smith

Nikki Smith

I’m Nikki Smith, a first year ALT in Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime. I’m interested in being the AJET Block 8 Representative since it will help me create greater social ties and managerial skills. I have a passion for organisation and enjoy teamwork. I’m efficient, and prompt, so I believe I’m an excellent fit for the position.

The JET Programme is an excellent opportunity and I’d like to experience it to the fullest. Being involved with AJET will strengthen ties to other JETs and other regions. I’m looking forward to discussing issues with other JETs and helping new and old JETs alike, as well as learning from them. My aim is to make as many JETs enthusiastic about their job and region as possible and make Block 8 one of the best areas to be placed!

As a Block Representative, I’d be reliable, enthusiastic and ready to give great travel tips or information as this is my fifth time in Japan. I keep up to date on events throughout Japan so I can inform others about AJET events and events in the wider community.

I have an interest in education and am planning on teaching even after JET. I have a degree in psychology and a diploma in travel/business, since I’m passionate about people and culture. I find volunteer work rewarding, more so when I see the direct results of my effort, so a position in AJET would allow me to work towards goals and see them come to fruition.

In Australia, I had a ball when I helped run the gyaru makeup booth at the local Japanese festival. I was also asked to be a presenter at the Skill Development Conference last year. Currently I practice kyuudou and am volunteering to teach elementary students English for six weeks.

Camilo Guerra-Tejo

Camilo Alonso Guerra-Tejo

Hi, I’m Camilo Alonso Guerra-Tejo but you can call me Milo or if you like, (as a joke with some students) Hige-Sensei.
So what can a second year JET and his beard do for you?
Well, having once spent several weeks picking up trash at a Christmas themed carnival in Miami, I can tell you I can do anything. And I try my hand at everything. I make flyers, work in excel, shoot and edit videos, I can solder, sew, and make a pretty good homemade pizza.
But my focus now is connecting more people together and sharing our lives with the lovely and generous people of Japan. I have already helped plan events and have hosted some myself.
90’s Dance Party. CHECK. Tropical Summer Party. CHECK. Winter Formal Masquerade. CHECK. I try hard to make the events fun and successful while including local Japanese people to come enjoy them with us.
If elected, I plan on connecting people together, making memories, and leaving behind a stable platform for future blocks leaders to succeed. Allow me to reach out to as many of you as I can in hopes of improving the lives of us all.
As for right now, I have a few projects, events, and ideas in mind that I am eager to get started on. The best part is that regardless of the outcome of this election I will be promoting these events and ideas and sharing them with you. I routinely seek out projects and challenges and wish to offer my tenacity to help entertain and solve problems
I also hope to incorporate your ideas, advice, and recommendations to better serve not only everyone in this block but the many visitors, travelers, and locals of our communities.
Best of luck to everyone and see you out there!

Ellie Murphy

Ellie Murphy

Hi friends! My name is Ellie and I’m a 1st year ALT from Fukuyama City in Hiroshima. I’m an organised hard-worker with a passion for travelling the world and eating everything. I’ve been learning Japanese for an obscenely long time, and speak at roughly an N2 level with a developing Hiroshima accent. Hiroshima is my second home thanks to the strong JET community we have here, and I want to give back as much as I can! As Block 9 leader, I want to foster a strong, social and connected Block 9, in the hope of creating a better working and living environment for JETs.
As someone who lives on the edge of two prefectures (I can see Okayama from my schools!), I’ve noticed an elephant graveyard style divide between prefectures. “Everything the light touches, is our prefecture.” “What about that shadowy place?” “That’s Shimane, you must never go there!” Each prefecture has a strong and active AJET group, but I want to make us more connected and encourage more open events so that we can all share in the events and fun times here in Chugoku! I have experience in organizing large events in a multinational setting from my time at Waseda University, where I was a member of the international student club. Additionally, I’m the Social Media Coordinator for the Hiroshima Scholarship Fund, and generally am addicted to social media, so I’ll be on top of sharing events and keeping everyone connected!
While life on JET can be wonderful, I also know it can be confronting and challenging. I was blessed by the placement gods to have been put in a big family of ALTs at my BOE who are so supportive and all advocate for each other. Following their example, I hope to support all members of the Block 9 community with issues they are having, both inside and outside work. Having lived in Japan previously, I have plenty of experience navigating life here, and plenty of advice to give. Also, I work at eight schools, so I have worked to create eight positive working environments for myself, and faced some challenges along the way. Using this experience, my experience in peer support at university, and my approachable, empathetic nature, I will be a strong and relentless advocate for the JET community.
I’d love put my skills and experience to work for the good people of Block 9!

Michael Yeung

Michael Yeung

Hello! My name is Michael Yeung, I am a first year ALT in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture and I want to be your block 9 leader. Since coming to Japan, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the awesome JETs of Hiroshima Prefecture, experiencing the culture of Japan to the fullest, and enjoying delicious food with great company. I can confidently say that since starting this chapter of my life as a member of the JET program, I have become a better person. I have become a better friend, a better peer, and a better worker. I have been discussing communication tactics, both inside and outside of the classroom, with my teachers and peers. These discussions have led to better classrooms and working environments for students, teachers, and myself. Likewise, they have made me realize how important interpersonal communication is and how much I have improved. The JET Program has given so much to me and I want to give back by becoming your block 9 leader.

