Happy New Year!  May the Year of the Dragon be a good one for you.

Feeling Blue?

For some of us winter is a welcome relief from the hot, humid summer weather that is a dominant feature of life in Kumamoto.  For others it’s a challenging time and keeping warm and in good spirits is more difficult that it usually is.  Many of us who visited our home countries and reconnected with family and friends may be feeling a bit of a shock, both physically and mentally, since coming back to Japan.  Or maybe a return to our own routines comes as a welcome relief.  Whatever your experience is, please remember to take care of yourself.  If you are finding this a difficult time, you know better than anyone else what can help get you through the cold months.  Sometimes remembering these things is not always easy, however, so here are some ideas to stimulate your thinking and help you beat those winter blues. 

Exercise this time of the year can really help.  Yoga, dancing, walking or a short run can really lift the spirits. I (Marie) used to find getting out and walking in the park near my house not only lifted my spirits but connected to the community where I lived, too. I got to know the regular walkers and the loud “konichiwa’s” from the other people helped me feel part of the community.  Playing soccer several times a week did the same for me (Jason).  Sports are a fun way to get the blood flowing and take your mind off whatever it is that might be gnawing at you. 

Kotatsu, heated carpets and good food!  Keeping warm and eating well seem really obvious things to attend to but it is amazing what one can overlook when one is feeling blue.  Take time to make a hot soup or have nabe with friends.  Eating foods that warm the body and spirit are great antidotes to feeling down.

Spend time with friends who nurture and support who you are. Keeping the heart warm is as important as keeping the body warm. For some, this might mean having a lively party and for others it may mean a quiet meal with a treasured friend.

 Onsen Onsen Onsen!! Soaking in the thermal waters that are abundant in this area can really warm the body and they often serve yummy food too!  If you don’t want to do the getting naked in public thing, you can always book a family or private bath for a little extra yen. 

If you find that it is hard to beat the winter blues and sense that what you are experiencing is more than just the cold and short days getting you down, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the prefectural advisors.  We are available to you if you feel you need extra support or a conversation to discover what other options are available. 

Please take care of each other and keep warm! 


The 2011 Tax Year Packets for U.S. JETs are out.  Though most of the tax-filing deadlines are still a few months away, we recommend you take a look through the packets now to familiarize yourself with the deadlines and overall process.  They make excellent bed-time story material.  


The Schedule and Materials and Lesson Plan Book that were distributed last December at the Skills Development Conference are finally up in pdf form here.

Language Box

Japanese Phrase of the Week
せいてん の へきれき 
seiten no hekireki

意味 (meaning):
literally, 'a thunderbolt from blue skies'
'from out of the blue'
when you least expect it
例文 (example sentence):
Her decision to suddenly quit work and become a professional yo-yo player came from out of the blue.
Obscure English Word of the Week
1. full of, or abounding in, dew

example sentence:
Gollum awoke on his bed of rotting leaves and slugs and gasped in wonder; his rorulent swamp glistened in the dawn's early light almost as magnificently as his Precious.  

・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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