Prefectural AJET Resources

日本語

Welcome to AJET!

Thank you for assuming the role of Prefectural AJET officer. This position will allow you to participate actively in the improvement of the JET Program, gain a lot of good experience and have fun with some great people in the process.

We’ve gathered together some materials to make your job a little easier:

  • The Prefectural AJET Handbook should give you some basic information about running your prefectural AJET Chapter.
    • Part I focuses on the relationship between National AJET and Prefectural AJET Chapters, especially your role in the AJET network and National AJET projects/opportunities that are of most interest to Prefectural Chapters and who to contact about them.
    • Part II focuses more on some practical advice for local Chapter’s regular activities, including goal setting, event evaluation reports, and event ideas.
  • In Advice from Prefectural AJET Officers, we’ll be collecting short essays and how-tos about a variety of topics, including starting a new chapter, improving your online presence, and setting peer network or homestay programs to help new members adjust to life in Japan.

If you have additional questions, please be sure to contact your block rep. You can find their contact information here.

Congratulations and good luck!

Part 1

Welcome to AJET!

The Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) is a support network for JET Programme participants. It has existed since the inception of the JET Programme and is run on a volunteer basis, by JETs, for JETs.

On a national scale, the AJET National Council represents JETs, their views and their concerns to CLAIR and the government ministries that manage the JET Programme, primarily at biannual Opinion Exchange meetings.

The AJET National Council also coordinates other activities around Japan aimed at supporting JET participants in their daily life and at work, including:

There are more than 5,000 JET Programme participants in Japan at any given time, and in 2010, some 4,000 JETs were AJET members. Having several thousand members is an achievement made possible by the simple fact that membership in National AJET is FREE. In addition, there is no membership fee for Prefectural AJET Chapters, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Language Groups (LGs), or Nationality Groups (NGs) to be affiliated with National AJET. Free membership for National AJET is made possible through sales of National AJET publications and sponsorship by our Group Associate Members, or GAMs, who provide services relevant to JETs.

One of the ways in which AJET makes sure that so many members spread across Japan are properly represented is by dividing Japan into “blocks” and having a representative from each block on the National Council. The Block Representative should be in close contact with Prefectural AJET Chapters in their region to be sure that all JETs receive important announcements from National AJET or other AJET chapters, are aware of the broad services available to them, and are a part of the larger social network. The Block Representative will periodically ask you to pass on announcements or ask for information about your chapter. We kindly ask that you honor these requests in a timely manner.

Closer to home, AJET Prefectural Chapters also organise events and provide support to JETs at a local level. This handbook is dedicated to the workings of AJET all over Japan and your place on that team.

Block Distribution Information and Prefectural AJET Chapter Contact Information

Your Block Representative will be your main point of contact at AJET. If you do not know which Block you below to, please consult the chart below.

Block Arrangements as of 2013

Block 1: Akita 秋田, Aomori 青森, Hokkaido 北海度, Iwate 岩手
Block 2:  Fukushima 福島, Miyagi 宮城, Niigata 新潟, Yamagata 山形
Block 3:  Gunma 群馬, Ibaraki 茨城, Saitama 埼玉, Tochigi 栃木, Nagano 長野
Block 4:  Chiba 千葉, Kanagawa 神奈川, Tokyo 東京, Yamanashi 山梨, Shizuoka 静岡
Block 5:  Toyama 富山, Gifu 岐阜, Ishikawa 石川, Fukui 福井, Aichi 愛知
Block 6:  Hyogo 兵庫, Kyoto 京都, Shiga 滋賀,
Block 7:, Osaka 大阪, Wakayama 和歌山, Mie 三重, Nara 奈良
Block 8:  Ehime 愛媛, Kagawa 香川, Kochi 高知, Tokushima 徳島
Block 9:  Tottori 鳥取, Hiroshima 広島, Yamaguchi 山口, Shimane 島, Okayama 岡山
Block 10:  Saga 佐賀, Nagasaki 長崎, Fukuoka 福岡, Oita 大分
Block 11:  Kumamoto 熊本, Miyazaki 宮崎, Kagoshima 鹿児島, Okinawa 沖縄

You can find out who your current Block Representative is and contact them here.

