On the spread of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

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Hello Kumamoto,

As you are probably aware, China and the wider East Asia region is currently dealing with an outbreak of a new respiratory disease caused by a strain of coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.

Excluding cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Japan has the third highest number of confirmed cases after China and Singapore. A summary of the cases of coronavirus in Japan to date can be found on Wikipedia here. As of 17 Februrary, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Kyushu; however, Kumamoto has still been affected. For instance, the grand opening of the cruise terminal “Kumamon Port Yatsushiro,” originally planned for 1 April, has been cancelled.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issues travel advisories for Japanese nationals which can be viewed on their website here (Japanese only). Currently, the following advisories are in effect for mainland China:

  • Hubei Province – Level 3, Do not travel
  • Zhejiang Province – Level 3, Do not travel
  • Other regions of mainland China – Level 2, Avoid non-essential travel

As you can see, the travel ban has been extended to Zhejiang as well as Hubei. Even if your home country has not issued equivalent travel warnings, we advise you to pay close attention to MOFA’s stance. As JET Programme participants are not Japanese citizens, you may be denied re-entry to Japan if you travel to affected areas. The MOFA website, linked above, states:

  • 我が国は,2月13日,湖北省に加え,浙江省における滞在歴がある外国人等を入国禁止措置の対象としました。
    (As of 13 February, an entry ban to Japan has been extended to foreign nationals who have stayed in Zhejiang province, in addition to Hubei province.)

If you travel overseas at this time, you will be required to fill out health declaration questionnaires on whether you have travelled to Hubei or Zhejiang provinces upon your return. 

Here are some additional resources for information on coronavirus:

The YOKA Autumn 2019

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The Autumn 2019 YOKA is available now! This quarter’s YOKA features the following…

  • Anime Adventures in Kyushu by Adam Pool
  • Okonomiyaki and Fishing by Fernando Luna
  • Wonderful Winter Songs by Greg Corbett
  • Living Rugby in Japan by Greg Lambert
  • Yay, Smart Phone and Home Improvement by Kelley Gathright
  • Rugby World Cup by Ruth Madden
  • School Sports Festival by Ryn Kaestner
  • A KumAJET Journey through Kyushu’s Long Summer by KumAJET
  • Photos by Quinlan Fletcher, Peter Georgantis, Ryn Kaestner, Jess Langshaw, Yuan Luo and Niamh Merry

This YOKA was designed by Jenifer Vosper. An HQ version (169 MB) of this issue is also available.

Not sure what the YOKA is? The YOKA is a quarterly English-language newsletter written and designed by Kumamoto JETs. For more information and past YOKAs, visit this page.

We happily accept submissions for future YOKAs! If you are interested in contributing an article, photo, or creative piece for a future issue, then please e-mail your submission to kumamotopa@gmail.com.

2020 International Speech Contest in Japanese

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Been working on your Japanese and ready to show it to the world? Then why not join the The 61st International Speech Contest in Japanese! The contest will be held on 13 June 2020 in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. You can sign up for it from 17 February to 23 April.

For the chance to appear at the speech contest, you will first need to write your speech and film yourself delivering it, and then send it to the International Education Center along with your application. Maybe your speech will be selected and you will be able to battle it out with other jouzu folks in Hiroshima for the top prize! For more information, check out the website: http://www.iec-nichibei.or.jp/iec04_2.html

2019 Wakuwaku English Camps

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Three Higokko Wakuwaku English Camps were held in Kumamoto City this autumn for both ES and JHS students in September, October and November. This time, a camp was open to students as young as 8 years old, enrolled in Grades 3 and 4 of elementary school, with camps for older elementary and junior high school students as well! JET ALTs and CIRs from all over the prefecture gathered to provide much fun, culture and English to the students of Kumamoto, preparing many amazing displays and fun activities. Read on to see some photos of the camps!

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2019 Kumamoto International Friendship Festival

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On Saturday, 2nd November the 26th annual International Friendship Festival was held at the Piacres Kengun Shopping Arcade in Kumamoto City.