But why me? As a graduate in Computer Science, I have very strong organizational skills and am an excellent team player. I am an excellent communicator, often taking charge of project management and administrative duties in project assignments. I am also an extremely focused worker, often challenging myself to complete tasks better, faster, and in an efficient fashion. I am always striving to improve myself and the people around me to create a more enjoyable working environment.

As your block 9 representative, I will bring questions and concerns of all ALTs to a national level and make sure your voices are heard. I will also work to improve and facilitate interactions between the different prefectures to create a larger and tighter community for block 9. As your representative, I will fully dedicate myself as the representing voice for block 9 and will strive to connect as many JETs as I can. With that said, please vote for me to be your block 9 representative!

Randall Yamaoka

Randall Yamaoka

Aloha everyone, my name is Randall Yamaoka and I am from Kahului, Maui, Hawaii. I am a 2nd year JET living in Sera, Hiroshima. I graduated from University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) with a degree in Japanese Studies and Linguistics.
Throughout my time on JET, I have received much care and help from fellow block mates and JETs and I want to give back to this awesome community. I want to provide a platform for my fellow block mates to voice their concerns and any issues that they encounter during their time here and make them heard on a national level. I hope to make everyone’s stay here in Japan the most enjoyable and least stressful as possible. Afterall, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope everyone makes the most out of their time here!
I was an international buddy when I was in university, aiding incoming international students transition into the life and culture of Hawaii. I acted as a bridge to help these students get involved in the community by organizing events to help widen their social circle and introduce them to the local community. Having been on both sides of the coin, I understand the importance of providing and receiving a strong support in a foreign country and that is why I am passionate about this role.
As your block leader, I will collaborate with other block leaders to create events to foster a stronger community. Every prefecture is special in its own way. The Chugoku region (Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Shimane, Tottori and Okayama) is no exception. We have many World Heritage sites that everyone must visit at least once in their life time. I would love to organize fun trips to explore these areas and also to allow fellow JETs to forge friendships through these trips!
I am dedicated to help you experience the JET program to the fullest. I humbly ask for your vote to be your block leader and I thank you for taking the time to consider my application.

Block 10 Platforms

Ashlyn Moors

Ashlyn Moors

My name is Ashlyn Moors, and I’m a third year ALT and I wish to be the next Block 10 AJET representative. I believe the thing that makes block 10 great is its people and strong, supportive community. As AJET representative I wish to make this community even stronger.

My motivation is “giving,” and my hope is to add not only socializing events to our busy calendar, but also volunteering events that give back to the communities that do so much for us. I believe that we can do great things if we all put our minds together.

Last year I was the District Representative for my city, and in March I am moving into the local AJET role. My job as DR was to plan events and make sure they went off without a hitch. I have gained a lot of skill in the art of event planning, and I hope to utilize that skill as your block 10 representative. I also have a suitable Japanese ability level to be able to work with any event planning situation that may arise.

I look forward to working with everyone. Thank you very much!


Robert Fisher

Robert Fisher

My name is Robert Fisher, a 2nd year prefectural ALT in Hiji, Oita Prefecture, originally from San Antonio, Texas. 5 1/2 years ago, I studied abroad in this very prefecture for 2 months, and I am grateful that the JET Programme gave me the chance to come back and experience this area again. As your Block 10 Representative, I want to do the same thing for everyone in northern Kyushu.

As the only JET assigned to my town, I leaned on fellow Oita JETs for support and guidance, gaining knowledge on many of the resources accessible to JETs and foreigners in and out of the classroom; I want to do the same throughout northern Kyushu as a representative and share such information to as many people possible, be it health resources or a guide on how to get your hands on as much karaage (Oita’s famous fried chicken) in one sitting!

I love to travel, and in doing so, I’ve met an array of people from different backgrounds, and that certainly hasn’t changed with JET. Meeting fellow JETs outside of my prefecture and my block, and the ability to befriend them and exchange anecdotes and experiences, benefits our time as JETs, and I believe the more chances to unite JETs from different regions, the better.

In university, I was a webmaster/admin for two years for a cultural student association, responsible for creating events and dispersing timely information within our group of members. As one of the admins of Oita AJET’s website, I’m constantly finding new things to integrate to our site and make it a viable resource for local and visiting JETs, such as guide maps and lesson exchanges. As your representative, I will do the same for Block 10, and contribute to a successful and memorable time in northern Kyushu.

