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Meet Your New KumAJET Representatives

What is KumAJET?

KumAJET is your local chapter of National AJET. We are an organization run by JETs for JETs. Our aim is to provide support and information to Kumamoto prefecture JETs for the duration of your time here. Our tie with new JETs starts even before they arrive in Kumamoto through our Sempai program. This is a program which will pair incoming JETs with current JETs to provide them with a local contact in their designated area to help adjust to Japanese life.

Throughout the year KumAJET works hard to organize a variety of events for both JETs and community members to create opportunities to meet new people, visit many parts of this beautiful prefecture and embrace Kumamoto life. Our events are all extremely varied offering something for everyone. Examples of past events are: beach parties, group hikes and onsens, local festivals, volunteer day, pub quiz, charity events and the ongoing famous Valentines auction and Kumamoto’s Got Talent.

Our goal is to strike a successful balance between events in a hope to offer a little something for everyone. However we are always open to your suggestions of events and ideas so please get in touch and let us know what you want! We are also always happy to be considered as a group that you can approach to help you with an event. On a final but important note … although KumAJET is run for JETs, the Japanese community is always encouraged to attend our events as we strive to organize more diverse events in the future.

So let’s meet the new leaders of KumAJET 2012-2013 … 

Kirsty Bosworth

First off a big hel
lo to all Kumamoto JETs, my name is Kirsty Bosworth and I will be entering my second year of the Jet Programme this summer. I am 23 years old and from (not so) sunny England. Back home I studied Biomedical Science before embarking upon my adventure to Japan to beco
me one of the ALT’s in Kikuyo town which is north-east of Kumamoto city. I teach in Junior High, Elementary and nursery schools … so have my hands full but loving every minute of it! Dancing, shopping, traveling and partying are a few of my many interests. Here in Kumamoto I have been able to continue all of these whilst meeting a variety of people along the way.

My first year of being an ALT in Kumamoto has been fantastic and I have been lucky enough to participate in and observe a variety of events KumAJET have run with successful and inspiring results in a charitable and social aspect. I hope we can as a group and with your help continue the legacy of KumAJET by organizing memorable events and charity days to fundraise for the Akaihane (‘red feather’) charity and bring everyone together. Last year these events allowed me to meet a whole host of people and make some amazing friends from all over the world, making my first year in Japan unforgettable

As part of the new KumAJET group I am really excited to bring people together from all over Kumamoto, Kyushu and even Japan to have fun and generate a strong support network for everyone, so you can all make the most of you time in Japan and have a keepsake of memories that will last with you forever. One of my personal goals for the KumAJET group is to try and incorporate many Japanese locals into our events by encouraging everyone to come along ... Everyone is welcome!!!! We also hope to fundraise as much as possible for a very deserving cause with all of your help and generosity. We will strive to continue the popular and well loved events such as the Ashikita beach party, Valentines Auction and Kumamoto’s got talent and to infuse the group with new and exciting opportunities such as volunteer days at local charities.

Thanh Hoang

Age: 26

Hometown: San Diego, California, USA

Height: 170 cm

Blood type: No Idea

Hobbies: Music, Dance, Shopping

As a member of KumaJET, it is my goal to help my fellow JETs see the many new opportunities for friendship and experiences.  Coming to Japan last November, I was able to open a door to a world of new possibilities.  So many, in fact, that it was mind-boggling and terrifying.  Last year’s KumaJET team helped me acclimate to everything around me, and now I can proudly say I can stand on own in exploring this wonderful place.  I have made it my goal to help new JETs in the same way: help new JETs acclimate through events, friendships, and exploration. 

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”


Jessica Pei 

Hey there, fellow Kumamoto JETs. My name is Jessica Pei and it will be my second year on the JET Programme starting this August. I am from Toronto, Canada, and am currently living in Kumamoto City teaching both elementary and junior high schools.

