AJET Connect Magazine April 2014

The April AJET Connect is ready to download!

April 2014 AJET Connect

The second-to-last issue of Connect is one of our best ever! Aside from a smorgasbord of wedding food, fashion, culture, and etiquette for when that young teacher or friend invites you to their special day, the April edition features tons of great Spotlight subjects, a jam-packed Sports section, an update on JETs Rally for Tohoku, information on donating blood in Japan, and plenty more!

Don’t forget to send us your questions, comments, advice, Spotlight nominations, event dates, photos, haiku, and (most of all) your stories about life in this little island country we call home. Enjoy the issue, and we’ll see you in May.

April 2014 issue of AJET Connect (41MB PDF)

Connect Reader Poll #9

Every month, we’ll ask you guys what you think about various topics and questions submitted by members of the AJET community. You can find the results for last month’s question, and this month’s question in the April issue!

Cast your vote and add your voice at ajet.net. You can also submit your own idea for a poll topic at connect.editor@ajet.net!

Planet Eigo and Foxy Phonics Giveaway

National AJET produces two amazing classroom resources for JETs. Planet Eigo is a fully bilingual teaching resource of comprehensive lesson plans, activities and helpful tips on effective instruction. Foxy Phonics is a series of fun phonics activities designed to improve your students’ pronunciation and understanding of the English language. Click here to learn more about the National AJET publications.

National AJET will be giving away one set of these books to one lucky JET or former JET in each of the National AJET blocks. You must join your block’s Facebook group in order to enter and win. If you’re not yet a member of your block’s Facebook group, click on the proper link below and your friendly block representative will approve you. Then, make a comment on the official giveaway post to enter. Sorry, but only those currently living in Japan are eligible to win. The giveaway ends on April 7th and winners will be announced on April 10th. Good luck!

AJET Block 1 (Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Akita)
AJET Block 2 (Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Niigata)
AJET Block 3 (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Nagano)
AJET Block 4 (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Shizuoka, Yamanashi)
AJET Block 5 (Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Gifu, Aichi)
AJET Block 6 (Shiga, Kyoto, Hyogo)
AJET Block 7 (Mie, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama)
AJET Block 8 (Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, Kochi)
AJET Block 9 (Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi)
AJET Block 10 (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita)
AJET Block 11 (Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Okinawa)


  • You must be a current or former JET.
  • You must be a member of the AJET Block page and reside within that respective Block.
  • You must comment on the giveaway post within the block group. Any comment is okay, just say “hi” or how excited you would be to win. Remember that only comments on the official AJET Block group will be counted as valid entries.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • You must be willing to share your address with the AJET National Council so that we can mail the prizes to you. You will only be asked for this information if you win.

2014–2015 AJET Elections Results

AJET is proud to introduce the 2014–2015 AJET National Council.

Executive Council


Vice Chair


2013sandy.jpg 2013xan.jpg 2013aaron.jpg
Sandy Cheng Xan Wetherall Aaron Gilling

CIR Representative

Rochelle Zheng

Block Representatives

Block 1

Taylor Read

Block 2

Matthew Headland

Block 3

Chris Low

Block 4

Patrick Loyer

Block 5

Derek Gumb

Block 6

Ashlie O’Neill

Block 7

Kevin Chen

Block 8

Casey McGarraugh

Block 9

Dustin Reimer

Block 10

Emily Maitland

Block 11

Tka Tyne

Congratulations to the candidates on being elected by your peers on the JET Programme. We look forward to the good work you will do for JETs and Japan. The 2014–2015 AJET National Council will officially take office on June 1st, 2014. Until then they will be in close contact with their predecessors preparing to represent and support the JET community. If you have any questions or comments for the incoming Council, please send them to the current Vice Chair, Martin Barry, and he will make sure that your concerns reach the appropriate individual. If you are interested to find out more about the election results and voting numbers, please contact us at exec@ajet.net.

Please find a break-down of the election results below.

