Meet your 2011-2012 KumAJET Representatives:


Oh look, a squirrel!Brooks • Leah Jean 
 
"Keep on, keepin' on." 
 
Born. 1988, America
Age. 23
Height. 168 cm
Blood Type. O
Astrological Sign. Pisces
Hobbies. Listening to music, buying novelty socks
Favorite Food. Potatoes, okonomiyaki 
 
As a member of KumAJET, I would like to sustain the organization and to help it continue to bring JETs across the prefecture together.  Life in a foreign country can sometimes be a confusing and lonely one so a support network of people who can understand and appreciate the problems specific to your situation is integral to successful adaptation and acculturation.  I hope that this is what Kumajet can provide, a way for JETs to get together with their friends and commiserate about their lives here while also enjoying the benefits of living in a place like Japan, a country with a rich culture and a multitude of diversions.  I would like to accomplish this by sustaining well-loved traditions, trying to diversify the new events for the year, and helping to improve the flow of information concerning events happening around the prefecture.
 
 
 
 
The master of tiny forests.Adam Chludzinski
 
“The first rule of KumAJET is: You will talk about KumAJET."
 
Adam Chludzinski was originally born in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto, but grew up in Los Angeles, California.  After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a B.A. in International Relations and Japanese, Adam went straight into the JET program, which he saw as a perfect chance for the practical application of his undergraduate studies.  Currently a second year ALT currently teaching in Tsunagi Town, this transition from a city of millions to a town of 5,300 has been a chance to see the extremely rural side of country Japan, and also to develop deeper personal connections with fellow townspeople and JETs.
 
In his spare time, Adam continues to actively watch and play sports including basketball, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee.  When not participating in sports events throughout Japan, he enjoys playing video games, and hanging out with his friends.  Adam is also your current NAJET Block 11 Representative, so if you would like to know further what AJET is about, please ask him. 
 
By taking up KumAJET, he hopes to further improve upon one of the best local AJET chapters, and continue the strong leadership which has made the organization a success.  His goals for the year include further integration of Japanese people into KumAJET events, and better communication with other Kyushu AJET chapters.  Enough third person – I really look forward to seeing and meeting all Kumamoto JETs at our events! よろしくお願いします!
 
 

 
How'd I get here?  Oh, I rode a dolphin.Will de Groot
 
"If you'll be my T1, I'll be your T2."

Hey dudes. Welcome to Kumamoto, and welcome to KumAJET! My name is Will de Groot and I'm a second year JET originally from the U.K.  I work as both a Junior High and Elementary school ALT in Uto City, about ten minutes south by train of Kumamoto City itself. 

Since I've been here, I've seen KumAJET run numerous charity events with impressive results. Charity events, whether they be dinners, sports events, talent shows, poker games or the infamous Valentines Auction (saucy) have always proved popular, and with great turn outs serve to guarantee maximum T.T. - that's right, we're talking straight-up Tanoshii Times.

To see the desire and energy with which the JET community here in Kumamoto really gets behind charity events is inspiring to say the least. To be able to make a positive contribution through fundraising to this strange and wonderful land we all find ourselves living in, both outside and on top of our responsibilities at school, is a great thing. This year we'd be looking to not only build upon this success but further expand upon it. Amen.

Yes, the events have been incredibly successful in the charitable sense. But let's not forget that a lot of fun has been had in the process. In some cases, too much. You know who you are. And it's no good blaming Beeru-San & Umeshu-Chan. In my experience the events provide a great chance to get out and meet other JETs in the prefecture, particularly those that you may not be so close too geographically and therefore see on a less regular basis. Though at times it may be easy to forget, there's a lot of us out there. KumAJET events can be a great way to ensure that your calendar is kept alive, kicking and a little bit cheeky (beach party, anyone?)

Looking forward to the coming year, and let's enjoying. 
よろしくね。
Will 

Will graduated with a BA in English Literature at the University of Sussex.

Favourite Cultural Activity: Pounding the Mochi.
 
 
 
 
Absolutely filthy.Krista Fehr 

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." -Susan Sontag

Krista Fehr was born and raised in Sandy, Utah before heading off to college in small town Oregon.  She received her BA in Electronic Arts from Linfield College.  While there she minored in Japanese, did a study abroad semester up in Yokohama and heard about the JET Programme.  Knowing she wanted to return to Japan Krista decided this would be an excellent choice for her after graduation and so she sent in her application, packed her bags, and here she is.  Krista teaches at 2 Elementary schools and 1 Jr. High in her very small mountain village.  When she's not teaching classes Krista joins the PE classes at school, reads, and studies.  Aside from that she will randomly start training for marathons and triathlons, or plan kayaking trips and go climb mountains.  She loves to cook and eat delicious food, but is very often too lazy to make delicious meals for just herself.
 
