Meet the Team

Connect magazine is happy to announce its new team for the 2016-2017 year. These men and women will be working hard to bring you useful, interesting content to help connect you to Japan and the community no matter where you are. Read their profiles and contact information below!

Production Staff

“Tim

Tim Saar


Head Editor

Hey there, thanks for visiting our beloved magazine! I’m Tim, the Head Editor of Connect and a second-year ALT living in a tiny farm town in Gifu Prefecture. I have a degree in Print Journalism from West Virginia University in the United States, with a minor in Japanese. It’s my job to make sure everything stays on track around here — but with a team as stellar as ours, it’s an easy job. I like to play video games and cook when I’m not traveling. And when I’m traveling, I like to scuba dive and read!

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Lilian Diep

Lilian Diep


Assistant Head Editor

Hello hello!
My name is Lilian, and I am currently residing in the lovely (if not rural) Toyama Prefecture, pleasure to meet you! I have a major in English, minor in Japanese, a TESOL certificate, and a never ending thirst for terrible jokes and puns. I’m always looking for new music recommendations as I while away at my desk and constantly am checking my messages (and the perpetual supply of internet memes on my phone, shh!). If you have anything you’d like to submit to our lovely magazine or have any questions, feel free to contact me!

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Ashley Hirasuna

Ashley Hirasuna


Head Designer

My name is Ashley Hirasuna and I live/work in Ishikawa Prefecture (aka not Tokyo or anywhere super famous but still awesome). I majored in architecture but my ultimate goal is to build a career in graphic design. I am a second year ALT with hobbies that include traveling, drinking, taking photos, talking with people (subsequently followed by forgetting their names) and making unnecessary complicatedly designed cards/worksheets/things in general. Call me a busy-body if you will, or the ultimate bachelor, because why clean when you can design cool things.

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Leia Atkinson

Leia Atkinson


Assistant Designer

My name is Leia Atkinson, and I’m a second year Tokyo JET. I have a master’s in cultural anthropology, where I conducted research on Japanese youth problems and Tokyo’s Lolita fashion. Right now I’m studying design in Shibuya, and I’m hoping to build a career that connects Japan, social problems, and design in the future. My hobbies include attending design exhibits, visiting places that Natsume Soseki used to hang out, taking photos, and studying Japanese. As one of the assistant designers for Connect, I’m excited to work with our team to produce something beautiful for all of you.

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Amy Elizabeth Brown

Amy Elizabeth Brown


Copy Editor

Hello everyone! I’m Amy, a first year JET based in Hyogo Prefecture. I’m from England, and I studied Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. I’m one of Connect’s copy editors, which I’m super happy about because I’m a massive grammar nerd. I’m passionate about writing and folklore, and I blog in my spare time. Aside from that, I enjoy photography and attempting to play my guitar. I’m also passionate about mushipan (especially the cheese kind!)

It’s an honour to be part of the Connect team, and I look forward to reading your wonderful submissions!

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Korellia Schneider

Korellia Schneider


Copy Editor

Hello! I happen to share the same name as Han Solo’s native planet, but in daily life, I go by Korri. I am a Copy Editor for Connect, meaning I get to bust out my magnifying glass every month to search for sneaky typos and give each issue a bit of added shine. I hail from Minnesota in the States, but I am now on my fourth year as an ALT living in Miyagi Prefecture. Being in Japan, traveling is, of course, a most enjoyable pastime. My heart also palpitates for cats, karaoke, and vegan cuisine.

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News & Events

Kelsey Noelle Lechner

Kelsey Noelle Lechner


News Editor

What’s up! I’m Kelsey, a 2nd year CIR/PA in Tochigi, hailing from its sister state of Indiana in the US, and have a passion for animal (including human) rights. Since I have no cornfields being ravaged by tornadoes to keep me company in Japan, here I keep myself busy with volunteering, calligraphy, aikido, and belly dance (I assume it goes without saying that I also love traveling and eating).

My goal is to keep y’all informed about the most important news in Japan, and here’s to you enlightening me with the stories you want heard as well!



Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill


Events Editor

Hey everyone! I’m Lauren, a first year ALT from the UK headed to Kunitachi, Tokyo, where you’ll find me excessively photographing cherry blossoms along Daigaku Dori. I studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester, and in my time off I’m working on becoming the next Chuck Palahniuk. Melon bread as big as my face is the main reason I’m here, but when I’m not getting barred from conibinis everywhere I’m on the lookout for weird, wonderful, underrepresented events. Big or small, if there’s something happening near you I want to hear about it!