Executive Council


75% Sandy Cheng
25% John Tastepe

Vice Chair

100% Xan Wetherall


100% Aaron Gilling

CIR Representative

51% Rochelle Zheng
49% Christopher Orr

Block Representatives

Block 1

53% Taylor Read
30% Jeffrey Lowther
13% Amanda Marcroft
02% Brianna Hom

Block 2

100% Matthew Headland

Block 3

100% Chris Low

Block 4

100% Patrick Loyer

Block 5

100% Derek Gumb

Block 6

66% Ashlie O’Neill
34% Orrin Heath

Block 7

100% Kevin Chen

Block 8

44% Casey McGarraugh
25% Peter Liang
21% Zandra Gilmore
10% Kevin Howard

Block 9

100% Dustin Reimer

Block 10

42% Emily Maitland
31% Martyn Jasinski
27% Wesley Bishop

Block 11

52% Tka Tyne
48% Taylor Gentry

New Schedule for Appointed Positions

The National AJET Appointed Positions are for JETs with the special skills necessary to keep our dynamic community running smoothly. The available positions are described below.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 18th.
Results will be announced in April.

Website Coordinator

The Website Coordinator designs, manages, and updates the AJET website. Other duties include IT support for the AJET National Council, managing e-mails, backing up the database, and finding web, hardware, and software solutions for AJET.

Online Publications Editor

The Online Publications Editor is in charge of AJET’s community publications, primarily AJET’s monthly magazine, AJET Connect. This involves managing magazine content, actively seeking and screening new contributors, and determining AJET’s publication schedule.

Head of Visual Media

The Head of Visual Media is responsible for presenting a consistent image of AJET both in printed and digital media. One goal is to keep the clean, current look while adding a warm and inviting feel to AJET publications.

The Translation and Interpreting Coordinator

The Translation and Interpreting Coordinator is responsible for making AJET-related materials available in Japanese. This position translates content for the AJET website and Connect magazine. This position works together with a group of volunteer translators and interpreters as well as native Japanese speakers.

Please see Application Rules and Guidelines for information about the application process. If you have any questions, please contact the Vice Chair, Martin Barry.

Connect After JET Conference issue now online!

Whether you’re leaving this year, or signed on for another, the After Jet Conference special edition of Connect is for you! Departing JETs can join Eden Law in exploring the intricacies of post-JET life with the goodwill ambassadors that make up the different world-wide JET Alumni Associations, or reminisce with their fellow leavers in a sound-off interview about favorite JET memories! Not going anywhere yet? Check out our selection of must-visit places across Japan to top up your bucket list! There’s something for every JET in this special edition of Connect!

Temple University Distinguished Lecturer Series

There are two upcoming lectures from Temple University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series that may be of help to JETs. Through this series, the general public can attend the first three hours of each seminar (Saturday session from 14:00 to 17:00) completely free of charge. You can also audit the entire seminar for a fee.

Dr. Kazuya Saito (Waseda University): Teaching and Researching Second Language Speech

  • Temple University Tokyo, February 15-16
  • Temple University Osaka March 1st-2nd

Dr. Rob Waring (Notre Dame Seishin University): Extensive Reading and Listening and the Foreign Language Curriculum

  • Temple University Tokyo, February 22-23
  • Temple University Osaka March 15-16

For more information on the seminars and how to attend, please visit the Temple University Japan website.

Don’t forget!
Through National AJET’s partnership with Temple University Japan, we have become an official “Friend of TUJ”. All JETs can receive 10% off tuition in the Continuing Education program. For more information on how the partnership works and how you can get the discount, please see the Friend of TUJ Discount Program.

PSG Recruitment 2014–2015

The AJET Peer Support Group (PSG), the JET community’s overnight telephone support and referral service, is seeking new volunteers for the 2014–2015 JET year. JET participants who will be reappointed for another year and who are interested in volunteering several nights per month to the service may get further information, or request an application, by contacting Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Huntley. Applications will be distributed and accepted through 16 March 2014. JET participants of all backgrounds are welcome to apply. Prior training in counseling or psychology is not required. Many more details about applications, and what we’re looking for in applicants, may be found on the PSG Volunteer Applications page.