As far as KumAJET is concerned I love a lot of the previous events and activities and would like to keep them going.  It would be fantastic to get more people involved and coming to events to meet up with everyone, so hopefully we'll find a way to make that happen.  One of my goals is to really highlight some of the different districts.  There is already an attempt to make sure there is at least one event in each area, but I think we could do more.  I'm really looking forward to being a part of KumaJet and helping to plan some fun events and get as many people as possible out there.
 
 
 
 
Terry Vo, Terry Schmo.  I'm the next Cherry Blossom Princess.Amanda Scott
 
“Why are you in Japan?”  It’s a seemingly valid but difficult question.  Sitting thinking about it, liking Hello Kitty or Pokemon isn’t enough.  The fact that I really want to go on a date with Katori Shingo from SMAP isn’t the best answer either.  Maybe the great food, wonderful people you meet, beautiful scenery, the everyday surprises and challenges, along with a healthy dose of genki children to keep you on your toes is what does it for me.
 
I’m Amanda Scott, your local Vegemite-loving Aussie, here to cater to your social needs.  I’m currently based in a fabulous little town called Asagiri in the southern most area of Kumamoto Prefecture.  In becoming a rural ALT, I have come to love the fact that I teach the kids of the people who work at the gas station, the supermarket, the town office, the convenience store, the drug store, the hospital, the post office, the snack bar, the dentist – and that fruit guy who only ever says “Hello, nice to meet you.” 

Another thing about living in the country-side, we sometimes get a lot of free time and instead of practicing my bagpipes on a mountain top, I’ve been spending most of my spare time playing sports, travelling, partying and studying.  I am not yet a master of concocting a wicked Polyjuice Potion, and my levitation spells lack longevity but this is my second occasion living in Japan so feel free to ask your most quizzical questions. 
 
KumAJET was a great way for me to make friends when I first arrived and I hope you join our shenanigans around the Prefecture for as long as you decide to stay.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know you and wish you the very best of luck on the Programme.
 
 
 
 
What is KumAJET?
 
KumAJET is the local chapter of National AJET. We are an organisation run by JETs for JETs. Our goal is to provide support for Kumamoto Prefecture’s JETs during their time living in Japan. Our job begins even before JETs arrive in Kumamoto, when we work to pair incoming JETs with current JETs through our Sempai Program. The program provides new JETs with a local contact in their area to help with adjusting to life in Japan. Once JETs get here, KumAJET works hard to organize a variety of monthly events for JETs and community members, creating an opportunity to get out, meet new faces and experience a part of this wonderful prefecture. Our events range from group hikes, picnics, and local festivals, to a soccer round-robin, pub quiz and a popular recent addition, Kumamoto’s Got Talent. We also have an impressive history of charity work. Thanks to the generosity of Kumamoto JETs, we have been able to raise over several thousand dollars for various charities. KumAJET was also the proud recipient of National AJET’s “Best Charity Award” in both 2008 and 2010.
 
We seek to strike a balance in our events and hope that there is a little something for everyone. That being said, we also remain open to suggestions and are always looking for new events and ideas. Our most recent charity events, a soccer round-robin and poker game to benefit relief efforts in the Tohoku Region, were actually pitched to us by a local JET. We are always happy to be considered a group to come to if you need help with your event. Lastly, although KumAJET is run by JETs, the Japanese community is always encouraged to attend our events and we strive to organize more diverse events in the future.

  
 
KumAJET Charity Work
 
KumAJET is the proud recipient of National AJET’s “Best Charity Award” for both 2008 and 2010. Before telling you about KumAJET’s most recent charity events to raise money for relief efforts in the Tohoku Region, we’d like to tell you a little about our long history of charity work. In the past, our charity fundraising has gone to a number of causes around the world, including a Go-Longitude project in India and earthquake relief in Haiti, where we helped to raise over 150,000 yen and 200,000 yen respectively.
 
