Meet the Team

Connect magazine is happy to announce its new team for the 2019-2020 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!

Head Editorial Team

Head Editorial Team | Section Editors | Design and Layout | Social Media | Copy Editors

Alice Ridley

Alice Ridley


Head Editor |

Kia ora, I’m Alice Ridley a second year ALT currently hanging out in the mighty cabbage patch Gunma or the bellybutton of Japan. Last year I had the joy of being the community Section Editor but now I have moved onto bigger and better things! I am proud to be the Head Editor for 2019-2020! The land I call home is Aotearoa (New Zealand), Otautahi (Christchurch). Otautahi is located in the south (the far superior) island, it is a must visit for keen world travellers! Here in Japan I am keen member of my local expat community in Gunma. In my free time I am found hiking up Gunma mountains, seeking plant based eats and exploring other areas of Japan. Here to create an awesome magazine with the following team and our exceptional contributors. If you are interested in having your writing in Connect, I would love to hear from you!
Hannah Lukow

Hannah Lukow


Assistant Editor |

Hey y’all. My name is Hannah, a second-year gaijin, first-year ALT in Gunma Prefecture. Originally from upstate New York, I’ve spent chunks of my life in North Carolina, France, and Senegal. Somewhere along the way I got an English degree, which I am determined to use (are you reading this, mom?). From scrapping together zines on my kitchen floor to editing campus literary journals, I have always loved magazines for their ability unite disperse communities and start conversations. My other hobbies include meditating, bothering elected officials, and sharing wholesome memes.
Rhe Baquero

Rhe Baquero


Head Web Editor |

Hey, y’all! I’m Rhema from Texas. I am a second year ALT in the great port city of Kobe. I have a M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism, and I worked as a reporter, editor and multimedia teacher before moving to Japan. This year, I transitioned to Head Website Editor, but will continue as an Assistant Designer as well. I love reading, writing, drawing, sewing, photography, superheroes, rugby and COFFEE. I look forward to spending my time traveling and continuing to improve my Japanese.

Section Editors

Head Editorial Team | Section Editors | Design and Layout | Social Media | Copy Editors

Rachel Fagundes

Rachel Fagundes


Entertainment |

Hello! I’m Rachel a third year ALT and entertainment editor of [[CONNECT]]. Originally from California, I was previously the associate editor of Tachyon Publications, and taught a Lit class at UCSC on ethics and social justice in the Harry Potter novels. I’m very fond of comic books, fantasy novels, the Italian Renaissance, and Japanese Festivals. I’m also very excited to be this year’s entertainment editor! So let’s dive right into the wonderful events, strange experiences, and unique entertainment of Japan!
Linka Wade

Linka Wade


Events |

Hello! I’m Linka Wade, and I’m in charge of corralling great events from across Japan and putting them into the event calendar for you to enjoy. I’m from beautiful Monterey, California. I’m a 2nd year ALT living in the cabbage patch of Japan, Gunma Prefecture. I enjoy cooking, occasionally blogging, dragging my husband out to festivals, and not planning a wedding anymore. If you’ve heard of any great events coming up, be sure and let me know!
Devoni Guise

Devoni Guise


Fashion and Beauty |

Hello All. My name is Devoni and I am the 2019-2020 Beauty and Fashion Editor. I am a second year JET working, living and daydreaming in Saitama. This is my first time working with Connect Magazine and I am so excited to bring new takes on beauty and fashion in Japan. I am from Chicago, IL,USA. Before JET, I worked at drafting materials for The Smart Museum of Art,a great art museum located on the University of Chicago’s campus. In my free time I love gardening, creating art, and reading various nonfiction books. And of course, I’m really into beauty, fashion, and skincare. Follow me on Instagram at @protecthemelanin to keep up with all my discoveries in skincare, beauty and health.
Caroline Allen