The Peer Support Group is a confidential and anonymous listening and referral service that operates every night of the year from 20:00 until 07:00. Trained JET participant volunteers are available every night of the year to assist with anything from a confusing rice cooker to some major culture shock. Contact us at 050-5534-5566, or on Skype at username “AJETPSG.” However, please do not contact the phone line with recruiting-related inquiries.

Question Quest Giveaway

Question Quest PosterAJET will soon be giving away new and awesome teaching resources starting February 11th!

Have you heard of Question Quest: The Language Card Game?

Unlike Crazy-Eight or Go-Fish style language learning card games where English communication is peripheral to gameplay, Question Quest was designed with conversation as its core component, and with lovers of fantasy, comic books, and card games firmly in mind. With its amazing art and strategic gameplay, Question Quest breaks the wall between education and entertainment. This game is one of those rare educational products students look forward to using in and out of class.

We will be giving away one box of the game to one lucky JET (or former JET) in each of the National AJET blocks. You must join your block group on Facebook to enter to win. Haven’t joined yet? Click the proper link below and your friendly block representative will approve you. Sorry, but only those living in Japan can win.

AJET Block 1 (Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Akita)
AJET Block 2 (Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Niigata)
AJET Block 3 (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Nagano)
AJET Block 4 (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Shizuoka, Yamanashi)
AJET Block 5 (Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Gifu, Aichi)
AJET Block 6 (Shiga, Kyoto, Hyogo)
AJET Block 7 (Mie, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama)
AJET Block 8 (Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, Kochi)
AJET Block 9 (Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi)
AJET Block 10 (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita)
AJET Block 11 (Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Okinawa)

AJET Connect Magazine February 2014

As the cover suggests, the February issue does feature articles about those warm fuzzy feelings of love. We discover readers’ favorite romantic spots in Japan, assure you that giri-choco isn’t all that bad, and look behind the science of attraction. However, the issue isn’t purely Valentine’s-focused! We also have an in-depth look at the ‘tradition’ of Japanese unpaid overtime, a CrossConnect review of Sukiyabashi Jiro, and an interview with Ben Martin, author of the Samurai Awakening series of novels. Find these features, Spotlights, editorials, photos, haiku and more inside the pages of the February edition!

AJET Connect Magazine September 2013

The September issue of Connect sees the debut of Connect’s new features: the Reader Poll, Ask/Connect questions, and the community Spotlight. We wanted to bring more people into the magazine, and give you more ways to contribute than just photos and articles.

That doesn’t mean that this issue is lacking in great editorial content, though! Check it out for a look at Japan’s most famous rock festival, Fuji Rock, a breakdown of Abenomics, a guide to Okinawa, summer recipes, and much more!

Spring 2013 AJET Opinion Exchange Meeting


On May 12th and 13th, the Spring 2013 Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) Opinion Exchange Meeting was held in Tokyo. This is a biannual meeting between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA); the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT); the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR); and National AJET. The topics of discussion were: Reappointment and Retention; Professional Development for Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs); and the AJET National Council 2013 General Activities.

Reappointment and Retention
This report examines how JET participants approach, weigh, and resolve the decision to accept or decline reappointment offers based on a survey conducted among current and former JET participants. The report also aims to equip contracting organisations with the participants’ perspective regarding reappointment and retention. Additionally, this report presents recommendations for keeping effective participants employed on the JET Programme longer and for motivating participants to complete their terms of appointment. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.

Professional Development of Coordinators for International Relations
This report focuses on current JET Programme CIRs who engage in all manner of international exchange activities in government offices, international centres and other organisations throughout Japan. This report voices CIRs’ opinions on existing JET-affiliated professional development opportunities and makes suggestions for future services. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.

AJET National Council 2013 General Activities
This general activities report details the 2012-2013 National Council’s activities, accomplishments, and accounts. This report encompasses a summary of all council work throughout the year, examining both those goals set and successfully achieved as well as areas for future improvement and reassessment. This report was presented to facilitate dialogue for improving and bettering existing service and support systems for all JET participants. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.