Prefectural AJET Chapter Contact Information

To make contacting individual Prefectural AJET Chapter easier, Naitonal AJET has assigned an email address to each chapter. Chapters can be contacted at (for example, Nara AJET can be contacted at ). This is a forwarding email account — meaning that emails sent to this address can be sent to any email address, as designated by your chapter. Please make sure that the address it should be forwarded to is updated when your Prefectural AJET officers change by emailing your Block Representative.

Please also make sure your website, facebook page, or forum information is up-to-date on our website. Go to AJET Prefectural Chapter Contacts and check your chapter’s listings. If the links are incorrect, please email your Block Representative and the AJET webmaster () asking that they be changed.

Becoming a Member of National AJET

Without members AJET wouldn’t exist. Please help us by directing JETs in your prefecture to our easy online membership registration system — and be sure to register yourself as well if you haven’t yet!

How to Register for National AJET:

We are currently in the process of changing our online registration system. Registration will soon be available on ajet.net — and even simpler than ever. Check back later for details.

How to Register for a SIG:

You can register for AJET Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at http://sigs.ajet.net.

Welcoming New JETs

New JETs are usually very anxious to find out more about the prefecture in which they have been placed and may contact their local AJET Chapter prior to arrival in Japan. Please welcome the new JETs and provide some basic information about your chapter and prefecture.

Prefectural AJET Presence at Conferences

An AJET Prefectural Chapter should make every effort to have some presence at conferences and orientations, especially local orientations and meetings.

Prefectural AJET Presence at Tokyo Orientation

Lookbook Pages – This is a B4-size page advertising your chapter. At each conference there will be several large books to put these pages into that JETs can view at the AJET Desk. This is your chance to show the new JETs what your Chapter is all about and remind the re-contracting JETs what you have done this year. Make it as bright and exciting as possible! Include pictures and/or highlights of past events, preview of future events, pictures of your council, fun slogans, etc.

Please make sure to include: your prefecture’s name, your prefectural website (if any), and a contact name and e-mail address for your Chapter. If known, also include information on when and where your Chapter sign-ups will be held and membership fees, if any.

The Block Representatives will handle putting the Lookbooks together. You will need to mail Lookbook pages to your Block Representative. Your Block Representative will give you more information and deadlines in the Spring or early summer.

*Remember that not all JETs speak English as a first language. In fact, not all JETs speak English! Try to include information about your Prefectural Chapter in Japanese. At the very least, try to include contact information for one perapera Japanese Speaker on your Council.

Contact your Tokyo Orientation Assistants – Find out from your PAs who in your prefecture is going to Tokyo Orientation and ask them to talk briefly about your AJET Chapter. With prefectural meetings, enkais, and travel time from Tokyo to your home prefecture, TOAs have ample opportunity to talk about your Chapter. You can even make their life easier by giving them a flyer to hand out to all the new JETs. The flyer could be a smaller version of your Lookbook page with more specific contact details, or information on your chapter’s welcome party. (JETs may have limited internet/phone access in their first month — Make attending events in August easy for them. Include the meeting time, place, etc. well in advance!)

Reach out to late arrivals in Tokyo Orientation C – While you may hear little about this Orientation, it is very important to a small group of people: SEAs and late arrival ALTs and CIRs. This orientation is shorter and smaller than Tokyo Orientations A and B so JETs coming to Japan during this Orientation don’t have the opportunity to meet lots of fellow JETs. Ask your PAs if you have any JETs coming over during this orientation. Try to make sure they know about your next upcoming event and try to introduce them to local JETs.

Finally, don’t forget about April Orientation for Non-English Teaching ALTs – There is an even less talked-about Orientation in April for Brazilian, Chinese, Korean, and Peruvian ALTs. While these JETs don’t necessarily speak English, they normally have a high level of Japanese. Find out from your PA if you have one coming to your prefecture. Have a Japanese-speaking Prefectural Council members introduce your AJET Chapter to them. Try to give them a list of local contacts that can speak good Japanese. Don’t forget to invite these JETs to your upcoming AJET events, too.