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Block 11 Platforms

Christine Zawlocki

Christine Zawlocki

Hey there! My name is Christine Zawlocki, and I’m going on my 3rd year on the JET program in Kanoya, Kagoshima. I’m fortunate to live in a wonderful community which continuously inspires me to become involved. In fact, I became an active member of Kagoshima’s branch of AJET, known as KAJET, as their Communications Coordinator last April. Through my heavy involvement in this organization, our branch strengthened relationships with JETs in the neighboring prefecture of Miyazaki. I hope to continue to extend this hospitality to the surrounding area as the Block 11 Representative.
Aside from moderating our KAJET Facebook page and keeping in touch with community members, I assisted in planning many different prefectural events, including singlehandedly organizing a prefecture-wide event at Osumi Forest Adventure followed by camping at Kihoku Uwaba Campground. I truly enjoyed putting this event together, and I believe this experience will be a huge asset for me to continue hosting block events throughout the year.
Outside of KAJET, I spend my free time exercising and trying to maintain overall wellness! I’m a fan of HIIT, running, and I am a huge advocate for meditation and mental health. Additionally, I’m an enthusiastic participant in a ladies’ knitting circle, and I’m a member of one of many D&D guilds in our prefecture. A little-known fact: Kagoshima may be known for its black beef and black pork, but our second biggest industry is our guilds!
I believe that my experiences in college also qualify me to be your block representative. I graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015, where I juggled a double major as well as multiple management positions. I was a night manager at Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and a supervisor/trainer at Peet’s Coffee and Tea, in addition to working a few other jobs during my summer months. I also found time to volunteer with elementary students with varying disabilities and even took a volunteer trip to Denver with Habitat for Humanity.
As you can see, I’m no stranger to leadership, hard work, and responsibility, and I make it my goal to extend friendliness and compassion to others. I believe that as JETs, we should strive to embody these traits both in the classroom and in our communities and reach out to our neighbors as friends. I can assure you that I will continue to exemplify these traits as your Block 11 Representative, both in our block events and at the national level.

CIR Representative Platforms

Benjamin Surbrook

Benjamin Surbrook

My name is Benjamin Surbrook. I am a first year CIR in Kamogawa City, Chiba and I am running for the CIR Representative. I am 24 years old, and am originally from Minnesota, but I spent my years prior to JET in Los Angeles, California

I am running for the CIR Representative because I want to make sure that the whole CIR community is adequately represented on the National AJET Council, by acting as the conduit for CIR’s to voice any ideas or opinions that they have.
If I am chosen to be your representative, I will use whatever means I have at my disposal to make sure that I am communicating with as much of the CIR community as possible, and will always be open to listening to whatever concerns any CIR may have.


Between my work as a CIR, my time on Chiba AJET, and my time working for a Japanese non-profit, I have gathered many skills that will not only help me be able to understand many CIR’s viewpoints and attitudes, but also adequately represent them on National AJET.

Member of the Chiba Prefecture AJET Council
As a staff member of a Japanese non-profit (Ashinaga), planned various cultural exchange events between Japanese college students and non-Japanese interns
Worked as non-Japanese interns’ representative during meetings while at Ashinaga
Event coordination as a CIR, including cultural exchanges, emergency preparedness, and holiday events
Act as intermediary for events and activities with Kamogawa’s sister city, including penpal clubs, student exchanges, and citizen delegations
Translation of various Kamogawa city materials, including informational brochures, safety pamphlets, tourism guides, and webpages
Interpretation for various delegations that visit Kamogawa
Write, edit, and publish the “Kamogawa Communicator,” a monthly newsletter
City SNS account and webpage management



Sae Ichihara

Sae Ichihara

Hi, my name is Sae Ichihara, and I am a CIR in Kimotsuki, Kagoshima. As a CIR Representative for AJET, I want to be your voice, so that your opinions and complaints are never ignored on a national level. I’ll strive to build bridges, so that CIRs from across the country can talk and network. My goal is to be able to support the CIR community to bring about positive reinforcements for current and future JETs.

In the past 8 months that I have been in Kimotsuki-cho, as their inaugural CIR, I have learned the difficulty and contentment of being a part of this programme. Coordinating events, and acting as a board member is nothing foreign to me, from representing 2 large organizations back in university, and in jobs. One as the VP of a student organization that managed and planned events for all foreign exchange students. The other as the VP of professional activities for a business fraternity. I am very career driven, and a firm believer in promoting work ethic, no matter the job title. Since leaving Colorado, USA and coming to Japan, I actively participated in many local events to become more familiar with the people, and took that chance to create jobs for myself. Moving to a town with no predecessor or job guidance is hard, but by taking the freedom to do what I want, I am now juggle multiple projects, translations, and classes that I didn’t have 6 months ago. In my first year of my appointment, I will be taking a group of students to America for an educational experience on the grassroots level, and propose an international sister-city relationship for the first time.

I’m not a shy person, and I’ve been told that I’m easy to talk to. In making me you CIR Representative, I will make time to dedicate to AJET and for the wellbeing of the CIR community. I may not be a 4th or even a 3rd year CIR with a long history of achievements, but I would be honored to represent the CIRs around Japan, and be their advocate going into my 2nd year on this programme.
Thank You.