After the presentation and opinion exchange of the aforementioned three reports, time was allocated for open discussion, based on the theme of ‘Networking for Life after JET’. The following represents a summary of this discussion:

  • With regards to the issue of ‘Networking for Life after JET’, the Ministries, CLAIR, and AJET all agree that this is important to continue to promote to JET participants. Many social networking avenues already exist and are very active among JET alumni for the purpose of maintaining connections and networking, including opportunities for both online and face to face interactions.
  • The Ministries, CLAIR and AJET expressed a desire to increase professional networking opportunities through the JET Programme Alumni Association (JETAA), various other alumni programmes, chapters or associations, ambassador-type initiatives and other avenues. AJET will consider more ways to encourage participants leaving the Programme to maintain ties with Japan, such as through sister-city relationships, embassy or JETAA chapter events, kenjin-kai (prefectural associations) or other JET-affiliated, senior-junior networking programmes such as the JETAA Tokyo mentorship programme.
  • By utilising these avenues and participating in more initiatives, JET Programme alumni can positively promote Japan and their experiences on the Programme, using both the personal and professional networks they developed while in Japan.

The Spring 2013 AJET Opinion Exchange Meeting was another successful opportunity for discussion and opinion exchange between CLAIR and the Ministries that oversee the JET Programme and AJET. National AJET would like to express its sincere appreciation to MIC, MOFA, MEXT and CLAIR for their continued support of, participation in and contributions to these biannual meetings, and for acknowledging the valuable role such opinion exchanges have in ensuring the continued success of the JET Programme.

In Tokyo – Professor Ian Neary of University of Oxford to give a taster lecture on Contemporary Japanese Politics

Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford – lecture and information session

Professor Ian Neary, Director of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford will be in Tokyo to give a taster lecture on Contemporary Japanese Politics. This will be followed by a presentation on studying Japanese at Oxford, and Q&A with alumni.

The session is a chance for all those interested in the study of Japan to experience a lecture by a leading specialist in Japanese politics and to find out more about studying Japanese and about Japan at Oxford University.

Date/Time: Thursday 16 May 2013 19.00-20.30

Venue: UF Building (Hall or Seminar Room)
Sanbancho UF Building 1F, 6-3 Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Please book your place by e-mail at info@oxfordujapan.org under the heading “Japanese Studies”. There is no deadline but we would appreciate your early booking.

Lecture: Contemporary Japanese Politics
When the DPJ won the election in 2009 after almost 60 years of the LDP being in power, many thought that this change in government would herald a new era in the political landscape of Japan. Yet three years later the DPJ were soundly defeated in the following election, and the LDP under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been subsequently enjoying very high levels of public support. In this lecture Professor Ian Neary will examine the significance of the 2012 elections and its outcomes. He will also offer an analysis of the performance of Abe so far and focus on the implications of the election on both domestic and foreign policy in Japan. The lecture will be held in English.

Professor Ian Neary
Professor Ian Neary is the Director of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and has been working in Oxford since 2004, before which he was a professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Essex. His research has mainly been focused on Japanese political and social history in the twentieth century, particularly the experience of Buraku communities in the process of industrialisation and modernisation. He has also worked on industrial policy, in particular the pharmaceutical industry, on broader issues relating to human rights in East Asia, and contemporary Japanese politics. He is the author of “The State and Politics in Japan”.

Japanese Studies at Oxford University
Japanese has been taught as a degree subject at Oxford University since 1963, and has grown rapidly in recent years. Today the University is a major national and international centre for the study of Japan offering courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and opportunities for research with some of the world’s leading academics in the field. Courses are taught in both the Oriental Institute which is home to the BA Hons degree course, and the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, which offers both an MSc and an MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies. There are also opportunities for doctoral research in both humanities and social science.

The Nissan Institute was established in 1981 with a generous benefaction from the Nissan Motor Co. Ltd and and since has become one of the major centres in the world for the study of modern Japan. Oxford University is also home to several important Japanese collections in its renowned museums and libraries.

If you have questions, please contact Mayumi Azuma at the University of Oxford Japan Office
Tel 03-3264-0236 – mayumi.azuma@oxfordujapan.org