How was your summer?
While most of Japan is sweating it out and taking long awaited trips for obon season during summer break, it's an especially busy time for people in JET. Those leaving have to say goodbye to special friends they made during their stay here. But in addition to that, many fresh new faces arrive from all over the globe to start their new JET adventures.
We just finished welcoming our own group of new JETs to Kumamoto Prefecture. In these last few waning days of summer break, we hope that your preparations are going well and you're ready to go! As excited as you are to start, we are sure that everyone else is just as excited to meet you.
We are looking forward to hearing all the great stories of your time here in Kumamoto!


Yamaga Lantern Festival

The Yamaga Lantern Festival is held at Omiya Shrine and is one of the big three fire festivals during the Kumamoto summer (the other two being Hi no Kuni Festival in Kumamoto City and the Kofun Festival in Kikusui-machi, Tamana). The origin of the festival lies from a visit by Emperor Keiko, in ancient times. His party, unsure where to go by the fog, were received by villagers using torches to light his way. After that event, people would offer torches to commemorate his visit, eventually turning into paper lanterns over the years.
There are two big parts of the festival, the Sennin Toro Odori is when 1,000 women, dressed in festival kimono, wear lighted gold and silver lanterns on their hands, dancing all night as they sing the "Yoheho-bushi". The men re-enact the original reception of the Emperor by parading through the town with lights before lining up for the Pine Torch Procession in traditional costume.

Photo: Roland Carlos
Kumamoto Orientation
A big otsukare sama (good work done) to our new 2014 Kumamoto Prefecture and City ALTs! We had 46 new ALTs participate over three days, getting training in a variety of topics, related to teaching at their schools and living in Japan. Also, a big thanks to all our orientation volunteers! Thanks to their hard work, orientation was a great success!

Here's to a great year!
Watch this space, as it will be updated with electronic versions of data provided at Kumamoto Orientation:
Bugs and Pests - Lots of information about many of the critters you might encounter in Japan.
Teaching Eikaiwa - Handy guide to running your own eikaiwa class.
Eikaiwa Resources Sheet - List of resources to support your eikaiwa.
Japanese Language Study - Tips and resources to help you get jouzu (better) at Japanese.
Special Needs Education - Description of what teaching special needs may be for you, plus some advice.
The Teachers' Room - An essential document for navigating a place where you may spend a lot of time, the teachers' room.
LGBTQ in Kumamoto - A bit of history on being LGBTQ in Japan.
Womens Safety - Precautions and resources to help you stay safe. Cab and emergency numbers also inside.
Classroom English Activities (ES and JHS) - A helpful list of classroom activities to get you started at ES/JHS.
Classroom English Activities Website List - Listing of online resources to find more classroom activities.
Emergency Preparedness - Advice on how to prepare for a variety of emergencies and how to use the disaster warning system.
Travel and Sightseeing in Kumamoto - Powerpoint presentation from the Experience Kumamoto workshop.
Travel and Sightseeing Google Map - Google map with pins to various spots in and around Kumamoto.
Health and Wellness - Information on how to take care of yourself, physically and mentally.
Driving in Japan - Learn about the basics of driving in Japan and most importantly, how to get gas!
Trading Places - Quick fact sheet on Afrikaans, one of the eleven(!!) official languages of South Africa.
On Being Vegan - Looking to maintain your vegan/vegetarian diet in Japan? It is possible! Tips and advice inside.
Kumamoto Orientation Photos
Just a few shots of this year's Kumamoto Orientation! Thanks to Terrance, Kumamoto City PA, for taking these!

Embassy Registration

Here is a handy list compiled by Melina Lomax to help you register with your embassy here in Japan:

Britain (no longer has a registration system set up however you can sign up to receive security and travel update e-mails)

South Africa
Description of the `Registration of South Africans Abroad` programme:

Summer YOKA, 2014
It's finally here!  This YOKA includes:
  • Skateboarding in Kumamoto by Sam Van Ginhoven
  • 4,541 Miles of Perspective by Jarissa Lum
  • Chinese Characters Worth Getting Tattoed by Chris Ott
  • Short Stories from Kumamoto by Sam Zimny
  • Summertime Swimming in Kyushu by Chris Ott
  • Photos by Lacey Lee and Valeria Reyes
This YOKA was designed by Valeria Reyes.

Kumamoto Restaurant Guide
This is a new project we just started.  We'd like to gather information on restaurants throughout the prefecture so that anybody can find a good place to eat wherever they go.  
Right now we only have places in Kumamoto City, but we'd like it to eventually include places in every part of the prefecture.
If you have some restaurants you want us to include, please let us know!
Thank you Sara Brown for helping us with this project!
Map Key:

Orange marker:  noodle shops (ramen, udon, etc.)   
Red marker:  other restaurants

Orange square:  Japanese fast-food restaurants

Red square:  Western fast-food restaurants

・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  
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
Area Guide


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