AJET Presence at Local Conferences

New JET Prefectural Orientations
No matter how many Prefectural Orientations you might have, try to make sure that you have a presence at all of them. Ask your PAs for some time to talk about your AJET Chapter, introduce your team, talk about upcoming events, pass out your latest prefectural newsletter, and sign members up! It’s important that you directly inform new JETs about your prefectural AJET’s Facebook group, forum or listserv so they will stay up-to-date on your activities and let them know about dues — if applicable.

National AJET Activities and You!

There are many National AJET events, awards, and programs. The following activities may be of particular interest to Prefectural AJET Chapters. (Please visit ajet.net and take a look at the “Services” section to see a more complete list of AJET activities).

AJET eBulletin

At the beginning of every month, National AJET sends out an eBulletin to all its members to inform them of National AJET activities and events.

All AJET members should receive this e-mail. If you or one of your members is not receiving this useful bulletin, please direct them to the online sign-up here.

If you have an event you think neighboring prefectures or JETs from all over the country might be interested in, please contact the Communications Liaison () to list your event in the eBulletin. The deadline for the next month’s eBulletin is the 15th of the month prior. It need not be an AJET event, just something JETs might be interested in! Since National AJET is aiming to produce more content in both English and Japanese, please send information about your event in both languages if possible.

National AJET on Facebook

In between eBulletins, liking the National AJET facebook page is one of the easiest ways to stay up-to-date on National AJET activities. Please be sure to join at www.facebook.com/AJETJapan and encourage your Prefectural AJET members to do the same.

If you have an event or project that you would like the National AJET facebook page to promote, please contact the PR Liaison ().

AJET Games

AJET Games are designed to bring teams of JETs, friends, and Japanese people together to compete in sports tournaments at various locations across the country.

The AJET National Council is looking for AJET Chapters and Groups to take up the challenge of organizing an event under the AJET Games banner. It is our hope to have one AJET Games in each Block per year. Local groups are responsible for organizing their AJET Games event in its entirety, leaving them free to attract sponsorship, generate interest in their activities, and possibly earn money for their AJET Chapter or for worthy charities. Some possible sports include: Touch Football, Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Ten Pin Bowling, Chess, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Billiards, Softball, Ultimate Frisbee – even Natto-Eating and Janken!

If you have any questions or need any help in planning an AJET Games, please contact the Activities Liaison (), or your Block Representative.

AJET Surveys

The AJET National Council presents reports to CLAIR and MEXT in May and November. These reports are on a wide range of issues facing JETs. Before National AJET can write these reports, it needs information, much of it collected from local JETs in surveys. Twice a year, usually in October and February, National AJET holds online surveys on a wide range of topics. The more respondents we have, the stronger a voice National AJET can bring to these meetings. All JETs are encouraged to take these surveys and have their voices heard! Please help us promote these surveys in your prefecture.

National AJET Awards

Every year National AJET recognizes some of the outstanding contributions of Prefectural AJET Chapters and individual AJET members by presenting them National AJET Awards, including the AJET Chapter Award, Best Inter-prefectural Event Award, and Best Sports Event Award. See the full list of awards and recent winners here.

Winning an AJET Award can be a good goal to motivate your chapter throughout the year! Be sure to inform your chapter when nominations start in the spring, and don’t be shy — you can nominate yourself if you think you’ve done a great job!

Please Share your Prefectural AJET Teaching Resources

If you have developed teaching resources on your Prefectural AJET website, please show them off and share them with the rest of the JET community. Go to our Prefectural AJET Teaching Resources page and check if yours is listed. If not, please contact the AJET webmaster () asking that it be added.

AJET Press

If you have a Prefectural Magazine that is not yet participating in AJET Press, please suggest that they join! Contact the AJET webmaster () for more information.

Part 2

Prefectural Representative Duties

AJET Prefectural Representatives are liaisons between the AJET National Council (through the Block Representative) and JET participants in your prefecture. The duties of Prefectural Representatives vary from chapter to chapter depending on many factors, including chapter organization, number of JETs in the prefecture, available resources, etc.