Caroline Allen


Wellness |

Hi! I’m Caroline, a first year ALT from Ireland, living in Tottori prefecture. I’ll be helping with the wellness section of this year’s Connect. I love travelling, learning more about different cultures and art. I’m a huge bookworm, so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way! I really hope to meet everyone on this year’s team. I know wellness sounds a bit vague but I’m open to lots of different ideas; apps, mental health support, volunteering, keeping active or anything you think will enhance the wellness of JETs. Please send me your ideas!
Rashaad Jorden

Rashaad Jorden


Sports |

Hi! I’m Rashaad. I’m a JET ALT in Kochi Prefecture. Actually, this is not my first go around in the JET Program, having once worked in Yamagata Prefecture. I’m excited to be the sports section editor. It’s a fitting role for me, considering I have completed full marathons in Kochi City and Tokyo. I was also part of an ekiden team in Yamagata Prefecture. One of the reasons that I’m doing JET this time around is that I can be in the country during the Tokyo Olympics. Actually, the arrival of the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics means that this an exciting time for sports fans in Japan.

Aside from sports, I love taiko. I have been a member of taiko groups in both Yamagata and Kochi Prefectures.
Jessiete Amerila

Jessiete Amerila


Community |

Hi! My name is Jessiete (or you can call me Cal). I am a first-year JET ALT moving from Iloilo, the center of the Philippines, to Gifu, the center of Japan. Being a sucker for social gatherings and community events, I am thrilled to be this year’s editor for Connect’s community section. Aside from being a teacher and a writer, I am also an OG Potterhead and an avid fan of Friends. If you ever visit my apartment, find it empty of my mortal presence and see Bobby (my laptop) unoccupied, try checking a nearby kaiten sushi or a ramen restaurant; I am probably eating to my heart’s desire! I am also open for invitations on community events and willing to participate should my schedule permit me. Do you have one in mind? Or would you love to share your communal experiences in Japan? Email me and let’s talk!
Hoong Shao Ting

Hoong Shao Ting


Travel |

Hello! Shao Ting here, and I’m from the Little Red Dot, Singapore. I’m a multilingual language enthusiast who majored in Linguistics, and am hoping to put my language skills to good use as a first-year ALT in Ueda City, Nagano. When I’m not busy preaching about how amazing Language is, you can find me planning my next trip or blogging about my previous ones – I am happily crossing off my bucket list dedicated to the different parts of Japan by season. Drop me a line if you have some travel insights to share!
Valerie Osborne

Valerie Osborne


Arts |

Hi! My name is Valerie and I’m a second year SHS ALT in Fukuoka Prefecture. Originally from Pennsylvania, USA, my time so far in Japan has been full of great experiences and I’m excited to add CONNECT art section editor to the growing list of opportunities being on JET has given me. While my personal favorite medium is writing (hmu with your best poetry!), I enjoy all kinds of art and I’m excited to promote and share all the artistic endeavors the expat community in Japan has to offer! When I’m not busy teaching or desperately trying to figure out Japanese I enjoy reading novels, traveling, singing in the shower, and making ridiculously long Spotify playlists.
Tayler Skultety

Tayler Skultety


Culture |

Hey all, I’m a fourth year JET living in the historic prefecture of Nara. Originally from Victoria, B.C., Canada, this is my second year working with Connect. I love experiencing all facets of Japanese culture through food, performing arts, nature, literature, etc. Before coming to Japan I was a dedicated museum volunteer and am looking forward to shedding light on different cultural perspectives through Connect.
Natalie Andrews

Natalie Andrews


General Section |

Hey there, how’s it going? I’m Natalie, a first year ALT from Perth, Australia! My position at Connect is that of the General Section Editor, which means I go around scooping up stories and backing the Section Editors up alongside my co-GSE Jeff. I graduated with a double major in Japanese and Professional Writing & Publishing, both of which I’m hoping will serve me well in my position! I’m into a whole lot of nerd stuff like video games, anime, Gudetama, and fantasy novels (the Stormlight Archive series is insane!), and a whole lot of less-nerdy stuff like badminton and hiking—but my ultimate weakness is mochi ice-cream. If you have any ideas for an article, even if it’s just a vague thought in your head yet to take shape, shoot me an email and we can work on teasing that story out and sharing it with the world!
Jeffrey Rock

Jeffrey Rock


General Section |

Hello everyone! My name is Jeffrey Rock and I am a 3rd year ALT. I live in Tsuyama, Okayama prefecture with my wife and son. We are from Minnesota in the United States, so I am missing the abundance of lakes present in my previous home. My interests are very scattered and ever-changing, but I have always enjoyed cooking. As one of the general section editors at Connect Magazine this year I hope to help make this magazine informative, interesting and invigorating. If you have any project, piece or prepared work that you would like to contribute, please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any of the other wonderful editors at this magazine!