Arts & Culture

Annamarie Carlson

Annamarie Carlson


Culture Editor

Hello! My name is Annamarie, and I am currently a second year ALT in the lovely little city of Shimada, Shizuoka. I am most recently from the beautiful city of Flagstaff, Arizona, where I was studying for my degrees in Theatre and English. It’s pretty hard to compete with being an hour away from the Grand Canyon, but I am loving all of the amazing experiences Japan has to offer. I am excited to be a co-editor of the Culture section for Connect this year, and look forward to reading all of your submissions!



Michael Sosnick

Michael Sosnick


Culture Editor

Hi, I’m Mike, a first-year JET in Kobe from New York. I’m amped to learn all I can about the esoteric, shocking, and astoundingly mundane bits of this country as co-editor of the Culture section.
You can often catch me complaining, whether it be about music, sports, weather, politics, or small portions. Working with Connect is going to be a blast, though, and I’m excited to share that uncharacteristic enthusiasm with you!



Travis Shaver

Travis Shaver


Entertainment Editor

I’m Travis, a first year ALT placed in Niigata Prefecture. Though a native Delawarean, I recently graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with degrees in Music Education and Music Performance. A self-professed nerd, I love my Apple electronics and my (geeky) hobbies. In my free-time, you can find me obsessing or stressing about a number of things like playing the clarinet, ethnomusicological research, reading, seeing and learning about as much as I can, and thinking about just how much I’m not being productive.



Sabrina Zirakzadeh

Sabrina Zirakzadeh


Entertainment Editor

I’m Sabrina, a fifth-year expat performer from Colorado now living in the exciting city of Osaka! I am absolutely thrilled to be Entertainment Editor for Connect for the second year.
In addition to editing for Connect, I freelance as a travel and pop culture writer for multiple online publications, and work as English staff at Kinki University. I also serve as Japan’s Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month and perform with local theater groups. For fun, I enjoy traveling, dancing, and going to as many concerts and stage shows as possible! Here’s to a great year at Connect!


Erica Grainger

Erica Grainger


Fashion Editor

Greetings everyone! I’m Erica Grainger, 5th year Australian JET living in Iwaki City, Fukushima. I’m excited to be returning for a 3rd time as Fashion and Beauty editor.

I’ve always had a passion for fashion, but Japan offers eye-opening opportunities for everyone to enjoy fashion as a form of self-expression. Fashion is for everyone, not the elite! As Coco Chanel lamented, “Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”. So, feel free to submit any fashion or beauty ideas, tips or experiences to me.



Roxanne Ghezzi

Roxanne Ghezzi


Fashion Editor

Hey there! I’m Roxanne, a second-year JET living in small, rural Gero City in Gifu Prefecture. I graduated from Florida State University in the United States with a degree in English in Editing, Writing, and Media. My minors were Japanese and Education.

I’m from the fabulous Miami, Florida. When I’m home, I love long walks on the beach and horseback riding! I also enjoy painting, video games, musical scores, shopping the latest trends, and cat memes. I’m super excited to start my first year as co-fashion editor! Let’s have a great year!



Lifestyle

Pameline Kang

Pameline Kang


Health & Nutrition Editors

Hello! I’m Pameline, a first year Singaporean ALT based at Ishikawa Prefecture. I majored in Mass Communications at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Coming from a family of medical professionals, I grew up surrounded with graphic medical literature and listening to medical case discussions between my parents! Too bad my passion is in the media. Sorry folks!

I am also weirdly OBSESSED with cats and am a professional cat molester.

Got great tips to stay fit and healthy? Come share your ideas and articles with the Health & Nutrition team!


Jess Williams

Jess Williams


Health & Nutrition Editors

Hi! I’m Jess. I’m a first year ALT hailing from the UK. I’m based in Yamaguchi, the Australia of Japan! I’m a Creative Writing and Japanese Graduate from the University of Central Lancashire. I’m looking forward to working with the magazine and make this new section fun and interesting. (Don’t worry though foodies, as there will still be recipes featured!) I love reading, cats and eating, so you will mostly likely find me in a cat café doing all three!

We are always on the lookout for new content so drop us an email anytime!


Dylan

Dylan Brain


Travel Editor

Hello, Hello. I’m Dylan, a first year ALT all the way from the UK and I will be ‘finding myself’ in the beautiful Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture. I am a recent History graduate from the University of Nottingham and aside from boring my pals with the intricacies of Edo diplomacy, you’ll either find me taking photos of old stuff or destroying 80s power ballads at karaoke! I am looking forward to working with the team at Connect and collaborating with you guys to produce some incredible articles.