However, there are some things Prefectural Representatives should do or make sure happens in their AJET Prefectural Chapter:

  • Coordinate the activities of your Prefectural Chapter in accordance with the purpose of AJET and the JET Programme
  • Maintain clear, accurate, and timely Chapter records
  • Encourage communication and activities with other AJET Chapters
  • Pass information from National AJET (via your Block Representative) to the members of your local AJET Chapter, or vice versa
  • Assist members of the National Council or other Prefectural Chapters with collection of national survey data
  • Participate in local JET Programme conferences as an AJET representative
  • Host social and cultural events for JETs in your prefecture and neighboring prefectures
  • Provide support for new (and old) JETs
  • Most importantly, provide a social network for JETs in your prefecture

Basic Prefectural Representative Annual Timeline

Many AJET Chapters have about one event for month, but that may vary based on many factors. The type and frequency of events is up to you. However, there are a few other things that happen during the year that you should keep in mind:

June

  • Send New Prefectural Council contact information to the new Block Representative (Find Block Representative contact information here).

July

  • Send information, Lookbook ads, flyers, etc., needed at Tokyo Orientation to the Block Rep – beginning of July
  • Tokyo Orientation Group A – late July

August

  • Tokyo Orientation Groups B & C – beginning & mid-August
  • Prepare for and host AJET Prefectural Chapter sign-ups – all month
  • E-mail Block Reps with any JET concerns to be addressed at the winter AJET-CLAIR-MEXT Opinion Exchange Meeting
  • Welcome events — all month

September

  • E-mail Block Reps with any additional JET concerns to be addressed at the Opinion Exchange Meetings

October

  • Promote the AJET surveys when your Block Representative sends you the information

November

  • Prefectural Mid-Year Seminars begin taking place in some prefectures. At MYS, remind your prefecture about AJET, consider planning and post-Mid-Year Seminar enkai and selling National AJET publications for commission — November through January

December

  • Send a reminder to your prefecture about the Peer Support Group services during the holidays

January

  • National Council Elections are coming up. Encourage JETs in your prefecture to submit platforms.
  • E-mail Block Reps with any JET concerns to be addressed at the spring AJET-CLAIR-MEXT Opinion Exchange Meeting

February

  • Platform deadline for National Council elections – mid-month
  • On-line voting for National Council elections begins – mid month

March

  • Begin recruiting possible new Prefectural Council Leaders, begin to compile all the information that you need to pass on to your successor
  • Promote the AJET surveys after your Block Representative sends you the information

April

  • Elections for new Prefectural Council Leaders

May

  • Change-over meeting for new Prefectural Council Leaders

Treasurer Duties

An AJET Prefectural Chapter Treasurer plays an important role in your Prefectural AJET Chapter. The treasurer is responsible for keeping detailed records of all financial transactions that occur, in addition to other duties.

In your first few days of becoming Treasurer:

If you need to change over the name of your AJET account, please do so right away. Each Prefectural Chapter should have a bank account.

Balance Sheets

All AJET Prefectural Chapters are expected to maintain Balance Sheets. The balance sheet is a record of the inflow and outflow of money from your Prefectural Chapter.  AJET Prefectural Chapters are an extension of the AJET organization, because of this, the actions of each chapter reflect on the AJET National Council. Prefectural Chapters must be responsible with their money and ethical in their collection and use of finances. These directions are not an attempt to run your Chapter, rather they are in place to give AJET as much accountability as possible.

All materials should be filed and saved both electronically and on paper if possible. Files should be saved for three years in physical paper copies to provide transparency and assist in smooth transitions between councils.

Leadership Team Goals Worksheet

Goal setting is a tool that can help focus your prefectural AJET chapter, helping them to achieve more.

[hide-this-part morelink=”Show Leadership Team Goals Worksheet”]

Below is a list of questions to help get your team started. These questions are just a jumping off point — hopefully they will lead to a meaningful discussion about the purpose and future of your chapter.

Download a sheet like below in PDF form by clicking here (88KB).