Design and Layout

Head Editorial Team | Section Editors | Design and Layout | Social Media | Copy Editors

Ashley Hirasuna

Ashley Hirasuna


Head of Design and Layout |

Hello everyone! Your friendly neighborhood Head Designer for Connect here saying that I’m super excited to be working on the magazine for another year! My name is Ashley Hirasuna and I’m a 5th year (a rare unicorn sighting) JET ALT living in the beautiful and never talked about Ishikawa Prefecture. I enjoy designing, drawing, drinking, traveling and complaining about how hot and humid Japan is in the summer. Connect has been a very important and vital part of my JET and Japan experience and I’m grateful to be able to share my passion for design with all of our readers and the wider expat community in Japan.
Rhe Baquero with Wings

Rhe Baquero


Assistant Designer

Hey, y’all! I’m Rhe from Texas. I am a second year ALT in the great port city of Kobe. I have a M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism, and I worked as a reporter, editor and multimedia teacher before moving to Japan. This year, I transitioned to Head Website Editor, but will continue as an Assistant Designer as well. I love reading, writing, drawing, sewing, photography, superheroes, rugby and COFFEE. I look forward to spending my time traveling and continuing to improve my Japanese.
Magdalene Kennedy

Magdalene Kennedy


Assistant Designer

Hello everyone! I’m a first year JET currently living in Miyazaki City, originally from Nashville, Tennessee. I majored in digital media and worked as a designer while in University, and I’m excited to use my experience in graphic design to be a part of the Connect Magazine team. I like art, photography, film, hiking, eating good food, and traveling, so I’m excited to continue to pursue those hobbies in Japan this year!

Social Media

Head Editorial Team | Section Editors | Design and Layout | Social Media | Copy Editors

Hannah Lysons

Magdalene Kennedy


Social Media |

Hi!! I’m Hannah and I’m a first year JET ALT from the UK living in the mighty cabbage patch of Gunma prefecture, in the tiny little village of Nanmoku. I’ll be helping to look after Connect’s social media pages and making sure you’re all kept up to date with all of the fantastic articles. In my free time I enjoy video editing, playing Animal Crossing, watching sports (mostly baseball) or just enjoying the beauty of the inaka that is Gunma. I’m excited to come together with everyone working on Connect and create content that you love!

Tayla-Paige Van-Sittert


Social Media |

Copy Editors

Head Editorial Team | Section Editors | Design and Layout | Social Media | Copy Editors

Damien Levi

Damien Levi


Copy Editor |

Tēnā koutou kato, hello everyone! My name is Damien and I’m from the country that’s most commonly left off maps, New Zealand. I’m a second year yet in a little known city called Tokyo. I’m one of the two copy editors this year and I’m looking forward to seeing if I’m still eigo jouzu. In my free time, I can be found out and about at a trivia night, arts event or finding all the best places to eat. At home when I’m not playing video games or watching my long list of tv shows, I’m trying to keep my dozens of plants alive or biking around my neighbourhood. Hit me up with any recommendations of places to eat! Cheers!
Isabelle Teo

Isabelle Teo


Copy Editor |

Hey all! I’m Isabelle, a second-year ALT from the sunny island, Singapore! I teach in elementary schools among the rice fields of Akita, and I’m delighted to put my Masters in English (Creative Writing) to good use as one of your copy editors. I love any sort of story so if you have any book recommendations or heck, if you’ve written something and want a reader – hit me up!
AJET