Welcome New Kumamoto JETs!
It's May, which means that incoming JETs for this year are beginning to receive news about their placements. If by chance, you are one of lucky newcomers to Kumamoto, let us be some of the first to welcome you to our great prefecture! We are very excited to have you join us here. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey.
The site you are on right now, KumamotoJET.com contains a lot of information on living and working in Kumamoto. Feel free to peruse it at your leisure.
We have also made a welcome video, featured below, filmed and edited by Kumamoto JETs Joel Carter and Joost Van Steenderen. It features past and present Kumamoto JETs talking about different aspects of life and work in Kumamoto, as well as some advice for making your time on JET fruitful. And yes, while the video does say "2014 Welcome Video", don't worry, the sage advice in it is still very much relevant in the distant future of 2015. Enjoy!

Stay tuned to this website over the next couple months, as we will be updating it over the next few months with relevant information for incoming JETs as your arrival date comes closer. We are all looking forward to meeting you in person in the summer! 

The 2015 Guide for Non-reappointing JETs
aka "Leaver's Guide"

...is finally here! This handy packet includes information for non-reappointing JETs on such fascinating topics as sending your stuff home, return airfare, visas, pension refunds, selling your car, saying goodbye, employment post-JET, and more.  
Please take the time to read through this packet sooner rather than later.  We recommend that you start planning now on how to do everything so you have time to spare at the end. Your last months on JET will fly by, and you don't want the last several weeks of your time on JET to be bogged down by paperwork or other details that can take away from other important things, such as saying goodbye to friends and colleagues.  
We have uploaded the information packet as a pdf and powerpoint.  Take your pick:

Leaver's Meeting and Party

On June 26th, there will be a meeting for all JETs leaving the Programme this year. However, immediately afterward, there will be a beer garden party open to all JET participants and any other people interested to give our departing JETs a proper sendoff!
Here are the details:

Leaver's Meeting

who: All JETs leaving the Programme in 2015

where: Suizenji Kyousai Kaikan, Kumamoto City
when: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
what: information about leaving, feedback session, Q&A, official speeches, etc.
rsvp: confirm attendance through your supervisor

Beer Garden Party (optional)

who: Leaving JETs and any others interested

where: Suizenji Kyousai Kaikan Beer Garden

when: 5:30pm - 7:30pm

what: 2 hour nomihoudai and tabehoudai buffet

how much: 3,300 yen (pay on arrival)
rsvp: Leaving JETs confirm attendance through your supervisor. All others should e-mail kumamotopa@gmail.com by June 19.


(View of Amakusa and the Yatsushiro Sea from Tsunagi-machi)
Moving south along the Minami-Kyushu Expressway, travelers will notice the landscape change when they pass Yatsushiro: the wide open plains and city landscapes disappear, tunnels and narrow mountain passes become more frequent, and every now and then one catches a glimpse of a farming village nestled in a mountain valley, dots of orange citrus on the hills, or a ship gliding towards the distant shadows of Amakusa across the Yatsushiro Sea. This is the Ashikita-Minamata region.

Comprised of the towns of Ashikita and Tsunagi and the city of Minamata, the Ashikita-Minamata area is the sleepy frontier between populous regions of Kumamoto from the northern tip of Kagoshima. The rocky coastline is dotted with inlets, islets, quaint fishing towns, and the occasional beach, and the mountains with both cold and hot water springs.  There are a number of onsen resorts by the sea, and plenty more tucked away in the mountains and river valleys, so people in the region often boast that you can enjoy everything that is good about the ocean (swimming, seafood, sunsets admired from the onsen) and everything good about the mountain countryside (good food...more onsen) in one place.

Ashikita is home to Otachimisaki Park and Kaihin Sogo Park, which both feature beaches and outdoor leisure activities like go karts, luge, camping, Zorb, and fishing.  Minamata, the most urban of the three towns in the region is famous for sakura, Yunoko and Yunotsuru onsen resorts, Eco Park (home to Kumamoto’s biggest rose garden!), and Fukuda Noujou Spanish Village. Tourists in the region also usually dine on chanpon, curry, tea, citrus, sweets, and of course, sea food.

Photo and Text: Erik Smith



Obtaining a Japanese License

May is the time of year when many returning first year JETs can officially start the process of converting their home country license for a Japanese one. Please note that this is required if you wish to drive in Japan after your first year, as the International Driving Permit is only good for one year maximum and you cannot just simply obtain another IDP to continue driving (you would need to leave Japan and return home for an extended period of time in order to do so).
We invite you to take a look at the Driving & Cars section of the website for in-depth details about the license conversion process. In addition to detailed information on the application process, you will also find some advice and tips regarding the driving test (which may be required based on your home country). It is your best interest to start this process early as the menkyo center can only process so many requests per day and reservations are first come, first serve!
Lesson Wiki

Lost about what to do for your next lesson? Maybe you've been asked to do a short 15 minute lesson for a group of elementary schoolers. Or perhaps you've been given a surprise request by a JTE to lead the next class?

After those initial moments of shock, you realize that you actually now have to come up with a plan.

Never fear, for the Lesson Wiki is here!

The Lesson Wiki is a wiki collection of lessons and classroom ideas across all school levels contributed by current and former Kumamoto ALTs. Anyone is free to access the Lessons Wiki at any time.

If you use the Lesson Wiki, why not pay the favor back with a lesson of your own? Any Kumamoto ALT is also welcome to add their own lesson to the Lesson Wiki at any time. You will need to login with your previously provided account information (feel free to get in touch with the PAs if you need a reminder). And even if you're not confident with editing a wiki, we have an easy to follow guide on the Lesson Wiki.

Please take the time to add a lesson to the wiki! With everyone's support we can make the Lesson Wiki a fantastic resource for everyone.

The Lesson Wiki can be accessed directly at:
http://kumamotojet.com/mw/ or through the "Lesson Wiki" link from the left side menu.


Spring 2015 YOKA 

This YOKA includes:
  • Half Past Ten by Christopher Hester
  • Last Breaths of Spring by Audrienne Manansala
  • Adventures in the Life of a Developing Obachan: a satire about premature aging by Jemma Gallagher
  • The Color Run in Kitakyushu by Mana Haleem
  • The Golden Country: Iwate
  • Continue? The Return of an ALT After JET by Matthew Khor
  • Photos by Jemma Gallagher, Erika Egner, and Olivia Lee
This YOKA was designed by Jemma Gallagher
Submissions are always accepted for future issues of the YOKA. If you want to contribute an article, photo, or creative piece to be part of a future issue, please e-mail your submission to kumamotopa@gmail.com.
・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


Copyright held in the year posted by individual contributors.  All rights are reserved by holders. Unless otherwise noted in postings, all content is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.  Any events advertised here are listed as a courtesy only. As such, information here is subject to change. This is a public forum and KumamotoJET accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, advertising, or comments made in posts past, present or future. In addition, KumamotoJET will not be held liable for any problems or expenses that are the results of any information contained within this website. Furthermore, KumamotoJET will take no responsibility for any accidents, injuries, or medical conditions acquired in attendance of events advertised here. If there is an error, offensive comment or if you require further information, please contact the site administrator.