As a member of this year’s KumAJET team, I am both very excited and a little nervous. Excited because I look forward to contributing to the Kumamoto JETs community by bringing people together through well-organized events, fundraising for charity, and just making your time in Japan a tad bit more fun and interesting than it already is. A little nervous because honestly speaking, having just spent one year in this uniquely interesting country, there are yet many things for me to learn. School and work life has only just begun to settle into a routine; nonetheless I have decided to take up KumAJET as a challenge to myself. One of my biggest goals this year as your KumAJET Representative is to reach out more to all the different areas of Kumamoto Prefecture. Although I am thankful to all the conveniences of living and working in Kumamoto City itself, I really wish to get to know the prefecture more, and to participate in the various areas

’ festivals and happenings. I want KumAJET to truly be an organization run by Kumamoto JETs for Kumamoto JETs. And since we are all Kumamoto JETs, this organization is as much mine to run as it is yours. Thus, if you have suggestions for parties, festive events, charity events, and any other ideas for a happy time, feel free to contact me!

Let’s break some geographical barriers (I mean we’ve come from all over, to this tiny prefecture in Japan on the world map, what else is stopping us?) and explore more of Japan together. (^_^)

Ok, aside from KumAJET related introductions. I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2011 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. I’m a shopaholic (yes I confess), who also enjoys singing, partying, watching movies and shows, reading, writing, and travelling. I love the fresh starts when you meet someone for the first time. Listening to their stories, the places they’ve been, the experiences they’ve had, and the people they’ve met. To me, having a good conversation with old and new friends (and with a few drinks too) equals fun times. Now I’ve told you much about me, it is your turn to tell me about yourself. And since you quite frankly can’t do it here, you have to come out to our events and say hi!


Shara Tonn  

First, a word from my girl, Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”  She rocks my world.

 So, hey guys! My name is Shara Tonn, and I’m a JET down in Asagiri. Before I spiel all over you, let me tell you a little bit about myself:

  • -I’m from Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • -I’m 23.
  • -My birthday is March 31st.
  • -My favorite food is chocolate.
  • -Memorize the above two facts.
  • -I drink apple juice on airplanes. Tomato juice is not a juice.

I think that’s about all, but if you want to know anything else, you will have to come to an event and ask me! Kay, I just put on my business socks. Let’s do this.

 Last year, the KumAJET team provided me with community support and helped me give back to the society that welcomed me with open arms. When I stepped off the plane from Tokyo to go to my town a year ago, I had no idea when I would next see the JETs who lived in the far-flung corners of the prefecture. (Of course, I didn’t even know that another JET lived ten minutes away from me so I could be a special case.) The KumAJET events throughout the year provided venues where I could come together with any and all Kumamoto JETs and have a blast. Even more than bringing us together, last year’s KumAJET team ran charity events and fundraising activities that raised money for Akaihane, a Kumamoto charity. While I was walking on the beach in Ashikita or dancing around in a banana suit (don’t worry it was during a charity event!), my participation in KumAJET events allowed me to be part of a group that is giving back in a big way to the community in which I lived.

In the upcoming year, I promise that I will continue the KumAJET tradition and work to produce events that keep you coming—and giving—back. As my personal goal, I will sweat blood and tears to expand the volunteer branch of KumAJET. In university, I majored in Environmental Science, and I miss working and volunteering in the great outdoors. I have noticed that there are both national and local parks out here in Kyushu that could benefit from a little JET elbow grease, and I want to get some of us out there on the job. So, are you ready for a new JET year? …Because I certainly am! Here’s to the rollicking rocking and daringly adventurous JET Year of 2012-13! See you at the next event!

Laura Turner 

“Whaia te maramatanga, me te aroha” 
Seek after knowledge, and fellowship of all people

Name: Laura Turner

Age: 27

Hometown: Invercargill, New Zealand

Previous employment: Registered teacher of English Literature and Media Studies/Journalist.

Current area and position: SHS ALT in Mifune-machi, Kamimashiki-gun

Hobbies: Cooking, dance, singing, writing, travelling, fangirling

When I arrived in Japan last year I knew very few people and honestly not a lot about Kumamoto. Making new friends was a daunting task, especially coming from an education background with zero focus on the Japanese language. However, through the many events and opportunities that KumAJET provided in my first year, I soon found myself with some of the strongest friendships I’ve ever had. KumAJET is here to help you settle as swiftly as possible into your new placement and to help you to create your own support systems and amazing memories.  We’re going to provide you with numerous adventures and events across our amazing prefecture, giving you chances to meet new people and try new things. My personal goal for this year is to help provide you with as many opportunities for good times, adventure and friendship, as possible. Let’s make the 2012-2013 year one to remember! Kia kaha. 