What role does your AJET Chapter play in your community? Or what role should it play?
What are the needs of a new JET? How can you help address those needs?
What are the needs of returning JETs? How can AJET meet their needs?
What was your favorite AJET event or non-JET/work related experience in Japan? What did you like about this event?
What was your least favorite AJET event or non-JET/work related experience in Japan? What can you learn from this experience?
How will you share your specific skills and passions with the JET community this year?
AJET Goals for the coming year:
Actvities Throughout the Year

There are countless things you can do in Japan. The following is a list of ideas for you to start with. Depending on your location they might be a simple afternoon of fun or a weekend bus trip.

Great for Newbies

  • Welcome Parties
  • City Scavenger Hunts
  • Re-entry Permit Trip (a trip to apply for & receive a re-entry permit to Japan)

Japanese Things

  • Kabuki Theatre
  • Taiko Concert
  • Mount Fuji Climb
  • Ryokan Party
  • Onsen
  • Karaoke Contest
  • Sake Tasting
  • Local Temple & Shrine Visits
  • Watching a Festival

Seasonal

  • Beach Party
  • Boat Party
  • Rice Harvest
  • Clam Hunting
  • Leaf-Viewing Tour
  • Winter Holiday Get-Togethers
  • Hanami Parties
  • Halloween Costume Party
  • Valentine’s Day Formal
  • Sayonara Party
  • Other Home Country Holidays

Sports Events (to see)

  • Soccer Games
  • Baseball Games
  • Sumo Tournament
  • Race Car Driving

Sports Events (to host)

  • Bowling Tournaments
  • Bike Tours
  • Ski Weekends
  • Sports Days at the local park
  • AJET Games

All Occasions

  • Talent Shows
  • Quiz Nights
  • Camping Weekends
  • Mini-Film Festivals
  • Dance Parties (formal and informal)
  • Theme Costume Parties
  • Wacky Olympics / Sports Day

Fundraising Events

  • Any event can be a fundraiser if you charge a small entry fee, have a coin drive or sell raffle tickets for a prize
  • Set “Taboo” words at an event and suggest that attendees donate some change each time they say that word (works well at Pub Quizzes especially, total donation can factor into total points)
  • Challenges — with sponsors
  • Silent Auctions
  • Clothing Drives

Event Evaluation Sheet

Keeping a log of your events — with contact information for venues, any problems that you encountered, etc — and leaving it for your successor will be really useful. You may also learn something useful for future events.

Download a sheet like below in PDF form by clicking here (92KB).

Event Name:
Number of Participants:                                                 Event Date:
Venue Name / Contact Information:
Financial Information:
Venue Cost:
Other Costs:
Total Cost:
Ticket Price:
Other Revenue Sources:
Total Revenue:
Total Profit:
Proceeds going to Charity: ______________________________ or into AJET budget.
Description of Event:
Publicity for Event:
Successes:
Possible Improvements:
Other Notes:

 

Handing Over Your AJET Chapter

Be sure to give your successors the following items/information:
  • Chapter Postal Account Passbook (if you have one)
  • Chapter Hanko (if you have one)
  • Passwords to any listserves, e-mail accounts, or websites used by the council or add the new members as admins of your facebook group, etc.
  • Update any other AJET-related listserves, etc that are going to your personal e-mail account
  • Contact Information for your AJET National Council Block Representative
  • Any files, disks, or documents pertaining to annual events, expenses, etc
  • All receipts and other financial documentation
E-mail your Block Representative with the following information:
  • Contact information for all new Officers of your Prefectural Chapter – specify who the main contact will be for the next year
  • A brief update about the current state of your chapter
  • Check to be sure that there is any additional information they need from you

Helpful Tips & Hints

  • Set clear goals and make a plan and/or schedule for achieving them.
  • Don’t procrastinate! Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
  • Keep your Block Representative informed of what is going on in your prefecture.
  • Apply to be a Tokyo Orientation Assistant (TOA) in February. If you are chosen by CLAIR to attend conferences as a TOA, it will give you the chance to meet the new JETs when they come in and help them get comfortable with you. This way they will immediately identify you and AJET as a source of help and information while they are in Japan.
  • Contact your predecessor(s) at anytime. If you are experiencing problems or difficulties, more than likely s/he went through the same thing!
  • Get in touch with other local AJET Chapters in your block as early as possible and introduce your AJET Team. Make yourself approachable! A good relationship with nearby chapters will make it easier to plan inter-prefectural events.
  • Be sure to reach out to non-English speaking JETs.
  • Try to have a good relationship with your JET Prefectural Advisors.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed with AJET work. Ask for help when you need it.
  • Have fun!

