Kumamoto Welcomes New PAs:  Torrents of JET Tears Forms Raging Cataract on which Scott and Zane, Bare-Chested, Sail into the Dark Unknown
By Zane Kinsey, Scott Borba and Suzy Lee Ogata
Posted June 10, 2011
 
Don't cry, Kumamoto, we can't stand to see you in pain!  Sure, we've had some wonderful wild times, but we all know this kind of white hot love can't last forever.  We burn so hot and passionately for each other that we can't help but to collapse into ourselves, sparking a black hole that would undoubtedly devour the universe.  We are going to delete your numbers from our phones, and we suggest you do the same.  Otherwise we'll all be drunk-dialing (or butt-dialing) each other all the time and none of us will get any work done.   We know it hurts now, but you're probably better off without us.  Actually, scratch that.  It hurts now, and it's going to hurt forever.  You will never be the same without us. 
 
We have searched long and hard to find successors who would treat you as sweetly and tenderly as we do.  Much to our chagrin, our offices have found two people who will surely best us in every possible category.  Honestly, you won't even remember our names, or our sweet countenances in three weeks time, you heartless jerks.  Kumamoto's outstanding Assistant PA, Suzy Lee Ogata, is not being replaced, so she has the luxury of going down in Kumamoto history as the single greatest Assistant PA EVAR!  (sorry, Vanessa, if you're reading this).  It has really been great working with all of you these last 5  years.  We can all promise that we will desperately miss Kumamoto and the fantastic JETs residing therein when we leave this summer.  This job would not have been nearly as enjoyable had it not been for your high-density awesomeness, and we mean that.  Please stay in touch . . . and feel free to give us presents.  We really like presents.  
 
Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to Kumamoto's new Prefectural Advisors, Jason Shon and Marie August.  Starting in late July/early August, you will be in their very capable hands.  
 
 
 
Jason Shon, CIR PA
Kumamoto Prefecture International Affairs Division
 

Hello Kumamoto!
My name is Jason Shon, and in July I will replace the extremely talented and good-looking Scott Borba as Prefectural Advisor for Kumamoto Prefecture and Coordinator for International Relations for the International Affairs Division of the Kumamoto Prefectural Government.  I’m currently a 2nd year ALT in Amakusa City.  I’m super excited to be your new PA.
 
I was born 23 years ago in Honolulu, Hawaii, and went to college at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington State, USA.  As I junior I studied abroad for nine months in Kyoto.   In 2009 I graduated with an Asian Studies major and Japanese minor, and soon after came to Amakusa on the JET Program.  Here are some things I like: soccer, onions, blue, guitar, hiking, jazz, fishing, takuan, Fall, piano, Dragonball Z, novels, frisbee, warm weather.  After JET I’m considering pursing a graduate degree in environmental studies.
 
I applied to be PA because I feel the JET Program is valuable.  It’s dedication to teaching and grassroots, cross-cultural exchange means we as JETs play unique roles and can make positive impacts in schools and communities.  As PA I hope to help the JET Program in Kumamoto run smoothly and continue to make a difference.  Specifically, as an ALT I benefited a lot from Kumamoto Orientation, Mid-year Conferences, and other PA-sponsored events.  I want to make sure these events continue to be useful and fun experiences for everyone.  If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to improve these events, or if you have any JET-related questions or issues that I can help with, I am happy to be of service.  I will do my best to give you the tools you need to do your job well.
 
Though many of us teach, we are also learners in many ways.   Outside from work, just living in a foreign country can be difficult.  I won’t do your dirty dishes for you (unless you cook me dinner), but I want to do what I can to make living and learning in Kumamoto less stressful and more enjoyable.
 
You’ll be hearing more from me as time goes on, but for now I’d just like to say I’m looking forward to working with you!
 
 
 
 
Marie August, ALT PA
Kumamoto Prefectural Board of Education
 
 
“You don’t like the cold do you?”  Those words from my JET Programme interview were foremost in my mind as I stepped out of the air-conditioned airport, into the searing heat of a Kumamoto summer in August, 2008.
 
On my application I only chose hot places to live but Kumamoto’s summer definitely cured me of my love of the heat.  However, this prefecture has given me so many amazing experiences that I’m over the moon to continue living and working here.
 
I am from Aotearoa, New Zealand and came to Japan with my husband, Andrew August. We have worked as High School ALTs in Yatsushiro (2008-2009) and in Amakusa for the past two years.  Before coming to Japan, I worked as a counsellor for the Mental Health Services out-patient clinic in the town of Whakatane.  I have an undergraduate degree in Theology and a Masters degree in Counselling.   I have always had a keen interest in social justice and celebrating the many varied ways in which people live their lives.
 
I first visited Japan when I was 23 years old and when Andrew and I started talking about taking a career break, Japan seemed like a great option. When I told friends and colleagues about our plans, many thought I was crazy.  “Why would you want to give up your career, and do something like that?” they said.  The decision to come here has been one of the most wonderful and challenging things I have done in my life.  Having to learn Japanese basically from scratch has given me a huge respect for people arriving in countries having to learn English as a second language. 

When not teaching 40 kids in my usual classes or my super class of 50 Kids at Kami-Amakusa High School, my hobbies are: playing piano, zazen, walking, learning Japanese, travelling, cooking and enjoying dinner with friends.   I also love the British comedienne Miranda Hart; she inspires me to not take myself so seriously. And I think she is a fabulous role model for tall women, like me!

I am looking forward to working in the role of ALT Prefectural Advisor and meeting more of the ALTs who call Kumamoto home.   Ka Kite (see you soon).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

KumAJET Swears in The 2011-2012 Team: New Members' Feelings Hurt Over Use of Actual Swears
By KumAJET
Posted June 3, 2011
 
How time flies. KumAJET would like to thank all the Kumamoto ALTs for making this a truly great prefecture to work for. Without you, it would just be the three of us sitting on a beach or at a bar, dancing alone in an empty room or running through Ninomaru-koen with an egg on a spoon. Instead, you've given us a great reason to keep things happening in Kumamoto. Because of your eagerness and support, we have had a wonderful past few years full of fun times. Because of your generosity we have raised money for some worthy causes.  Just a few months ago, we were faced with the possibility that KumAJET might not continue. Who would step up to the challenge? Who was crazy enough to volunteer to plan a year's worth of events for a whole prefecture of ALTs? Well folks, we are thrilled to say that we found FIVE such volunteers crazy enough to become your new KumAJET leaders. There is no doubt in our minds that this bunch of JETs will bring you another exciting year in Kumamoto. So we'll say sayonara and let you get to know the new team.
 
Now, in no particular alphabetical order, your 2011-2012 KumAJET team:
 
 

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.
 
 

 
 
 
 
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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