More recently, we have chosen to donate to organizations doing charity work within Japan. KumAJET hosts both a charity Christmas Dinner and a charity Valentine’s Date Auction every year. At the 2010 charity Christmas Dinner, we managed to raise over 60,000 yen to donate to Japan’s national food bank, Second Harvest. You may have heard of Second Harvest if you subscribe to the National AJET newsletter. JET and Second Harvest have a long history together, with some JET participants serving as volunteers and board members. Second Harvest works to provide the infrastructure to combat poverty and hunger in Japan. With the new year 2011 came another round of the Valentine’s Date Auction. We decided to donate the whopping 238,000 yen we raised that night to Akaihane 赤い羽, or “Red Feather,” a national charity organization that allocates money to a variety of causes related to children. Akaihane sent us a personal message thanking us and informing us that our money had gone on to aid a number of orphanages in Kumamoto Prefecture, in addition to contributing to various causes related to children’s safety.
 
On March 11, 2011 the whole world watched in shock as the aftermath of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off of the north-eastern coast of the Tohoku region of Japan played out on TV. Here in Kumamoto, we were thankful to be safe, but felt compelled to do everything we could to help out the victims of this tragedy. However, our thoughts first turned to all the things we couldn’t do as foreigners in Japan. Restrictions on blood donations made giving blood impossible for many JETs. Going up to the affected region as volunteers was strictly forbidden. On the most basic level, many of us didn’t even have the words in Japanese to truly express how we felt. In the first few days, we were all glued to the TV news, but then emails started coming in from JETs around the prefecture calling on KumAJET to help organize fundraising events. Kumamoto’s own Allan Wilson, a second-year JET from Jamaica, came to us with a promising idea. Seeing as soccer and poker are popular pastimes for JETs in Kumamoto, he suggested a charity day that would involve first a soccer round-robin and then a poker tournament in the evening. Each event would require an entrance fee and all proceeds would be donated to relief efforts in the Tohoku region. We quickly set to work, pulling the event together in just five days.
 
One of Allan’s elementary schools in Kumamoto City was kind enough to let us use their sports ground for the soccer round-robin. We sent out messages to all JETs in the prefecture and encouraged people to invite their coworkers, students and friends as well. Allan also made a brief appearance on the local radio station FMK to announce the event. The day before the event, we worked with some of the Japanese teachers after school to prepare the field for playing, hanging nets and painting lines. Although we weren’t sure what to expect on the day of the event, we had a strong turnout of close to 40 participants, ranging in age from 8 to 50. JETs played alongside local students and teachers in a friendly competition for the championship. Some people came simply to watch and offer us a donation. We also had a local reporter come and interview some of the JET participants for a program that aired on local TKU news. People enjoyed playing together so much that even after the round-robin was officially over, the soccer continued. We asked that each team contribute 10,000 yen, but people were much more generous. The soccer round-robin managed to raise 142,000 yen, which we immediately sent via Family Mart to the Red Cross.
 
Later in the evening, JETs gathered at Kumamoto City’s Bo’s American Bistro Bar for a charity poker game. It was a packed house of about 40 participants, some infamous card sharks and others just looking to make a donation. We asked for a minimum donation of2,000 yen to play, but many people donated more. After hours of playing, a winner was finally crowned and we walked away with 63,700 yen for the AJET Relief Fund, a charity started after the disaster to specifically aid JETs in the affected areas. In a single day, we managed to raise 205,700 yen! A big thanks to Allan Wilson who completed much of the ground work necessary for these events to happen. We are also thankful for all the JETs and local Japanese residents who came out for the events. The day’s charity events gave us JETs a chance to show the local community our charitable spirit. Perhaps more meaningful however, is that such a charitable spirit knows no boundaries. Neither language nor culture could keep us from having a fun time, meeting new people and raising money together to help those in need.
 
In Kumamoto, it is life as usual, but we all understand that so many lives have been changed forever. Although we may often feel like outsiders in this culture, we still ask to be considered a part of it. We live and work here and we’ve all been able to build close relationships with the Japanese people. For this reason, the events of March 11, 2011 hit close to home. Spring has finally arrived and with it another beautiful season of sakura blossoms, a bittersweet reminder that new life comes even in uncertain times. We continue to collect donations of food and supplies for Second Harvest, which we plan to send along at the end of spring. がんばって日本!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Reminders....
・If you have been to a good English-speaking doctor, please email the PAs about it.

・Good luck with the new semester of classes! 

Important upcoming dates:

・Starting in October - New ES/JHS ALT School Visits  
 
 
KumAJET
Upcoming Events:

・September 5 - Taco Night, 7PM at Tortacos, Kumamoto City
・September 26 & 27 - Ashikita Beach Party, Otachimisaki Park, Ashikita, check-in starts at 4PM
 

kumajet@ajet.net
 
 
Area Guide

 

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