 

Advice from Prefectural AJET Officers

National AJET has gathered some topical advice from Prefectural AJET leaders to give you a little perspective on issues that many AJET Chapters face. We currently cover:

  • What to do if there is currently no AJET Chapter in your Prefecture
  • How to help new JETs adjust to their new life on JET
  • How to get involved in charitable activities

Is there a topic that’s not included but that you have questions about? Do you have advice to offer other Prefectural AJET Chapters? Contact.

What to do if there is currently no AJET Chapter in your Prefecture

Tips for Starting a New AJET Chapter from Saitama
  • Get everyone’s email and start a mailing list.
  • Start a Facebook page as well.  The more people that like it, the more your events get spread to people’s inboxes.
  • Get help.  Start a prefectural council.  Easy divisions of labor from the start can be: Event planning and Communications.
  • Work with your block rep.  Ask them for ideas.
  • When you plan events, share them with your block.  You never know who will show up.

– Bryan Darr
Saitama AJET

Tips for Starting a New AJET Chapter from Chiba
  • Get in touch with people that can form a core team, try to consider geographic distribution, ease of transportation, and different skill sets/language abilities
  • Timing is key! Try starting around a major event like your prefectural orientation, where you can give a short presentation on what you would like to do, events ideas you’d like to plan, and how new JETs can get involved. If you can, get new JETs on your core team!
  • Create an events calendar for the year and schedule activities in advance. This will help you delegate tasks, advertise, organize, and avoid surprises (like finding out that your beach party is in the middle of tsuyu, or the rainy season).
  • Set up an email address or point of contact for your chapter. This way, even if the people running the chapter leave JET, somebody can inherit the account and useful information.
  • Try to have a clear understanding of what your chapter intends to do — volunteer work, social events, community networking, etc., as well as the people you’d like to get involved — JETs only, private ALTs, Japanese community members, and so on.

– Erica Nakanishi-Stanis
Chair, Chiba AJET

Tips for Writing an AJET Contract/Handbook from Fukuoka
  • Creating a handbook was necessary in Fukuoka because AJET reps weren’t clear on roles/responsibilities (what they were supposed to do) and chapter information wasn’t passed down through the years.
  • Recommendation: create a handbook so that new AJET reps are be able to know what to do beforehand instead of learning as they go (which can be difficult!)
  • Consider information you wish you had as a new AJET rep.
  • A handbook serves as a reference/guideline throughout the year.  Reps use it as a resource for creating a timeline, knowing who to contact when, etc
  • A written resource is a way to record past mistakes, learn from them, and improve.
  • Before writing, consult your PAs, check out other AJET chapters’ websites, ask JETs from other kens about their AJET chapter and what they do.
  • Don’t try to model your handbook/contract exactly after another prefecture’s.  Think about what works in your prefecture and what doesn’t.  Then try to shape everything into something that fits your prefecture.
  • Check out any papers you can find from your AJET chapter in the past.
  • To help make a handbook/contract official, tell people what you’re working on, ask for edits and advice about what to include (maybe you missed something).
  • Also, try to use a professional-looking logo (Fukuoka AJET just used the Fukuoka JET logo that resembles a torii gate).
  • People will be impressed if you go through the effort of writing something substantial to benefit your local AJET chapter so making it ‘official’ won’t be a huge challenge.
  • What to include: a welcome message for new reps, AJET explanation, National AJET explanation, what your AJET chapter will do/does over the year, possibly a brief summary of your prefectural chapter, position descriptions, AJET rep application (if you have one), event planning guide.
  • Make sure the handbook is updated at least annually to avoid information being lost and having to start over.

