Autumn is here
Finally you can start think about taking out those long sleeved shirts and sweaters out of storage. Kumamoto is awash in yellow of ginkgo trees and places all over the prefecture will have fall festivals. These tend to be local in scope and heavily rooted in local traditions, so they are great opportunities for you to get to know your neighbors!

If you are new to Kumamoto, you may now start to feel like you have your feet steady in your new placement. As you begin to settle into your new home, it is a great chance to get involved with your schools and community, hang out with some of your new friends, and start exploring your area.
You may also be surprised to find out that your schools are already thinking about your reappointment for next year! While you may get the forms earlier than expected, you still have plenty of time to think about it.
Take advantage of this Autumn! You may be surprised how quickly time files in this busy season. Take trips, explore Kumamoto and the surrounding areas, and of course, eat the delicious seasonal Autumn food.

Amakusa Islands

The Amakusa Islands are a chain of islands located in the southwestern part of Kumamoto. It is dominated by two large islands, Shimo-shima and Kami-shima, as well as about 120 other islands of varied size. It is separated from the rest of Kumamoto Prefecture by the Yatsushiro Sea.

It is connected to the Kumamoto mainland by the Five Bridges of Amakusa, a network of bridges which was completed in 1966. This greatly changed life on the Amakusa Islands and connected people in Amakusa with the rest of Kumamoto. This route is also known as the Amakusa Pearl Line, with many scenic viewpoints of the sea and the tiny outlying islands of Amakusa along the way.

The Amakusa Islands are actually home to two cities, Kami-Amakusa and Amakusa, as well one district, Amakusa District. But while the islands themselves are not organized within one city, the people share a very common culture and bond. In the Edo Period, Christianity was banned in Japan and many Christians hid in Amakusa during that time. Amakusa was named for Amakusa Shiro, one of the leaders of a Christian Rebellion in the 17th century. The Christian faith was able to survive through the suppression and you can visit several famous churches in Amakusa that still operate to this day.

Amakusa is famous for its beaches, which become very busy in the summer. In addition, many people come for dolphin watching, usually off the coast of Itsuwa-machi in Amakusa City. You can see them year-round and it is commonly said that you have a 99% chance of seeing dolphins on any given day.

Photo: Amakusa Sunset, Erika Egner

Left: Captain Kaito-kun, Amakusa
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.

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: or through the "Lesson Wiki" link from the left side menu.

Kumamoto Travel Guide

As you start thinking about where to take your winter travels, why not check some spots around Kumamoto and Kyushu?
Here is a useful map compiled originally by Laura McGhee and Joost Van Steenderen for the Travel and Sightseeing booth at Kumamoto Orientation.
This map is also open to any edits you'd like to make, so if there are some spots on this map you want to highlight, feel free to do so! You can access the map in a full screen version at:, or just click the brackets image on the right side of the top toolbar in the map below.

Map Key:
 Red Marker: Places within Kumamoto
Purple Marker: Places Outside of Kumamoto
Blue Star: Events & Matsuri
Green Mushroom: Extra life


Autumn YOKA, 2014
The Autumn 2014 YOKA is now out! You can read it online here.

This issue includes:

- The Story...So Far by Brendan Amy
- The Future of the Japanese Elementary School Program by Sam Muller
- Snap, Crackle, Pop - A few crispy hikes by Jeff Kaiser
- Takahama by Chris Hester
- An Outsider Amongst Outsiders by Julia Green
- Reverse Culture Shock: A reflection by Lauren Sorondo
- Photos by Erika Egner, Olivia Lee, Chalice Mitchell, and Lacey Lee

This YOKA was designed by Valeria Reyes.

Ashikita Photos
On September 13th, KumAJET hosted a very successful beach party in Ashikita. A big thank you to KumAJET for organizing this event! Here are a few pictures from the beach party, courtesy of Karen Lam.

・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.