KumAJET charity work

KumAJET has generated an impressive history of charity work and fundraising of over several thousand dollars for various charities thanks to the generosity of Kumamoto JETs and local Japanese residents. In both 2008 and 2010 KumAJET were also the proud recipients of National AJETs “Best Charity Award”!!!

In the past, our fundraising efforts have helped a number of causes all around the world, including Go-Longitude project in India, earthquake relief in Haiti and Tohoku region of Japan.

On March 11, 2011 the whole world watched in shock as the aftermath of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the north-eastern coast of the Tohoku region of Japan played out on our TV screens. Here in Kumamoto, we were thankful to be safe but felt compelled to do everything we could in order to offer aid and help to the victims of this tragedy. Emails started coming in from JETs around the prefecture calling on KumAJET to help organize fundraising events. A massive 205,700 yen was raised that day and donated to relief efforts in Tohoku region and we couldn’t do it without you, the JETs of Kumamoto, local Japanese residents and everyone who helped. These events give us 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.

This year we have decided our focused charity is Akaihane (‘red feather’) which has been collecting money for Japan’s charitable community chest since 1947. Although in these 50 years which have gone by since the charity was founded Japan has grown into one of the worlds more prosperous and equitable countries there are still PLENTY of people who need your help. 

No More Re-entry Permits 

If you are a current JET and plan to travel outside of Japan this summer, you do NOT need to purchase a re-entry permit at the Immigration Bureau in Kumamoto City.  If you have a valid passport and a valid Residence Card, you may re-enter the country anytime within 1 year of leaving (valid Alien Registration Cards are accepted in place of Residence Cards).  The elimination of re-entry permits is one change that has come around since the shift to a new Foreign Resident Management System that began on July 9.  To learn more check out this summary in a past YOKA (scroll down to the 3rd to the last page).  Also, when filling out the Embarkation Card for Reentrant at the airport, be sure to check the “Departure with Special Permission” box.  To see what the form looks like click here. 
Planned Power Outages 

This summer Kyushu Electric is asking customers to reduce electricity consumption by 10% compared to 2010 levels.  Many of you will have probably heard by now that there may be scheduled electricity outages throughout kyushuu during this summer.  At present this schedule has not be implemented.  The schedule will only be implemented in the case of an emergency.  Kyushuu Electric has an English website that gives an update on it's homepage about whether the schedule has been implemented or not.  

By now you will have received a small card from Kyushuu Electricity in the post that indicates how the scheduled power outages will be implemented should the need arise.  The Kyushu Electric electric English website also has a pdf that explains how to read the schedule for the power outages and provides information about how to best prepare.  

Hopefully we will not have power outages this summer, but if we do, it's best to be prepared.  So keep cool and keep informed by checking the Kyshuu Electricity website. Talk to your friends and neighbors and your fellow JETs to understand how the power outages might effect your area.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact the PAs. 


For Returning JETs: 
In the Packet for Returning JETs we sent to you earlier in the year there was a link to the "Claim Form for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments".  That link was wrong.  Here is the correct link:  english/detail.jsp?id=10  

Just click on the English / Japanese link and you'll be there.  Sorry for the inconvenience!  
Getting a Japanese License?

IF you are planning to go to the Menkyo Center to convert to a Japanese license after July 9, the following is for you.

Until now it's been necessary to bring a "Foreign Registration Certificate" (Touroku Genpyou Kisaijikou Shoumeishou, 登録原票記載事項証明書) to the Menkyo center when switching to a Japanese driver's license.  Beginning July 9, Foreign Registration Certificates will no longer be issued, so in it's place the Menkyo Center requests you bring an original copy of your Residence Record (Juminhyo, 住民票), which you can get at your local town hall beginning July 9.  
If you have any questions feel free to contact the PAs.  Good luck.

Language Box

Japanese Phrase of the Week
ななころび  やおき 
nanakorobi yaoki

意味 (meaning):
literally, "Fall down seven times, get up eight."
"If at first you don't succeed, try try again."
Obscure English Word of the Week
1. a short poem in which the last letters of each successive line form a word.

example sentence:
Water flows from the brooK
between the trees and thrU
the rocks into the streaM
and then further down A
slope where red cattle triM
the grasses with their teeth and roam solO
over the hills weT
from the last downpour on Mt. AsO

・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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