Lara Bigotti

Lara Bigotti


Travel Editor

Hey everyone, thanks for reading Connect! I’m Lara and I live in the capital of Shimane Prefecture, Matsue. I’m a second year JET from Virginia and I adore life in rural Japan. I graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s in English and a TEFL Certificate. Connect Magazine took me on this year because I have a passion for hearing stories of your travels – got any good ones? I dream of one day owning a farm and teaching yoga. Find me with kindle and GoPro in hand. I’m a student in the school of loving life.


Community

Subane Abdi

Subane Abdi


Sports Editor

Hey everyone! My name is Subane Abdi and I’m a first year JET from the UK, going to the land of Lake Biwa; Omihachiman in Shiga Prefecture.
I am an avid basketballer as well as an all-round traveller, always on the go. Not constrained only to basketball, I hope to partake in all sports Japan has to offer.
As one of your new sports editors, alongside Emma, we will endeavour to bring to you the very best Japan has to offer on the sporting scene. So get involved and let us hear what sporting exploits you get into.

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Emma Riley

Emma Riley


Sports Editor

Hi, I’m Emma and I am a first year ALT based in Tokyo. I was born in New York City but was raised in California. I studied Philosophy, music and Italian at Columbia University in New York, so the next obvious step was to move to Japan! When I’m not running or training for an upcoming race, you can find me trying to play guitar, traveling, swimming, shopping, or eating my way through the city. I’m hoping to have an active year (and eventually find a bar in Tokyo to watch the Warriors games). Subane and I can’t wait to hear your athletic ventures, whether you’re on a team or going on solo hiking escapades, we want to hear them all!

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Joshua Francis

Joshua Francis


Community Editor

I’m Josh, a first year JET in Okayama. I am from England, and graduated from the University of Winchester with a combined honours degree in Law and Creative Writing. I am an experienced copy writer, an avid gamer, a crochet-fanatic, and anything else that can keep me occupied. I will be part of your community team and I am eager to connect with you guys in the JET community and tell your stories.

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Marissa Beale

Marissa Beale


Community Editor

Hello! My name is Marissa and I’m a first-year ALT living in Hokkaido, Japan. There’s roughly 90,000 residents in my city, which gets a lot of snow during the winter. But it’s fairly close to lots of great skiing as well. Before becoming an ALT, I was a freelancer at a small paper in hometown in Virginia. Now that I’m here, I look forward to reading your stories what’s happening around Japan!

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Social Media

Abbie Philpott

Abbie Philpott


Social Media Manager

Hiya! I’m Abbie, a second year ALT from the UK living in the Nagasaki inaka. It’s a world away from Tokyo but it has its own charm and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else!
Farrah and I will be tag teaming as Connects social media wizards (witches?) this year so please follow @AJETConnect on your favourite social media sites to stay up to date with all things AJET and Japan related!

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Farrah Hasnain

Farrah Hasnain


Social Media Manager

Hey, everyone! I’m Farrah. This year, Abbie and I will “connect” you to everything Connect has to offer, including compelling articles and adorable gifs!
I’m a city girl from Washington, DC who has been living it up near Mount Fuji for about two years now. My duty as Social Media & Public Relations Chair is to spread awareness about cool things happening in Japan and our beloved magazine. My hobbies include traveling, gaming, and fangirling over J-pop and K-pop idols.
Thanks for supporting Connect, and if you haven’t already, please follow us @AJETConnect to keep up with our latest endeavors!

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Homepage

Jennifer Sherman

Jennifer Sherman


Homepage Editor

Greetings! This will be my first year with Connect, and I’ll be one of your rockin’ Homepage Editors along with Emma. I hail from Ohio, where it’s always a good morning (get it?). Very rural Mie has been my home for four years. Emma and I are looking to freshen up the website with exciting new content, so share your ideas with us!

When I’m not scouring the Internet for kindling to stoke my literary fire, I’m reading fantasy novels. I also love anime and animals.

I look forward to collaborating with you all!

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Jennifer Sherman

Emma Hanashiro


Homepage Editor

My name is Emma Hanashiro and I have the honor and pleasure of serving as Homepage Co-Editor along with Jennifer. Starting this August I will be a first year Tokyo ALT. In my leisure time, I can be found reading manga, jotting story ideas on the back of receipts, or loitering at conbini. Other than the above, you can be sure I’ll be working hard on the Homepage or studying Japanese!

If you have anything you want to see on the Connect Homepage, please, please contact us using the email address below! Can’t want to hear from you!

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National AJET