Category Archives: Notices

English Speaking Doctors in Kumamoto

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In need of some medical help but not sure if your Japanese is good enough for it? Check out the English Speaking Doctors in Kumamoto page on our site! It contains information on a variety of English speaking medical services throughout the prefecture.

As always, we are looking for new additions to this page. If you know of any English speaking medical resources in your area, please e-mail the PAs so we can add it to the page. Thank you!

JLPT Grant for JET Participants

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CLAIR is now providing grants to JET Programme participants who pass Level 3 (N3) of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). This grant is only available to JET participants in their first three years. This grant is only applicable for tests taken starting this summer (no tests taken before April 1, 2016 are eligible for the grant).

You can read more information about this grant on the JET Programme website:

JET Programme Video Contest – Spring/Summer

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CLAIR is holding a JET Programme Video Contest to help mark the 30th anniversary of the JET Programme in 2006. While it is labeled as a “Spring/Summer” contest, the rules are similar to the previous contest and does not necessarily need to be Spring/Summer themed. Current and former participants can submit videos. The contest theme is: “Japan’s Local Communities as experienced by JET Programme Participants”. Award winning videos will receive tickets for free travel within Japan.

Submissions will be accepted until August 10th, while online voting is open from June 1st to August 31st. Please visit the official contest website for more information. Good luck!

Greetings from Matsuda-sensei

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As of April 1st, Harada-sensei has returned back to junior high school (we wish him all the best!) and has been replaced in the International Affairs Division with Matsuda-sensei, who will be the new Japanese PA.

Here are a few words of self-introduction from Matsuda-sensei:


Hello! I’m Keishi Matsuda, new Japanese PA from this April. I had been teaching English in high schools for 13 years until last March. My work here is completely different from what I have done before, but I’ll do the best that I can for the JET Programme with Roland. Also having taught in various kinds of schools, I can give you some relevant advice if you need it.

I had many ALT friends in my twenties. Most of my English has come from them, but words are changing every day. Through this job, I will make efforts to improve my English to help you and express myself correctly. “I help you” means “you help me!” Let’s help each other to make our lives meaningful in Japan.

I was one of the “Rocky Wings”, which was a student exchange programme between Montana and Kumamoto. Now I’m fairly surprised to work next to the State of Montana Japan Trade Office!

I’m looking forward to meeting all of you, ALTs and CIRs. And all tantoshas too, of course! See you soon!

Kurashi no Nihongo Kurabu

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The Kumamoto City International Center (the venue where Kumamoto Orientation is held) holds weekly casual Japanese conversation tables (called “Kurashi no Nihongo Kurabu”) for beginning level Japanese students. This is a good opportunity for people just starting to learn Japanese or those eager to practice their Japanese.

The sessions are held on:

– Tuesdays from 10AM to 12PM.
– Wednesdays from 10AM to 12PM, 2PM to 4PM, and 6:30PM to 8PM.
– Sundays from 10AM to 12PM and 2PM to 4PM.

It is only 100 yen a day to participate. If you would like to participate, please notify the International Center (phone: (096)359-2121 e-mail: in advance. All sessions are held on the 2nd floor of the International Center.

JET Programme Introduction Tools

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From the JET Programme Website:

While many Japanese people may know the word “ALT,” comparatively few are aware of the JET Programme and the fact that it places ALTs in schools all over Japan.

In order to spread awareness of the JET Programme and its near 30 years of history, the CLAIR staff have created a set of basic JET Programme Introduction Tools for use in your self-introduction. These tools can be used as is, or modified by you to match your audience (students, school staff, parents/guardians, members of the local community, etc.).

You can find the JET Programme introduction files on the JET Programme website.

Kumamoto’s Sister Cities

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Did you know Kumamoto Prefecture has 26 sister city/state relationships with places all over the world? You may be surprised to find out that your area has a relationship with a city abroad. The latest information about these relationships has been added to the website, you can find it on the side menu under Other Resources (or just click here).

JET Programme Video Contest

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CLAIR is holding a JET Programme Video Contest to help mark the 30th anniversary of the JET Programme in 2006. Current and former participants can submit videos. The contest theme is: “Japan’s Local Communities as experienced by JET Programme Participants”. Award winning videos will receive tickets for free travel within Japan.

Update on February 9th: The submission period has been extended to March 10th and the online voting period has been extended to March 31st. Submissions will be accepted until February 10, while online voting is open from January 4 to February 29. Please visit the official contest website for more information. Good luck!

Driver’s License Agreement between Maryland and Japan

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Great news for our current and future Maryland JETs! As a result of a recently signed driver’s license reciprocity agreement between Maryland and Japan, JETs with a Maryland driver’s license no longer need to take the practical driving test when applying for a Japanese driver’s license. However, you will still have to apply in person for a license and take a vision/hearing test. This agreement will streamline the process for Maryland JETs as you no longer need to worry about the passing the driving test.

JETs from other states in America are unfortunately still required to pass the driving test in order to obtain their Japanese license. However, with Maryland leading the way, this hopefully will lead to other states signing agreements in the near future!

You can find the official announcement here:

Welcome to the new Kumamoto JET website!

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Hello and welcome to the new version of the Kumamoto JET website! With this updated version of our website, we hope to improve our ability to be a useful resource of information for the Kumamoto JET community.

Please note that this website is about 75% complete, so there may be some broken links or formatting errors here and there. We are doing our best to make get the website completely ready as soon as possible! However, most of the essential information from the former website should also be accessible on this new website.

Here’s a list of some of the changes you can expect with the new site:

  • First and foremost, you’ve wanted it for a long time and (hopefully) it is here: a site where you no longer need to horizontally scroll to see everything. Testing has shown that the site should adjust to fit any browser, computer, zoom that you use. But please let us know if that is not the case!
  • There is now a much easier to navigate mobile version of this site. The website is optimized for desktop viewing, but you just also be able to access and get around KumamotoJET on your phones a lot easier than before.
  • More articles and updates about life in Kumamoto, things relevant to the JET community, etc. As this website is now built on a blogging platform, we would like to take advantage of that by having more frequent posts about topics that may be of interest to the community. Some examples are posts about a big festival in the prefecture or a volunteer event that JETs may be interested in. These posts will be accessible from the front page, but important posts (such as big JET events or deadlines) will always have top billing when you access the website.
  • There is a search function for the new website, which can be accessed by clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right corner.
  • Pages with information in the former website that ran long have been cut into smaller sections on their own individual page (for example, the long one page driving section in the former site has been divided into several pages of smaller size on the new site).

The former version of the Kumamoto JET website will remain online, although the information on it will no longer be updated. In a few weeks, when you type in into your browser, you will be redirected to the new website. However, any bookmarks you made with the former website will still be valid.

As you are browsing the new website, if you find anything wrong or broken, please let us know and we will fix it as soon as possible. We are also happy to take any other ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns, really anything you have regarding the new website. We would love to make it something that the whole community will get something out of.

Thanks so much and happy browsing!