Download the Fukuoka AJET Handbook to see a sample.
-Amelia Hagen
Fukuoka AJET Prefectural Representative

How to help new JETs adjust to their new life on JET

  • The Kumamoto AJET Sempai/Kohai Program
  • The Masuda Homestay Program
The Kumamoto AJET Sempai/Kohai Program

Four years ago the Kumamoto AJET team decided we needed a stronger support program for our new JETs. The welcome events were fun, and well attended, but that didn’t show a new JET how to use their washing machine or where to buy new lightbulbs, etc.

The first year we asked for volunteers who would be a sempai to the incoming JETs and we sent a note in their welcome packet explaining the program. About 20 Sempai signed up and just 14 incomers, or Kohai. Our informative little flyer had gotten lost in the mix.

Over the last few years there have been quite a few improvements and here is how it works today:

1) In June a request is sent to current JETs who will be available during the arrival periods. We include a list of commonly asked questions and requests from new JETs to help prepare our Sempai.

2) Sempai are primarily assigned geographically, to provide the most specific advice, but special sempai are also available for JETs of Asian Decent, JETs of African Decent, LGBTQ JETs, Vegetarian and Vegan JETs, and JETs with Spouses/Family.

3) Every new JET is assigned a Sempai, they receive a phone number and email address at Tokyo Orientation and they can choose to contact the sempai if/when they want some help, advice, or a friend to hang out with.

4) Kumamoto AJET keeps a list of all the assigned Sempai and in September/October we check in to make sure everything is going well with both Sempai and Kohai, so everyone feels they are a part of our JET Community.

– Suzy Lee Ogata
Kumamoto AJET

The Masuda Homestay Program
[Coming Soon]

How to get involved in charitable activities

  • Starting Smile Kids Japan Visits
  • Creating an AJET Scholarship
Starting Smile Kids Japan Visits

See the Smile Kids Japan website for a complete guide to finding/contacting an orphanage, preparing for your first visit, activity suggestions and more.

Creating an AJET Scholarship
  • Starting a scholarship for students in your prefecture who wish to study abroad is a really time-consuming activity. Creating a position on the council that is responsible for keeping the scholarship on track helped keep us organized.
  • Start planning early. Unless you already have tons of AJET cash lying around, you’ll need time to raise money plus time to get application materials ready and spread the word. I would recommend giving yourself 1-1.5 years from the idea to giving away your first scholarship.
  • Figure out logistics. Who is eligible to apply? How much money can you realistically raise and give away in one year? What criteria will applicants be judged on? Figure out the details and create info packs and applications in English and Japanese. You can see the Nara AJET Scholarship materials as a sample.
  • Get support from a Japanese administrator. Even if you can’t get the BoE to officially endorse your scholarship, you can probably find someone supportive who can give you advice. In Nara, we were lucky that the Japanese PA for SHS ALTs at the Institute for Educational Research was really helpful. She gave us time to talk at Mid-Year Seminar, always talks about the scholarship during her annual meeting with SHS ALT supervisors, brainstorms with us to come up with options for promoting the scholarship, etc. Keep asking around until you find someone willing to get involved at some level.
  • Give schools as long as possible between distributing the scholarship and the application deadline. I recommend doing your first push for the scholarship at the beginning of the school year in April and then again in August/September when new JETs arrive with the application due in January. Everyone is busy, so you need plenty of time to get the okay to distribute the materials and for teachers to write recommendations.
  • Advertise any way possible — ask JETs to tell their students, give out information at speech contests or anywhere students likely to study abroad will be, get it in the ALT newsletter if you have one and ask any JETs who contribute to a school/community newsletter to mention it, etc. etc.
  • Fund-raising for the scholarship is a big commitment every year. We decided that we didn’t want to rely on direct donations from JETs, so we focus on fundraising through events. By working really hard to keep our costs as low as possible, we were able to meet our fundraising goals and keep dues and the entry price of our events about the same as before the scholarship. We did add some extra fundraising, such as coin drives at MYS, raffles, etc that we didn’t do before.
  • Make sure your scholarship winners report back to you! We ask that any students who win the scholarship send us a postcard while they’re abroad and write a short essay in English about what they learned by studying abroad and a picture that we can share with all Nara JETs. Seeing the results of our fundraising keeps everyone motivated and its always fun to see what they thought about their experience abroad!

– Kat Kovacs
Nara AJET