Several JETs participated in the festival, showcasing taiko skills, participating in a kimono fashion show, volunteering to assist with stage events, volunteering at a face-painting booth alongside other Japanese high-school students, and even assisting with the preparation of Brazilian-style chicken stroganoff  at the gourmet corner alongside Prefectural Technical Trainees and International students from Brazil and China.

If you are a Kumamoto JET and interested in doing a performance or hosting an exchange booth next year, please let the PAs know!

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Kumamoto Orientation 2019

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Thank you to everyone who came to Kumamoto Orientation this year! This year, a record of 77 new JET participants joined orientation this year. The support of more than 40 volunteers from around Kumamoto Prefecture was enlisted to prepare various workshops and booths. Unfortunately, due to the threat of Typhoon 10, Day 2 of Orientation was cancelled. Nevertheless, we hope that the first and third days of orientation was both educational and fun for all of the new JETs.

Click here to see the materials from this year’s workshops and booths that were planned for Day 2 of Orientation. Sempai ALTs and CIRs worked hard to put them together, so please take a look at them!

See below for more photos of Kumamoto Orientation 2019!

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The YOKA Summer 2019

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The Summer 2019 YOKA is available now! This quarter’s YOKA features the following…

  • Homecoming and Haiku by Miriam Horsley
  • Summer in South Kumamoto by Hester Mullen
  • Kumamoto JET Gothic by Preston Sangster
  • Fishing in Takamori by Olivia Saputra
  • Night Bus – No Problem! by Jenifer Vosper
  • Welcome to Kumamoto! by the Area Leaders of Kumamoto Prefecture
  • Photos by Kira-Ann Hayashi, Miriam Horsley, Alicia Lim and Chase Sutherland

This YOKA was designed by Alicia Lim. An HQ version (33 MB) of this issue is also available.

Not sure what the YOKA is? The YOKA is a quarterly English-language newsletter written and designed by Kumamoto JETs. For more information and past YOKAs, visit this page.

We happily accept submissions for future YOKAs! If you are interested in contributing an article, photo, or creative piece for a future issue, then please e-mail your submission to kumamotopa@gmail.com.

Welcome to Kumamoto!

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We would like to extend a warm welcome to all JETs arriving in Kumamoto in July and August this year. Welcome to Kumamoto, ‘Land of Fire’ and home of Kumamon!

On this website we have gathered an abundance of information about life in Kumamoto on the JET Programme. Take some time to peruse the website and prepare yourself for coming to Japan. Additionally, if you have any questions about JET, Kumamoto, what to prepare, or what to expect, please do not hesitate to contact the Kumamoto Prefectural Advisors (kumamotopa@gmail.com).

See you in Japan soon!

2019 Leavers’ Meeting

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On Friday, 21 June, we held a meeting for Kumamoto JETs who will be leaving the JET Programme this summer. Thank you to everyone who attended, thank you to our speakers, and thank you to Vice-Governor Ono and Kumamon!

We wish everyone the best of luck in their post-JET lives!

If you would like more information on the procedures and necessary preparation for after JET, please take a look at the Information Packet for Non-Reappointing JETs.

Here are the pictures!

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ALT Cycling Event in Hitoyoshi-Kuma!

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A group of ALTs based in the Hitoyoshi-Kuma Area have organised a special cycling event for ALTs and CIRs!  Please find a message below from Charles, one of the JET ALTs organising the event:


Hello Kumamoto!

Some of the Hitoyoshi-Kuma ALTs have collaborated with the Kuma Cycle Center to bring you a special cycling event for ALTs (CIRs welcome too!). It will be held on Saturday June 29th (June 30th in case of rain) and will run from Asagiri Station to Yunomae and back again. The cost will be ¥3000 (includes lunch, bike rental and tour guide). Registration will begin at 8:30am before a safety briefing at 9am.

I recommend driving and parking at Asagiri Station, but it is possible to get a train from Kumamoto at 6am (changing in Yatsushiro and Hitoyoshi)

All information is on the poster!
If you are interested, please contact Charles Marchant by June 20th at the following email address: charles.marchant@ucdconnect.ie